Sudoku Quilts
Sample Online Quilt Class  FREE!
Sudoku Quilts is a free miniclass, typical in style of presentation (not length) of other online art quilt classes I teach from Academy of Quilting. With only three lessons, this class is a quick way to learn a few simple and fun methods to design your own patchwork quilts that follow Sudoku puzzle rules.
Not familiar with Sudoku? No problem! In Lesson One, we discuss the game and give you a few examples of puzzles to work. While you complete the puzzles, you can think about how they relate to patchwork quilt blocks.
In Lesson Two, we consider the simplest Sudoku puzzle and how we can use common patchwork quilt block designs to make a quilt based on that puzzle. We introduce basic concepts of reflective symmetry and how they affect the outcome of a quilt design.
In Lesson Three, we consider the use of color as a replacement for the numerical identifiers of Sudoku puzzles. Once again, symmetry enters the equation even as we begin to comprehend the unlimited possibilities for Sudoku Quilt design. We also play with Modern Quilt colors and ideas for how Sudoku Quilts can satisfy both sets of criteria.
Let’s get started, so you can see how easy it is to translate any Sudoku puzzle into a design for a patchwork quilt!
Not familiar with Sudoku? No problem! In Lesson One, we discuss the game and give you a few examples of puzzles to work. While you complete the puzzles, you can think about how they relate to patchwork quilt blocks.
In Lesson Two, we consider the simplest Sudoku puzzle and how we can use common patchwork quilt block designs to make a quilt based on that puzzle. We introduce basic concepts of reflective symmetry and how they affect the outcome of a quilt design.
In Lesson Three, we consider the use of color as a replacement for the numerical identifiers of Sudoku puzzles. Once again, symmetry enters the equation even as we begin to comprehend the unlimited possibilities for Sudoku Quilt design. We also play with Modern Quilt colors and ideas for how Sudoku Quilts can satisfy both sets of criteria.
Let’s get started, so you can see how easy it is to translate any Sudoku puzzle into a design for a patchwork quilt!
All rights reserved worldwide. All content in this pdf is protected by copyright and may not be used in any way without express written permission from the copyright holder, author and publisher Dena Dale Crain.

Supply List
Supplies for Sudoku Quilts should come mostly from your current stash. Any combination of fabrics can make an unexpectedly attractive patchwork quilt. Please do not buy any fabrics unless you later determine you need something special to pull a design together better than before.
Because you pull fabrics from your stash, and because you have complete control over the size of your quilt designs, no fabric yardage requirements can be stated now. If you want to learn how the design methods work, keep block sizes small: 2”, 3” or 4” in size. Make very small sampler quilts from such blocks. Then, if any particular design is especially appealing, make it as a much larger quilt.
In addition to your stash fabrics, you need:
A sewing machine and your usual sewing kit of needles, pins, seam ripper and thread snips, plus whatever other tools you like to use
Rotary cutting equipment: mat, ruler and cutting knife
Scraps of batting and fabrics for backing and binding
Optional black, white or gray fabric
Fusible web or other heatactivated adhesive for doing appliqué; buy only after you estimate need.
An eye for color
That’s all you need! Are you ready? Good! Let’s get busy!
Because you pull fabrics from your stash, and because you have complete control over the size of your quilt designs, no fabric yardage requirements can be stated now. If you want to learn how the design methods work, keep block sizes small: 2”, 3” or 4” in size. Make very small sampler quilts from such blocks. Then, if any particular design is especially appealing, make it as a much larger quilt.
In addition to your stash fabrics, you need:
A sewing machine and your usual sewing kit of needles, pins, seam ripper and thread snips, plus whatever other tools you like to use
Rotary cutting equipment: mat, ruler and cutting knife
Scraps of batting and fabrics for backing and binding
Optional black, white or gray fabric
Fusible web or other heatactivated adhesive for doing appliqué; buy only after you estimate need.
An eye for color
That’s all you need! Are you ready? Good! Let’s get busy!
