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Using mini design boards while making a quilt

I have previously mentioned wanting to make and use Lori Holt’s mini design boards before.

I feel like whenever you are making quilt blocks that require that certain fabrics to go in certain positions, I have trouble with my usual chain piecing technique.  Sorta.

Most quilts that I make, anything can go anywhere, but there are exceptions.  Like my Star Dance quilt.  In this quilt, certain fabrics have to match.  One of the fabrics used in the HSTs have to coordinate with the center block, soooooo blocks need to be made a little bit one at a time, or at least each section of it does.  I like cutting all my fabric at once in the very beginning so this is a common occurrence for me.

Here is what I did:  I made my design boards based on Lori’s directions here.  I did have a different size foam core board, so I actually taped 4 boards together on both sides using box tape (since that’s what I had on hand).  However, there are lots of sizes available here.  I made 11 boards, but I have more foam core so I can make more.

I put the blocks on the mini design boards, all 11 of them.  I took them to my machine where I pieced each ROW of the block.  Then, when they were pieced, I sat each row in three stacks, row 1, row 2 and row 3.  I did this for the other 10 boards too.  Then, I went back to my block units and repeated this process.  I did this until all of my 81 blocks rows were completed.

Then, I pressed each row.  Then I pinned all of row 1 to row 2 and sewed them together, then pressed them, and then finally all of rows 3 got pieced, until each block was completed.


Using this method, I was still able to chain piece, chain press, chain pin, and then chain piece again.  I find chain piecing the quickest, easiest method of making a quilt, particularly when you are making many of the exact same block.

I loved this method.  Really, really.  I’ll be making more boards and using this method to make more quilts.  I found it very helpful for when you have to walk away and come back.

What is your method for piecing many blocks?  Do you piece one at a time or multiple blocks the way that I do?  Have you used this method and what did you think of it?



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