Orphan Becomes a Top

Back when I was planning what to do with abandoned blocks that I picked up as a charity quilt starter kit (here), there was one that didn’t play well with the arrangement.

My first idea was to add a couple borders and make a doll quilt. Meanwhile, my design group had been looking at minimalist art and decided to do a project (sketched or sewn) inspired by Sol Lewitt. There were many directions go to, but I was intrigued by the colorful stripes. And the link with this block was obvious. So I pondered possibilities. I thought of a circle of vertical stripes inside horizontal stripes. Realizing that would take making two blocks and leave a circle and its square with cut out extra, I thought some more. I ended up with this:

I’ve inserted circles before using instructions from a Ricky Tims workshop. He recommends working from the right sides when pressing freezing paper onto the pieces to be the circle and to be the receiver of the circle and marking. I thought the stay stitching around each would be easier to manage if it were up instead of down because of the seams. I reasoned that what mattered was that one be consistent. Also, I noted that either way one marked side is down.  Well, I was wrong. It is much easier to peek at the underside of the top piece than the underside of the bottom piece when sewing!

The middle block where the circle is plain was more difficult. One sews with the concave piece on top, in this case the pieced stripes. Apparently the seams distorted the shape even though it was stay stitched. (I’ll have to try it again sometime to see if it was that or merely user error.) At any rate, the striped piece ended up about 1/4 inch larger than the circle in spite of appearing to meet at the first three marks. I eased in the excess with moderate success. The upper left block was a breeze–either because it was the second or because it was a solid piece of fabric.

Minimum size for guild charity quilts is 40 x 40; this is 34 x 34. So I plan a dark blue border as wide as the fabric on hand allows. There is enough for a 3-inch border for sure, but a little more would be nicer, I think.

And the back and binding will be the warm brown (both because I like it and because I have enough).

You may wonder why I worked on this piece instead of forging ahead on the Irish Star quilt. I had thoughts of using some of these dark fabrics in stars and needed to be sure there was enough for both uses. As yet, I have no plan for quilting design.

9 Comments

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9 responses to “Orphan Becomes a Top

  1. The moment I looked at this, I was reminded of 1950s comic strips about space and futurism, perhaps because of the colours. It made me think of planets, supernovas and rockets blasting off. Could you call it ‘Orbit’ or something, and quilt it in concentric quarter circles, radiating outwards?

  2. mlmcspadden

    Looks great!

  3. I love circles in quilts! They are always a bit surprising. Combined with the bold stripes, they are quilt unexpected! It’s a challenge to piece them in, though. I think you rose to the occasion 🙂

  4. Wow! That turned out well! Makes me think I should get out some of my orphans…

  5. Rebecca Grace

    Very interesting way to adopt that orphan and turn him into a quilt top! And no, I wasn’t wondering at all why you weren’t working on the Irish Chain — probably the same reason I took a break from the graduation quilt to work on the vintage 1960s quilt repair. These little creative detours are mandatory to keep the sewjo running smoothly, like stopping to change the oil in your car every so often!

  6. francesquilts

    Great use for the orphan block. I have a whole storage box of them and you may have given me an idea to get rid of a few….and practice my FMQ at the same time!!!

  7. Great interpretation of the orphan block. And nicely done on the inset circles. I’m sure your creativity will brighten someone’s day when this is finished as a charity quilt.

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