Thursday, February 28, 2013

How I Use BlockBase: Quick Quilts

 Granny's Choice by Becky Brown

Last year when Becky and I were working out blocks for the Grandmother's Choice sampler I did a BlockBase search under wild card for the word Granny and the program came up with three options. She thought this one---Granny's Choice (#2309) from the Kansas City Star in 1948---was an interesting block. Wouldn't it make an great allover design?

The easiest way to see how the design worked as a quilt is to use the Quick Quilt view in BlockBase. You click on the block and then right click and this menu comes up. Highlight Quick Quilt and it will show you 16 blocks at once.

It would indeed make a complex design with the corners forming pinwheels. I imported the block to EQ7 and did some fooling around with repeats and shading. I liked the on-point set so I saved some images and sent them to her.

I thought it would be a good place to use the 2-1/2" Jelly Roll strips, Moda precuts. Now, the only way I know to figure out how to make a block that uses strips cut to 2-1/2" is by trial and error.

I click on the block in BlockBase and go to 
>Rotary Cutting
I started with a 12 inch block and hit Preview.
It didn't work. 
The strips and squares would have to be cut 2-5/8". Too big.
So I changed the width and height to 11.5.

It says cut the strips and squares 2-1/2". Perfect!
Well, 11-1/2" blocks may be hard to work out in samplers but for an all-over block quilt it's not a problem.

Becky, being a very skilled seamstress, decided to reduce the block size to 6-1/2" for this quilt. It's 36" x 48" right now and she is going to add a 6" border to make it 48" x 60", a good size for her favorite project, making quilts for hospitalized veterans. She's been encouraging her friends to use a larger version for the gift quilts.

UPDATE: Here's one she just sent with the 2-1/2" strips.

If you don't have BlockBase click on the diagram above and it will tell you the cutting directions for an 11-1/2" block. A free pattern perfect for all your 2-1/2" strips.

See the Grandmother's Choice block of the week here:


  1. I love that block. thanks for sharing.

  2. Love that block (on point) thanks for sharing.

  3. What a great block to make a scrappy quilt. I'm going to try the 6 1/2" version.Thanks for the pattern!

  4. Thank you! I learn so much every time I read your blog; I appreciate the time that you put into each post.

  5. Love it! Thanks for sharing. Block Base is on my wishlist.

  6. Cool! How nice to trial and error on the computer and not with fabric!

  7. I love, love Block Base. Recently learned it is a great tool when trying to identify a block name when documenting antique and vintage quilts. The information on the Notecards and Namelist is fabulous! How about an app for our Iphones and Ipads??? How about Encyclopedia Of Pieced Quilt Patterns for the Kindle?? I just purchased Encyclopedia of Applique for the Kindle. Thanks for all your hard work.

  8. I still need to learn how to use my program, it is a mac one, so not as nice as EQ, but I would like to learn how to make up the designs so I can see the pattern layout and have the information for sizes and yardage.


  9. Your block info is just great! I like the pattern and knowing about Block Base is priceless!! The layout options are perfect for me right now, working on Christmas 2013 presents.

    Thanks for sharing :)