Tweaking a Design

When designing quilts, I find it so exciting to see the difference a small tweak can make in not only the overall appearance of the design, but also in the construction of the quilt.  This is where Electric Quilt is worth its weight in gold!

Below are two very similar views of the designs for my indigo quilt. Tell me the difference that you see.  Don’t be too analytical . . just tell me what you see that’s different. Also please tell me which option you would have chosen and why.

Option #1:

Option #2:

Check back later and I’ll tell you why I chose the design I chose.


  1. 1

    Cindy in NC says

    I’d choose #1. It looks clearer and sharper to me — the right kind of design for a quilt with “Judy”colors. #2 seems fuzzier and softer. It would be better suited, I think, to pastels and prints that blend into one another.

  2. 2


    I pick the first. The triangles are larger in the churn dash blocks and the sashing of them is smaller. It makes the design look “bolder” to me. Both are fine…but I like 1 better.

  3. 3


    What I see is that the center square of all of the blocks are consistently the same size!

    I like both and would have a hard time designing which is my favorite….but since I don’t have a CLEAR winner in my mind, I would select the first one – just because I LOVE SMALL blocks in a quilt and the small block in the CROSS BLOCK draws my eye in.

    Both are lovely and I am guessing that you chose OPTION 2!

    sao in Midlothian, VA

  4. 4

    Pat in Washington says

    The center squares in the Shoo Fly blocks (? not sure if that’s the name or not) in #2 are bigger. I like #1 best, but couldn’t give you a reason why. Just because!

  5. 5

    pdudgeon says

    yep, the triangles are smaller and the center squares are larger on the second one. it would be easier to sew, but the first one is more graceful.

  6. 6


    I would use option 2. I like the lightness that the wider piecing offers as it’s just more pleasing to my eye.

    Of course that can all go out the window if the fabric colors are used differently but from this pic that’s what I like.

  7. 7

    Doe in Mi says

    I see that you changed the shoo fly block. And I think I like #1 best because it looks warmer and softer to me for some reason. But, then I like #2 also and thats because it looks more summery. Does that sound nuts or logical, I don’t know?

  8. 8

    Cheryl L says

    The difference is the width of the cross pieces and centeer squares of the shoo fly blocks. But when I squint (my favorite way of viewing quilt designs) I like the effect of the first one better, too…..seems to be unanimous, so far, I see!

  9. 9

    Kim Webb says

    The blocks seem to flow better in option #2.
    I like the proportions better in block 2 although both are great.
    option #2

  10. 10


    No one even mentioned how you ‘floated’ the alternate block in design #1. That is the one I like.

  11. 11

    Diann Smith says

    #1 is more pleasing to my eye. The second one seems too busy and my eyes are bouncing around looking at everything. But boy do I love purples!!!!! My fav

  12. 12


    I first noticed that the second quilt seemed lighter in tone than the first. Took me a while to find the specific change. It’s really interesting how changing the proportions of one block made the whole quilt feel different. I prefer #1, but they are both beautiful quilts.

  13. 13

    Eden hunt says

    The hst’s in the alternate blocks are larger in the first. The second on has larger center stones and the “cross” is more dominant in that pattern. I prefer the first one myself, the second looks too chunky and awkward to me.

  14. 14


    The Shoo Fly (or Album) blocks in #1 are in a different proportion & it looks like you have framing strips around those blocks. That creates more of a separation (to my eye) between the two blocks & seems to allow the “star” blocks to take “center stage” in the design.

    I like both options. . . would probably make #2 myself since I wouldn’t have to work with small border strings on the alternate blocks.

  15. 16


    I like both quilts, but #1 seems to be a sharper, clearer version of #2.

    I think I like #1 better. It’s bolder. Design #2 is softer, gentler…a little out of focus.

    Mood would play a large part of my decision. Today I’m in a sharper, clearer, bolder mood. Other days, the gentler look of #2 would be my choice.

    Now that I’m done “teetering”, I’ll sign off!

    Have a great day.

  16. 19


    I like option 2 better because the center squares are the same size and the triangle points match up. However, I kind of like the way the points float in option 1.

  17. 20


    I’d go with #2. There’s more background, and your “star flowers” stand out more. Now I’ll go read the previous comments!

  18. 21

    pj says

    I like #1 better. In option #1 the “star” block seems to pop. In option #2, the star block is overtaken by the block that has the shape of a modified cross. In option #1 the block sizes seem balanced, where in option #2, the modified cross block seems lots larger. JMHO.

  19. 22


    Number one for me. Probably because less white = more color. Both are very nice, though. I might have to make an alternating block quilt soon.