Lesson One
History of Sudoku
The idea that underlies a Sudoku puzzle originated in a mathematical construct by Leonhard Euler that he called a Latin square. In its simplest form, a Latin square filled with numbers would look like this:
In this simple illustration, we see that the numbers are arranged in such a way that each row contains only one of each number, and each column holds only one of each number. This arrangement of numbers is the basis of any modern Sudoku puzzle.
Modern Sudoku puzzles became popular when first published by Dell Magazines in 1979. As more publications featured the puzzles and their variations, their popularity increased. Today, world Sudoku championships are played. People work puzzles and compete with each other online, as well as buying books and magazines containing Sudoku puzzles and working them at home or while traveling.
The game is even revered as a mindtraining instrument. Sudoku mavens speak their own language, with codes to identify cells and number positions. More variations on the Sudoku puzzle have been developed, and there is a level of play for everyone!
Modern Sudoku puzzles became popular when first published by Dell Magazines in 1979. As more publications featured the puzzles and their variations, their popularity increased. Today, world Sudoku championships are played. People work puzzles and compete with each other online, as well as buying books and magazines containing Sudoku puzzles and working them at home or while traveling.
The game is even revered as a mindtraining instrument. Sudoku mavens speak their own language, with codes to identify cells and number positions. More variations on the Sudoku puzzle have been developed, and there is a level of play for everyone!
How to Work a Sudoku Puzzle
Most Sudoku puzzles contain between 16 and 164 individual blocks, each one carrying a number that is not repeated in a row, column or subordinate cell of blocks. A simple Sudoku has as few as four cells in each row and column, making a 16cell puzzle. A set of numbers, one through four, completes the puzzle.
We might initially find the puzzle looking rather like this, with empty cells, and have to solve the puzzle before we can use it.
Sudoku puzzles can be found in many forms. Perhaps the most popular of all is a 9 x 9 grid, having 81 cells. Others can have up to 16 cells in each row and column, for a total of 164 cells. Some puzzles are worked with letters rather than numbers, as there are more single character letters (twentysix) than there are numbers (ten).
In a 9 x 9 grid, we see a familiar layout, that of a ninepatch quilt. Here, nine ninepatch units form the 9 x 9 grid, with nine subsets, sets of nine cells that each fill one of the nine cells in the larger puzzle.
In a 9 x 9 grid, we see a familiar layout, that of a ninepatch quilt. Here, nine ninepatch units form the 9 x 9 grid, with nine subsets, sets of nine cells that each fill one of the nine cells in the larger puzzle.
Heavier outlines indicate these subsets of cells. Sudoku rules require that only one incidence of each number within each subset of cells. This makes each puzzle a little more difficult, but equally more satisfying when you complete the puzzle.
To solve any Sudoku puzzle, there are several different techniques. Players should use logic at all times and avoid trialanderror techniques. All Sudoku players have their favorite methods. These are some I have discovered over several years of working Sudoku puzzles. With experience, you may find more ways to solve Sudoku puzzles.
To solve any Sudoku puzzle, there are several different techniques. Players should use logic at all times and avoid trialanderror techniques. All Sudoku players have their favorite methods. These are some I have discovered over several years of working Sudoku puzzles. With experience, you may find more ways to solve Sudoku puzzles.
Basic Sudoku Solution Methods
Quick scan for cells that can contain only one number
Working one number at a time, quickly scan the puzzle to see if any cell can receive only that one number. When certain no other number might be possible, fill in that number and move on to the next number in the list. Work logically, from smallest number to highest number or from largest to smallest, then repeat the scan again. For easy Sudoku puzzles, this method may suffice.
For example, a quick scan of the puzzle shown above reveals that only the number 1 can fill the empty cell in the bottom row.
Another way is to seek those numbers that are most plentiful in the puzzle, and scan the puzzle from most populous number to least prevalent number, still looking for any cell that can contain only one number. We can check the sample puzzle now, see that there are three 2’s in the puzzle, and know immediately where the fourth one must go!
