Tuesday Tips: One Block Wonder

Tuesday Tips: One Block Wonder

Have you ever made a “One Block Wonder”?  You put 6 layers of the same fabric on top of each other lining up the patterns exactly, and then cut them into triangles and sew each group of 6 triangles together into a hexagon.  It’s so much fun.

I’ve discovered a wonderful internet site with a free tool to help you in your design process:  You can find it here:


Once you’re at the site, you’ll see this screen under the tab “design helper”.


Just upload a photo of your fabric by pressing “Choose image” and finding it on your computer…


Then press “MAKE HEXIES”, and this is what you’ll see!


The software magically changes the fabric into what the OBW quilt might be!  It’s set at the usual 3.75 inch triangle size and 40” wide fabric, but you can change those parameters if you need to.

I gave it a try with a fabric I recently made into a OBW lap size quilt. Here’s the fabric:


After uploading the jpeg, I pressed “make hexies” and this is what appeared…isn’t it fun?

OBWblog5     OBWblog6

The first screen shot is random, but the second screen shot was made when I pressed “by color”.  Then press “snapshot” to get a jpeg that you can save to your computer (right click).

I realized that the photo showed less than 40″ of my fabric, so I tried changing the parameters to about the size of the fabric on the photograph.  Let’s see if it changed the outcome:


To compare the program’s outcome to my actual fabric quilt, here’s the OBW lap quilt on the design wall in my sewing studio…


And here’s the same OBW quilt after it was quilted and finished:


Not exactly as the program’s projection, but not far off.  I had an inkling the fabric would work when I bought it, but if I had used the program it would have confirmed it worked.

In some ways the program spoils the surprise you get when cutting the fabric up into triangles and sewing them back together, which is half the fun.  But at the same time I think it helps you decide before you buy if the fabric will work.  …And when you need to buy several yards of the fabric (quite an expense), you want to be sure it will work.

Here are some more examples showing some fabrics I have on hand, and how the program says they might look as OBWs.  The original jpeg of the fabric is in the upper left-hand size (note they’ve shown where the cuts will be for triangles), and the lower section shows the triangles sewn together and how they might look when sewn together…

KaffeFassettLotusLeaf  KonaBay LAV1-09  199STrendtexFabr

The first is a Kaffe Fassett Lotus Leaf, the second is a Kona Bay fabric, and the third is a fabric by TrendTex that I’ve had for ages and didn’t think would work at all.  It actually looks  pretty good.

I’m not sure about the width of fabric and the photo.  For example, if the fabric is 40″wide, but the photo only shows 20″ of it, should I  change the parameters to 20″ instead of 40″? I’m not, but one thing do know –it’s a lot of fun to play with.  And it’s a great tool for getting some idea how the fabric will or won’t work.

For example, here’s a fabric I KNOW won’t work well –it’s too much of the same colors, doesn’t have enough movement, and the print is too small.  The photo I took was of 20”, so I changed the width of fabric in the website program to 20”.

Let’s see what the program does with it…


YUP, as you can see–although it’s pretty,  it doesn’t work.  It’s too much the same.

So why not take a moment to give the new website tool a try?  Take a photo of your fabric, and play.  Or if you don’t have a photo, go to their “Menu” tab where they have some sample fabrics to try.  Have fun…

Until next time,



Mulberry Patch Quilts