Category Archives: colour play

Simple Blocks – Album

This is the first of our simple blocks which has Mary’s Triangles units and, as with most blocks with these units, they are in the corners.

album block alt colour

You can download the free pattern for this block here, along with a few ideas for quilts.

Just because the block has the triangles on the outside doesn’t mean that you can’t turn the units around and make a completely different block.

album block reversed

Notice that the colours have been reversed as well. If you mix these two colourings in a quilt  you get something far more interesting than just the blocks on their own.

album quilt a

Or you can put the blocks on point; all the same block but with a dark background –

album on point c

– it looks far more dramatic than the light background.

album on point b

But what happens if we turn those corner units so the triangles point outwards?

Album block 3

And then set into a quilt, with alternate colourings –

album quilt f

Its a very different quilt to the one we started out with.

The colouring (placement of lights and darks) of the block as well as the orientation of the corner units can have quite a dramatic effect on the appearance of the block and the quilts. Here’s a slide show of a few ideas –

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Simple blocks – Mary’s Triangles

Jewel Box blockThis little unit crops up in a number of blocks but is also a block in its own right. It has a variety of names including Jewel Box (or Block), Squared Triangles, Square and Triangles and the one I’ve picked – Mary’s Triangles.

You can make these units one at a time by cutting the individual squares and triangles or you can make two at a time with a very nifty method I read about so long ago I can no longer where, or when, but it has become an accepted method – it involves no triangles! You can download the Tutorial sheet for the unit here.

As with all units based on Half-Square Triangles you can have great fun with colour placement, scrappy looks and turning those units round. Here’s just a few ideas to get you started.

Start off by just putting the units together in a straight set, then change the lights and darks around, turn the blocks around, add in another colour for a bit of contrast . . .

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And here’s one I made earlier

jewel quilt

What will you make? Download the instructions for Mary’s Triangles here – it has a few quilt ideas and a blank quilt for you to colour in or play with.

Simple Blocks – Monkey Wrench

There are several blocks called Monkey Wrench – this one is sometimes called Snail Trail and is essentially a 4-patch within several squares, so we’ve added it to the blocks associated with the Square-in-a-Square tutorial.

Monkey Wrench block 1

Just set on its own this two fabric block can look a bit so-so . . .

Monkey Wrench quilt 1

but turn alternate blocks around and you get the classic Snail Trail pattern.

Monkey Wrench quilt 2

But what if you add another colour?

Monkey Wrench block 2

The quilt could then look more like this

Monkey Wrench quilt 3

or this

Monkey Wrench quilt 6

Or add yet another colour

Monkey Wrench block 3

which gives you more opportunities for playing with the arrangements

Monkey Wrench quilt 4

or this – which reminds me of waves breaking on the shore

Monkey Wrench quilt 7

or this (which looks more like arm wrestling!)

Monkey Wrench quilt 8

You can download your free block pattern here.

 

 

 

Simple Blocks – Coxey’s Camp

This block comes under the heading of ‘Square in a Square’ although in reality it is a 4-patch turned on point and then given a fancy border.

Coxey's Camp block

 

There are many different ways to colour it in changing the emphasis of the block by changing the dark and light colours around.

Using the different colourings can add interest to the quilt setting too.

Coxey's Camp quilt 3

Coxey's Camp quilt 7

As does turning on point –

Coxey's Camp quilt 5

It makes a good block to alternate with other blocks – more complicated ones or much simpler ones. Have a play with some of the other blocks we’ve already featured.

Coxey's Camp quilt 6

You can download the block instructions here.

Simple Blocks – Susannah

This is a really simple block but so many design opportunities. Just one Square-in-a-Square unit surrounded by small squares –

You can download the instructions here. Don’t forget to check out the Tutorials page for further details on making the unit.

This is what happens when you change the emphasis of the dark and light blues around –

And when you put them into a quilt –

Mix the two blocks –

Put them on point –

Use striped fabric –

or a completely different colour –

Simple blocks – New Album

New Album is very simple block – a plain Square-in-a-Square block with a border. You can download the instructions here. The centre square is an ideal opportunity for ‘fussy cutting’ your print fabric (it doesn’t show too well on this snapshot from EQ) and you can do the same in the smaller cornerstones of the border.

Swapping the colours over gives the block a different look –

Or you can opt for something completely different using Autumnal batiks –

or in more muted fabrics so the centre square is not so prominent

And then put into quilts – first alternate colours, straight-set

and then on-point

And now let’s play around with the colouring a bit –

or blue –

or alternate with a plain Square-in-a-Square

make the background lighter –

 

Simple Blocks – Square in a Square

Sometimes called Diamond in a Square this unit/block is worth learning how to make as it crops everywhere from a unit in assorted bocks to a simple block used as a ‘spacer’ between more complicated blocks where, as you will see further down the page, it can create the illusion of a star within the quilt design.

The basic block is, as it says, a square within a square and you can find the instructions to make it on the Tutorials page or download them here.

square-in-a-square-blockBut suppose we keep adding squares around our square?

square-in-a-square-block-aand again

square-in-a-square-block-band again

square-in-a-square-block-cThe basic block on its own doesn’t make much of a quilt –

square-in-a-square-quiltBut if you alternate the colours it starts to look a little more interesting

square-in-a-square-quilt-aOr suppose you alternate the different variations of the block?

square-in-a-square-quilt-bor

square-in-a-square-quilt-cor

square-in-a-square-quilt-for

square-in-a-square-quilt-eor

square-in-a-square-quilt-dand then change the colours completely and emphasise the star in the centre –

square-in-a-square-quilt-h