We have another excerpt from Essential Guide to Modern Quilt Making, an all-inclusive guide compiled by Susanne Woods, founder and publisher at Lucky Spool Media. Through the book’s 10 workshop chapters, expert quilters teach you modern quilt-making design principles, providing support as you practice a variety of quilting techniques and concepts. Including in this informative guide are 16 new quilt patterns. Susanne and Lucky Spool are sharing excerpts from the Essential Guide to Modern Quilt Making in a weekly series at Sew Mama Sew.

Today’s excerpt from Chapter Five is by Jacquie Gering, recently awarded “Teacher of the Year 2014” by Professional Quilter Magazine. Her friendly approach and innovative style mean her workshops and classes are in high demand. Jacquie is also the co-author of Quilting Modern, a Craftsy instructor and a Modern Quilt Guild board member. Jacquie blogs at Tallgrass Prairie Studio.

Learn more about the book and check out previous excerpts in the following posts:

Essential Guide to Modern Quilt Making brings an authoritative voice from modern quilting leaders, putting their expertise in your hands for access and success any time!

Goals of the Workshop: The Alternate Grid

The fifth workshop in Essential Guide to Modern Quilt Making continues on from Denyse’s workshop on Improv Patchwork and offers ideas about how to incorporate your piecing into a variety of grids or settings. Offset piecing within negative space is something that modern quilt makers play with a lot. Jacquie demystifies seemingly complex layouts by revealing the structure behind them.

Variable Framing
Every quilt has an underlying structure, or setting. The most common setting in traditional quilts is the straight set, which is when the same size blocks are placed side by side to create an even grid of rows and columns.

A simple way of creating the illusion of no grid is to use variable framing to allow either same-size or variable-size blocks to “float” randomly within the negative space.

1. To use variable framing, decide on the finished size of the blocks for the quilt, for example, 20 1/2″. Using the example below, make six blocks in varying sizes at least 4″ smaller than the finished size. Blocks could range from very small, for example 6″ × 6″, to as large as 16″ × 16″. Then bring each of the six blocks to the finished size using framing strips of the same background fabric. The key to making variable framing look modern is to alter the size of the framing strips for each block.

2. Tape out the finished block size on your design wall and place the block within the taped frame. Where you place the block within the frame will determine where the block “floats” in the negative space.

3. Once the block is placed, measure from the top of the block to the tape from point A to point B in and add 1/2″ to account for the seam allowance; that measurement will determine the width of the framing strip to add to the top of the block. The length of the framing strip will be the length of the block.

4. Repeat this process for all four sides of the block.

5. Once all the blocks for the quilt have been variably framed, they can be arranged and sewn together as a straight set, sewing the blocks together to form rows and then sewing the rows together to complete the quilt top.

Even though this is a traditional straight setting, it will appear that the blocks are floating randomly within the negative space.

The minimalist log cabin blocks in Scandia Crush are variably framed.

Lucky Spool’s Essential Guide to Modern Quilt Making compiled by Susanne Woods (192 pages, $28.95, published in 2014 by Lucky Spool Media, LLC) has lots more information on variable framing, plus many other great workshops.