Square Dance

Carolyn Beam
Square Dance

Creative ideas for preprinted blocks

Preprinted quilt blocks, sometimes called “cheater” blocks, have been popping up all over the quilt stores. Designers for major fabric manufacturers have incorporated these into many of their fabric lines, setting the blocks into a larger piece of fabric with space between each of the blocks.

The blocks come in a variety of sizes and provide some interesting opportunities for quilt designs. I looked at blocks from three different manufacturers—each a different size and theme—and took three different approaches to designing a quilt around them. Each of these small quilts can be made with the preprinted blocks and fat quarters of coordinating fabric. Individual block instructions and assembly diagrams for each of these quilts can be found here.

The Newton lambie blocks finished at 8 3⁄4"x 10 1⁄2". Using each block as the center of a larger Log Cabin block was an ideal way to accommodate the size of the rectangle. The logs were cut 2" wide and 3 rows of logs were added, making the finished size of each Log Cabin block 17 3⁄4"x 19 1⁄2". Squares cut 3 1⁄2"x 3 1⁄2" were sewn together for the border. Note: a slightly deeper seam allowance was needed when sewing the top and bottom border squares together, so be sure to check the quilt center dimensions before adding the border strips.

Fabric: Newton by Leslie Ann Clark for Clothworks.

Combining preprinted blocks with pieced blocks is a great way to showcase the different fabrics. Look for pieced block designs that complement the preprinted block.

The various flower blocks from P&B Textiles were cut to 6 1⁄2"x 6 1⁄2" and small basket blocks were made the same size. Framing each of these blocks in coordinating prints and setting them on point provided an opportunity to create a secondary star design.

Sewn by Sheri Ruwe. Fabric: Paulina by P&B Textiles.

To find pieced blocks to add to the framed seashell blocks from Wilmington Prints, I looked at block names to find ones with a nautical focus. The 2 blocks with names that appealed to me along with their designs were Port and Starboard (center block) and Ocean Wave. The seashell blocks were cut 10 1⁄2"x 10 1⁄2".

Don’t be afraid to step outside the box when working with preprinted blocks—lots of design opportunities await you. We’d love to see your designs.

Sewn by ZJ Humbach. Fabric: Weekend Getaway by Stephanie Marrott for Wilmington Prints.


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