I’ve been designing a new sampler quilt recently for people that would like to expand their knowledge as a follow on from my beginner’s quilt workshops. Incorporating lots of different techniques in the blocks, I’m planning on running this on a monthly basis and I was thinking that perhaps creating a Quilt Block Keeper Bag might be a good idea.

What’s one of those I hear you ask? Well, I’ve come across various versions over the years. A great way to use up an orphan block but there are lots of different designs out there. One of my ladies went last year to a workshop where they made a roll-up version which was heavily appliquéd – it was lovely.

I wanted something a little more substantial. As most of the blocks for the sampler quilt are to be 12″ I needed to ensure that it was big enough so went for 18″ for the main area. What design to use? There are SO many wonderful blocks out there but I went for one that would show off my fabric nicely. I happened to have a Fat Quarter set of five coordinating fabrics from an old Lewis and Irene collection which has the wording ‘Happiness is Homemade’ which struck me as perfect. The block I chose to use is the Contrary Wife quilt block which has the advantage of a larger square in the centre for which I could fussy cut the wording to fit perfectly.

Contrary Wife quilt block

As I am determined at present to use up some of my stash I happened to have some wine coloured fleece for which I used as the ‘sticky’ fabric on the inside. You need something like fleece, think Fuzzy Felt, to help grasp the blocks and keep them in the bag. For those who are looking to recycle things, you could cut up an old fleece jumper. I have a few that are looking a little worse for wear but I can’t throw them away as they are still usable.

The bag needed to be a little more robust if it is to be swung around and transported frequently so I also included a ‘bag foam’ layer. This adds body to the bag and I added sturdy handles and fastened it with buttons and loops. A good rummage in my button jar gave me some lovely little heart buttons which are just the thing and I recycled some Grosgrain ribbon from a gift box as the button loops.

Quilt Block Keeper Bag

This will also become a workshop but with a twist. The pattern, which you can find in my shop here, has the Contrary Wife quilt block on both sides, ideal if you want to show off some of your favourite fabric. As I was working from a set of Fat Quarters and didn’t want to use additional fabrics, for the workshop you will have the option to either stick to the pattern and have the same both sides or make one Contrary Wife block and for the other side, we will be having fun with Scrapology! Using Improv to make up as you go a block large enough for the back.

Workshop version of the Quilt Block Keeper Bag.

I really enjoyed making this Quilt Keeper Bag and have tested it thoroughly by popping some orphan blocks inside and swinging it around to see if they stayed put! I am now planning on working on a ruler bag for workshops. I’ve been meaning to make one for years and now have the time and no excuse!

For details of my hopefully soon to be running workshops visit my website here.