  20. 23


    I like #1 because the the darker purple pops out more since it is a larger HST.

    It would be interesting to see the two designs with colors in different places.

  21. 24


    I like the first one better. The quilt looks 3D because of that small change in the alternating block. Another beauty!

  22. 25


    I’d choose the first option. I’d like to see more of the dark. Especially if I wanted to use the indigo as the focus fabric rather than the polka dot (or whatever).

  23. 26

    Debbie says

    The difference is the size of the individual pieces…. but I think I like #2 I think it is softer……

  24. 27

    Mel Meister says

    The cornerstones are smaller in version 1, which I prefer. Version 2 looks “clunky” with the larger cornerstones.

  25. 29


    I like #2. seems brighter clearer due to the extra tim on the shoo fly block.. some one called it ‘floating’,, also I see idd size traingles and cenbter squares,, if itwas me to make a change like that woule be due to a wrong cut ! LOLLL “” creative errors !”

  26. 30

    patti says

    as noticed by others, the shoofly in #2 is different. there is more background fabric showing and i think maybe that’s why i prefer #1. on #2 there is more equal background to color and seems to fight my eye, also you will need to match up all of those points to the alternating block which will take more time and effort — not that those are bad things. visually #1 is more appealing to me, the design doesn’t seem to be a clunky.

  27. 32

    Sandy says

    Skinny crosses vs. fat crosses is what I see. I prefer Quilt #1 — I think it has a more detailed look to it.

  28. 33

    Gail says

    #1 as it focuses inward as opposed to #2 which is more like fireworks; expands outward.

  29. 34

    ida lively says

    I see the difference in the churn-dash (?) block’s centre square.

    In option 1, the red in the churn dash pops … that’s what my eye is drawn to. I lose the star in this quilt. I have to look hard to see it.

    Option 2 is a more overall pattern. Neither one of the blocks jump at me. When I look, I see one block, the next time, I see the other. I think I like this option better.

  30. 36


    I like #2 with the larger center squares. It seems lighter and brighter to me. And I love your dotty fabric for the background.

  31. 37

    Laceflower says

    I prefer #1, my eyes just jump around on the second quilt, no resting place. The blocks are competing in #2. Love EQ

  32. 38


    I say #1 looks more put together. The corners are different from any I’ve seen you do. I love playing in EQ and making all the little tweaks. There’s a whole bunch more quilts in my scetchbook than I ever hope to complete. I have 8 different ideas alone in my current project.

  33. 39


    I like #1 better than #2. It took me a while looking at the two quilt designs to find the difference. Like you said very subtle but Oh what a difference it makes in the design.

  34. 41

    Tracy says

    I like both designs, however, I think that the second one would be much easier to construct. In the first one, I don’t think I would be able to accurately match up the seams between the different blocks. I believe its because the cross stripes are smaller than the HST’s in the churn dash blocks. It would create an “arrow head” at the place where they meet. One of the draw backs, IMO, of EQ designs is that the program doesn’t “know” what is really possible to sew.

  35. 42

    Patty says

    I like option one because the off setting the points makes the illusion of a border aroung the shoo fly block and also I like the contrast the the larger dary pieces in the shoo fly block adds.

  36. 43


    I’m in the minority, apparently. I really prefer option #2, both because the alternating blocks are on the same grid size, and because, to my eye, that makes the secondary design between the two blocks more prominent — I get a much clearer chaining effect, and I really like that. I also really LIKE the points meeting, instead of the appearance of a “near miss” that the different grid size creates in the first version. I’ll be interested to read your thoughts, and why you choose whichever one you choose. It’s great that there are options, so we can all make the quilts that appeal to us 😉

  37. 44


    I like the larger triangles in #1 of the churn dash blocks. It makes it more bold, and I am all about contrast. It also makes them look like they are “nesting” into the other blocks.

  38. 45


    The center square is smaller in the first one in the non-star blocks. I prefer it that way because I like the larger triangles of burgundy (or whatever color it is). It looks more “solid” or something.

  39. 47

    Mary says

    I find # 1 more interesting. I like it when blocks don’t come together at the same point. Also there’s some space around the shoo fly blocks that almost makes them look framed, not so crowded.

  40. 48

    Perry says

    It would depend on the fabric. For softer fabrics and a more blended quilt I would choose number 2. For bold fabrics number 1. Both are good though

  41. 49


    Just now seeing this. Took a minute, but option #2 is a “true” 4-patch, and option #1 has the skinny center. #2 the seams have to match between the blocks, but #1 they don’t. I’m not sure which I’d pick. I like locking seams, but I really like the look of the skinny centers in that alternating block.