With a Block, Block Here and a Block, Block There

My latest orphan block quilt in a state of becoming
Teach Yourself Visually Quilting by Sonja Hakala

Four years later, I still have a drawer full of blocks created when I sewed and wrote Teach Yourself Visually Quilting.

And truth to tell, I’ve added to them in the intervening years.

For the uninitiated, quilt blocks that don’t have a home are referred to as “orphan blocks.” Strictly speaking, these aren’t scraps because a scrap, by definition, is a single piece of fabric that you don’t need at the moment for anything in particular.

Nope, these babies were destined for a life with others like them but along the way, they weren’t needed or didn’t fit in or the project was abandoned, etc.

They can be a real challenge to fashion into a quilt that makes sense to the eye. You’d think that all you had to do was pick out blocks at random, sew them together, and you’d end up with a quilt.

Not true. In some respects, orphan block quilts can be more of a challenge than starting off with all-new fabric because the blocks don’t work with one another very well or their differing sizes call for additions or subtractions in order to fit.

I hadn’t made an orphan block quilt for quite some time when a member of my guild started talking about them. Inspiration struck, as in “I haven’t made one of those in a while. I think I’ll do that as an in-between-other-projects project.”

Like I need another project.

Anyway, I dove into the odd-block drawer, and the quilt pictured at the top came out. Right now, it’s in the process of being quilted in a way I want to share with you as the week progresses.

And now we have a theme for this week—orphan block quilts and some fun utility quilting tips.

One thought on “With a Block, Block Here and a Block, Block There”

  1. A friend had a really good suggestion (which, of course, I never remember to follow) and that was whenever you make a “test” block to use the same range of colors (like red, white and blue.) That way, you’d have a drawer (or box, in my case) full of red, white, and blue blocks instead of whatever seemed to strike your fancy at that moment.

    (I, however, believe that if you throw enough different fabrics in a quilt, they eventually will all go together…)

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