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How to Make Easy Landscape Blocks

applique baby triceratops with a volcano in the background

Most of my quilts don’t use landscape blocks.

I usually zoom right in on the animals’ faces. 🙂

I like to make it look like they’re looking (and smiling) at YOU.

I frame them in the block so they look like little portraits.

Maurice - cat applique pattern from Shiny Happy World

But that wasn’t going to work for the dinosaur quilt pattern. For dinosaurs I really needed to show the whole body.

That works just fine with my usual solid-color blocks as backgrounds.

green spotted applique apatosaurus on a purple quilted background

You could totally make the dinosaur quilt using all solid blocks like this and it would look great!

But as I was drawing them, I kept envisioning my dinosaurs in an actual landscape. I wanted the pterodactyls to be flying in the sky, above dinosaurs stomping across the earth. And I kept envisioning volcanoes and clouds and palmy prehistoric plants – and those needed to be rooted in the ground and stretching up to the sky.

I wanted landscape blocks.

So I did a lot of thinking about how to make these landscape blocks. I wanted a young, jagged, volcanic panorama – and I wanted it to be easy.

Dinosaur Panorama - four applique dinosaurs and one volcano on landscape blocks

I didn’t want all the blocks to be the same, and it seemed kind of silly to provide pages and pages of patterns for what are essentially squares with slashes across them. 🙂

So I came up with an easy method to make these blocks.

  • no measuring
  • no fussy templates
  • an even mix of uphill and downhill blocks
  • an even mix of earth and sky

Here’s how to do it.

See how easy that is?

My fabrics are very bright and vibrant batiks (get the green batiks here and the blue batiks here) but you could achieve the same landscape effect with a totally different feel by using a selection of pastel green and blue solids.

purple spotted T-rex on a pastel quilted landscape block background

See? Wouldn’t that make a sweet baby quilt?

Those dinosaur eyes are pretty tiny. Too tiny to applique easily – so when I was designing the dinosaur quilt pattern I tested out a bunch of fabric markers and paints to see which ones worked the best on quilts. You can read about the results – and get my recommendations – here.

Happy quilting!

5 COMMENTS

  1. Simone DuBois SAYS...

    What if you have one sided fabric? How do you make those squares?

  2. Diana Barnes SAYS...

    Thank you Wendy for all your fantastic videos. I sure do appreciate all the hard work you share with us.

  3. Chris Hinds SAYS...

    Hi Wendy. I just discovered your designs- they are adorable. I plan to use colors similar to those in your sample in a nap quilt for my dino-loving grandson. I’m wondering about show through from the deep greens and blues of the background when I use lighter appliques colors such as yellow and orange for dinos. Also does the bumpy quilting show through with the fusible? Any tips? Thanks.
    Chris Hinds

    • I don’t usually have any show through unless the background fabric is a really high-contrast pattern, like a black and white print. In those situations, this tutorial will help. https://www.shinyhappyworld.com/2019/06/how-to-minimize-show-through-on-white-eyes.html I almost always applique with patterned fabric and I find the quilting lines don’t really show through it. They really only show through when I used a light-colored solid fabric. Again, most of the time I don’t worry about it. I make my quilts to be used and once you join all the blocks together you don’t really notice show-through on an occasional block. But if it bothers you, you can always fuse the pieces down first and then quilt around them. I demonstrate that in a lot of my quilt tutorials – look for them here. https://www.shinyhappyworld.com/browse/lessons-tutorials Scroll down and look for the cluster of tutorials that all say something like QAYG Square Squiggles, QAYG Teeth, etc.