Use Up Your Test Blocks with a BOB Sampler

Jan 8, 2022 7:00:00 AM / by Jennifer Strauser

Hi! It’s Jen from Dizzy Quilter. I’m back again, and I'm playing with my collection of BOB (Block On Board) dies. I love my BOBs. They make creating a complicated block easy.

Are you a rule follower who makes a test block each time you use a new BOB die? Then you probably have a whole stack of orphan blocks just waiting to be used. I have the perfect quilt project for you today. 

(If you're a ruler breaker, like me, gather up your favorite BOBs and make one block from each.)



From Test Blocks to Quilt

One challenge with a BOB sampler is that the blocks can be all different sizes. To combat that, we're going to use the 1” strip cutter (55024) to frame each block, bringing them all up to a single size.

Using the 1" strip cutter means we don't need to fool around with quilt math and seam allowances. If your BOB block finishes at 9" and you want a block size of 14", you just need five strips on each side to bring it up to the correct size. It's so easy!   

I want my quilt to look a little more modern than traditional. I don’t want my quilt to look like it's three squares by three squares in a grid. I’m looking for the appearance of “alternate grid work.” 

Since that 3x3 square method is the easiest way to build a quilt, though, that's what I’m going to do. I’ll just be playing with the background frames to give an illusion of complexity.

We'll be adding framing strips around each block to bring them up to a consistent size, but we won’t be just centering each block in the frame.

They'll all appear to be a little bit off.  



How to Make GO! BOBs Work Together

Okay. On to the fun.

I’ve gathered up a pile of scraps to make this quilt. Because I like a controlled color palette, I’ve got batik fabrics ranging in color from yellow-green to blue.

Mostly I’ve stuck with blues and teals - using the yellow-greens for a pop of contrast. The backgrounds are all different white and cream prints. They're mostly batiks, too, although I generally don’t mind mixing regular quilting cotton with my batiks. 

The BOBs I am using are:

I'm also using:

Since my Drunkard's Path blocks finished 1/2" larger than needed, I sewed nine units together and trimmed the whole block down to be 10 1/2". That way it worked with the other blocks.  


Fabrics Needed

You'll need:

  • 9 finished blocks
  • Around 3/4 yard for 1 1/2" neutral strips
  • 1/2 yard Binding

Cutting Directions

You'll need to cut multiple strips of background fabric. I used up a lot of scraps from my neutrals bin for this.

Press your fabric before cutting and run it through your 1” finished strip cutter. You'll need strips ranging from the size of your smallest block (9 1/2” for me) to 14 1/2”.

You'll want to pre-cut your strip lengths to the sizes you will need, though I don't do that. Instead, I prefer to sew the strips on and cut off the excess length.

Pro Tip: You may notice that this method can lead to problems with your blocks not lying flat. Because of that, be careful to keep your cut edges square. 

If you have a lot of strips that are too small, piece them together! The goal of this quilt is to use up what you have. You'll be making space for some new fabric. 



Layout Your Design

I do a lot of layout work on my design wall.

For this project, I used some tape to set out my grid. I’ve decided on a 14” finished block size, which is larger than the largest BOB I am using. That means that all of my blocks will have some framing. 


Quilt block sampler quilt design layout


I set my nine blocks into the grid, moving them around a bit until I liked how it looked. Notice that they're not in the center of their assigned position. (I didn't like that lower left block, so I re-made it.)  

Take your first block to the sewing machine. Attach a strip to one side, then press the seam open.

Continue adding strips going around the block - log cabin style. I don’t always go all the way around, though. Sometimes, I just add two sides to change the position of the block in its setting. 

(This is Robbing Peter to Pay Paul, and finishes at 7". I needed another 7" to get up to my 14" block size. If you count strips, there are a total of 7 horizontally, and 7 vertically.)


AccuQuilt BOB Die Block


Continue sashing each block, pressing seams open, until each one measures 14 1/2” square. I like to put them back up on the wall as I finish them. This helps me keep an eye on how the quilt is coming along. It also adds to my motivation.  


AccuQuilt BOB Die Combo Layout


Once your blocks are all finished, join them together in three rows of three.

Press the top and bottom rows to the right. Press the middle row to the left. This will help nest the seams as you assemble your rows. 


AccuQuilt BOB Die Combo Finished Quilt


Now, it's time to admire your quilt top. Great job! 

Next, just layer, baste, quilt, and bind your quilt, and your work is done!

My quilt finished at 42" square. 



Happy Quilting in the New Year!  

I have a super plan for 2022. I’m going to set aside a bundle of pretty fabrics that I’ve been saving for something special and use those to make the test blocks of every BOB I work with for the next year. That way, my next sampler will be coordinated.

Check out my BOB block tutorial that I'm doing every month on my YouTube channel

Topics: Tutorials, Tips & Tricks

Jennifer Strauser

Written by Jennifer Strauser