5 Great Uses for Orphan Blocks


Orphan blocks (i.e., those not intended for a particular quilt “home”) JUST INCREASE ON THEIR OWN in the dark places where you store your quilt bits…I learned that I have SEVERAL HUNDRED when I started taking pix for this post.

They come from lots of places:

*The sample blocks you made to try out a new pattern before cutting the fabric for the quilt

*The extra blocks you made so you’d have design choices in a quilt top

*The “found” blocks that just JUMPED ON YOU at a garage sale or thrift shop

*The single blocks you made at quilt classes but didn’t like well enough to duplicate for a whole quilt

*And the ones that JUST SHOWED UP and you have NO IDEA what they’re doing there

You get the idea—there are many sources of orphan blocks and many of us have quite a collection.

Therefore, I’m starting a little series of posts about what to do with them.  Here’s my list; I’ll write a separate “how-to” post on each use.  I know I’ll learn things along the way; hopefully my readers will, too!  So here we GO…

#5:  Decorate a tote bag.  You don’t even have to make the tote bag yourself!  These make great gifts.

#4:  Make a throw pillow.  Quilt it or not.  Use to spruce up your couch or as a housewarming gift.

#3:  Decorate a “work shirt”.  Great gift for quilty friends.

#2:  Make a table runner.  Keep on hand for hostess gifts, etc.  And a good build-up to my favorite:

#1:  Make a scrap quilt with an orphan-block focal point—MANY options with this one!

As you can see from the pix at the top and below, I have lots of orphan blocks to use!  I hope you’ll try out some of these ideas as I post instructions for them.

2 thoughts on “5 Great Uses for Orphan Blocks

  1. Great post with lots of great ideas! My favorite among your orphan blocks is the one you made for the MQU contest. It’s gorgeous!

    Many years ago, I read somewhere that when making a sample block for any quilt, we should make the sample using fabrics in our favorite colors. My faves are blue and white, so I’ve got just about enough to make a wonderful blue and white sampler quilt. Of course, these blocks are still orphans for now.

    Take care, Ann

  2. I generally put any leftover fabric/blocks into a pieced back. That usage goes a long way to reduce accumulation. Orphans and scrip scraps go into making reusable shopping totes. I like to use webbing for handles v. making fabric handles. I give these to friends.

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