I’m a firm believer in test blocks. No matter what. Test block test block test block.
Test blocks are a way for me to try out the pattern without committing to a full quilt. If I’m using someone else’s pattern, it’s a way for me to make sure I fully understand the directions. I also like to audition colors to see what’s a match and what, ahem, only looked good in my head (hello design wall!). Everything looks good in my head!
After I’ve sketched out a quilt design on paper or by computer, I find it absolutely crucial to make a test block. By making the block, I can see what challenges may arise as I’m actually cutting and piecing fabric back together. Through the test block, I answer what’s the best way to make this block (and often there are several!).
If the quilt sketch is a map, then the block is the walking of the trail.
The test blocks pictured here are from my Hexy Plus quilt pattern. I made the solid ones first, allll the way back in June! Then feeling confident, I excitedly made some “real” blocks from some Anna Maria Horner fabric and Denyse Schmidt fabric.
My “real” blocks quickly became a second round of test blocks. Can you see my error yet? This is a classic example of why I make test blocks!
So, yes, the error is in how I lined up my cutting template with my block. I lined up the plus sign the wrong way and ended up with a slightly tilted plus sign. Whoops.
Here’s the correct version…
And here’s the incorrect version…
And all that time while I was making my “real” blocks, I wondered why I was missing a bit of fabric. Mistakes are such great teaching tools. I guess. And it’s only fabric. I guess.
So what about you? Are you a firm believer in test blocks? Or is that what improv is for?