Last month we looked at designing your own blocks by taking a traditional block and adding or subtracting a few lines. This month we will look at drawing what you might call ‘skewed’ blocks using graph paper with a different (not square) grid as well as just drawing a few random lines across a square, with and without a grid. You can find different graph papers to download here and here – or just search online for them.

Start by drawing a square. Then draw a few random lines across it. You don’t have to make this block so don’t worry about pointy-points or impossible to piece shapes just now, we’re having fun playing with pencil and paper. Shade it with your pencil or colour it in.

What do four blocks together look like? Turn the blocks around to get different patterns.

Would you want to make it? Can you simplify it? How about foundation piecing?You can download the pattern to foundation piece a 6 inch version of this triangles and diamonds block here.

Now draw a square but draw a grid in it as if you were drafting a ‘normal’ block. Now draw a few random lines in that grid. Rub out any lines that aren’t needed. Shade the shapes or colour them in.

What do four blocks look like? Turn the blocks around again.

You could opt for very simple and draw your block as a rectangle instead of a square. You may have problems when it comes to putting them in a quilt as you can’t turn them through 90degrees, but you could add strips to two sides to make a square block.

The rectangular blocks can be offset to create a quilt, while the square ones can be turned so the added strips create a secondary pattern – but more of that another time!

Specialist graph papers are ideal for drawing designs based on hexagons, triangles or diamonds; or you can get Log graph paper – no need to know what logarithms are anymore, just draw your quilt or block out on this skewed grid graph paper to get something unique.

Let’s leave hexagons etc for another day (it involves hand-piecing more often than not and I struggle with that concept!) and look at log graph paper to start with. You can download this from the internet to play with. Then choose a simple traditional block, such as Swamp Angel, or the Ohio Star Variation from my last post on block design, and draw it on a log grid instead of a ‘normal’ grid. Or take a 5-patch block such as Square and a Half and draw it on a Fibonacci grid (1,1,2,3,5).

On a normal grid this Square-and-a-Half block is alright but just a bit ho-humish when you put them together as quilt, but when you put four of these skewed blocks together you can get a result very like a perspective grid and it starts to look a whole lot more interesting.

The major problem with many of these skewed blocks is that they require a lot of different pieces and these are not always easy to measure and cut with the rotary cutter – you may have to resort to templates and scissors if you want to make them. You can download templates to make a 12inch skewed Ohio Star Variation block here and a 12 inch Fibonacci Square-and-a-Half block here.

Why not try drafting a few blocks yourself, perhaps using some of these specialist graph papers. You don’t actually have to make them, remember; just have fun drawing them and colouring them – and perhaps even posting the results on the UKQU Facebook page?

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