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Vendor Spotlight: Quilt Block Tool iPhone App

Reported by Susie Ziegler

This iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad app from C&T Publishing features cutting and assembly instructions for 102 popular pieced quilt blocks. It is based on C&T’s Quick and Easy Block Tool set of cards, which is available to quilters without Apple devices.


The Quilt Block Tool app is carefully thought out and easy to use. It includes only blocks that utilize simple-to-cut shapes such as squares, rectangles, and half-square triangles. There are a surprisingly large variety of blocks using these shapes. All the blocks are listed in alphabetical order with clear, colorful illustrations:


Here is the Churn Dash, which was one of my grandma’s favorites. The Quilt Block Tool App has a special section where I can easily find my own list of favorites. The Churn Dash is listed as a 3-Grid pattern so measurements are given to create blocks that are 3, 6, 9, 12, or 15 inches:


You can tap the picture of the block to zoom in and get a better look at the assembly instructions. I suppose beginner quilters might not understand that A is stitched to B in units and C is stitched to D in units then those units are sewed into rows as pictured which are then stitched together making a finished block.


Tap down on the lower right corner and you will find the guide explaining how to use the charts. People who are TOTAL beginners might want to get some basic instructions about rotary cutting and stitching. I hope people know that the 1/4 inch seam allowance is king in quilting and if you can’t keep a consistent seam allowance, you are in for a lot of headaches when assembling quilt blocks.

There are helpful instructions for dealing with piecing triangles to squares. Wait! Alex Anderson wrote those instructions! She hosted my favorite cable television show Simply Quilts. I learned all my machine piecing and quilting skills from that show…


Refer to the chart in the guide to calculate how much yardage of each fabric you will need to cut multiple shapes. It would be helpful if there were an interactive part here where you could plug in how many blocks you were going to make and the yardage would compute for you. Instead, you are going to need a scratch paper to keep track.


You will also find some very basic instructions for cutting angles, changing block sizes, and cutting fabrics for diagonal block settings.


I want to make a really simple block and Broken Dishes looks just right. It is listed as a 2-Grid pattern because each side of the block has 2 divisions. The guide explains that you can mix various blocks together using these grid divisions. Seams will line up best and combinations will have better visual appeal when 2-, 4-, and 8- grids are used together. Similarly, 3-, 6-, and 9- grid blocks will work well together.


I think I will only have enough of my chosen fabric to do 4 blocks.

Success!

Unfortunately the app doesn’t show how these blocks might look when combined. I had to do some image searches on google to see some quilts made with the Broken Dishes block. Here is one possibility:
I like this one too:
Pros:

  • Graceful, thorough, and easy to use
  • Great deal more flexibility than traditional quilt patterns and books
  • Inexpensive at $3.99
  • Utilizes modern quilting and cutting techniques

Cons

  • If you make more than one block at a time, you are still going to need to keep scratch paper and a calculator nearby to keep track of all the pieces you will cut.
  • No layout grids to show what the blocks will look like when combined and arranged. Hopefully someone will come out with a Quilt Design Tool with this interactive feature.

Here is the setting I chose. Soon I will make a nice little sofa pillow, and hmm.. maybe even a full sized bed quilt!


This app is highly recommended! Are there any other quilting or sewing apps we should watch for?

Disclosure

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2 Responses to Vendor Spotlight: Quilt Block Tool iPhone App

  1. rilojane September 3, 2010 at 2:35 pm #

    I spent TWO HOURS at the fabric store this morning… this app could have gotten me out in half the time! (Or, more realistically, I could have spent the rest of my time there browsing…)
    Thanks for the review!

  2. construction_julie September 4, 2010 at 4:11 pm #

    Interesting app. I’ll definitely consider checking this out.