Sunday, September 4, 2011

what to do with orphan blocks?

I have amassed quite a collection of blocks without a home.  Extras I made, experiment blocks, blocks that didn't turn into quilts, blocks that got ripped out of quilts, etc.

I have seen some quilts in blogland where someone has just put all their orphan blocks together into a quilt and magically they look nice.  I am not sure that will be the case here.  I laid all of them out on the floor (I had more than I thought!) to kind of get an idea:

Now they are all different sizes.  Here's the possibilities I'm considering:

a.  realize it may not be cute and abandon idea.

b.  cut blocks into some set size.  put borders on smallest ones and cut largest ones down or into pieces

c.  assemble it like a jigsaw puzzle, leaving most of them the current size but cutting the biggest ones down into a few pieces to spread them out a bit.

What do you think?  Some of these blocks I'm a bit attached to.  There's pieces of my daughters' baby quilts in there, quilts I made for friends, etc.  I also thought about making some more blocks from scraps leftover from especially special quilts I've given away, thus allowing me to keep a little piece of that quilt.  But I'd like to hear your opinion.

Also, thanks for your feedback on garment making!  Thanks to your really excellent feedback, I now have a project in the works, and I'll be telling you more about it this week.


  1. You've got some great blocks here! I think that your idea will work. Just kind of stick to a color scheme? You have some reds that will go well together, and I also see some pastels or greens and yellows that look promising, and that big blue one can be flanked by black and blue blocks. All in all, I see about three quilts. :)

  2. I am not sure that I would keep them all together. The four red blocks that go together look like they would be a really awesome looking quilt if you made more of them.

  3. With the blue one I would make a cushion, but the rest could get together. If you use black to put them together, twist the small ones in bigger blocks, or put them not in the center of the block, you can get all the blocks same size and put them together, without any sashing, only all blocks above black. As you have used black in some of your blocks, I think the result will look very nice.

  4. I think what you have there is more of a sentimental quilt and not one specifically meant to look "cute". It's one I would keep folded in my room or JUST for me because it makes me feel good to look at the blocks and remember the different projects. So yeah.. the colours don't all go together but I wouldn't let that dissuade you. :)

  5. Make two quilts: Put together the blocks with black and red, the rest look like they have some shade of blue to them so they would look good together. Orphan blocks also make good pillows, table runners and wall quilts.

  6. I might cut the blue, black and big red ones into quarters and mix them in with the others jigsaw puzzle way.

    Oh, and thanks so much for your comment about my Amish Braid quilt. The taking pictures idea at sunset is brilliant. The pictures turned out 100 times prettier than the actual quilt so I am quite pleased. :)

  7. Check out Gwen Marston for ideas. I took a workshop from her, and she treats these "extras" as the 'parts department". Some of her quilts online will show some ideas. She likes to make big sets of simple parts, such as half square triangles or simple four patches, and then use those as borders to corral other blocks. I'll try to email some photos from her workshop. Think about whether you could create a medallion quilt, maybe with the largest square in the center, adding borders to separate the different layers of blocks, etc.