Quilter Inspiration: Changing The Patches In Your Blocks


Have you ever looked at a block and wondered what it might look like with strips or squares in some of the patches instead of just solid patches?

I’m certain that there are many more quilt block patterns today simply because quilters asked that question and then created blocks that replaced several patches with strips or smaller squares.

I ran across one not too long ago that I wanted to share with you.

The original block is called Whirlwind. It is a 4 patch, made from simple square and half-square triangle patches.

Forgetting how the block is made, you can see that there are some fairly large areas with “solid” space.

Not that the fabric necessarily is solid, because you could easily make it using a print fabric. The key factor here is that there are large areas without complicated patchwork.

whirlwind quilt block
This Whirlwind quilt block is a 4 patch, and is made
using square patches and half-square triangles.

In my wanderings, I discovered this variation of the Whirlwind quilt block. The quilter who designed this block replaced the half-square triangles used in the Whirlwind block with strips of fabric and squares.

The result is a completely different look, and the name of this block is Whirlwind Flag.

whirlwind flag quilt block
This Whirlwind Flag quilt block has the same basic design
as a Whirlwind quilt block, but the pieces have been
replaced with strips and squares.

This block is a little more complicated to piece together because of the squares in the center.

I would start by sewing red and white strips together and create a set of white-red-white strips and another set of red-white-red strips. (See the pictures below)

Once those units are made, cut off the end of the red-white-red set so it is straight, and then sew a blue square onto the end.

Next attach a white-red-white strip unit onto the side, matching the bottom of the blue square and the strip you are adding.

Once these are sewn together, cut the ends off at a 45 degree angle, add the triangle and sew the rest of the block together.

While this does use a little more fabric than cutting the individual pieces for the block, you can save the extra pieces for another project, and I find it easier to sew strips together and then cut than to match and sew each patch..

whirlwind flag quilt blockstrip piecing a quilt blockwhirlwind flag quilt block patternwhirlwind flag quilt
Sew units together that are white-red-white stripsSew strips together to make red-white-red unitsAdd the blue squares to the bottom of the red-white-red strip unitsAttach a white-red-white unit onto the side.

The pattern includes templates for each of the patches in the block – with the ends cut at a 45 degree angle.

Bright Hope’s Twist is an example of a block that would be really easy to convert. Below on the left is a picture of the original block, which uses only square patches. The square patches have been replaced with strips in the block on the right.

To make the block on the right, just sew the 3 strips together, then cut the strip unit off the length you need. To make it easy to sew, you could cut the strips into squares, or you could sew them on as rectangles.

bright hopes twist quilt blockbright hopes twist quilt block in stripes
Bright Hope’s Twist Bright Hope’s Twist using narrow strips instead of square patches

Recent Posts