TUMBLING BLOCKS (English paper pieced)

I love to English paper piece hexagons (see: https://indianaquilter40.com/flowers-tumblers-or-scraps-are-taking-over-my-world-part-1/ ) but not so much diamond shapes as in this Tumbling Block quilt that I English paper pieced 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 (probably because of the sharp points of the diamonds), plus the more I worked on it, the less I liked my color choices.

Tumbling block quilt

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.

For me, the lesson learned with this quilt was cut the fabric shapes bigger than the recommended amount because it made 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. For me there is less frustration 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.


So this Tumbling Block top got dropped into a box of UFO’s (unfinished objects) and did not reappear until 2002.

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

Finished size was 30″ x 50″.

Cotton fabrics and poly batting.

A side note is that I have been working on another paper pieced quilt using diamond shapes. My grandma left me several boxes of 1930 and 1940 feed sacks and other cotton fabrics. I decided to try a different setting and have gone with flowers.

More info about the Tumbling Block pattern:

For machine piecing: https://www.quilting-tidbits.com/tumbling-block-tutorial.html

For hand piecing: English Paper Piecing Instructions for Using Diamonds and http://www.lovepatchworkandquilting.com/quilt-tutorials/quilt-school-english-paper-piecing-diamonds


Author: IndianaQuilter40

Made first quilt by myself in mid teens. Addicted to quilting. Love using simple quilt patterns and giving them a twist so they are my own....Live in central Indiana. Raised in Montana. Have traveled and worked all over US and in Germany. Certified medical coder, HIM manager, and medical record auditor. Married for 30+ years to a wonderful guy who likes my quilts. We have grown children and starting on grand-kids.

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