Lesson 6: Drawing Pieced Blocks
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Lesson 6: Drawing a Pieced Block

In this lesson, youll learn how to draw the classic Shoofly block. Youll then learn how to use the Rotary Cutter to change the Shoofly Block into the Churn Dash block.

What is the Block Wizard?

The Block Wizard takes you through the steps to help you set up the Design Wall so youll know exactly where to draw your quilt block.

To open the Block Wizard, click on the Block Wizard Icon on the Ribbon Bar.

Block Wizard: Grid Tab

The first tab on the Block Wizard is the Grid Tab. This is where you make changes to the grid that sits on top of the Design Wall. The Grid works like graph paper with the extra feature that patches can snap to the grid lines. The Snap to Grid Tool makes the patches snap.” 

You have the following grid choices:

The size of the grid (i.e., the distance between grid lines) You can set the grid size from 1/16 inch up to 10 inches.

The color of the grid. The grid can be any color you want.

The type of grid. In this lesson, well be working with the solid or standard grid. Perfect

Quilt has several special grids. You can find out more about these special grids in the Perfect Quilt Assistant.

To draw our Shoofly block, the grid size should be set to 0.25, or ¼. This means that the grid lines are ¼ apart. If the grid is not set to 0.25, click the up or down arrows to reach 0.25.

Now that the grid size is set, click on the Patch Guidelines Tab.

What are Patch Guidelines?

Patch Guidelines are extra thick grid lines that help you draw your block. Use these settings to set up the Patch Guidelines for the Shoofly Block.

Click on the Guidelines Tab.

Set the Patch Width/Height 2 x 2 and Patches Across and Down to 3 x 3.

Click the show Patch Guidelines Box to display the guidelines.

Click on the OK Button. You will see the Patch Guidelines on the drawing grid.

What about the Tracing and Layers Tabs?

Use the Tracing Tab to import an image for tracing. We’ll discuss tracing in Lesson 13. The Layers Tab helps you place quilting stencils on top of blocks. If you want more information on layers in blocks, please refer to the Perfect Quilt Assistant. We wont be using tracing or layers in this lesson. Now that the Patch Guidelines are on the Design Wall, we ready to draw our block.

How do you Draw a Block in Perfect Quilt?

You draw a block in Perfect Quilt by drawing geometric shapes called patches. Patches can be

squares, triangles, circles, rectangles, etc. You fit the patches together to form a block, just like

sewing fabric patches together to make a quilt block.

Draw Practice Triangles

To get a feel for drawing patches, follow the steps below to draw practice triangles. Dont worry about drawing over the Patch Guidelines or what size they are. These are just practice triangles and well delete them  before we draw the block.

1. Click on the Right Triangle Tool.

2. The cursor changes to a cross.

3. Place the cursor anywhere on the Design Wall.

4. Hold down the left button and drag the mouse in any direction to draw a triangle. Youll see a triangle grow larger as you drag the mouse. (Note, if you rotate the mouse as you drag, you can turn the patch.)

5. Lift up the mouse button when the triangle is the size you want.

Note: Youll see the only the outline of the triangle as you draw. Once you lift up the mouse, the patch will fill with the fabric or solid color you selected.

Did your triangles Snap to the Grid?

Did your triangles jump to the grid lines? If not, then Snap to Grid was not on. Snap to Grid forces the triangles to line up with the grid and therefore to each other. To successfully draw a traditional pieced block, like Shoofly, Snap to Grid must be on. Having Snap to Grid on is like having a magical super-straight sewing machine that forces all your patches to line up perfectly.

To turn on Snap to Grid, click on the Snap to Grid Tool. Snap to Grid will stay on until you click on the tool button to release it.

Delete Practice Triangles

Lets delete the practice triangles now. Click on the Edit Menu and then click on Delete All. This will delete all the patches, but the Patch Guidelines will still be there.

Draw Shoofly Block

Now that weve practiced drawing triangles, lets draw the Shoofly block.

Lets begin by drawing a triangle patch in the upper right corner of the block. Place the cursor in the lower left corner of the patch and drag the cursor so that the triangle fills half of the patch.

Now, draw another triangle by placing the cursor in the upper right corner of the patch. The idea is to have two triangles facing each other in the patch. You should now have two triangles.

Shortcuts to Drawing: Duplicating Patches

Although you can draw more triangles to finish the Shoofly Block, you can finish blocks more quickly by duplicating patches. Lets practice by duplicating the two triangles we just drew. First, youll need to select the two triangles. Selecting is simply telling Perfect Quilt which patches you want to duplicate. When patches are selected, you will see a Select Box around them.

The Select Box has dashed lines with small black points.

