The Beauty of Rejects, Leftovers and Foibles

Meet Annie, the Quilt

When I entered the quilting sisterhood, I did so with boundless enthusiasm and a charming naivety. It was cute how I assumed I would start a quilt, I would finish it in short order, it would be fabulous, and THEN I would move on to the next project. It would be as easy as – say – washing your hair. Lather, rinse, repeat… Hahahahahahaha.

It wasn’t long before I experienced the agonies of poor color choices, unrefined techniques and simple boredom. “Orphan block” and “UFO” became part of my personal quilting lexicon.

First there was the highly ambitious sampler quilt that exceeded my ability at the time. Some of the blocks turned out great. Some, not so much. I finally gave up in a fit of frustration. For years, I would pull the stack of blocks out periodically, shake my head, and put them back onto the shelf.

My most recent failed endeavor was the Splendid Sampler. A great project I joined with much anticipation. Five blocks in, I realized it wasn’t for me. Still, I made a few adorable blocks. I couldn’t throw them away. Onto the orphan stack they went.

There were MANY samples, mistakes and leftovers along the way. My orphan pile would likely have continued to grow, but I recently bought a Brother Dream Fabric Frame and I’m dying to try it out. Lord knows I won’t start with any of my real quilt tops, so I thought it would be a great idea to sew all my orphans together to make a practice quilt. I told myself, “It’s already ugly, so it won’t matter if you screw up the quilting.” Brilliant, right?

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As the idea gathered steam in my head, I began to research Orphan Block Quilts and found a wealth of resources. Books have been written. There are entire blogs dedicated to them. They are called by many names: Everything But the Kitchen Sink Quilts, Scatterbrained Quilts, etc. Some of them are really ugly. Some are more beautiful than my “pretty” quilts. I’m going for a semi-organized look with the black and pink polka dot sashing. I’m very excited about trying out machine quilting, but, surprisingly, I’m almost as excited about finishing this “ugly” quilt top.

Have you ever made an Orphan Block Quilt? Tell me all about it, and I’ll let you know how mine turns out.

Churn Dash Aflutter

Throwback Thursday

I made this quilt in 2011 while living in Willow, Alaska. I had given myself a challenge to make a quilt entirely from fabrics I had on hand, and I managed to do that with everything but the backing and binding.

I started with the butterfly fabric. I wanted to use large-ish pieces to showcase the beautiful colors and pattern. I only had enough for 10 blocks, so I alternated my showcase blocks with one of my favorite traditional blocks, the churn dash.

I consider this more of a utility quilt. It’s small – a lap quilt – and the fabrics aren’t ones I would have bought to use together, but I don’t know… I kind of like it anyway. I used flannel for the backing so it’s super-cozy.

Wondrously talented Mary Lou Frahm of Honeybee Quilting quilted it for me. I love the allover butterfly pattern she used. If you’re in Alaska and need a good long-arm quilter, you can find her here.

I did not use my Accuquilt on this project, but they’ve since come out with a churn dash die, so I’ll probably make another one soon. I do love that block so I think I can justify the cost.

Mahalo y’all, for stopping by.