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Design Competition - Cheater Quilts

30 March 2015 09:00

 Traditionally, quilts are made by piecing together smaller pieces of fabric to make a larger piece, before adding wadding and stitching it all together.  The small pieces may be as simple as squares of co-ordinating or contrasing fabric, or a complex design using lots of different shapes.  Most quilts utilise blocks, which are pieced together separately and then joined.  Each block will often be the same pattern, but may use different colours.  Sewn together the right way, these can result in a bigger pattern across the quilt.

There are many commonly-used blocks which have been given names, such as log cabin:


With the correct arrangement of colours within the block, and blocks within the quilt, different patterns can be created:


These quilts, from All people Quilt, all use the log cabin block.

Making a quilt like this can be fun and very satisfying, but it does take a long time.  Sometimes, you just want a quick quilt.  This is where cheater quilts come into their own.  A cheater quilt is a piece of fabric printed with a patchwork design.  Again, this can be rows and columns of different patterned squares, it can be repeating blocks of a quilt pattern or it can be a whole quilt, maybe with a central design surrounded by blocks.

The Competition

Our challenge to you this month is to design a cheater quilt.  As per usual, we will be showing the designs at the fat quarter size (56cms x 50cms); your design can be larger or smaller than this.   As an additional challenge this month, we are stipulating the colours you may use.  Your palette may include 3 shades of pink, 2 greens and white plus one other colour of your own choice.  You don't have to use all these colours, but you may not use any others!  So that the blocks all look good together, please use hex codes when creating your design.  If you need help with that, add a comment below; if there's a demand, I'll write an additional blog post about picking colours.

The hex codes are: pale pink (fbf2fa), medium pink (f6ddf3), darker pink (f0c9e6), dark green (4ba762), light green (8df272).  White doesn't print, so you don't need to put anything there and your final colour is your choice.

If you would like some inspiration, our judge (see below) has put together a Pinterest board, and I have lots of quilts on my Pinterest board Quilts.

Our Guest Judge

This design competition will be judged by a guest judge, Elizabeth Betts.  Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while may remember my post about making a simple 9-square quilt from Liz's book 'Beginner's Guide to Quilting'.

Liz decided at the age of 7 she wanted to be a fashion designer.  She ended up studying at the London College of Fashion followed by Textiles with Fashion Marketing at the University of East London, specializing in print design. 

She became interested in patchwork and quilting about 12 years ago, after the birth of her eldest child (a very common scenario with quilting) and spent several years studying quilting.   In 2010 she opened a shop in Brighton, Quilty Pleasures.  The shop sold designer quilting fabric, patterns and specialist haberdashery for quilt making.  From 2012 the creative/designing/teaching side of her work took increasingly more  time than the retail side, and so,very recently, she made the decision to concentrate on selling online and events.  

As well as helping run the online shop, she currently teaches quilt classes around Brighton and Hove,  and designs, writes and makes quilts and other textile items.  

Demonstrating at the Knitting and Stitching show

She says, ‘My designs are usually based around grids and lines, and layering and pattern.  I often include a narrative or whimsical element in my work.  The nature around me inspires me, as do retro interiors which I often create my work to fit into.  The textiles I use are mainly 100% cotton, however I relax this when it comes to using vintage/retro/recycled fabrics.’


Please upload your competition designs to your account on our website.  If you haven’t already got an account, it’s simple to set up.  You just need an email address, password and name, which can be your own name, a nickname or a business name.  (You will be prompted to log in or create an account when you try to save your design.)  Then email me at, to tell me the name of your design.  (So I can find the right one!)  I will then put them onto Facebook and the blog.  The winning design (and possibly one or two others) will be put into our competition winners slot.  In case you're wondering about the order in which designs are listed on Facebook, the first to arrive in my inbox goes at the top, with the rest listed in the order in which they are sent in.

So, the competition is:

Create a cheater quilt design, using the following colours, and no others: fbf2fa, f6ddf3, f0c9e6, 4ba762, 8df272, white (i.e. an absence of colour) and one other colour.

Technical matters:

Your design should be at a resolution of at least 150 dpi, but not more than 300, using RGB colour space.

When it comes to printing, the repeat options are:  Straight, Centre, Half-drop, Half-brick and Mirror.  Once you’ve uploaded your design to our website, you can play around with the repeats to see which one will look best.  For pictures of what the different repeats look like, check this blog post.

To enter:

Upload your design onto our website by midnight on Tuesday, April 14th, giving it a title.  Email me at, telling me the title of your design and the name of your account.

The closing date for receiving designs is midnight on Tuesday, April 14th, after which designs will be displayed (at the fat quarter size) on Facebook.  There will be no voting this month.  The winning design, as chosen by our guest judge, will win 3 metres of 100% cotton fabric (150cm wide), printed with your design.  The winning design will also be available for sale on our web site for at least 1 week after the close of voting.  

The official bit:

By entering, you agree to our competition terms and conditions.

You may only submit one entry, which must be your own work and be a 'cheater quilt'.  ‘Your own work’ means any form of art work, photography, etc which you have produced.   Images taken from books, the internet, etc are not acceptable for our competitions.   Your design should not have been entered in one of our previous competitions.

All entries will be displayed for public viewing, unless we feel that the subject matter is inappropriate.  Copyright will remain with you, but by entering the competition, you give us the right to use your design in any way we wish on our web site and social media, for advertising purposes.

The winning design will feature on our web site and will be available for sale for a week after we announce the winner.  After that time, the designer may leave the design for sale, or remove it from public view.  The designer will be paid £2 per metre commission on any sales of the design.

Happy designing!

List image from ErikawithaK; top image from Michelle Patterns


We're really in the forefront this month - look what was in the Cotton Traders catalogue with our newspaper yesterday!