I’ve been burbling on recently about units and blocks and grids and other arcane patchwork stuff including blocks that don’t appear to have a grid but are pieced on the diagonal instead. I thought I would have a look at one of these blocks and the different ways and means of piecing it.

The block I have chosen is called Corn and Beans.

As you can see it has four large triangles on point in the centre surrounded by smaller triangles and four larger triangles to make a bigger square on point and then this is turned into a square by adding another set of smaller triangles with four larger triangles in the corners.

But if we add a couple of lines (seams) to this block we can turn it into a four-patch block

Which is made from four separate and (almost) identical units – you need to watch your colour placements.

Or we can add more lines and turn it into a 9-patch

This has three different square units to make.

The original block lends itself well to different colour placements – and as its coming up to that time of year I’ve used Christmas colours this time.

And you can put these same colours into the 4-patch or the 9-patch version depending on which you thought might be easiest to piece.

And now you could put those blocks together to make a quilt

Or a runner

Of course having added extra lines to your blocks you have opened the way for even more colour fun.

If you fancy having a go at making this block or even the quilt you can download the free instructions for all three blocks (12 inch finished size) ,with colouring sheets for the quilt and blocks, in the form of a compressed PDF here – compressing the PDF has made the drawings slightly less sharp but not noticeably so and it will open as normal.

And why – apart from possibly being easier to piece – would I choose to make this block as a 4-patch or a 9-patch? One very good reason (I think!) is that if I want to change the size of this block it is much easier to work out with those extra lines in place than when everything is on the diagonal. Plus adding in those extra seams – yes its more faff to make – gives you so many more colour opportunities. If you download the pattern you can spend several happy hours over Christmas just colouring in, remember that you only need to print out the colouring pages.

Regardless of all that I hope you all have a good (and safe) Christmas – with or without corn and beans!