Quilt 2018: How to Supersize a Block!

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This month we are exploring Single Design quilts, quilts featuring a single design as the main motif rather than a repetition of blocks. Star quilts, such as the Lone Star are the most common single designs quilts, but more and more blocks are enlarged to quilt size.

Pick your favorite block and follow these steps to supersize it to make a quilt!

Step One:

Draw the block on a grid.

Pick any block and draw it on a grid. The trick is to only have one unit per square on the grid. Notice for the Cat’s Cradle block, each little Half Square Triangle unit gets its own square.

Step Two:

Decide scale.

Note how many squares it took to draw the block. This Cat’s Cradle is 9 squares x 9 squares.

Next, decide how large of a quilt to make. 

To see the possibilities, the square sizes are written out for 9 sqaures per block.

If each square represents a 2″ finished unit, the block will finish at 18″.

2 x 9 = 18

If each square represents a 3″ finished unit, the block will finish at 27″.

3 x 9 = 27

And so forth…

The larger the square/unit the bigger the block gets. 

Step Three:

Make a little math magic.

So far we have been working with finished sizes, but we need to turn this into cutting instructions. 

Identify the pieces needed to make the quilt.

This Cat’s Cradle block needs the following:

  • 3 big squares
  • 6 big triangles
  • 18 little Half Square Triangles
  • 18 little triangles

Let’s take a look at each.

To make an 72″ x 72″ quilt each square in the grid equals 8″.

Big Squares

3 squares x 8″ each = 24″ + 1/2″ seam allowances

so cut:

(3) 24 1/2″ x 24 1/2″ squares

Big Triangles

3 squares x 8″ each = 24″ + 7/8″ for triangle seam allowances

so cut:

(3) 24 7/8″ x 24 7/8″ squares, cut in half once diagonally

Note: If you like to trim down your Half Square Triangles, round the 7/8″ up to an 1″.

Half Square Triangles

1 square x 8″ each = 8″ + 7/8″ for triangle seam allowances

so cut:

(9) 8 7/8″ x 8 7/8″ squares for both colors (cut in half once diagonally, or leave as squares to use the marking method)

Note: If you like to trim down your Half Square Triangles, round the 7/8″ up to 1″.

Little Triangles

1 square x 8″ each = 8″ + 7/8″ for triangle seam allowances

so cut:

(9) 8 7/8″ x 8 7/8″ squares, cut in half once diagonally

Step Four:

Sew! Sew! Sew!

Break your block into rows for easy construction.

When each unit in the row is complete, finish the row. Sew the rows together to complete the quilt.

Congratulations, you’ve turned your block into a quilt!

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Jeanne Stout

Thank you for this tutorial. I was wondering why you chose, in step three, to cut the three big blocks eight inches. As opposed to something like 10 inches. I’m new at quilting so please forgive my ignorance !

Karen White

Thanks for this simple explanation that was extremely helpful.

Thank you for this tutorial. I will definitely be using this on a quilt project I’ve been thinking of but hadn’t been able to figure out how to accomplish it. Now I can and I can’t wait.