Tag Archives: Orphan Blocks

2017-11 Bright Potholders

These bright little potholders were made from two leftover blocks.  They were quilted with a green thread.  The orange binding adds a coordinating tough.   It is always helpful to  have lots of potholders at hand.  It feels good to use up those orphan blocks too.

Outreach Teamwork

??????????This quilt”Batik on Angle” was made of orphan blocks donated by guild member Leslie.  I pulled the coordinating fabrics from the stash, figured out the layout and sent it to guild member Adriana to assemble.  It came back as a top and I quilted it with Keryn Emmerson’s Bramble panto.  Then guild member Annie added the label and binding.    ??????????

Last November, when guild member Diane suddenly passed away, our guild received many of her UFOs.  This quilt came from a stack of carefully pieced flying geese.  Someone else donated a large length of the brown fabric.  I designed the block and made a sample.  Using my Accuquilt cutter, I cut the brown strips to complete the blocks and guild member Ruth assembled the inner section of the quilt.  When it came back, I added the borders and then quilted it.  Guild member Nancy added the binding.  It is being donated to the organization Women in Crisis.
??????????This top is made from a set of 4 patch blocks received when guild member Diane passed away.  I dug in the stash, pulled the yellow and black and cut the pieces to make the rest of the kit.  Guild member Phyllis assembled the top.  I quilted it and then guild member Annie added the binding.   This quilt is being donated to Victim Services.

Teamwork makes the projects go faster and generates many good memories!

2012-40 Calendar Table Runner


These three blocks were made for a calendar quilt that was a block of the month project for our quilt guild in 2002, if I remember correctly.  They never got made into a quilt top, so this summer, I pulled the three orphans out of the shoe box in the cupboard and made them into this table runner.   It stayed as a flimsie until yesterday when I set aside the time to quilt and bind it.

It was fun to custom quilt it with several colors of cotton wrapped poly and Superior MonoPoly.  The straight grain yellow/orange print binding was attached and top-stitched by machine.  The table runner, which finished at 19″ by 40″ will be donated to a silent auction to raise money for a community organization.

I’m glad the blocks finally became part of a finished project.  It would be sad to let such nice blocks go to waste!  Now they can do some good!

2012-27: Pine Tree Orphans

Pine TreePine Tree quilt was made from a group of blocks that guild member Joan won at a retreat.  Joan donated them to the Community Outreach Committee because she did not like them enough to make them into a quilt.  When I showed her the finished quilt, she was pleasantly surprised and joked,  “I like them now!  Can I have the quilt back?”

I chose to sash the blocks with a plain blue shirting fabric and dark green small print sashing squares (both from my stash) which made the finished quilt look cohesive and attractive.   I quilted it with a Valdani variegated green/blue thread in a pine bough meander which was inspired by a pine bough meander in Darlene Epp’s Pocket Guide to Meandering.  It was quick, easy and carried the theme of the quilt top.


The quilt finished at 43″ by 51″ and was donated to Victim Services.

2012-26: Blue Block Orphans

Blue OrphansThis quilt is a compilation of the orphan blocks of about 8 people.  The only thing these blocks had in common was the color blue.  I pulled all of these blocks out of the many that have been donated to our guild outreach committee and put them on the design wall to play with.

DSC00351At one point, this is what the design wall looked like.  Even though I really liked that cute little house block, it did not belong here.  Not enough blue! Once I  had a general layout with the desired blocks, I started assembling and adding coping strips of a blue flowered fabric that gave me the spacers need to make it all fit.

The quilt finished at 40″ x 45″ and I really like the look of it!  I think what appeals to me is the challenge of making something nice out of found fabrics and blocks. It was donated to Victim Services, since they prefer to have small quilts.

2012-25: Jacobs Ladder Orphans

Jacobs Ladder QuiltThis Jacob’s Ladder quilt was made from a set of blocks that guild member Joan won in a block of the month draw.  Joan had them in her sewing room for about 15 years before donating them to the Community Outreach Committee.  Another guild member, Nancy, came over to my house one afternoon and began sashing the blocks.  After Nancy had to go home, I finished the sashing, added borders and then machine quilted it with a simple meander.

The plain green fabric gives the eye a bit of rest from the wide variety of colors in the blocks.   The quilt finished at 45″ by 66″ and was donated to Victim Services.