A quick glance at the left column shows that the empty cell can be filled only with a 1. Many cells in Sudoku can be completed by this simple procedure of seeing the possibilities.
Working one number at a time, quickly scan the puzzle to see if any cell can receive only that one number. When certain no other number might be possible, fill in that number and move on to the next number in the list. Work logically, from smallest number to highest number or from largest to smallest, then repeat the scan again. For easy Sudoku puzzles, this method may suffice.
For example, a quick scan of the puzzle shown above reveals that only the number 1 can fill the empty cell in the bottom row.
Another way is to seek those numbers that are most plentiful in the puzzle, and scan the puzzle from most populous number to least prevalent number, still looking for any cell that can contain only one number. We can check the sample puzzle now, see that there are three 2’s in the puzzle, and know immediately where the fourth one must go!
A quick glance at the left column shows that the empty cell can be filled only with a 1. Many cells in Sudoku can be completed by this simple procedure of seeing the possibilities.
Filling all numbers in all blocks, looking for single incidences in rows, columns and cells
Work over the puzzle, one number at a time, again in logical order, and fill in each cell that might receive that number with a code. Write the numbers very small, small enough to hold eight or nine numbers per cell, and in pencil for easy erasure.
When the entire puzzle has been filled in with all the possibilities, you may find that one or more cells can receive only one number. Record those certainties, erasing those numbers from columns and rows. Scan the puzzle again for more cells that can now receive only one number. Continue in this manner until the puzzle is solved.
Note the careful and deliberate positioning of each tiny number. To save time you may use a dot code, placing a dot into a single position in each cell to indicate those numbers possible.
Work over the puzzle, one number at a time, again in logical order, and fill in each cell that might receive that number with a code. Write the numbers very small, small enough to hold eight or nine numbers per cell, and in pencil for easy erasure.
When the entire puzzle has been filled in with all the possibilities, you may find that one or more cells can receive only one number. Record those certainties, erasing those numbers from columns and rows. Scan the puzzle again for more cells that can now receive only one number. Continue in this manner until the puzzle is solved.
Note the careful and deliberate positioning of each tiny number. To save time you may use a dot code, placing a dot into a single position in each cell to indicate those numbers possible.
Filling only numbers that have two or three incidences in each row, column or cell
As Sudoku puzzles become increasingly complex, the possibilities for each cell increase as well. A 9 x 9 Sudoku puzzle, for example, may have many possible options for a given cell. You can note the possibilities in each cell numerically or with a modified dot system.
As Sudoku puzzles become increasingly complex, the possibilities for each cell increase as well. A 9 x 9 Sudoku puzzle, for example, may have many possible options for a given cell. You can note the possibilities in each cell numerically or with a modified dot system.
In a 9 x 9 Sudoku puzzle, the rule is that each set of nine cells can contain only one of each of the nine numbers. The subset cells appear as boxes having thicker outlines. This requirement further limits the options for which numbers each cell might contain. Recording the possible numbers for cells that can contain only two possibilities helps narrow the options.
Likewise, recording instances of only two possibilities in each row or column or subset can reveal cells that really have only one possibility when it would not otherwise be obvious. Again, using a logical process of elimination, you can slowly work your way through just about any Sudoku puzzle.
Every cell you fill with a correct number reduces the possibilities for all other cells in a linear fashion. It is your task, as the Sudoku puzzle worker, to follow that line until it leads to the logical conclusion and the puzzle is solved!
Likewise, recording instances of only two possibilities in each row or column or subset can reveal cells that really have only one possibility when it would not otherwise be obvious. Again, using a logical process of elimination, you can slowly work your way through just about any Sudoku puzzle.
Every cell you fill with a correct number reduces the possibilities for all other cells in a linear fashion. It is your task, as the Sudoku puzzle worker, to follow that line until it leads to the logical conclusion and the puzzle is solved!
Electronic Game Methods
The introduction of electronic computing devices into daily life also helped push Sudoku popularity forward. Again, there are many options. Play Sudoku on or off line. Solve puzzles on your computer, tablet or mobile phone. Play alone or compete against others. There are many options and combinations.
