Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Scrap-A-Palooza! Sewing a Quilt Top from Orphan Blocks

Are you ready to sew those Orphan Blocks into a quilt top?  Get ready for a picture heavy post!

In one of my last posts, we talked about organizing your orphan blocks so they can be sewn into a quilt top.  Now it is time for me to share the process of how my top came together.



I decided to start with this huge 18" block. 








In my mind, I wanted this quilt to be rectangular so I started with the starter block toward a corner.  I then started adding blocks with no final design in mind.  I just tried to balance colors.















I got to this point and hated it! It was fighting me and just not coming together.  So I pulled all the blocks off my wall and started again.  I realized my starter block really wanted center stage so I decided let the quilt blocks "speak" to me and put it right in the center of my quilt.











I started again throwing blocks up around the center block - this time creating a medallion quilt design.  When I got to this point, I liked the design but those red blocks just seemed a bit too strong. 



You can also see I was still trying to be a bit asymmetrical...












I finally landed on this very symmetrical design.  Everything on the wall at this point is an orphan block or leftover component from previous quilts.  A total of 42 pieces!


Now it is time to sew it together!








I really did not spend much more than a half hour setting up this second design.  I think once you get headed in a good direction, the design comes together pretty quickly. 
And remember, you can always adjust as you go!










For the first step, I needed to add a small frame to the purple and yellow stars to bring them up to the same size as those inner patchwork pieces.  I went with a black and white stripe for a bit of "pow". 


Once I had those finished, I could start sewing together the center portion.











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I added a small border to the center block in an orange print to bring it up to the size I needed to attach the next pieced borders.  I could then completely sew up the center part.



Did you notice the change to the blocks I had in the four outer corners?  Sometimes I find a block is the correct colors but it just isn't working.  I like to give these blocks a "facelift".










Here is what the original blocks looked like.
...some orphans do not need to be explained  :)


I simply sliced the block down the center both horizontally and vertically.  I then re-laid out the pieces and sewed it back up.  So. Much. Better.






I then started working on the outer section.  I found some of the same fabrics from the center block that were in the scrap bin or stash.  I used them to frame up the larger blocks to a uniform size.  On the corners, I decided to twist the blocks a bit to add a little character.


I realized at this point that I needed another orange border around the center section.  I did not like the black blocks up against the patchwork sections.  I also decided to use that same orange border print to add to the sides of the Half Square Rectangle areas on the side to give them a bit more width.












Then it was just a matter of finding a light background print from my older stash to frame in the rest of the outer section.  Remember, if you don't like doing all the quilt math, you can always cut pieces to a larger size and trim them down to fit.




So this is Orphan Block quilt top number one! 
It will hopefully get quilted up soon so I can share better pictures of the quilt.  I am really pleased with how it turned out.

It is about 60" square.





And did you catch that I called this quilt number one?  I am nowhere near being able to close my little orphan block suitcase so I have already started quilt top number two.  For this second one, I grabbed the brown stack of blocks.

So stay tuned.... that one is coming together quickly too.  
And I can tell you it looks nothing like the first one! 






Linking Up:


37 comments:

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

great job - that sure went together fast

Kat said...

Looks great! Thanks for sharing your process so carefully!

Melody A. said...

What a great quilt !! the process of how you are going to put this together was especially helpful. thank you

Warm Quilts said...

Your photos, along with your step-by-step description, perfectly display the creative process. Once you focused on this becoming a medallion quilt, it all seemed to come together rather quickly. I especially like that you added decorative borders to blocks, or filled in with a splash of color for balance. I'm looking forward to seeing your 2nd quilt top.

sewyouquilt2 said...

love how this came together. I need to corral my UFO blocks and give it a whirl.

Jo said...

Wow. This quilt looks fantastic. They have gone together extremely well.

Chantal L. said...

What amazes me the most is the fact that this quilt doesn't look like a hodgepodge quilt. It look like it was planned like that from day one. Using the same orange print pulls all the blocks together nicely. Thanks for the how-to. I will try this in 2017. Love the end result and I'm really curious to see quilt number two. ;^)

Libby in TN said...

Thanks for sharing the process. I feel better about attempting something like this now.

