Sunday, August 30, 2015


I've been working on designing and drafting the 49 patterns for my Dear Jane (aka Dear Jeanne) quilt.  Many of the patterns appear in the books I have authored, and are in the quilts I made for magazine publications.  But, I needed to resize them all into 5" blocks.

That made me think -- with all of the wonderful patterns and computer programs available on the market today, do newer quilters even learn about quilt classification and drafting techniques?

Granted, I was a math nerd in high school so when I got heavy into quilting in the 1970s, it was natural for me to draft my own geometric patterns.
In the early 1980s, I also took several classes from Jinny Beyer -- she was (and is?) a great teacher not only of technique, but of design.
The first book of hers that I owned was "Patchwork Patterns" (1979), then "The Quilter's Album of Blocks & Borders" (1980).  She re-released these at some point, and they should be available on These two books really teach the fundamentals of geometric quilt design and drafting.

Drafting of complicated geometric patterns may not have any application to the modern quilting movement; but if you are interested, her books are a great place to learn about traditional block design.

Patchwork was born of frugal necessity.  Some of us who were part of the quilting revival in 1976 learned from pioneer quilters.  Part of that lesson was frugality.  I still try to practice that.

 I have never made a quilt from a purchased pattern -- saved a lot of money over the years.  Thank you, high school geometry class and Jinny Beyer!

I'm joining the following:
Love Laugh Quilt for Monday Making
Cooking Up Quilts for Main Crush Monday
Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday
Sew Fresh Quilts for Let's Bee Social Wednesday
Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Can I Get a Whoop Whoop Friday
Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday


Bonnie said...

I learned to draft from a book by Marsha McCloskey's Lessons in Machine Piecing. I thought it was years ago but the copyright date is 1990. I wish I had avoided all those patterns I purchased! But that said, I do like to support quilt makers trying to make a living. For the most part now I don't need to buy the patterns (and heaven knows how many patterns I've purchased and never made!) I can generally draft a block from a picture and an idea of the size. I like having a deeper understanding of a block and the ability to size it up or down. I'm always surprised at the number of ladies who can't change a 4" block to a 6 or 8" block. And, yep, I'm old school on this one -- I have better luck drafting it on quad paper. Enjoyed today's post.

beth s said...

Thanks for the reminder that we don't need a pattern to make a quilt. ;)

Anonymous said...

I started quilting in the 70s--I bought a set of templates that were interchangeable squares and triangles in two sizes. (Yes it was before rotary cutting.) I could make most anything. Visiting from WIP Wednesday.

Carie said...

It's an interesting thought. I think my current quilt is the first full quilt I've made without a pattern, thought I do have a template!