Pick your favorite Sudoku puzzle dealer from many free and paid sites. Choose the site with the most attractive themes, or the one that is easiest to read and operate. Look for sites that offer many features, or one that is clean and sophisticated and presents only the immediate Sudoku puzzle for your enjoyment.
Many digital versions offer additional tools and aids. Digital Sudoku puzzles can be timed, with or without a sound alarm. Timers can be set to go off when you finish a puzzle or you can may set a timer and a challenge for yourself and others to complete the puzzle within the time limit.
Some versions offer hints by highlighting the next cell to be filled, with or without suggesting which number belongs in that cell. Many offer scoring systems, ways to track your performance and improvement at a certain level of difficulty, thereby making it possible to compete against others.
There are Sudoku clubs and discussion groups. Sudoku puzzlers enjoy interacting with each other in much the same way as do chess or mahjong players.
The world of Sudoku awaits you! Simply run a computer search for Sudoku or any aspect of the game, and you will find more online sites than you can possibly use in a lifetime of Sudoku playing. Check Wikipedia for Sudoku to learn more about the history and mathematics of Sudoku.
Now that you understand the basics of the wonderful world of Sudoku puzzles, let’s redirect our attention back to patchwork quilt design. Let’s consider firsthand how we can use that most familiar Sudoku grid to make hundreds of lovely Sudoku Quilts!
Pick your favorite Sudoku puzzle dealer from many free and paid sites. Choose the site with the most attractive themes, or the one that is easiest to read and operate. Look for sites that offer many features, or one that is clean and sophisticated and presents only the immediate Sudoku puzzle for your enjoyment.
Many digital versions offer additional tools and aids. Digital Sudoku puzzles can be timed, with or without a sound alarm. Timers can be set to go off when you finish a puzzle or you can may set a timer and a challenge for yourself and others to complete the puzzle within the time limit.
Some versions offer hints by highlighting the next cell to be filled, with or without suggesting which number belongs in that cell. Many offer scoring systems, ways to track your performance and improvement at a certain level of difficulty, thereby making it possible to compete against others.
There are Sudoku clubs and discussion groups. Sudoku puzzlers enjoy interacting with each other in much the same way as do chess or mahjong players.
The world of Sudoku awaits you! Simply run a computer search for Sudoku or any aspect of the game, and you will find more online sites than you can possibly use in a lifetime of Sudoku playing. Check Wikipedia for Sudoku to learn more about the history and mathematics of Sudoku.
Now that you understand the basics of the wonderful world of Sudoku puzzles, let’s redirect our attention back to patchwork quilt design. Let’s consider firsthand how we can use that most familiar Sudoku grid to make hundreds of lovely Sudoku Quilts!
Lesson Two
4 x 4 Sudoku Quilts
Dictionary definitions for “symmetry” speak of identical parts facing each other or located around an axis. Most quilters understand basic reflective symmetry as mirror imaging, being possessed of an identical image reflected on itself.
Simple 4 x 4 Sudoku Quilts require a block that has mirror imaging along the diagonal, or a block that is asymmetrical. The block must be directional in composition; that is, pointing in one direction only. A dashed line shows the linear axis along which the block at left below is symmetrical. The block on the right has no such symmetry.
Simple 4 x 4 Sudoku Quilts require a block that has mirror imaging along the diagonal, or a block that is asymmetrical. The block must be directional in composition; that is, pointing in one direction only. A dashed line shows the linear axis along which the block at left below is symmetrical. The block on the right has no such symmetry.
The directional aspect of these kinds of blocks permits block orientations that correspond to numerical identifiers. The block must be capable of four 90 ̊ turns so that it looks different in each position. See how the Drunkard’s Path block shown above resolves into a quilt design.
