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Sometimes Things Donít Work Out As Planned

Let me introduce myself: I'm Carolyn Vagts, editor of Quilter's World magazine and writer of this update. That's my day job, and at night, I'm an addicted quilter. I tend to eat, breathe and sometimes sleep with my quilting. I have a beautiful studio with my work space right in it. How convenient, since I work at and with quilting. As editor, I am very hands-on with every issue. I'm also very hands-on with this update. I love to share my experiences with other quilters in hopes it will inspire them to explore the endless possibilities available to them.

With each update I select a book or pattern to accompany it. It's usually something that I feel goes along with the content of my update, and sometimes it's what inspires that content. This time I've selected a pattern that was designed by Pam Boswell: Patches & Pinwheels. I love quilts with a two-block layout. You can really get some interesting looks with them. It all depends on the fabrics used and, of course, the blocks you pick.

Patches & Pinwheels
Patches & Pinwheels pattern can be purchased at

After playing around with my fabric possibilities for this project I decided to go another way. I love two-block quilts, and I especially love 16-patch blocks. I've made several quilts using 16-patch blocks as the alternate block. Sometimes I make a pattern just as it is, but more often than not, it's the inspiration for a totally different quilt. Some of the elements are there and you can see them, but I go off in a different direction. I started out with the intent to make this quilt as it originally was given but with different fabric. I had this awesome collection of fabric, Dandi Annie from Moda, just sitting on a shelf in my studio waiting for the right project and I felt this was it. So, I opened up the bundle and ironed all the fat quarters to get a better look at it. Then I ironed some white fabrics for possible backgrounds.

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All the fat quarters ironed and ready to select my blocks.

I thumbed through several block books I had, looking for a few blocks I thought would work well with a 16-patch block. I wanted to decide on the possible blocks that I might use before I cut the fabrics for the 16-patch blocks. I settled on three different blocks to make and audition for this project. I cut out all the pieces for the three block possibilities.

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All the pieces cut out for three blocks and stitching them together.

I stitched all three of the selected blocks together. I liked all three and found that I couldn't make up my mind as to which I would use.

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The three blocks I made to audition for this quilt.

I really needed to make the 16-patch blocks to lay out with these blocks to make a decision, so it was off to the cutting table to cut out the pieces to make a few 16-patch blocks. Once I had a good selection of squares cut out, I was off to my sewing machine again to assemble a few blocks.

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Cutting out the pieces for the 16-patch blocks and stitching them together.

Once I had a few blocks stitched together, I laid them out with the three different blocks to see how they looked together.

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My three blocks laid out with several 16-patch blocks to audition them for this quilt.

Hmm. Well, then I tried laying them out with all three of the blocks, thinking maybe I needed to make all the blocks different. So, anyway, I auditioned these blocks but I didn't like them. Maybe it was my choice of fabrics for this project or maybe it was the block patterns, but for whatever reason, I felt they just didn't work together.

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A layout with all three possible blocks and the 16-patch blocks.

This doesn't happen too often to me, but it does on occasion and it totally stumps me. I decided I need to stick to the original pattern. The fabrics there were beautiful, and the original pattern was a great one. I think I just tried to force the wrong combination. Just because the fabrics are lovely doesn't mean that they will work in any project. Lesson learned. Now it's back to the drawing board, so to speak. It's not a total loss. I have several lovely blocks and a few great ideas for another day.

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