Layout and design begins on the cozy quilt

Yesterday, I shared the story of how my friends from around the world sent me some lovely blocks on my birthday. Today, let’s get to grips with layout and design of my cozy quilt.

My Cafe Comforts Cozy quilt is comprised of blocks of red and white fabrics. As part of the Craft Cafe’s Birthday Block swap, there were no hard and fast rules about tone or design. Each block is as unique as the person who made it.

First things first, it was important to trim all the blocks to a uniform 12.5″. Several of the ones I made for other swap members were not exactly to size, despite my best efforts. We agreed that we would trim to fit. This was easy to do with a 12.5″ square quilting ruler.

Use a 12.5 inch square ruler to trim up the blocks to a uniform size.

A word here about having good quilting equipment. Lots of people new to the wide world of quilting will forgo investing in good equipment until their skills improve. But, trying to make a good job with bad tools is a losing prospect, and will in no way encourage working toward better skills.

A quilters’ tool box will include:

quilting ruler

cutting mat

rotary cutter

quilt marking pencils: chalk and disappearing

good quality pins and needles

thread — all purpose, cotton and silk (for appliqué)

needles, hand and machine sewing (change them often, and especially between projects)


spray basting adhesive

quilt batting (I like cotton for most of the things I do)

Practice, and using good quality tools, will improve your skills and encourage you to learn more.

Case in point: after a year of doing the Craft Cafe’s Birthday Block swap, I’m an almost competent patchwork quilter!

I auditioned the neutral fabric I would use for the sashing as I arranged the blocks until I liked the design.

Once all the blocks were trimmed, I took them to a bed to lay them out, switching blocks until I liked the color balance and arrangement. This was also an easy way to determine how wide I was going to make the sashing. I used strips of invisible tape to note the position of each block in a row. It’s easier to have some guideposts when you begin piecing the rows together.

A small piece of tape and a permanent marker provide some landmarks for the quilt block arrangement.

I wanted the blocks to speak for themselves in the quilt, so I elected to use a 5.5″ vertical sashing between each block, a 7.5″ horizontal strip that would divide each row, and 6″ strips that would frame the top, bottom and sides.

This kind of arrangement creates a modern feel, as well as making the blocks sing their own tune in the overall quilt.

I chose a neutral and retro sewing themed fabric for the sashing, dividing strips and frames.

For the backing, I elected to use random pieces of red, white, cream fabrics. And for the binding,  some of my very treasured Tilda fabric — in honor of the Tone Finnanger fan girls of the Craft Cafe.

Now that the layout and design have been put in place, join me tomorrow as I come to grips with continuing a labor of love: the Cafe Comforts Cozy Quilt.

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1 comment

Christine B. October 13, 2015 - 6:38 am
So enjoying seeing you put the blocks together Nancy! Can't wait to read on!! You are too modest by the way.... your patchwork skills are VERY good! Hugs Christine x
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