If we position each block in a 4 x 4 quilt block grid with orientation or direction corresponding so that the quarter circle falls into the numbered corner correctly for each cell, our sample puzzle produces a design that looks like this:
If we position each block in a 4 x 4 quilt block grid with orientation or direction corresponding so that the quarter circle falls into the numbered corner correctly for each cell, our sample puzzle produces a design that looks like this:
We can easily see that no row or column shares two cells with the same block orientation. Still, the resulting design seems awkward to us because of its chaotic appearance and mirror imaging in unexpected places. This design makes us feel a need to rearrange the blocks to achieve greater balance and harmony.
Illustrated in color, this design seems even more bizarre, but do not let that disturb you. Later, we see how even something this strange can still make a wonderful Sudoku Quilt!
Illustrated in color, this design seems even more bizarre, but do not let that disturb you. Later, we see how even something this strange can still make a wonderful Sudoku Quilt!
Whirligig is a fourup Sudoku quilt with an asymmetrical block. An asymmetrical quilt block adds just enough activity to distract our eyes from its general chaotic nature. It can be fun and interesting to see what results. You, too, can find or design a block that contains no symmetry, or you can use the free pattern for Whirligig.
Download the free Whirligig Sudoku Quilt Pattern here:


The Whirligig block is an appliqué design. Make sixteen of these blocks. Choose a fabric for one of the three appliqué shapes for which you have enough quantity to make sashing, cornerstones and borders, and finish with a quilt about 46” square.

Make Whirligig as a smaller quilt by reducing the block size to 4” and sashing and cornerstones to 1” with a 2” border (finished measurements), finishing with a quilt about 23” square.
To make this quilt, you need: 16 x 8 1/2” squares of background fabric 16 leaf #1 appliqué patches in one color (leaf patches are different shapes), with or without seam allowance added 16 leaf #2 appliqué patches in a second color (leaf patches are different shapes), with or without seam allowance added 16 circle #3 appliqué patches in a third color, with or without seam allowance added 9 cornerstones, 2 1/2” square 24 sashing strips to match cornerstones, cut 8 1/2” x 2 1/2”. Think hard before you use contrasting color cornerstones. They would draw attention away from the whirligigs, and there is already a lot of activity in the quilt design. Fabric for border to match cornerstones and sashing strips, cut to suit your preferences, with mitered or overlapped corners Batting, backing and binding fabrics Use fusible web (WonderUnder, SteamaSeam or similar heatactivated adhesive product) to fuse the appliqué shapes to the background blocks. Quickly sew around the appliqué shapes with a machine blanket stitch or denser satin stitching to secure raw edges and add colorful thread interest to the quilt. Study the photograph of Whirligig to work out the Sudoku puzzle that underlies it. Can you find a better way to arrange the blocks that still observes Sudoku rules? Lay the completed appliqué blocks in four columns, with all blocks oriented in the same direction. Leave the lefthand stack alone. Pick up the stack second from left and give it a quarter turn in either direction. Then pick up the next stack and rotate it by 180 ̊. Finally pick up the stack on the right and give it a threequarter turn. Then, work to lay out the entire quilt from the stacks of blocks you reoriented. Arrange individual blocks in any order you like that preserves the rule of one direction or orientation per row and one orientation per column. Possibilities include, but are not limited to: 
Sew the blocks together in rows with sashing strips between them. Sew four sashing strips together with a cornerstone sewn between each set of two, and repeat this step two times.
Be careful! Keep working from your table layout so you do not twist any Sudoku block out of its correct position. Finally, sew all four strips of blocks with sashing to the sashing strips with cornerstones, being especially careful to align cornerstone and block corners correctly. Cornerstones are guides for block placements, so use them accordingly.
Add borders to your fourup Sudoku quilt, stack and quilt it and apply a nice binding. It can serve as a lovely lap quilt, table dressing or wall hanging, possibly for a child’s room.
Be careful! Keep working from your table layout so you do not twist any Sudoku block out of its correct position. Finally, sew all four strips of blocks with sashing to the sashing strips with cornerstones, being especially careful to align cornerstone and block corners correctly. Cornerstones are guides for block placements, so use them accordingly.
