Updated November 23, 2019.
The picture here is of a little needlepoint I made of a classic depression quilt block, Bow Tie (the chart for it is below). By itself it’s small, but combined with more bow tie blocks you could create something quite wonderful. In quilting this is called “setting” the blocks. Quilters will take their sewn blocks or mock-ups of the blocks and arrange them on a felt design wall, looking for a lovely setting.
It’s one of the quilt blocks in my recently finished photo cube (reviewed here).
There is also software that allows you to color blocks and then test different settings. Software such as this could also be used for needlepoint. Once you have you block charted out, why not use this kind of program to design your overall piece (Look for more about this in future posts).
Let’s look at some ways you could combine them. All the pictures are of actual quilts or quilt layouts. Thee source is listed in the caption.
The simplest setting is a Straight Setting. In this all the blocks are oriented the same way. Any secondary patterns that show up happen because you have created diagonal lines by picking similar colors in either the ties or the background.
Turn your blocks 45 degrees and the setting is called on point. In these settings the blocks are diamonds instead of squares. Easy to do in quilting, in needlepoint to make an on point setting in your stitching diagonal stitches become straight stitches and straight stitches become diagonal ones. This often means you’ll need to make adjustments in size.
If you alternate the direction of the blocks so that a zig-zag is created, this setting is often called Rick-rack because it is the shape of that trim. It is also sometimes called Streak of Lightning. You can emphasize this by making all the blocks in one row in a similar color.
You can also change the direction of the blocks so other shapes are formed, rounds here. This quilt shows increasing sizes of circles. But you could also use the small four-block circle and repeat. That’s a popular setting of Bow Tie.
Adding a second block, especially in a solid color, spaces out the quilt blocks and creates alternating diagonal rows and a checked pattern if the solid color is different. If the solid color is the same as the background color, the ties will look as if they are floating.
Finally, you can also add borders, simple or complex, to any setting. These create additional opportunities for color and pattern.
I hope this gave you some great ideas for creating lovely needlepoint from simple quilt block designs. You’ll find the block diagram below. This quilt in also one of the designs in my Amish Quilt Club (contact me for information).