What to do with orphan blocks?

August 10, 2010 § 10 Comments

What do you do with your orphan blocks? When I first started quilting I was invited to a workshop about this topic. We were told to bring our orphan blocks to learn how best to turn them into a quilt. At that stage I didn’t have any orphans so I didn’t go. Now I do. They are from quilts I started a block of and then decided I didn’t like; blocks where I was experimenting; and blocks I made the wrong size . So what to do with them? Any suggestions? Here they are:

The first one is an Aunt Millie’s Flower Garden which I didn’t enjoy doing and decided one block was enough.

The second set of blocks are hearts made from Japanese fabrics

The third set of blocks I made for my Sun, sea and sand quilt but I used triangles that were too small and the blocks were too small for inclusion.

Then there are the “uglies”.

Then there are some left over Andalusian Tile Quilt blocks, a tessellation experiment, a QAYG diamond and a spare block from my Kaffe for All Seasons.

And last but not least, two blocks I made when I was learning appliqué.

I think that collectively they could make an interesting “Learning Journey Quit”. What you do you think?

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§ 10 Responses to What to do with orphan blocks?

  • Personally I find it very difficult to arrange random blocks in a pattern that I like. So I have come up witht he following solutions:

    Table toppers
    Baby quilts
    Medallion centre for a larger quilt

    However here is a link to one quilt with randon panel blocks that i did complete. http://pilgrimsquilts.blogspot.com/2010/08/quilt-with-random-bits-orphan-pieces.html

  • Edna says:

    Looks like a great start for an interesting ‘sampler’ type quilt. Lay your blocks out with spaces between them then fill in with strips or blocks… flying geese… nine patch… four patch… just about anything. Then add borders and you’re done!

  • Holly says:

    IMO these blocks are too disparate to fit together in a quilt. You might consider turning some into pillows.

    For the 1st one pictured, though, that one I would use as the medallion for a round-robin quilt if you have 5 other quilting friends to participate. You’d need to supply some more of the fabric, though, OR fabrics that work well with it.

    Good luck!

  • Suzy Atkins says:

    I agree they are too disparate to make into a quilt. Scquilters at one stage donated orphan blocks and with good sorting we were able to make six quilts but that was because we could sort by colour. Your three applque blocks and the hearts may work togther. A tip for the future is to make all” technique ‘blocks in Xmas colours.. and eventually they can all go in one quilt.

  • knitserious says:

    Hi Munaiba,
    I agree with Holly. However, anything is possible. Perhaps you can come up with a set that marries them. You might be inspired by Margaret Miller. Your library can probably get you a copy of

    Now for my question, why? Why not just label them & store them safely away? I do this with knitting swatches. It’s always interesting & sometimes inspiring to look through–sort of a design “notebook”.


  • Lorraine says:

    As you said you didn’t want cushions I think you could set yourself a challenge to put them together somehow. There are lots of quilts around with mixed blocks in them. Have a look in the mags and see if there is something that appeals to you that you could use these blocks in. Also you might consider tea dyeing the white background blocks to make them fit with the others better. Another option is to use the ones that are similar colours together and the others in a separate quilt. Good luck with it.

  • Janet says:

    I have a few orphan blocks but the trouble is that the fabrics are so different that they wouldn’t go together. I say keep collecting yours and you could end up with a great sampler one day.

  • sylvia says:

    They would certainly tell a most unique story! I say go for it!

  • Jan Quigley says:

    I love the 1st & the last, with borders on the last you could use these 2 for the front & back of a bag.
    I don’t think the others play nicely with each other & if donated, would probably find the blocks they should be with in charity quilts. 🙂
    cheers, Jan

  • […] while ago I posted about all the orphan blocks I seem to have collected. Well the other day I was reading some of the blogs I follow and I found […]

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