Add borders to your fourup Sudoku quilt, stack and quilt it and apply a nice binding. It can serve as a lovely lap quilt, table dressing or wall hanging, possibly for a child’s room.
Symmetry
If you are so inclined, you can make four of these asymmetrical quilts. Make two alike, then make two quilt tops that are the mirrorimage of the first two. Put them all together to make one large quilt with mirrorimaging along the vertical and horizontal centers. The photo below shows such a quilt, one I never actually made but simply mocked up with my computer software:
Taking the logic of mirror imaging to this level turns a design that might otherwise appear chaotic into one possessed of balance and harmony.
Now you know how to use a 4 x 4 Sudoku puzzle to design a layout for both an asymmetrical and a symmetrical Sudoku quilt, one containing 16 blocks and the other containing 16 x 4 blocks, or 64 blocks.
Let’s see how we can take this knowledge forward to work with color!
Now you know how to use a 4 x 4 Sudoku puzzle to design a layout for both an asymmetrical and a symmetrical Sudoku quilt, one containing 16 blocks and the other containing 16 x 4 blocks, or 64 blocks.
Let’s see how we can take this knowledge forward to work with color!
Lesson Three
Color Sets for Sudoku Quilts
If we take what we learned in the previous chapter and translate the differences in blocks into colors, what might we expect to happen? This is any designer’s favorite question: “What if . . .?” Let’s take a closer look and see exactly what happens and why it works so well!
For this simple example, we take one of the 4 x 4 Sudoku puzzles shown earlier:
For this simple example, we take one of the 4 x 4 Sudoku puzzles shown earlier:
Instead of arranging a set of like, asymmetrical blocks so that their orientations correspond to the numbers one through four, we assign a color to each number, and express each block in its colored form. The result looks like this:
Because each basic 4 x 4 quilt top has four sides, there are four entirely different arrangements in which these four smaller quilt tops can be laid to make symmetrical quilt tops, each one containing four 4 x 4 Sudoku puzzle quilt tops:
Do you now understand how Sudoku puzzles can inform your patchwork quilt design? Pay particular attention to the interplay of light and dark colors. The nearblack in these designs really stands out and helps us see the differences in the designs, doesn’t it?
To make any of these quilts, decide how large you want the finished quilt to be. These quilts are square, so there is only one dimension. Divide that figure into eight parts to learn the size of one patch. To that patch size, add 1/2” seam allowance. Then, cut sixteen patches from each of four colors of fabric.
For example, to make a lap quilt 64” on a side from four 4 x 4 Sudoku Quilt tops, each block should be equal to oneeighth of the finished quilt, or 8” square. Add seam allowances, and cut each block 8 1/2” square. Cut sixteen blocks from each of four colors.
Arrange two sets of sixteen patches according to the 4 x 4 Sudoku puzzle of your choice. Use mirror imaging to assemble two 4 x 4 arrangements according to the puzzle, and two 4 x 4 arrangements that are a reflection of the puzzle. It does not matter whether you reflect along the horizontal or vertical axis, but both reflected quilt tops must be alike.
Build the quilt as four quarters. Then, you can play with the four quarters to see which arrangement pleases you best. Sew that arrangement into two halves, and finally close the remaining center join.
Make four quarters and audition the four possible quilt tops as just described. If you build the quilt one row or column at a time, you lose the option to audition the four possibilities!
To make any of these quilts, decide how large you want the finished quilt to be. These quilts are square, so there is only one dimension. Divide that figure into eight parts to learn the size of one patch. To that patch size, add 1/2” seam allowance. Then, cut sixteen patches from each of four colors of fabric.
For example, to make a lap quilt 64” on a side from four 4 x 4 Sudoku Quilt tops, each block should be equal to oneeighth of the finished quilt, or 8” square. Add seam allowances, and cut each block 8 1/2” square. Cut sixteen blocks from each of four colors.