Select the Two Triangles

1. Click on the Select Tool. The cursor changes to a white arrow.

2. Place the cursor above the upper left corner of the two triangles.

3. Hold down the left mouse button and drag the mouse around both triangles.

4. Lift the mouse button. You should see a box with dashed lines around both triangles. This is the Select Box.

Duplicate the Triangles

Now that the triangles are selected, you can duplicate them.

1. Click on the Edit Menu and then click on Duplicate. Or, press the Control key plus D on your keyboard.

2. Perfect Quilt will place 2 new triangles below and to the right of the original triangles.

3. The new duplicate triangles are now selected.

The next step will be to move the two duplicate triangles to their new position on the left side of the block.

Move the Triangles

1. Move the cursor inside the two triangles. The cursor will turn into an open hand. The open hand cursor tells you that you are ready to move the two triangles.

2. Drag the two triangles over to the left side of the block as shown. Lift up the mouse button.

The last step will be to flip the triangles so that they are facing the right way for the Shoofly Block.

Flip Triangles

The new triangles should still selected. If they are not, just select them again. To flip the selected triangles, click on the Flip Horizontal Tool The two triangles will flip.

Whew! After all that, you might wish you had just drawn the other two triangles, but once you get the hang of duplicating patches, youll appreciate how it can spare you from tediously drawing every patch.

Drawing the Rest of the Triangles

To continue drawing the Shoofly Block, youll need to create the triangles for the bottom of the block. Select all of the triangles and duplicate them. Move them and flip them vertically. Use the Flip Vertical Tool.

Finish Drawing Shoofly Block

At this point, you can see the Shoofly block taking shape, but we are not done yet. Well need to fill in the remaining empty patches with squares. Just as we wouldnt leave holes in a fabric quilt block, we dont want to leave any holes in a Perfect Quilt block. If you can see the grid, there is no patch there. Lets start by drawing a square in the center patch.

Draw a Square

1. Click on the Square Tool.

2. Place the cursor in the upper left corner of the patch.

3. Hold down the left mouse button and drag the mouse towards the lower right corner. When you reach the lower right corner, lift up the mouse button. You should now have a square in the center patch.

Finish Block by Duplicating the Square Patch.

You can draw more squares to fill in the rest of the block, or you can duplicate the center square to fill in the patches. Its your choice.

Congratulations! You have just now finished your first quilt block! You can use these drawing techniques to make any pieced quilt block.

You can now use the Fabric Library to add fabrics to the block.

Save Shoofly Block

To save the Shoofly block into your personal block library, click on the Save Button in the Ribbon Bar. Name the block Shoofly or write in your own name and click the Save Button.

Make a Churn Dash Block with the Rotary Cutter Tool

With the Rotary Cutter Tool, you can easily convert the Shoofly block into the Churn Dash Block. As you can see, the Churn Dash block divides the outer squares into two rectangles. You can use the Rotary Cutter Tool to cut these squares into two rectangles.

What is the Rotary Cutter Tool?

Just like a real rotary cutter, the Rotary Cutter Tool cuts or splits patches into two patches. For example, you can use the Rotary Cutter to cut a square into two rectangles or cut a square into two triangles. Dont confuse the Rotary Cutter Tool with the Rotary Charts, which are printouts that tell you how to rotary cut a block.

Cut a Square into Two Rectangles

1. Click on the Rotary Cutter Tool. The cursor changes into a little rotary cutter.

2. Place the cursor on the left side of the top square halfway down the square. This is where you will cut the square into two rectangles.

3. Drag the cutter all the way across the square and then lift up the mouse

4. You should now have two rectangles.

You can now open the Fabric Library and paint the two rectangles with two different fabrics. If the Rotary Cutter didnt cut the square into two separate rectangles, cut the square again.

Use the Rotary cutter to cut the remaining outer squares. Dont cut the middle square. Your block should look like this:

Save the Churn Dash Block

If you wish, you can save your Churn Dash block. Just follow the steps as outlined above for the Shoofly block.

Helpful Hints for Drawing Blocks

Dont leave any holes within the boundaries of the Patch Guidelines. If you can see the grid, there is no patch and your block is not complete. Just as you would not leave a hole in a real block, dont leave a hole in your Perfect Quilt block.

Dont stack patches on top of each other. Its tempting to draw one large square and put other patches on top of it. However, youll have trouble painting the patches and your rotary charts & templates will not be accurate.

Dont make two triangles by drawing a square and then draw a diagonal line. You will not have two triangles, only a square with a line. Use the Rotary Cutter Tool instead.

To Learn More:

Perfect Quilt has several specialty drawing grids, including Isometric, Eight-Pointed Star, and Circle. You can also make and save custom grids. See the Perfect Quilt Assistant. The Perfect Quilt Assistant will also show you how to draw all the other patches in the Toolbar. Just click on a Toolbar button to learn how.