Quilters of the Past – Designing Blocks

In the past, quilters often used what they had on hand to create patterns.

One method was folding paper to create geometric designs. Many had bibles and they were used to trace around in order to get right triangles and rectangles. Rectangles could be used to cut fabric shapes, or they could be folded and cut to make other designs.

The bottom left corner is lifted and with the right edge of the triangle. then folded. The section above is cut off to create a square.

The bottom left corner is lifted and aligned with the right edge of the paper. then folded. The section above is cut off to create a square.

Dividing squares in half several times in the same direction formed narrow strips to turn into templates.

Dividing a square into 3 equal parts in both directions created the well known Nine Patch block. Many geometric shapes could be formed using paper folding.

Plates, saucers, and other dishes were used to draw circles of various sizes.

Check your local quilt shop for books on early pattern designing. Don’t forget to search your local library, too.

Quilts and Quilters have fascinating histories!

Squares were folded in half both ways to create a Four Patch block. The smaller squares could be folded repeatedly to make smaller squares.

Squares were folded in half both ways to create a Four Patch block. The smaller squares can be folded repeatedly to make smaller squares.

Dividing squares diagonally produced equiltateral triangles and half square triangles.

Dividing squares diagonally produced equiltateral triangles and half square triangles.

Fold a circle in half, then twice more, and 8 equal parts are formed. Join the points with a ruler and an octagon is created.

Fold a circle in half, then twice more, and 8 equal parts are formed. Join the points with a ruler and an octagon is created.

Trace these triangles. Flip them over to line up their bases. You have created an 8 pointed star. Try it!

Trace these triangles. Flip them over to line up their bases. You have created an 8 pointed star. Try it!

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