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The Bowtie Quilting Block

picture of the bowtie quilting block

This quilting block is a real cutie.  It is  very simple, and great for beginners.  It is a 4-patch, with a snowball on 2 of the squares. This block has been around for years. As you can see from the picture above, the diagonal design of the solid yellow looks like a bowtie, so it is easy to see how this block got it's name.

picture of the grids of the bowtie quilt blockBegin making this block by cutting the 4 grids.  This block is easily make with 3 1/2 inch raw patches.  This is because it makes the math simple for the snowballs.  On the Snowball Quilt Block page you learn that to determine the size of the small squares to make snowballs, you take the finished size of the square (or block), divide it by 3, and then add 1/2 inch.  3 divided by 3 equals 1.  Add 1/2 inch, and the snowballs are cut 1 1/2 inches raw.

Remember that the 1/2 inch for seam allowances never changes, so when calculating measurements, always remove it before doing any dividing or multiplication.

In the above block with the grids, I put the small squares for the snowball on the plaid fabric.  Then you just sew the seams together, same as a 4-patch. 

Remember that even the most simple blocks look good in a quilt with lots of patterns and colors.  Never sell these easy blocks short.  Also one of the trademarks of the great block is that it looks good in many types of fabrics.  You can make this block in reproduction prints, or you can make it in batiks, and it looks great.

One final note- you might think it would look best in the block to make the bowties in the plaid fabric.  You see that in many old quilts.  However, when you snowball the plaid fabric,  you may not like it. The plaid lines will be going in different directions and it will look more busy and may be unsettling to your eye.  If you think you want to try it, lay it out first, and look at it, or baste one block together first so that you can easily undo it and reverse it.  (Don't cut anything).

You can lay this quilt block out in may ways by turning the patch.  Here is the traditional layout, which is my preference.  It's your block- have some fun, and do it your way.

the traditional layout of the small bowtie quilting block

the traditional layout of the small bowtie quilting block

the traditional layout of the small bowtie quilting block

the traditional layout of the small bowtie quilting block

the traditional layout of the small bowtie quilting block

the traditional layout of the small bowtie quilting block

the traditional layout of the small bowtie quilting block

the traditional layout of the small bowtie quilting block

the traditional layout of the small bowtie quilting block

Below are examples of contrasting bowtie quilt blocks.  They are very different and you would not put them in the same quilt. The orange and yellow bowtie quilt block is bright and fun and would be great for a children's quilt.  The brown bowtie block is more subdued and would mix best with equally conservative fabrics.

bowtie quilt block made from brights

bowtie quilt block made from conservative fabric

 

 

 

 

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