Welcome to the first block post in the new BlockBase+ Sew Along! I can’t wait to start sewing along with all of you and help you get to know the new BlockBase+ software.
Don’t have the BlockBase+ software yet? It’s not too late to join in! Find the BlockBase+ software here >
In this first post, we’ll take a little “scroll” around the software and then go through the steps of printing the rotary cutting chart for the first block. Let’s get started!
- Double-click the BlockBase+ icon to open the software.
- If you haven’t clicked through the Getting Started tour that appears when you open the software yet, take a minute to read through the tour.
- Click the Finish or Close button to close the Getting Started tour.
- There are three main areas in the BB+: Navigation Panel, Block Viewer, and Notecard Panel. Also, take note of the Navigation Buttons at the top of the Navigation panel, and the Block Toolbar above the Notecard panel.
- By default, BB+ opens to the 10 Unequal 9 Patch Small Center category with the first subcategory selected. Click on a couple of other subcategories under 10 Unequal 9 Patch Small Center to view the blocks.
- Click on 08 Four Patch, then click on 10 With Pinwheels.
- Find block 1273, which looks like this:
- You can simply look for the block in the viewer to find 1237, or you can look at the Brackman ID numbers in the Notecard panel to help you locate the block.
- In the Notecard panel you’ll see this block has several Published Names. Click on one of those names to view the References info on the right.
- The Default Block Size is 6” x 6”. This is the size that I’ll be making the block. But remember, you can choose to make this block at any size you like! That’s the beauty of using the BB+ software—you get to choose the size of the block, and the style of pattern (templates, rotary cutting, or foundation) that YOU want to use.
- In the Block toolbar, click the Print button. Then choose Rotary Cutting Chart from the menu.
- In the Print Rotary Cutting Chart window, you can select the settings for your printout. I’ll be using the Default block size. If you want to change the size, click Custom block size and type a new size. (If you’re getting really creative and don’t want to make a square block, click the Lock button to the right of the size boxes to unlock them and type a different size in each box.)
Note: The Finished Block Size is the size of the block after all the seams have been sewn (including the seams on all four sides of the block). BB+ adds the seam allowance for you in the printout.
- The Seam Allowance is set to the standard quarter-inch (0.25″) that most quilters use. You can type in a new width if you’d like to change the seam allowance.
- Rounding is set To the nearest 1/8th inch. Because I’m using the Default Size for the block (and therefore know that I’m using a size that works well with the grid structure of the block), I’ll leave it set to that. If you are using a different block size, it may be helpful to read more about rounding on our support site.
- For now, stick with the default settings on the right side of the window (Summary view, 1 block, 42” wide fabric, small Key Block) .Click the Preview button.
- This is the Print Preview screen. It’s always a good idea to take a look at the preview before printing your block. Click the Zoom in button a couple of times to get a closer look at the chart.
- In the Key Block at the top of the printout, you’ll see that each patch is labeled with a letter. Those letters correspond to the cutting diagrams below. Beside the cutting diagrams, you’ll see a Patch Count for each color.
Here’s how to read the charts:
For Patch A, cut a strip of fabric 1-7/8” wide. From that strip, cut a 1-7/8” square. Sub-cut the square diagonally to create two triangle patches. You’ll need 12 white triangles and 8 red triangles.
For Patch B, cut a strip of fabric 3-7/8” wide. From that strip, cut a 3-7/8” square. Sub-cut the square diagonally to create two triangle patches. You’ll need 4 white triangles.
For Patch C, cut a strip of fabric 2-7/8” wide. From that strip, cut a 2-7/8” square. Sub-cut the square diagonally to create two triangle patches. You’ll need 4 red triangles.
- Let’s make a couple of changes to the settings and see how that affects the printout. Click the Close button in the Print Preview.
- In the Print Rotary Cutting Chart window, under Calculate for… select Detailed View.
- Change the Number of blocks to 9.
- Click Preview.
- Zoom in on the chart.
- Notice that the printout now tells us it’s calculating for 9 blocks. And there is more information listed with each cutting diagram.
Here’s a closer look at that info:
*There is a separate listing for each color of every patch.
**There’s an estimated number of WOF strips needed for the blocks. (WOF = width of fabric)
***The number of patches listed is much higher now (because it’s now giving us the patch counts for all nine blocks at once!)
- Let’s switch it back to calculating for one block so we have the right patch counts for the single sew along block we’ll be making. Click the Close button in the Print Preview.
- In the Print Rotary Cutting Chart window, change the Number of blocks to 1. If you’d like to switch it back to Summary view, you can do that too. Double-check that the Finished Block Size is set to the size you plan to make your block.
- Click the Preview button.
- If all looks correct in the Print Preview, you can click Print to print the Rotary Cutting Chart for the block. If you don’t want to print right now, click the Close button.
- After printing or closing, click the Close button in the Print Rotary Cutting Chart window.
- We have one last task before exiting BlockBase+ and starting our blocks. With Block 1273 still selected in the block viewer, click Add to Favorites in the Block toolbar. This adds our first block to the Favorites view of BB+.
- At the top of the Navigation panel, click the Favorites button.
- If you haven’t marked any other blocks as Favorites yet, you’ll just see 1273 in the Blocks panel. We’ll add all of the sew along blocks to the Favorites as we work through the sew along together. This will make it easier to find your sew along blocks if you need to come back later and print.
- If you’re done working in BlockBase+, you can close the program by clicking the X at the top or clicking File > Quit BlockBase+.
Notes Before You Start Sewing:
- You can make the block any size you like.
- You can be creative in your coloring of the block (i.e. make the pinwheel light and the background dark, or make each pinwheel blade a different color, etc.). Just keep the seams/patches in the same orientation as the BB+ block.
- I showed you how to print the rotary cutting chart for the block. But if you’d prefer to piece the block using a different technique (templates or foundations), you can print those patterns instead. For help with other types of printouts, visit our support site.
- There will be a new post here on the blog on Friday, April 9 where you can post a photo of your sewn block.
Let’s get to know each other in the comments! Please leave a comment introducing yourself with where you’re joining us from and how long you’ve been quilting. I’ll start–
I’m Jenny from Ohio and I started quilting about 20 years ago (about the same time I started working at EQ!).
Block 1 Video
The steps in the video are the same as the steps listed above. So you can follow the written steps above, or watch the video lesson for Block 1.