Orphan Blocks–A New Use!

Most of us have a good pile of orphan blocks left over from various projects. Here’s the box with most of mine–there are a few in other locations 😀

Typically, I use mine for donation quilts. I’ve used the Circle of Nine idea.

Sometimes I  have just arranged them on the design wall then filled in around them with background fabric.

Splendid Stars, 51″ x 53″

Sometimes I’ve even cut them into circles to applique onto a quilted background.

Donation Quilts for Ronald McDonald House

But still, there’s a big box full of them.

Then my friend Jerri told me she had made some of her orphan blocks into a quilt back! Great idea!

The next time I had a quilt needing a back, I took the blocks from the top of the pile and sewed them together. Then I surrounded them with pieces of quilt backing left from other projects.

Quilt back with a center of orphan blocks

Voila! It may be more “interesting” than beautiful, but it used up a lot of orphans and scraps. And it’s done!

11 thoughts on “Orphan Blocks–A New Use!

  1. Yay you! But gosh, I don’t have orphan blocks as you do. Wow! Maybe I’m doing something wrong, but I can only come up with a half dozen or so. Usually, I have just one of a leftover block – one I didn’t like after I’d made it – so it gets added to the backing, to use up right away. But you’ve got some good ideas here for making great use of orphans! I’ll keep them in mind should I ever have enough for a quilt.

    • I’m afraid the excess of orphan blocks is just a symptom of other things. Like, when I finish a quilt I just want to get a piece of backing fabric and go on to the next quilt, so I don’t often piece in the leftover blocks. Maybe I’ll start making more of an effort to do that so I don’t continue to add to the orphan pile.

  2. I enjoyed seeing how you use the orphan blocks. Mine end up in crumb blocks if they are small. I still have a rather LARGE (18″) one on my design wall from a Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt that must be at least 6 years old. One of these days I will make it into a pillow. I like your “circle of nine” setting a lot. Thanks for sharing all your ideas.

  3. I agree that it is a good idea to use orphan blocks on the reverse side of the quilt. There is a drawback, though. It takes time to piece them together to make the backing. When I was a new quilter I always used the leftover blocks on the back. Lately I have become lazy. I shall try to change my ways.

    • I just did a second backing to get rid of orphan blocks, and it did take quite a while. However, I was able again to use leftover backing pieces as well, so it was satisfying 🙂

  4. Pingback: On Clearing the Decks – fabrications

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