In the past I've learned many things about quilting, but one of the things that stands out most is the fact that it requires a lot of decision making. I'm horrible with decisions (which is why my quilt blocks sat for an entire year before I got serious about finishing it). What helped me is what I'm going to call my "Quilt Decision Maker" aka - laminated scans of my quilt blocks.
This tutorial is not for an actual quilt. The first QDM can be seen in my October 13th Talk to me Tuesday. For this tutorial I used my Legend of Zelda blocks (that will not be a quilt any time soon). The blocks are my pride and joy and can be found on the guest designer page at Sewhooked.org.
Step 1: Scanning
The first step (not pictured) will most likely be the most time consuming of all. All blocks need to be scanned and put into a folder that can be found easily. If your blocks are larger than your scanner, scan each half and then join them in your graphics program of choice.
Step 2: Printing
In a Word document create a table (I used the labels feature, but it is the same exact idea). Insert each of the scanned blocks into the cells. This will guarantee that all printed blocks are roughly the same size and fit on an 8x11.5" piece of paper. The order of the blocks are not important at all. You can arrange them later.
Step 3: Cutting
Take the printed sheet of paper and cut all of the blocks out. Let me note here that you can use either cardstock or regular paper. It doesn't make any difference in the long run.
Step 4: Arranging
Now is the time to arrange the blocks in whichever configuration you think is best. Once you've decided you can start to set them on the laminate sheet (I have no clue what the devil that stuff is called). Instead of putting it on the sheet and hoping it doesn't move, I use a teeny tiny piece of tape to secure it to the area. The blocks can still be moved up to the very last minute, which is useful if you are indecisive.
Step 5: Laminating
My laminator is a very inexpensive one from Harbor Freight Tools. It takes about 5 minutes to warm up, but less than 10 seconds to laminate a page. Once it was done laminating I realized how hastily I put the scanned blocks on the page, they are super crooked, lol.
Step 6: Finding the perfect fabric
Now you are done! Simply take your laminated sheet to the fabric store and start holding it up against various bolts to fabric to see what works. Once you've started sewing you can use the sheet as a reference to sewing order. It worked wonders for me, and I hope someone else finds it handy!