Building a Quilt

This is the quilt I wasn’t going to show but I need moral support here!  🙂  I feel like I’m building a quilt without a plan and since I have to have a plan for everything I do, this has me pulling my hair out.

This is Laurel Burch fabric and the squares aren’t really square.  I’ve stretched and steamed and messed with a few of them and for a few of them, I’ve said . . it is what it is . . and left them like they are.  Few of the “squares” are the same size and getting them together is a challenge.  Did I say I have a hard time flying by the seat of my pants and that’s what I’m doing on this one.

Here’s where I am so far:

It’s going to be bright!  You see why I had to order fabric for this quilt!  There was nothing like this in my stash.  The fabric for the borders around the blocks is stash fabric.

I’m ready to get to the borders!


  1. 5

    lw says

    I also am very uncomfortable working with blocks that are all different sizes. I do think that using sashing to get them to a common size looks like it’s working pretty well. With all of the crazy sizes, I’d be tempted to use string quilting as the sashing and make it into a crazy-quilt hybrid. That would keep the fact that the blocks are not even from making the quilt feel unbalanced.

  2. 6

    Karen says

    I made a quilt like that a few years ago – I had a panel & decided to cut each picture out and rearrange instead of just adding borders. What a mess! But, I did what you’re doing – used sashing to square everything up although I did square up the pictured blocks first even if it meant losing part of the picture’s border. It turned out great and the recipient loved it.

  3. 7


    I would make a paper template for each block out of graph paper – then lay it out on another sheet of graph paper, then you can decide layout and how big to make sashing on each block. – OR, you could treat each block like the center of a log cabin and add rounds of material to each one until they are all equal sizes? Good luck!

  4. 9

    eve in ga says

    I love it!! You’re doing fine with it. I made my Grandmother a photo quilt 9 years ago w/ photos of all different sizes. I used 5 or 6 fabs for the frames/sashings, and just kept adding different widths of strips to each picture until I was happy with it. I did have to do just a few “Y” seams along the way to assemble the top, but it was sooooo worth it!! Another thought is to “angle” a few of them, just to add more visual interest and fun.

    Just quit making yourself crazy with it and have fun!! Eve

  5. 10

    Sue in Scottsdale, AZ says

    Judy, I love what you are doing. How about scanning each block and creating your layout in EQ7. Depending on the size of each block, you will have sashing around each block that is different but you could probably then add another sashing/border around each block to create each row of sashing or you could get the book “Twist ‘n Turn” by Sharyn Squier Craig and follow how she twisted and turned the blocks with her borders/sashing. I have used this technique several times and the quilts looked great.

  6. 11

    Pam says

    The colors are so bold in Laurel Burch fabric.
    I see that you are framing the blocks to size them.
    Have you thought about using black or a black and white geometric to frame them? Or both, that way you would have diffenct fabrics butting up next to each other.
    Stretch yourself! You can do it! (You can’t work from the borders in and that is what has you in a funk.)
    Have fun.

  7. 12


    I think you are doing fine. One of the first quilts I made, I totally flew by the seat of my pants and made several different blocks and made them different sizes and then just added sashing and strips here and there to get them all to line up. I didn’t know any better but…guess what? Today that is still one of my favorite wall-hangings and it gets so many compliments, too. Keep on doing what you are doing!!!

  8. 13

    pdudgeon says

    your borders are bright, but they’re still too tame.
    start with odd whacks of brights and pin them on your flannel wall until you have the size quilt you want.
    then add in some random black and white checkerboards, some wild stripes, and some flying geese, a few sawtooth stars, and last but not least, put in the Laurel Burch squares on top of all of that, with raw edge applique.

    You’re looking for an eclectic, layered look here, so it’s no wonder that you’re tearing your hair out!

  9. 14


    I adore Laurel Burch! ANd I love her horses and cats….and dogs too! I saw the horses in a black/gray/copper color and loved them. Didn’t buy them, not sure why because I keep thinking about them………


  10. 15

    Becky I says

    Judy, I absolutly love this quilt! It will be georgous (and bright) when you are finished. Can’t wait to see the finished product.

  11. 16

    Perry says

    Judy, the easiest way to handle this type of setting is to figure out what the biggest block measures, turn it at an angle,add a couple of strips around it like you are adding some sashing, and square it up. Then turn the others at an angle and square them up to measure the largest . If you need too. Take some of the smaller ones and put them together to add up to the largest. Does this make any sense? I have a quilt I have done this way. I will have to look upnthe link to it and I will send it to you if you are interested.

    • 16.1

      Perry says

      I just sent you a picture of the quilt I made that references this type of setting, if you are interested. Hope it helps!

  12. 17

    carol c says

    i made a similar one like this 2 years ago, did what you are doing, but used b/w around each odd shape, put cornerstones in them too. you are doing fine!

  13. 18


    I am working on a quilt very similar to this. It was a block exchange and the blocks are 4 1/2″ to 11″ and everywhere in between. I put them on the wall with spaces in between then, one by one, add a strip or a row os half square triangles or flying geese to fill in the spaces. If you look on my DWM blog here, you’ll see what I’m playing with:

    I think you’ll find you are very proud of the outcome if you stick with it. The difficult successes are life’s most fulfilling! (and you can quote me on that!)

  14. 20

    Peggy says

    Judy I work with panels and printed pictures when designing quilts for Quilting Treasures. Due to printing I sometimes need to border in a color close to the color in the panel because they may not be square or the same size. Once that is done I can treat it just like any other piece of fabric.

    Another thing I do is to work in divisions of the largest size bordered piece. So if my largest block is 18″ I can combine it with a 12″ and 6″ in blocks.

    Adding some pieced blocks or just squares of fabrics would add some interest, but that might be where your border will come into play. You are doing fine and your box of tricks is getting larger and larger.

  15. 21


    have you seen the 9-patch pizzazz layouts? They are *awesome* for using odd-shaped focus fabrics. Essentially you are connecting the focus blocks with 9-patches done in coordinating colors. You can sash it or not. It doesn’t matter what size the focus blocks are because you are filling in the spaces between them with collections of 9-patch blocks.

    Here’s my Flickr pool (4 pictures) of the 2 quilts I’ve done so far … You do a Google image search for 9-patch pizzazz and see so many other options.

  16. 22

    butterflywing says

    LOL! i have the same fabric and i don’t know what to do with mine!! i plan to watch and see what you do! i also thought i would sash around each block to bring them up to size. i really have no other ideas.

    • 24.1

      Carol says

      Love your use of color and shapes. The time you put into making this quilt really makes it stand out.

  17. 25


    I really like the borders you ae adding to them. Really makes the horses stand out. Tjhis would be outside of my comfort zone too.

  18. 26


    You’re doing great! I like the frames to even the blocks out. Some narrow black/white coin strip fillers might add a more restful place for the eyes to settle.

    That’s going to be a fun quilt!

  19. 27

    Deb says

    keep going! I love it!!!!

    I feel your pain, DH bought some “fish” fabric with rectangles of all sizes. I got about that far and quit. He asked about it the other day. So for christmas I think I am going to try to finish it for him.

    At least yours pretty! I have FISH, ugh….

  20. 28

    Carol says

    Judy, you’ve gotten farther than I have with a panel I cut up. I couldn’t find order in the chaos of different sizer blocks. But I think I’ve gotten enough ideas from my fellow readers to have another go. Now if I can only remember where I put that UFO!
    Hang in there! I’m sure you’ll figure it out.