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In the Quilting World

Sometimes It's Just Fine As It Is

Sometimes a pattern is perfect just as it is. Sometimes a quilter just wants to re-create the same, or very close to the same, project as it was originally presented by the designer. The colors, the fabric choices, and how it was constructed may be exactly what you're looking for and exactly how you want to make it. Sometimes the joy of creating a project is in doing it. Trying different techniques normally not used, or not preferred, can be very enlightening. You never know when you'll discover a new, or old, way of doing a technique that you love.

Four-Patch Christmas Star, the free downloadable pattern for this newsletter, is a small enough project that it can be easily made in a day, no matter what technique you choose to use to make it. And for that reason, I've challenged myself to do what I swore I'd never do: use piecing templates. I want to see why so many people choose to piece with templates.

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Four-Patch Christmas Star -- the free download pattern for
this Quilter's World update.

If you'd like to work along with me on this project, download the pattern PDF under the Free Quilting Pattern tab at the top.

It was no problem to find similar fabrics and colors as shown on the original project. I have a rather large stash. Re-creating this candle mat was going to be easy -- well, it would be if I could wrap my head around cutting out the pieces using templates.

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The fabrics selected from my stash.

With the fabrics selected, some template material and the original patterns in hand, I began. I traced all the pattern pieces needed for this project onto the template material, and cut out and labeled each one. 

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The original pattern and the traced templates.

I teamed up the templates with the chosen fabrics and cut out all the pieces for the center unit of the block. Following the instructions, I pieced all the units together as directed. 

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All the template pieces cut out and all the units stitched together as directed.

With all the units stitched together, I laid them out into rows and then stitched the rows together to complete the center unit of the block.    

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Laying out the rows and assembling the center block unit.

Next, I added the four corner units to the on-point center unit, first to opposite sides and then to the remaining two sides.

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Adding the corner units to the center unit.

With the center complete, I added the borders and four-patch cornerstones. 

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Candle mat template-pieced top ready to sandwich and quilt.

I then pressed the pieced top and layered it with backing and batting. Next, because of the small size, I did a quick quilting job and then added the binding. 

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Completed candle mat made using template piecing and fabric similar to the original with no major changes to the pattern.

Well, I have to be honest about my experiences with template piecing. It wasn't that bad. The piecing went together nicely, but I still think the cutting could have more easily been done with a rotary cutter and mat. I really didn't see any advantage to cutting the square this way. Making a template for squares seems to be a lot of extra work to me. As for the corner units, well, I felt those went together great, and they matched up perfectly with the center unit. My conclusion: I would do this again, but I would probably cut the squares without the templates. 

I enjoyed trying this method of piecing on a small project. I managed to do something new that I wouldn't have normally done. I can see where some quilters may find this a technique they prefer, but for me ... not so much. And that's what is so great about quilting; there are so many ways to complete the same block, quilt or project that you can find something you like. All you have to do is rethink it -- or not.

If you choose to play along with me in these updates I'd love to see your projects. Send a photo of your project to me at Editor@QuiltersWorld.com and you may see your project and story on Facebook or in one of the upcoming updates.

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