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In the Quilting World

Substituting Different Blocks

Quilting inspiration can strike at any time. It may be a certain fabric or a pattern that inspires a quilter. It can be the season or the desire to make a special gift for a dear friend. For whatever reason, when a quilter is inspired it's always good to know that there are choices. It may be the choice to make a project as it was originally designed or the choice to change not only the colors but maybe even the design of a block or border. Not every quilter sees the same finished project when considering a pattern or a project. And that is the beauty of quilting. Each quilter can put her or his own spin on a quilt. Change can happen in the colors, the size, the borders, the blocks -- if a quilter can think it, then she (or he) can do it.

Falling Leaves is a candle mat made with leaf blocks using templates. It's a cute design, but I'm not one to work with templates so I've decided to change the leaf blocks to one that could be made solely from traditional piecing. There are several easy pieced leaf blocks that could replace the original blocks and save a lot of time, something I seem to be short on.

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Falling Leaves -- 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.

Since I love autumn and the warm colors it provides, working with leaf blocks is going to be so much fun. My scrap basket (or should I say tub) is full of beautiful batiks in a wide range of colors that are perfect to make my chosen blocks. As I knew would be the case, easy pickings.   

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I've selected for this project along with a soft yellow
for the background and borders.

The block I've sketched for this project is a simple one made with half-square triangles, squares and a machine-appliqued stem. All involve easy piecing. With my sketch of the block and my selected scraps pressed and ready to start, it was time to figure out my cutting list for this project. I needed four 6-inch replacement blocks.   

After drawing my new block pattern and figuring out a new cutting list, it's off to the cutting table.   

12 (2 1/2-inch) squares of medium to dark prints
8 (2 1/2-inch) squares of light background fabric
8 (2 7/8-inch) squares of medium to dark prints
8 (2 7/8-inch) squares of light background fabric
1 (1 1/2 x 14-inch) strip green print for stems
2 (2 x 12 1/2-inch) strips and 2 (2 x 15 1/2-inch) strips light background fabric for borders
Backing and batting to size

With all the pieces cut and sorted it was time to begin my revised project.

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Pieces cut and sorted, ready to begin the piecing.

The first thing I did was pair up the 2 7/8-inch squares to make half-square triangle units. I marked a line diagonally from corner to corner on the wrong side of the eight light squares and then paired each of them with a medium or dark square, right sides together. I stitched 1/4-inch from the drawn line on both sides and then cut them apart along the marked line and then pressed each one open. This made the 16 units I needed for the four replacement blocks.

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Making my half-square units for the four replacement blocks.

Next, to make the stems I folded the 1 1/2 x 14-inch strip in half lengthwise with the right sides together and stitched along the long raw edge using a scant 1/4-inch seam allowance. I turned the strip right side out and pressed it so that the seam was in the center of the underside. I cut the strip into four equal segments. I placed one segment diagonally on a 2 1/2-inch light square and stitched the segment in place on the long sides. I repeated this last step to make a total of four stem units.

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Making the stem units for the leaf block.

With all the units completed for my new leaf block, using my drawing as my guide, I laid out each block and stitched them together. 

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Laying out my block units using my drawing and then assembling them.

Once the four blocks were assembled and pressed, I stitched the four blocks together to make the center of my candle mat. 

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At left, deciding how to lay out my new blocks before stitching them together; at right, the blocks stitched together for the center of my newly designed candle mat.

Next, I added the borders.

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Center with borders added.

Once the borders were attached and I'd pressed the candle mat top, I layered, quilted and added the binding.  

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My version of this candle mat finished with different blocks.

Now there's not a lot of difference in the finished project but there was considerable difference in the way it was constructed. I enjoyed making this one, and everything came from my scraps, even the batting. It's nice to put those lovely pieces to use in a fun project that is also useful. I think there may be a few more of these in my future. They'd make great gifts. 

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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