How to Make Quilt Blocks Exciting


This is workshop #9 in the beginners quilting series at FineCraftGuild. Today quilting expert &how to make quilt blocks exciting art quilt designer Janeen van Niekerk shares her secrets of how to make a simple quilt look more exciting (without making it difficult!). Again, another perfect class for those who are relatively new to the art of quilting. It’s filled with tips.

Click here for the free quilting projects & lectures #1-8, with such topics as fussy cutting, how to create a simple quilt, how to add borders to a quilt, how to add backing to a quilt, how to bind a quilt, and more.

Be sure to bookmark the pages, and yes, it’s OK to pin & share these free courses with your friends.

In today’s class we’re going to focus on creating dazzle without too much work.  Quilting the easy way… (wink)

Making a plain block into an "Amazing" quilt block.

Making quick and easy blocks for quilts doesn’t ever need to be boring…

Here are several techniques for you to add instant visual interest to your quilt block design without making it complicated.

‘Jazz it up’ – Quilting Technique #1:

Cutting up squares of matching but different colors in random placements can be interesting but sometimes plain needs something to ‘kick’ it up a notch. Today we are going to make a plain square a little more visually appealing.

(See illustration #1)

how to make quilt blocks exciting, quilting class 9

how to make quilt blocks exciting, quilting class 9I started with a square of 8" (20cm) that needs ‘something’ to make it more of a focal point. I measured 1" (2.5cm) from the one edge (it can be any edge) and cut straight across. (#2)


how to make quilt blocks exciting, quilting class 9Then I cut a few strips of fabric – 1" (2.5cm) wide and also 8" (20cm) long from another color fabric to be added to my starter block. (See illustrations #3; #7)

how to make quilt blocks exciting, quilting class 9

The strip is then sewn with a 1/4" seam into the gap that I cut open. (#4) The block is then closed up again. (#6). Each time, I placed the fabrics with "right sides" together before sewing them down and then "pressed" the seam back to the darker fabric side.

Now I make another 1" (2.5cm) from the edge cut into the block crossing over where the new strip is in the corner of the block. (#8)

how to  make great quilt blocks, free online quilting course, class 9

I add the next strip into my block and then close it up again. I keep on doing this as many times as I find interesting. (#9)

Instead of making straight lines into your block, you could make lines going in any direction you choose and as many as you like. (#10) Each time you sew a strip into your block you also need to close the block up again.


You could also make wider strips to be sewn into your block for more visual appeal. If you haven’t lined up your strips exactly right it doesn’t even matter, because you can sew the next strip right over the crooked intersection and no-one will ever see it.

‘Jazz it up’ – Quilting Technique #2

Once you feel comfortable doing this to your starter block, I need you to think of 1 block 10,5"(25cm) that you will use as a focal point in a new lap quilt we will be working on.

how to make quilt blocks exciting, quilting class 9

Here is something I have been working on for my focal point block. This block was woven using two different pinks and then sewn down onto a backing block. (Quilt block illustration #11)

The new lap quilt we are going to make will be a more "modern" quilt and just to make it more ‘up to date’ we will be using a few of the Pantone Color of the Year colors. (Quilt block illustration #12)

how to make quilt blocks exciting, quilting class 9


Here is our 50 x 50" (approx. 90cm) idea. There are 6 colors and 1 Large 10,5" (25cm) focal point in "Hot Pink" (#13)

Prep for coming along with me making this during the week. Next week we’re going to start with this new quilt project.

Have fun quilting!

‘Til next time,


how to make a quilt


Want to begin sewing quilts with me?

Join our free online quilting workshops, which you can take at your leisure, any time you want.

how to make a quilt


Free Quilting Patterns & Tutorials & Classes in this quilting course by Janeen van Niekerk:


About Quilting Instructor Janeen van Niekerk

how to make a quilt patterns janeen van niekerkOur latest news of quilt making instructor Janeen van Niekerk is that she has just launched a brand new paper piecing magazine.


Quilt artist Janeen van Niekerk is an avid quilter. In particular, she’s an accomplished paper piecing designer. She does it all with a passion.

Janeen’s prolific range of hand-made quilts (she takes commissions for personalized, stylish portrait quilts), as well as her unique quilt patterns (think quilts featuring safari animals and trees, or kids toys) are inspired by her environs; she lives in sunny Pretoria in South Africa, with her husband and kids.

Janeen offers her quilts designs & paper piecing patterns for individual sale Out of Janeen’s 230+ quilt patterns for sale, these are my top 5 Paper Piecing Quilt Patterns, Animals and Flowers. All really beautiful!!

Janeen van Niekerk (spelled by some as Janine van Niekerk) is also part of the Free Block of the Month -club, offering a free paper piecing quilt block pattern, each month. Check it out here:FREE Block of the Month class at


Quilting Pattern Library & Other Training Courses


This gorgeous owl quilt pattern is both included in one of Janeen’s books as well as being available for individual sale. Don’t you just love this quilt design?

The owl and all Janeen’s other patterns are for sale here at Craftsy. BTW. Crafty also has other quilting, sewing and other craft workshops, which I encourage you to check out, by clicking either the banner below, or the link above.

how to make quilt rows :: free online quilting workshop for beginners 

Or,… continue your journey with Quilting patterns, tutorials and ideas  featured here at (beyond Janeen’s quilting course).

Find more projects tagged …