How to get the most bang for your buck

Would you believe that my National Parks quilt project started out as the Road Trip pattern? I had no intention of adding to it, but quilters started asking “What would you use for _______?” “I need a ______ block!” And some 200 patterns later, here we are. You might be daunted by a gargantuan task of creating a full size quilt with tiny 4.5″ blocks. I can understand that!

When I design patterns, some are very specific (like Arches, or Thors Hammer), but most of them are generic enough that you can use them for multiple places…keep reading, and I’ll show you. (PS – I have other blog posts on versatile patterns 😉 Try this one, or this one.)

The first thing I want to encourage you to do is START. Just start with one block.

Then let the creativity flow. I have a video on this as well. I walk the came creative journey that you do.

I have designed the Camps as ways for you to get the creativity flowing – it’s a GREAT way for you to get unstuck.

Lastly, my patterns are small on purpose. It shouldn’t take you all day to sew one block (if you have never FPP’d, it’ll take longer because you are learning, but you will get faster and faster!) I know you have other projects going on – I do too! You’ll be able to complete a block in a short period of time, and be able to bounce around from project to project. Before you know it, you’ll have enough blocks for a whole quilt top!! If you don’t trust me, you’ll have to prove me wrong 😉

The blocks are also the size they are because the Road Trip pattern was designed for full time RVers to be able to make the quilt with minimal supplies in a small area. 4.5″ allows for charm squares to be used. As the Road Trip pattern evolved into what it is today, a charm pack was not the most efficient cut of fabric. I now recommend fat quarters.

As you scroll through the National Park patterns, don’t be beholden to the title. When you see something else in the image, run with that idea! The Condiment patterns are designed to be ancillary, but still connected to allow you to tell your story. Here are some ideas from blocks that are landscapes.

You can see that one pattern could give you 3 different sites; you only need to change the fabrics! A friend recently posted pictures of his trip to the Swiss Alps; the picture looked just like the canyon above! There is no need to sew only what the title tells you!

Another idea for Grand Canyon (or any canyon), is to use the Black Canyon of the Gunnison block. Where else could you use this block? By the way, if the ideas don’t start flowing immediately, it’s ok!! They will! Your imagination is a chalkboard. We think in pictures. EVERYONE is creative, including YOU!

This is an excellent example of using a block for another site. Deanna used the Great Smoky Mountains block for Mammoth Cave. There was some discussion in the quilt along group for what block to use for a slot canyon. It was suggested to turn GSM on the side, and this opened up a world of possibilities! Can you see both the slot canyon AND Mammoth Cave?! There is now a block of Mammoth Cave depicting the natural entrance, but this is a fantastic addition or stand alone for Mammoth Cave!

Here’s another idea for you while on the topic of slot canyons. Reasha used the Great Smoky Mountains block, made 2, and stacked them on top of each other to create a slot canyon! Take a wee bit of creativity, and run with it. It will grow!

I can’t wait to see what you create!

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