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The Picture Frame Block

the picture frame quilt block

The Picture Frame Block is used to highlight a special fabric. This block also has some similarities to the Log Cabin Block in that it makes use of the contrast of light and dark on different sides of the block.

This is an easy block to construct, but will introduce a new ruler and review raw measurements and grids.

Can you see the grid on this block? Once again it is a 4-patch, with each patch further divided into four sections.

You have Rectangles taking up 2 units in the block, and two of them  have also been shaped on one side at a 45 degree angle.

       the grid of the picture frame quilt block           the grid of the picture frame quilt block

Do you understand why grids are so important in quilt blocks?  Why is there so much talk about the 4-Patch, or the 9-Patch?

Some quilts are made using just one block, but other quilts use several blocks.  Using the same grid for all the blocks  makes it easy for them to fit together.

The blocks still need to be made the same size, but the math is a lot easier and usually they look better together and make good secondary patterns.

In this block the center square finishes at 4-inches.  Once you have that measurement, it is very easy to calculate what size to make the other units in the block.  Each of the units is going to finish at 2-inches.

Since we are working with finished sizes on this block, you will add 1/2 inch to each measurement, or the amount of fabric that you cut.

Let's start with the center piece.  This is "fancy cut".  That means that you are going to take a fabric and choose the exact part of the fabric you want for the center.

fancy cutting a quilt blockUsually you use a large scale print (usually too big for piecing) or a novelty print.

In the picture to the left, I have put a template over the roses that I want in the center of the Picture Block.  The center of the template is open, so I can take my marking tool and draw around the inside of the square.  This particular template gives me the option of drawing on the inside of the template for a 4 1/2 inch raw square, or on the outside, for a 8 1/2 inch raw square.

This template is called "Get Squared" . Whether you draw your line on the inside or outside of the ruler, you can see exactly what you are getting.

After you have your square cut out (you can use scissors or your rotary cutter), you will want to attach a Rectangle to opposite sides of the block.

The length will be the same as the center (4 1/2 inches). You know the units need to finish at 2-inches, so cut your strips 2 1/2 inches wide.  Now is a good time, if you are not already doing it, to speed up your cutting by putting both fabrics together and cutting them at the same time.

the construction of the picture frame quilt block  After you cut the Rectangles,  sew them to the opposite sides of the square. 

Now it is time to cut the Squares the will make the diagonal lines on the rectangles. 

Again these will finish at 2-inches, so cut them at 2 1/2 inches. 

Pin the Squares as show above. Notice the diagonal lines which have been drawn on the Squares.  Be sure that you place them as shown.  Fold them over to make sure when you fold back the fabric you will get the correct angle.

(It is always good to double check your work.  It is like the carpenter rule "measure twice, cut once".  No matter how long you've been quilting, you will make mistakes)

the construction of the picture frame quilt blockYour piece should now look like this. All that is left to do is the horizontal seams.

Be sure and match the Square point and the point on the Rectangle.

You have a lot of layout options with this square by taking advantage of the light and dark side.  Contrast and a beautiful print in the center are the keys to success in this block. You can make it very colorful using different fabrics in the center, or changing the colors around the square.  Just keep the Value the same.

the finished picture frame quilt block

Finished Block Size -  8- inches               

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