If you’re a devoted Disney fan and have had the opportunity to go to one of the Disney parks, you may be aware of a little game that visitors can play called “Hidden Mickeys.” Scattered throughout the parks are various Mickey Mouse logos. They can be hidden in tile work, stones, art work, or even in the rides themselves. Finding them takes a good eye and patience, but they’re so cleverly hidden that you feel extremely accomplished when you do.
I want to play this game with you in this blog. Except in this little exercise instead of finding Mickey, we’re going to find hidden quilt blocks. Unlike the Hidden Mickey’s, these blocks are hiding in plain sight. I call them “Peek-a-Boo Blocks.” They are simply pieced blocks that are a version of the “parent” block. But instead of being identical to the “parent,” there are slight differences. A line, square, or triangle could be removed, making the hidden block look different, but not so different that it doesn’t play well with the “parent” blocks. Using the hidden blocks with the “parent” blocks is a great and easy way to design your own quilt. And the more patches in the quilt block, the more options are available for hidden blocks.
Take for instance this block:
If the side units are replaced with solid patches, you get kind of an cross design.
Remove more units, and the cross appears even stronger.
Remove some of the patches that form the cross and you get a kind of a pinwheel design going on:
You can combine the “parent” block with the hidden blocks for a quick, easy design that looks complicated. It’s really just the same block with different color combinations that gives the appearance of being really complex.
If this appeals to you, remember the more patches the block has, the more opportunities there are to change it up and make hidden blocks. Like with this one.
You can remove and add patches, keeping the same three colors, and get these combinations:
These can be combined to create a quilt that looks intimidating, but it’s really easy:
These are blocks that I’ve played with. But how do you start with any block? It’s not hard, I promise.
- Find a block that appeals to you.
- Replace the outer patches with strips of background fabric. Alternating these blocks with the parent blocks will eliminate the need for sashing.
- Find a block that appeals to you.
- Remove only some of the side and corner pieces and see what you get.
- Find a block that already has some recognizable blocks within it.
- Replace the material around the recognizable block with background fabric.
- Find a block with a strong center unit.
- Begin deleting some of the adjoining units and bringing in the corner units.
Not all pieced quilt blocks will have hidden blocks lurking within them. The only way to know for sure is to draw them on graph paper (if the design doesn’t have too many pieces) or work with a designing software program such as Electric Quilt if the block has lots of pieces (this is just easier than drawing it out).
And if this idea has really tickled your fancy, there is a wonderful book by Lerlene Nevaril called Hidden Quilt Blocks. She has many different blocks already broken out for you and sized. It’s simply a matter of picking out what you want and going with it for your next quilt. This book is a wonderful addition (and one of those quilting investments) that any quilter should have in their library.
We’re quickly coming to the end of 2018 and our Year of Quilting with Excellence! We have one more blog left for this year and I want to discuss how to set yourself up to successfully make any quilt you want to sew. This will recap some of what we’ve discussed as well as throw in some personal experiences I’ve had in quilting. Then, per usual, I will give you my Annual State of the Quilt and introduce our theme for 2019 – which I decided on back in February 2018. I’m excited, as this next year will be more personal than normal. This year has been a real “how to” year, and my inner teacher was happy to instruct. But 2019 will be different. I promise.
Until next week, Quilt with Excellence!
Love and Stitches,
Sherri and Sam