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Floral Bouquet

At the start of the 2016 year we began a theme of candle mat patterns in our Quilter's World updates. The idea of small projects that could easily be made from scraps and stash was the driving force for the theme. We are now through the first half of the year and the response has been wonderful. Many of you have found the patterns and the suggestions for changes very helpful, and many of you have really run with your own the ideas. With so many great comments under our belt, we will continue on with this theme through the end of the year. If you haven't already joined in the fun, maybe it's time to start.

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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.

Floral Bouquet is another great pattern with lots of creative possibilities. The original 4-inch blocks used in the pieced top were made with templates, which is fine, but I prefer to rotary-cut and piece without the use of templates when possible. So in my makeover of Floral Bouquet I'm changing the 4-inch star blocks to 6-inch blocks that can easily be made. I'll be using batik fabrics since that is what I have the most of, and hopefully, I'll find everything I need in my scraps and my yardage stash.

After digging through both of my stashes, -- first through my scraps for the star block fabrics and then through my yardage stash for anything that would coordinate with my chosen scraps -- I came up with what I think is a nice color selection for my revised candle mat. The star blocks can by pieced in fun floral colors since all the pieces are small, and if I make each block a different color, I can use some of the small amounts of scraps.

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Scraps and yardage I hope to use in the Floral Bouquet Candle Mat.

Next I selected the 6-inch block pattern I wanted to use to replace the 4-inch star blocks in the original pattern and figured a new cutting list.

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My replacement block, new layout diagram and fabric cutting instructions.

Cutting List for One Star Block

If you choose to try our updated version you will need to make four 6-inch (finished) blocks. This is the perfect project to use small amounts of scraps. 

From background fabric (light green in block photos) :
Cut 4 (2 1/2-inch) squares
Cut 1 (3 1/4-inch) square; cut square on both diagonals to make 4 triangles

From the main fabric (blue/lavender in block photos):
Cut 1 (2 1/2-inch) square for block center
Cut 2 (2 7/8-inch) squares; cut each square on 1 diagonal to make 4 triangles

From the accent fabric (violet-red in block photos):
Cut 1 (3 1/4-inch) square; cut square on both diagonals to make 4 triangles

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All the pieces cut out for the four 6-inch blocks assorted and ready to start piecing.

Once all the pieces were cut out for the star blocks, I then cut out the additional pieces to complete the center, border and the binding. 

From the background fabric (light green in photo):
Cut 2 (2 1/2 x 10 1/2-inch) rectangles
Cut 2 (2 7/8-inch) squares; cut each square on 1 diagonal to make 4 triangles (discard 1)

From the border fabric (dark teal in photo):
Cut 2 (2 7/8-inch) squares; cut each square on 1 diagonal to make 4 triangles (discard 1)
Cut 2 (3 x 14 1/2-inch) strips
Cut 2 (3 x 19 1/2-inch) strips
Cut 3 (2 1/4-inch by fabric width) strips for binding

I laid out each block one at a time to make sure I liked my fabric choices and arranged them so that the orientation for piecing was correct. Next I stitched all the pieced units together and placed them back in order, ready to stitch the units into one of the blocks. After the first block was pieced I laid out the next, pieced it and moved to the next until all four blocks were done.

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Preparing and laying out the block for piecing.

I then stitched the four pieced blocks together to make the center unit of my candle mat. To make two pieced side strips, I first pieced the triangles I had cut from the background fabric and the border fabric together to make three half-square triangle units, and then, along with the two 2 1/2 x 10 1/2-inch background fabric strips, I laid them out on two sides of the center unit to see if it looked balanced before I stitched it all together.

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Auditioning the pieced strips together with the center unit before actually stitching it all together. Obviously, my background strips were too long, so I trimmed them up to make the pieced unit square after the strips were sewn to the center unit.

I added the two pieced side strips to the center unit and then the outer borders.    

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The center unit with pieced side strips before the outer borders were added, at left, and then with the outer borders, at right.

Now the revised version of Floral Bouquet is a bit different than the original, but I think it still looks good. If you dislike working with templates but love a particular pattern that uses them, maybe it's time to rethink it. With a few simple changes in techniques and in the construction you can still have a similar candle mat but one you will enjoy making. I'm very happy with this project so far, and I have some fun ideas for the quilting. So, next I sandwich the layers together and I'm off to my machine.

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My finished version of Floral Bouquet.

You'll be amazed how much fun these small candle mats can be. Changing colors, fabrics, techniques or adding your own twists to a project can be so much fun, and when you're working with small projects and using your stash, your investment is mainly in your time. So go ahead and try that new technique or a color combination you've been wanting to play with. If it doesn't work out, I guarantee you'll learn something one way or the other. Creativity is best learned through trial and error. Go ahead and take that leap!

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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