I just finished up another sample for my beginning paper piecing class. I almost didn’t get a picture of it this morning because the wind is gusting so hard, it kept pulling my runner off the barn and blowing it down the hill!
I often use my Melon Ice Quilt (see above) pattern on a smaller scale to teach beginners. Making the blocks 4 1/2″, rather than over-sized, is easier and perfect for introducing paper piecing. The fabrics are easy to precut for these shapes and each block is made as a single unit without components that need to be sewn together.
This is the original quilt layout, as exported from EQ7. I played around with alternate layouts to design a table runner out of the smaller blocks. While it’s possible to do this on the design wall too, I love being able to rotate the blocks and redefine the number of blocks in the top quickly and easily in EQ in order to come up with lots of ideas!
This is the layout that I have been sharing with my students in my workshops. As you can see, especially in the EQ7 layout diagram on the right, there are only two full rings of blocks in the center, with partial rings surrounding it. Rather than using contrasting, alternating solids for the rings, as I did in the original, I used all Anna Maria Horner prints in very similar colors and prints. The end result is scrappier. After looking at it a bit, the pattern of rings emerges.
Recently, I played with sample blocks I had been making in class and mocked up a different layout where the blocks created interlocking X shapes instead of rings. I love this layout too. There are so many possibilities! You will notice that I just “colored” my layout with solids. It is possible to upload fabric files to your library or to scan in your actual fabrics too. I occasionally use this feature but very often, I just color in solids to remind myself of placement and can visualize it from there.
This runner was quilted on the diagonal, echoing the X shapes. I spaced my lines either 1/4″ or 1/2″ apart to make an irregular grid. I used a variegated 40 weight lavender/purple thread. I don’t usually sew with a lot of purple but I really do like it combined with the soft yellows, chartreuse and grey. One of the things I like about smaller projects is trying new color combinations. It’s not as big of a commitment as a whole quilt!
I am working on one more version of this pattern, this time a pillow cover, with fussy cut diamonds and an alternating X and ring layout. I will be back soon to share it!
If you are interested in the Melon Ice pattern, it’s in my shop. If you email me with proof of purchase, I am happy to share the 4 1/2″ block pattern with you as well.