Posted by Liz on January 9th, 2015 (Books)

A Book Full Of Quilt Block Ideas

I’ve been compiling a list of traditional quilt blocks for over a year now along with their names (and many have more than one). The list gives me lots of quilt block ideas and inspiration for my next quilt, and I’m also interested to see the common shapes used and get an idea for how they’re put together.

Pete and I went for a weekend break a while back to Pandy, and visited Hay-On-Wye for a day (actually it was two days – we enjoyed it so much). Hay-On-Wye is famous for it’s book shops and we tried to do a good job at visiting them all. There’s over 25 so we didn’t manage all of them in the end, but I did buy eleven books, so it was definitely a successful visit.

One of the books I found was a book full of quilt block ideas called 849 Traditional Patchwork Patterns (A Pictorial Handbook). I couldn’t believe my luck. I’ve been wanting a similar book for ages – one with no fluff, just a list of quilt blocks with simple pictures, and boy does it have a good list.

849 traditional patchwork patterns book

Written by Susan Winter Mills and first published in 1980 with only 710 blocks, this updated 1989 edition has an appendix at the back with even more blocks in. Yes, it would have been nice for the blocks to have been integrated into the main book not just attached to the end, but being all images and no text it’s pretty easy to flick through.

Inside the book

The images are black and white with no colours (to help your imagination!), and it means you could easily photocopy the blocks directly from the book and make the blocks traditionally or, with a bit of alteration, paper-piece them.

Each block is named, with many different variations. For example the ‘Windmill’ block, has 13 other alternative names, helping you to identify the blocks, whichever name you’re used to. There’s also an index at the back in case you’re looking for a specific quilt block to sew.

The other brilliant thing about this book is that it’s divided into sections. It starts with stars, followed by triangles, circles (the section to avoid for me!), combinations; then squares, rectangles, octagons, hexagons and diamonds.

So if you want some new quilt block ideas, look no further than this book. I’m really pleased with my purchase and I’ve got a bookmark in it for my next quilt block (wild goose chase in case you’re wondering). If you feel like treating yourself you can buy the book from Amazon by clicking here.

What are your favourite reference books about quilting?


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