Art is not my strong point but give me a pile of orphan blocks and I find that creative streak just trying to get out. My first foray into making a quilt top out of random orphan blocks was at the first ever Bloggerati retreat in November 2018. All my plans for the weekend were put on hold when I saw a pile of brightly coloured blocks and the story can be found here: https://ukqu.co.uk/christmas-dinner-quilts-for-care-leavers/

Mm, I sense a pattern emerging because November 2019 was our last Bloggerati Retreat (yes, we missed last year because of … you know why) and we were asked for donations of Wonky Circle blocks in blues and greys to be gifted and someone would take them away and do something with them. Well, that someone ending up being me and, I confess, that I forgot about them until I until I found them hiding away a box in my stash room. Not only were the blocks hiding in there, so was a stash of blue and grey fabric off cuts.

There was a mix of different sized blocks from 4 inch to 12½ inch, and not all square, so I started by sewing some of the smaller blocks together to make one big block. With a little bit of trimming this turned out as a 16” square block and became the centre of the quilt top.   

Next, I put together some 12½” blocks by mixing some smaller blocks in with the larger pieces.

I then laid out the blocks that I had and took a photo of them just to see what the end result might look like.

TIP: taking a photo of your proposed layout is a great way to check if you like what you see. Plus, when you are piecing it all together you can follow the layout more easily. This is what the first layout looked like:

To give it a sense of balance I decided to unpick some complete blocks and add smaller blocks – you’ll see what I mean when you see the finished quilt top later. It might seem that it goes against all that you have done before but, be brave and have faith; it pays off in the end.   

Now to decide on the final layout and to take another photo! Mine is shown below.

Sashing next! I found a ‘never been out of the packet’ single duvet cover of 80% cotton mix of just the right colour for this project. Definitely enough fabric for the sashing, border, backing and binding and very pleased that I decided not to send it in the charity bag last year.

As the centre block was 16” square I had offset some of the blocks against it. To do this I adjusted the width of the sashing for the middle blocks at the top and bottom and left and right of the centre block. Using quarter inch seams for adding the sashing I constructed the quilt blocks by sewing then in vertical panels starting with the centre panel.

The photo below was taken outside in natural daylight and the colours really pop! I’m pleased with the overall finished quilt top; all that’s left is to add the wadding, backing and get on with quilting it on my Sweet Sixteen. It’s finished at approx 45” square.

For those of you at the Bloggerati Retreat in 2019 and wondering what will happen to this quilt top, it will be gifted to a local charity group. Our local quilt group, Our Quilty Pleasures, North Lincs, often donates to a local hospice and the hospital so it will be well received and loved.

What’s next I hear you say? Yes, another pile of blocks passed to me to make into a quilt top – 20 at 6” square. But, for this one all the blocks have a machine embroidered motif in the centre so it’s just about getting the right layout and choice of sashing/borders to do it justice.

Why not check out your stash boxes, lay out those orphan blocks on the floor and let your imagination go wild.  And, if you do make something, pop a post with a pic on Twitter: @quiltsewgo or Instagram: quiltsewgo with the #qsgOrphanBlocks and I’ll repost.

We do have a Bloggerati Retreat planned for later his year; are you thinking what I’m thinking? Haha, we’ll see!

Happy Sewing Everyone

Carol L

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