Quilt Blocks, Needlepoint & Creating a Design

A simple quilt block can result in many patterns.

A simple quilt block can result in many patterns.

The picture heree is of a little needlepoint I made of a classic depression quilt block, Bow Tie (the chart for it is below). By itself it’s small, but combined with more bow tie blocks you could create something quite wonderful. In quilting this is called “setting” the blocks. Quilters will take their sewn blocks or mock-ups of the blocks and arrange them on a felt design wall, looking for a lovely setting.

There is also software that allows you to color blocks and then test different settings. Software such as this could also be used for needlepoint. Once you have you block charted out, why not use this kind of program to design your overall piece (Look for more about this in future posts).

Let’s look at some ways you could combine them. All the pictures are of actual quilts or quilt layouts. Thee source is listed in the caption.

from Q Is for Quilter

from Q Is for Quilter

The simplest setting is a Straight Setting. In this all the blocks are oriented the same way. Any secondary patterns that show up happen because you have created diagonal lines by picking similar colors in either the ties or the background.

from Blackberry Quilts

from Blackberry Quilts

Turn your blocks 45 degrees and the setting is called on point. In these settings the blocks are diamonds instead of squares. EAsy to do in quilting, in needlepoint to make an on point setting in your stitching diagonal stitches become straight stitches and straight stitches become diagonal ones.

from Claire's Patch

from Claire’s Patch

If you alternate direction in the blocks so that a zig-zag is created, this setting is often called Rick-rack because it is the shape of that trim. It is also sometimes called Streak of Lightning. You can emphasize this by making all the blocks in one row in a similar color.

from Quilt Stories Cynthia

from Quilt Stories Cynthia

You can also change the direction of the blocks so other shapes are formed, rounds here. This quilt shows increasing sizes of circles. But you could also use the small four-block circle and repeat. That’s a popular setting of bow tie.

from Chargar

from Chargar

Adding a second block, especially in a solid color, spaces out the quilt blocks and creates alternating diagonal rows and a checked pattern if the solid color is different. If the solid color is the same as the background color, the ties will look as if they are floating.

from In Stitches with Bonnie

from In Stitches with Bonnie

Finally you can also add borders, simple or complex, to any setting. These create additional opportunities for color and pattern.

I hope this gave you some great ideas for creating lovely needlepoint from simple quilt block designs. You’ll find the block diagram below.

The start of a charming needlepoint quilt portrait.

The start of a charming needlepoint quilt portrait.

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