Judy H said...

I am loving your design process. So much fun. I will have to see what I can rescue from the house and give it a try myself in the next few months.

Connie Kresin Campbell said...

What a beautiful and unique quilt Cynthia! I have a huge, huge basket of orphan blocks and should do this. Wonderful work coordinating all the colors!

Alycia Quiltygirl.com said...

Oh my stars - that is awesome

Cathy said...

I love your quilt. Thanks for sharing your thought process. Hugs

Mary Huey said...

Great quilt!! I appreciated seeing your process and read some of you thoughts about how to proceed and evaluate what was happening!!

Kris said...

Wow that is a great progress post. I love how it is all coming together.

Kat Scribner said...

I love it!! Looks like it was pre planned this way. Colors and design are soo well balanced.

Sherry said...

I love how you got some of your orphans into a home! It is a great quilt top.

Wendy F said...

That is a great orphan top! Thanks for sharing your process.

gayle said...

It's absolutely wonderful! Medallion quilts are high on my list of things to explore this year - your quilt is a perfect example of why I want to play with them more!

Louise said...

Zowie!! This is great! I love how you punched up a few of those blocks with black and white sashing. And quartering the corner blocks? Brilliance! No one would ever guess this was made from orphans and cast-offs. Brava!

Paula DiMattei said...

Absolutely love this quilt. Thank you for sharing your process. I need to start gathering my orphan blocks....

Katie said...

Wow, you can really "see" what you're looking at. Your explanation was easy to follow. I wish I had some orphans that I could play with.

lcscottage said...

Love it! No one would guess that this fun quilt is made from orphan blocks! Thank you so much for sharing your process!

PaulaB quilts said...

Thanks for sharing your process in detail. Despite the fact that it started out with a wonky medallion, the tie-in by quartering the corners and making them wonky just fit perfectly. It's an orderly quilt after all as a medallion, but quirky and random at the same time. Framing the blocks and adding slim borders really helped also. A fun finish!

Jasmine said...

Thank you so much for sharing your process. I learned a lot. Cheetah would approve of the symmetrical layout.

Quilting Nonnie said...

Thanks for sharing your process of sorting out orphan blocks. Reading and looking at today's post was very helpful! I have quite a few orphan blocks and your sharing makes me anxious to try one also!

Barb Neiwert said...

Big smiles here! I love how you sliced and diced and skewed those corner blocks. And put it all together. And made sense out of chaos! Yep, big smiles.

Jayne Honnold said...

Loved seeing how your quilt was "born." Thanks for sharing. I have a huge box of orphans, and some of my grandmother's orphans, too, so I really ought to be considering doing this! Maybe this will inspire me!

Clare M said...

Gosh Cynthia, this is an amazing case of rebirth of those orphan blocks. I too love the way your rearranged those corner blocks. They did make you feel something was not quite right, but once you changed them, all became well. I am going to get my orphan blocks out and give it a try. Thanks for your inspiration.

Lisa S. said...

This quilt turned out great! Thanks for sharing your process.

Linda @ kokaquilts said...

A great finish... very inspiring! It's not always so easy to make things blend together so well, love yours!

Ann said...

I love the way you built this quilt. Thanks for sharing the process. Very inspirational.

Michelle @ From Bolt to Beauty said...

Great post! I appreciate being able to see you design this quilt top step by step. And cutting a rotating those corner blocks was a brilliant move.

Valerie Reynolds said...

Seriously!! THIS is amazing!!! I LOVE this too! Thanks for the inspiration!

Robby H. said...

I like this a lot. It's crazy, it's somehow cohesive, it's great! Thanks for showing us that sometimes the first (or second) idea don't work for you, that's encouraging to a newbie. And the idea of chopping up some of the blocks and reassembling is also something that might not first occur to a quilter who has painstakingly sewn the block. Great tutorial.

Kate said...

I would have never put all those blocks together. What a great way to use up all those leftovers.

Cindy Beal said...

Thanks for all the pictures showing your design process. Just fascinating!!!!
Love the way it turned out.

Michele said...

Congrats to you for using up all those blocks. It really looks great. Thankfully I have very few orphan blocks.

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