TUMBLING BLOCKS (English paper pieced)

TUMBLING BLOCKS (English paper pieced)

I love to English paper piece hexagons but not so much diamonds. This Tumbling Blocks (English paper pieced) was pieced using this method in 1990-91. It was an experiment, and I chose three colors to make the diamonds and a floral fabric that coordinated for the background. 

I found that the diamonds were harder to baste together than I thought they would be – maybe because of the sharp points of the diamonds. Plus, the more I worked on it, the less I liked the colors.

TUMBLING BLOCKS (English paper pieced)

I sewed all the blocks together into the “diamond” shape above and then hand appliqued that down to the background. The more I worked on this project, the less I liked it, but I was determined to finish it.  I added the black border to frame it.

Bigger is better for this method

For me, the lesson learned with this quilt was cut the fabric shapes bigger than the recommended amount because it makes basting the fabric to the paper easier.

In the last few years, I have simply started cutting squares that I can fit comfortably over the paper pattern. Once they are basted, I trim off the extra. This method makes me far less frustrated even if there is a little bit of wasted fabric.

Clip art of Tumbling Blocks
Another idea for setting the Tumbling Block pattern.

It’s alright to admit that there are some quilt patterns we don’t like or want to do again. If you listen in on discussions among quilters, you will hear comments like, “I never want to make that pattern again” or “I don’t know what I was thinking when I started that quilt” etc.

That being said, if you like any pattern, please make it. If not, recycle the fabric into another project or give it away. There are just too many quilt ideas out there to struggle with one we really do not like or want to do.

The same can be said for the color choices we all make. If the colors are what you want for that quilt – go for it honey!!!! Do not listen to those who say that you should start over in such and such colors. This is the quilt world, and you can make the quilt in any color scheme that you want.


The more I worked on this quilt, the more I disliked it. Ugh and yuck.

So, this Tumbling Blocks top got dropped into a box of UFOs (unfinished objects) and did not reappear until 2002.

I did some really simple hand quilting on it in 2002 and bound it with gray bias tape. Then I donated it to a local church for their yearly auction. I was glad to see it go to another home.

The finished size was 30″ x 50″.

Cotton fabrics and poly batting.

A side note is that I have been very slowly working on another paper pieced quilt using diamond shapes. This one is using the pieces to make flowers and leaves on a vine. My grandma left me a lot of 1930s feed sacks and 1940s cotton which is being used for this top.

I certainly like working with diamonds better this way than as the Tumbling Blocks (English paper pieced), but it is far from my favorite quilt pattern.

Making the Tumbling Block pattern:

This tutorial is for machine sewing.

And here is a tutorial for doing hand piecing diamonds.

Choose joy
Source: Bing clip art


2 thoughts on “TUMBLING BLOCKS (English paper pieced)

  1. Hello! This is my first visit to your blog!
    You have done a outstanding job on this lovely quilt blog! Subscribed.

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