Tuesday 17 May 2011

Blocking Stars and Diamonds

If you read about the drama I had when I blocked my quilt Cherry Chocolate, you will understand that I had some trepidation about wetting Stars and Diamonds – especially as many of the same red fabrics were in this quilt. But it had blue pen all over it, so I had to wash it to get it all out.

In the past I have blocked quilts by pinning them into the carpet, which is undoubtedly not very good for the carpet. And because I am aware of what I am doing to the carpet, I don’t stretch the quilt as much as I probably should.

I came across a post at Margaret’s blog describing how she blocked her quilt. She bought sheets of interlocking styrofoam. I asked Paul if Bunnings might sell interlocking styrofoam, and he suggested I get kids’ play mats. What a great idea I thought, and I found some on sale at Bunnings.

I dunked the quilt in the bath, watching carefully for any red dye coming out. I didn’t leave it in the water for long and I didn’t put it in the spin cycle of the washing machine as I didn’t want any of the red fabrics touching any other fabrics in case the dye ran.

I laid it our on the matting, and dried it as much as possible with towels.

Using my rulers and tape measure, I pulled and tugged to get the quilt square, ensuring the sides measured the same and it was the same measurement diagonally. I had very wet knees and a very sore back by the time it was done.

I recently re-watched Karen McTavish’s DVD that came with her book ‘Quilting for Show', which describes how she blocks her quilts. It was fairly similar to what I did, only she has someone help her. The next time I block a quilt, I might try to rope Paul into helping me (honey if you are reading this - hint hint).

To view more pictures of my quilt Stars and Diamons click here.


  1. I like the idea of the mats! Beautiful feathering!

  2. Mats! Go figure--what a great idea. Thanks for sharing. I am in complete AHH at the beauty of your quilts.

  3. Yes, the mats are brilliant. I always wonder - does one have to block a quilt every time it is washed? Or just when you finish making it?

  4. Thats a wonderful idea and a lot of work. I can see why your back hurt. :-)

  5. Great idea with the mats & that quilt is just stunning! Worth the effort!

  6. I have never blocked a large quilt, just a few wall hangings. Great method and I use those mats to stand on when I quilt.

  7. Didn't realise that quilting involved such physicl work.