Bright, Bold original quilt patterns and designs for English Paper Piecing (EPP) and appliqué

How to join your Vortex Blocks together - Part Two

As I mentioned in the previous post in this series, one of the reasons that I don’t often sell complete quilt sized EPP patterns is that I want to encourage you to explore and play with the geometry of your blocks and to find new and exciting ways to put the block designs together. 

By doing this, you can create your own totally unique project.  I find this approach suits my messy brain as I often have so many ideas on how to put the blocks together that I get overwhelmed and paralysed by the thought of choosing just one option to share with you!

Over this series of posts, I’m sharing with you some of the tessellation options I have come up with for my Vortex block pattern:


verb (used with object), tes·sel·lat·ed, tes·sel·lat·ing.

to form of small squares or blocks, as floors or pavements; form or arrange in a checkered or mosaic pattern.

So, let’s look at the second option:

Adding additional paper pieces

By creating smaller sub-units with additional paper pieces, you can join multiple Vortex blocks to make a larger quilt.

Here are just some of the ways you might go about joining multiple Vortex blocks together.

Option 1 – Equilateral Triangles

The simplest way to tesselate your Vortex blocks would be through the addition of an equilateral triangle.  (Both images shown are the same, but the orientation of the blocks has been changed)


Seven Vortex EPP quilt blocks tessellated with equilateral triangles
Seven Vortex EPP quilt blocks tessellated with equilateral triangles

If you choose to tessellate your blocks this way, you will need to use an equilateral triangle paper template with the same edge measurement as your other paper pieces.

My Vortex block pattern contains 3 different sizes of block and therefore uses 3 different sizes of paper pieces depending on if you are making the Small, Medium, or Large block.

Option 2 – Equilateral Triangles and Rectangles

In the first post of this series, we looked at simply joining the Vortex blocks together along their sides and leaving space for a background fabric to shine through.

But what if we filled that gap with a variety of shapes?

In the examples below, I have used equilateral triangles of 2 different sizes and a rectangle.  The larger triangle used might present some good opportunities for fussy cutting. 


For this tessellation to work, you would need to use equilateral triangles with the same edge length as your pieces from your chosen Vortex block size (red) and equilateral triangles that are DOUBLE the length of that size (blue).

The rectangle (black)used would have edge measurements of both the triangle sizes used.

E.g. For the Medium Vortex block, you would need to use 2” equilateral triangles combined with 4” equilateral triangles and a rectangle which measures 2” x 4”

Option 3 – Hexagons and Rectangles

The third option I’m sharing with you in this post is to use Hexagons and Rectangles to create a frame of sorts around your Vortex blocks. 

Hexie Vortex EPP Quilt blocks framed by hexagons and rectangles
Hexie Vortex EPP blocks framed by Hexagons and rectangles

Further Exploration & Ideas

As you can see from the sample images provided, here are just some of the options available for tessellating your Vortex blocks using additional paper pieces.

And yet, within those additional paper pieces, there is still further scope to add interest, movement and your own unique “spin” (pun intended) on my Vortex block pattern:

Now, what if you choose to Divide & Conquer?

For example, the pieces within the block could be sub-divided as can be seen here in the Peppermint Swirl Pillow variation that I made on my Twitch stream earlier this year.  Again, just make sure that you use the same size templates depending on whether you are making the Small, Medium, or Large block.


How about dividing the joining hexagons from the third option in this post?

Hexagons can be divided up in any number of ways, here are some examples of how a quilt made using Vortex blocks might look:

Hexagons have been divided into thirds

Hexagons have been divided into 6 kite shapes


There are also ways for you to divide the triangles, and rectangles…. endless possibilities for you to make an utterly unique quilt of your own. 

So, how will you use your Vortex blocks? 

Let me know in the comments and please tag me on your social media posts – I’d love to see what you’re doing with my Vortex block design! 

In the third instalment of this series we will look at how we might tessellate the Vortex block by removing pieces from the original block design.

You can get a copy of the Hexie Vortex EPP Quilt Block pattern here

If there is anything that is unclear, please don't hesitate to contact me or leave a comment.  I'm here to encourage and inspire you to make your own amazing English Paper Pieced fabric creations!

Until next time, 

Happy Stitching!

Alison xx

p.s. If you've enjoyed reading this post, please consider taking a moment to share it in your favourite Facebook groups and leave me a comment (so I know I'm not just talking to myself).  I'd be very grateful if you did. xx

1 comment

  • Gorgeous


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published