The Making of a Quilt (ballerina) – Planning

by Kate on March 14, 2011

Over the next few Monday’s I am going to share with you, from start to finish, how I make a quilt.

Most of my quilts are made very randomly, just piecing bits of fabric together here and there until I reach a size I am happy with. The ballerina quilt, well…it requires a little more thought.

Kirst has recently finished landscaping her garden and one of the most spectacular features is the patchwork paving. Needless to say, It provided instant inspiration.

When starting out on a quilt, the first thing I determine is how big I want it to be and I then work backwards. This may sound stupidly obvious but I cannot tell you how many times I have dove right in, only to be left with something that is less than ideal.

This quilt will be made for Maddie and although I am not too fussed about it covering the entire bed, I want it to be a decent size, one that she won’t grow out of too quickly. I have decided on a whopper: 80″ x 88″.

I find that at this point it helps to do a rough sketch of block types and placement. I generally do this in a notebook and then I draw up the individual blocks on graph paper. My math is appaling at best and the graph paper is a great way of getting the measurements correct the first time round.

There will be six different block types in this quilt, all made up of squares and rectangles. It is a simple layout but I am hoping it is really going to show off the feature fabric but more on the next week.

Pop back on the 21st of March for step 2 – fabric selection.

** I would like to make this series as interactive as possible. If you have ANY questions on fabric selection (or any other questions relating to ‘the making of a quilt’), please drop me a note and I will do my best to answer it next Monday **

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 andi March 14, 2011 at 1:30 pm

I have a question about fabric selection:
How do you manage to be a mum, wife, run a household, a small business and still manage to look so gorgeous?
Andi ;)


2 rachel March 14, 2011 at 3:12 pm

I’m excited to see how it goes. I need some graph paper. :)


3 Kirsty March 14, 2011 at 6:30 pm

I’m really looking forward to this series & learning more about YOUR way of doing things. I had such a great time choosing fabrics for my geometric quilt.

Do you always start from a “feature” fabric or do you just haul all the blues out of the stash?


4 Gret March 14, 2011 at 9:01 pm

OOh, nice. Looking forward to this series, and very timely for me too.

Do you completely sketch out block placement even if it’s a random kind of arrangement (like your recent quilt pattern)? I’m thinking of doing a disappearing nine patch lap quilt, but not sure how much I need to plan the ‘random’ placement?


5 Kate March 14, 2011 at 9:31 pm

Hi Gret,

I really only plan out the ones when I have a specific layout in mind.

For split 9 patches I just make the blocks up, cut them and then fiddle with the layout on the floor.

It really helps to take a photo of each ‘trial’ layout as you generally see the bits that you are not happy with via the photo.

x Kate


6 Sarah T. March 15, 2011 at 4:36 am

I am totally new to quilting so my apologies if these are silly questions! How do you know if fabrics are 1. appropriate for quilting, and 2. if different fabrics will work well together (and I mean as far as weight and texture rather than color and pattern)? I’d also love to know if you feel like fabric selection is more something people either do or do not have an eye for or its is a skill that you can develop though practice? Many thanks!


7 Kate March 15, 2011 at 7:08 am

Great questions Sarah! I will pop in some info next Monday x


8 Bellgirl March 21, 2011 at 8:46 am

I’m sharing a little chuckle about the size because I always make my quilts as huge as possible so they can cover everything up to our king-sized bed (and consequently my productivity is very low ;)


9 Diane April 20, 2011 at 11:07 am

Will you give us the measurements for each block? Love your quilt and placement!!


10 Rosalind May 27, 2011 at 7:46 pm

Oh thanks Kate, this is great! I have an AB fat quarter bundle to start cutting up! Thought it would be wise to have a bit of a read around first.


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