Arrange two sets of sixteen patches according to the 4 x 4 Sudoku puzzle of your choice. Use mirror imaging to assemble two 4 x 4 arrangements according to the puzzle, and two 4 x 4 arrangements that are a reflection of the puzzle. It does not matter whether you reflect along the horizontal or vertical axis, but both reflected quilt tops must be alike.
Build the quilt as four quarters. Then, you can play with the four quarters to see which arrangement pleases you best. Sew that arrangement into two halves, and finally close the remaining center join.
Make four quarters and audition the four possible quilt tops as just described. If you build the quilt one row or column at a time, you lose the option to audition the four possibilities!
Increased Complexity
If you have more fabric and want a larger quilt, you can work to a 9 x 9 or even a 16 x 16 Sudoku quilt design. Let’s look more closely at a 9 x 9 Sudoku Quilt.
The first obvious difference between a 9 x 9 and our earlier 4 x 4 Sudoku Quilts is that an asymmetrical block cannot do the job. A square can be rotated through only four positions, not through nine orientations, so the larger Sudoku puzzle could not result in a quilt design based on like blocks with different orientations.
This is when color really comes into play! If we select nine different colors, each one to represent a different number from one to nine, then we have nine different entities to arrange into a completed Sudoku puzzle.
The first obvious difference between a 9 x 9 and our earlier 4 x 4 Sudoku Quilts is that an asymmetrical block cannot do the job. A square can be rotated through only four positions, not through nine orientations, so the larger Sudoku puzzle could not result in a quilt design based on like blocks with different orientations.
This is when color really comes into play! If we select nine different colors, each one to represent a different number from one to nine, then we have nine different entities to arrange into a completed Sudoku puzzle.
The trouble comes in when our eyes naturally seek that harmony and balance they so desperately expect, and find none! Only reflection of four 9 x 9 Sudoko puzzles will solve this dilemma! We go from a quilt like Whirligig, then, to something far more complex, and perhaps more engaging to the eye:
Each 16 x 16 quilt top would contain 256 squares, so we might well be looking at a “postage stamp” quilt concept, executed with complete control over color to achieve harmony and balance. What a beautiful quilt that could make!
To make this kind of Sudoku Quilt, choose nine different fabrics in a range from very light to very dark.
Value, lightness or darkness, is very important to this work. Without value to show sets of like lightness and darkness, the quilts would lose importance. They would look like a disorganized jumble of colors, not bad, but certainly less definitive than those quilts that include a good range of very light to very dark colors. Compare the version below that has all values approximately equal, with that one above to see the difference!
To make this kind of Sudoku Quilt, choose nine different fabrics in a range from very light to very dark.
Value, lightness or darkness, is very important to this work. Without value to show sets of like lightness and darkness, the quilts would lose importance. They would look like a disorganized jumble of colors, not bad, but certainly less definitive than those quilts that include a good range of very light to very dark colors. Compare the version below that has all values approximately equal, with that one above to see the difference!
Choose a dyed gradation set plus white or black, depending on which one gives greatest contrast, to make a monochromatic (one hue) design.
Each of these three illustrations of a 9 x 9 reflected Sudoku Quilt relies on the same Sudoku puzzle. All I did to make them different was to vary the color sets. See how different secondary patterns emerge?!
To make a reflected Sudoku Quilt like these, cut thirtysix patches from each of nine fabrics. Arrange the four quarters of the quilt design based on any 9 x 9 Sudoku puzzle and its reflection. Again, cut and sew the four quarters so you can audition which corner should be the center of the quilt. I knew, as an experienced designer, that the strongest color should go to the center, so my illustrations were easy to arrange.
If you dislike the double row effect caused by reflection as seen along both center axes, you can eliminate one row of patches in each direction, vertical and horizontal, along the centerlines. The result is still a good, balanced composition, so personal preference counts!
To make a reflected Sudoku Quilt like these, cut thirtysix patches from each of nine fabrics. Arrange the four quarters of the quilt design based on any 9 x 9 Sudoku puzzle and its reflection. Again, cut and sew the four quarters so you can audition which corner should be the center of the quilt. I knew, as an experienced designer, that the strongest color should go to the center, so my illustrations were easy to arrange.