2012-24: Hidden Wells Orphan

Hidden Wells QuiltThis orphan block quilt was made with some Hidden Wells blocks that were brought to my front door by guild member Beverley, who was cleaning out her house in preparation for a move.  The blocks were already assembled, so I simply joined the rows, added the inner and outer borders and then machine quilted and machine bound it.

If you look at the bottom row, you can see that the pattern does not fit exactly.  Perhaps this is why these blocks ended up as Orphan blocks?  Hidden Wells can be a tricky pattern!

The finished quilt was completed within 4 hours.  It has already been donated to Victim Services.  Hopefully it will comfort someone in need.

2012-23: Russian Star Orphan

Russian StarThese orphan blocks are hand pieced in a design called Russian Star.   Someone in our guild donated them to be used in a community outreach project.  I trimmed them to an even size, and then sashed them with a chintz fabric.  The pink background fabric is heavy weight, so the chintz was able to balance the weight of the pink fabric.

The freehand machine quilting included a spiral in the center of the star and a dense fern-like sun-spray that emanated from the star center.  Binding was attached by machine.  This quilt has been donated to Victim Services.

2012-22: Fiesta Orphan

Fiesta Orphan One of the ways we make community outreach projects is through the use of orphan blocks.  We started this year to collect unused orphans when guild members are cleaning out their sewing rooms.  We take those lonely orphan blocks and give them a good home in a new donation quilt.

Orphan Blocks

Fiesta Orphans, named for the bright border print, was made from blocks donated by five different quilters.  I love to see what can be made from lecft-overs.  This one makes a perfect cuddle quilt – one that has already been donated to Victim Services.

I assembled the blocks and Dorothy, another guild member came over one morning for a sewing session and applied the borders.  It was quilted and bound by machine.

Using orphan blocks is a win-win-win activity.   A community organization gets an extra quilt, a guild member gets extra space in their sewing area and the community outreach committee gets a head start on making a quilt.  All good!

Project 2011-38: Flying Geese Baby Quilt

This small quilt,which  could be either a baby quilt or a lap cover, was made from flying geese blocks that were left over from the third quilt I finished.  I made the blocks in 1997 during my first rush of heated enthusiasm for quilting and finished that quilt in 2001 when I got confident enough to begin machine quilting.

These left-over blocks sat in my orphan blocks shoe-box for the next decade until I finally squared them up to make them somewhat  more accurate, sewed them into strips and sashed them with this coordinating cotton.   The front is not a typical baby quilt design, but I am certain that someone is going to love the “alternative” look.  To make it a bit more appealing to a child, I chose a fun jungle-print backing:

I love the surprising element of the fun backing, especially since the colors coordinate so well.

Here is a photo of the original quilt.











It was a Christmas present for my son when he was 11 years old.  He loved the design and quickly named it “Fast Forward to the Border” because of the resemblance to the fast forward buttons on his electronic gadgets.

Special note to anyone with ties to University of Guelph:  This photo was taken in the first floor washroom of Johnston Hall, where I worked for many years.  We had a large flannel room divider stored there.  It was great for holding up quilts while I took a photo!  If you lived in the residence upstairs, you will definitely recognize those tiled walls!

With this baby quilt finished, I’m feeling pleased to count another one done and see my orphan block shoe box just a bit less stuffed.

Goal Status:  38 quilts completed and 14 more to go to reach my goal of 52 completed projects by the end of 2011.

Road Blocks:  Even though the number remaining is getting lower, I’m starting to feel a bit anxious, because I have only a few more flimsies (aka quilt tops) left in the cupboard.  It will be wonderful to have an empty flimsie cupboard, but that means I have to turn my attention to the partially finished tops that do not yet have borders.   Borders always seem to be my stumbling block.  I have quite a few tops finished to the border stage and then stalled until I decide the right border and then get them cut and applied.  Mitered corners on borders are my major avoidance.  If I can possibly put corner blocks, I do!  I tell myself I hate the wasted fabric created by the mitering process, even though I don’t waste it – I cut it up and immediately put it into my containers of pre-cut squares and triangles.  The next few quilts really need to have mitered borders.  Corner blocks won’t work.  Sigh!  No wonder I left those quilts till the end.  Maybe I can treat this next stage as a personal workshop on mitering borders.  I know that the more I do anything, the better I get and the easier it feels.  Could this be all about my mental attitude towards an aversive task?  Probably is – most of life is like that!  Okay, I resolve to approach those borders as a opportunity to discover my personal “best practice” to applying mitered borders.    Onward and upward!