I've been asked many times for the pattern for my Jungle Buddies wonky block quilt. Would you believe there is no pattern? It was started with just idea in my head and tools I had on hand. I’ll show you just how easy it is to create your own wonky blocks and make them look balanced, even if you don't have a pattern!
It is easy to stitch wonky blocks. I know for some of you this is outside of your comfort zone. Sometimes, it's just kind of fun to be a creative free-spirit. That was the case with my Jungle Buddies quilt. I wanted things to be kind of wonky. Beyond that, I wasn't really certain how the project would look when I was done so that was a little bit intimidating at first.
This technique saved a boo-boo block because I did not cut my sashing large enough. It is a great way to make good use of your test sews and use up scraps too.
Tools for Creating Wonky Blocks
The tools that you will need for this technique aren't anything terribly special. You'll need:
- A square ruler that you want to be the same size as the cut size of your block or a little bit bigger
- A rotary cutter
- Small ruler
- Sharpie pen
It's not a requirement, but for doing these, the June Taylor Get Squared Ruler is great. Since it has an open window, it is very easy to see and center your embroidered designs when cutting blocks.
It's easier if you have a ruler the size you want to cut your finished block. I didn't and I didn't want to buy a ruler just for this one project. To improvise and make it work, use painter’s tape or frog tape to mark off the block size.
Determining the Sashing Width
With an 8-inch center square (remember that it will finish at 7 ½ inches using quarter-inch seams), I recommend a 3-inch wide sashing. Say you have a 7-inch cut square, you could use a 2 ½ inch sashing. If you go up to a 9-inch square that finishes at 8 ½ inches, make your sashing 3 ½ inches.
For every inch you go up in size for your block, you want to add a half-inch for the sashing width. That way, you'll have enough wiggle room when you make wonky cuts.
The Wonky Technique
I wanted to have a finished 10-inch square. I don't have a 10 ½-inch square ruler (factor in a half-inch for seams) so I marked off 10 ½ inches on a larger ruler using green frog tape (blue painter's tape works equally well). I raided my husband's garage as I oftentimes do when improvising and I don't find what I need in my own resource center. It's amazing the stuff I find in his garage! Shhhhhhhhh--don't tell him.
I turned the ruler at an angle and adjusted it so that the smallest corner fabrics were about an inch inside the ruler's markings.
The two opposing corners also need to be equal distances from the ruler edge. That turned out to be about an inch as well.
I used my Sharpie to mark two opposing corners right on top of my ruler. I know that might scare some of you.
As long as you are marking the top (smooth) side of the ruler, the marks come right off with rubbing alcohol. NOTE: Do not mark on the bumpy side of the ruler where the original ruler markings are or you could take those off along with the Sharpie marks.
All I have to do is line up those black marker lines. Cut two edges then just turn it around until you have the other two edges lined up to your Sharpie marks and cut the other two edges.
To get the opposite angle, or the opposite direction of your block to turn, flip the ruler upside down. Again line up your Sharpie marks and cut one half, turn it, and cut the other half.
That’s how I made the Jungle Buddies quilt. I just sort of made it up as I went along. I had a blast doing it because there were no rules. And I loved seeing it evolve before my eyes.
You can match sashing fabrics on one half and match coordinating sashings on the other half as I did, or you can even make the sashings all the same color or all different colors. Do whatever feels right to you! Give yourself permission to just have fun and create as you go!
Wonky blocks are very forgiving. You can change up the angle, if you like. When I was done, I just added some sashing and some little corner square blocks. It was very, very easy.
I hope you have a lot of fun trying some new things and try stitching outside your comfort zone. The only way we grow is to try something new and different. Be creative!
See the video here.
Have a day blessed with perfect stitches…and GlitterFlex!!
Bonnie Welsh - December 03, 2022
Cindy—Sometimes we just need a different perspective for things to “click”. So glad you found the tips helpful!
Cindy - December 03, 2022
My mind just wasn’t processing how to cut the border of the wonky block. Your directions hit a home run. My scrappy wonky block looks just like I envisioned. Thanks so much.
Bonnie Welsh - September 26, 2018
Thank you for the kind words Bonnie. Working on the cats to get them rolling again. =)
Bonnie Welsh - September 26, 2018
Joan—Yes you will! It’s a great little ruler. I love mine. =)
Bonnie Addison - September 24, 2018
Thank you for the info on wonky blocks. Also can’t wait for the Cats to be done so I can that set. Thank you again. Bonnie
joan garland - September 24, 2018
great tutorial. I have one of those “Get Squared” rulers, might have used it once about 8 years ago then just forgot about it. I’ll have to try it again on this project. thanks Joan