If you dislike the double row effect caused by reflection as seen along both center axes, you can eliminate one row of patches in each direction, vertical and horizontal, along the centerlines. The result is still a good, balanced composition, so personal preference counts!
Stretching
Control your colored Sudoku quilt designs by the size and shape of the block, whether square or rectangular. All Sudoku puzzles are based on a square grid. That may sound redundant, but consider that a grid may be stretched from a square grid, one having individual cells that are alike and square, to one that has rectangular cells.
For a bed cover quilt, you may want a rectangular set of proportions, so size the blocks, or more correctly repeat units, to result in the proportions you seek. Varying the size and shape of the repeat units can take a square Sudoku quilt and transform it into a rectangular one having just the right dimensions for your bed!
Working backwards from previously established quilt dimensions, you can ascertain precisely what size block you need for the correct size and shape of quilt to fit any bed! If you want to learn how to do that, take my online quilt class Math for Quilters.
For a bed cover quilt, you may want a rectangular set of proportions, so size the blocks, or more correctly repeat units, to result in the proportions you seek. Varying the size and shape of the repeat units can take a square Sudoku quilt and transform it into a rectangular one having just the right dimensions for your bed!
Working backwards from previously established quilt dimensions, you can ascertain precisely what size block you need for the correct size and shape of quilt to fit any bed! If you want to learn how to do that, take my online quilt class Math for Quilters.
Skewing
If you are fortunate to have strong computer drawing skills, you can also work to develop a skewed grid made up of both squares and rectangles. Quilter Margaret Miller was, to my knowledge, the first to experiment with such skewing with her wonderful “Bloomin’ Grids” rather 3D quilt designs. In the Leisure Arts book, Quilt with the Best, Margaret explained in great detail how to skew a grid. Here, I show only the effect of skewing. I begin with a colored 5 x 5 Sudoku puzzle.
By shrinking or enlarging each row and then each column, the original grid of squares becomes a grid of squares and rectangles. There are no set rules about how much to shrink or enlarge a row or column, but note that in this case, a line of squares lies along one diagonal of the grid (dashed line). The blue square with black outline is the same size as the original grid cells.
Again, asymmetry leaves most of us feeling uncomfortable about a quilt designed like this, but when we apply mirror imaging, something really remarkable happens!
Sudoku Quilts lend themselves to skewing. However, you must shape and size a quilt design by drawing it or at least onequarter of the pattern, either by hand or on computer to full size. From that effort, make patterns for each of the designs’ blocks. Only in this way can you control the cutting plan to coincide with the sizes and shapes of the squares and rectangles included in the design.
These complicated Sudoku Quilt designs are fun and easy to illustrate with good computer skills, but cutting and sewing them accurately requires some serious planning and effort!
These complicated Sudoku Quilt designs are fun and easy to illustrate with good computer skills, but cutting and sewing them accurately requires some serious planning and effort!
But, wait! There’s more!
Because we work with onequarter of a square design, there are four arrangements possible. Of the four, which one would be your preference?
Modern Sudoku Quilts
Let’s take a tip from the Modern Quilt movement and see what happens if we replace some of the numbers in a Sudoku puzzle quilt design with black, white or gray fabrics. Having more than one number expressed in a neutral creates a secondary pattern for the colors.
Shown below are a few examples of Modern Quilt coloration for the same skewed Sudoku puzzle we saw above, stretched into rectangular quilts.
Shown below are a few examples of Modern Quilt coloration for the same skewed Sudoku puzzle we saw above, stretched into rectangular quilts.
Of course, the colors of fabric you choose for a Modern Sudoku Quilt should be Modern Quilt colors based on the CMYK color palette. Look for bright, clear colors with that fresh look that makes them currently so popular!
This concludes online quilt class Sudoku Quilts, presented to you freely. If you enjoyed this class, and you want to take more online quilt classes with me, please click here.