Do you keep a quilt sandwich near your machine for practice stitching, quilting warm-ups, or checking out new threads? Do you feel bad about throwing it away when it fills up, but don’t know what else to do with it? The Sketchy block will save the day!

The Origin Story

A while back, a couple of friends asked me to show them some binding tips. I happened to have a big quilted piece from a long-arm quilting class I had taken–some of it wasn’t worth saving, but there was a nice bit with a lot of filler stitches that I wanted to save as a reference. So I cut that piece out to use for binding practice. It got me thinking about the “ugly fabric” sandwich that I keep near my domestic machine, and how it will be entirely useless when I’m done with it. There had to be another option.

And then it came to me.

What if the surface of the quilt sandwich itself is supposed to look like a practice area? Hmmmm. Then I could keep a stack handy, and when there are enough, I’ll have a Quilt As You Go quilt already quilted as I went!

And the Sketchy block was born.Sketchy Block

In addition to the QAYG block, I tried a pieced version. It would be a fantastic children’s quilt, and you can “draw” anything you’d like in each screen. Dinosaurs, letters of the alphabet, sports equipment–the options are limitless. I’ve started making an autobiographical one with a helicopter, a cranberry juice bottle, a pair of running feet, and a bunch of other symbols of my personal history.

Sketchy block quilt top
Quilting is in progress as of this writing, but here are the blocks!

Advantages of the Sketchy Block

  • Unlike the very similar children’s toy, you can quilt curved lines easily.
  • It’s adorable.
  • Everyone has scraps to use up!
  • Not only can you use the “screen” for practice quilting, but you can practice borders and corners, too.

Disadvantages of the Sketchy Block

  • If you don’t like your quilting, you can’t just turn the block upside down and shake it to make the stitches disappear.

The Sketchy Block Tutorial

I’m providing Quilt as You Go instructions. For a pieced block, the measurements and order of piecing are exactly the same–just omit the batting and backing.

The unfinished block measures 12 ½” x 12 ½”. All seam allowances are ¼”. Skills required are basic piecing and raw-edge appliqué.

You’ll Need:

  • Batting
    • at least 13″ x 13″
  • Backing
    • slightly larger than batting
  • Gray (screen)
    • 5 ¼” x 7 ½”
  • Medium or dark print (frame)
    • 2″ x 7 ½”
    • 2 ¼” x 7 ½”
    • (2) 2″ x 8 ½”
  • Light neutral (background) TIP: Cut the background pieces at least a quarter inch wider if you’re not confident in your piecing skills. Any excess will be trimmed off when you square up the block.
    • (2) 1 ½” x 8 ½”
    • (2) 2 ½” x 12 ½”
  • White (Knobs)
    • (2) 2″ x 2″
  • Paper-backed fusible web
    • (2) 2″ x 2″

Instructions

  1. Place the batting square centered onto the wrong side of the backing square.

    Sketchy Block Spray Basting
    I like to spray baste the batting to the backing. I open the windows in my enclosed back porch for ventilation and use the pizza box to prevent overspraying onto the table.
  2. Put the gray “screen” fabric right side up on the batting as pictured, with the top edge 3 ¾” from the top of the batting and the left edge 2 ¾” from the left side of the batting.Sketchy Block Screen Placement Diagram
  3. Place the 2″ x 7 ½” print “frame” piece right side down and aligned with the top of the gray fabric. Stitch. Repeat with the 2 ¼” x 7 ½” piece on the bottom edge of the gray fabric. Press both pieces open.Sketchy Block Pressing
  4. Place the 2″ x 8 ½” frame pieces right side down and aligned with each side of the screen. Stitch and press open.Sketchy Block frameSketchy Block frame
  5. Place the 1 ½” x 8 ½” background pieces right side down and aligned with each side of the frame. Stitch and press open. Repeat with the 2 ½” x 12 ½” background pieces at the top and bottom of the frame.Sketchy Block background
  6. Draw or trace a 1 ¾” circle on the paper side of both squares of fusible web. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, apply the fusible web to the back of the white “knob” fabric.

    Sketchy Block knob templates
    Right-click to save the image on your computer. Print image at “actual size” and measure the reference square to make sure it printed correctly.
  7. Cut out the circles and place them on the bottom corners of the frame as shown.They should slightly overlap the left and right frame seams, but not the bottom one. Press according to fusible web manufacturer’s instructions. Stitch in place.Sketchy Block knob
  8. Add quilting as desired. Square up the block to measure 12 ½” x 12 ½”.Sketchy Block

Linked up to Friday Foto Fun, Wednesday wait lossMidweek Makers, Needle and Thread Thursday, and Can I get a Whoop-Whoop.

Please share your Sketchy Blocks on social media with hashtags #sketchyblock and #prettypineydesigns!

 

Now, what will you draw in your Sketchy block?

Do you keep a quilt sandwich near your machine for practice stitching, quilting warm-ups, or checking out new threads? Do you feel bad about throwing it away when it fills up, but don't know what else to do with it? The Sketchy block will save the day!

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