Top 10 Ways to Use Orphan Blocks

by Nicole

This weekend I made a few blocks for a quilt. I made them in green fabrics. But when I put them together with the other blocks, they just didn’t look right. This happens to me often with green.

Green orphan blocks

I tossed the green blocks aside and made new blocks in a different color. But what to do with the green blocks? Would they be destined to be orphans? Orphans are blocks that you start making for a project, but that you abandon. I usually stash mine in a box in a closet and forget about them, but there has to be a better way to use them, right?

I posted a picture of the blocks and a question on Instagram: What do you do with orphan blocks? I got some great ideas from comments folks left. Their ideas got me thinking.

I came up with a top 10 list for using orphan blocks:

10. Make a mug rug.

9. Make a table runner.

8. Make a doll quilt.

7. Make a pillow.

6. Make a pouch.  

5. Make pot holders.

4. Use them for quilting practice. 

3. Use them on the back of a quilt (this is where my green blocks will go!).

2. Find someone that collects them for charity quilts. Check out the Save The Orphan Blocks Campaign.

1.  Make a “kitchen sink” or sampler quilt. Emily at Simple Girl, Simple Life introduced me to this idea. She took blocks from a number of different unfinished projects and put them together into one beautiful quilt. What a great way to use up a bunch of orphan blocks at once! For more on her quilt, visit her blog.

Photo used courtesy of Emily of Simple Girl, Simple Life

For more great ideas on what to do with orphan blocks, check out these posts:

Interested in learning more about orphan blocks? Check out Orphan Block Quilts by Tricia Lynn Maloney, the Orphan Quilter!

Now, I have no excuse to keep my orphan blocks stashed away in the closet. Here’s another bunch of orphans. More green!

Orphan blocks

What about you? What do you do with your orphan blocks? 

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Patchwork and Play November 5, 2014 - 6:23 am

Your blocks are far too pretty to be called orphans! I must admit, most of mine get stashed away and forgotten! I really should do something with them- Emily's kitchen sink quilt is gorgeous!

nerospost November 5, 2014 - 6:44 am

Hi! Great post! I think you can make beautiful, green baby quilt. Some of my orphans I add to the backing and sometimes to a quilt where they fit with the 'mixing' design. x teje

pennydog November 5, 2014 - 12:24 pm

I've already got an orphan block quilt in progress! It's called Junk in the Trunk ๐Ÿ™‚

Flo @ Butterfly Quilting November 5, 2014 - 3:01 pm

thanks for all the great ideas. I have been eyeing my tub full of orphan blocks and thinking that i should do something with them….maybe soon!

Ellyn November 5, 2014 - 3:12 pm

our modern guild collects orphan blocks to make into quilts for cancer patients.

Bobbi D. November 5, 2014 - 8:09 pm

Love it. I never even think about it. I always think it would look funky, but yours doesn't. ๐Ÿ™‚

Heidi Staples November 5, 2014 - 9:51 pm

Brilliant post, Nicole! I love this!!!

pandchintz November 6, 2014 - 9:28 am

I LOVE these blocks……..another alternative – donate them to me!!

Jennifer Stutheit November 7, 2014 - 2:53 pm

The green and gray together is so pretty! Thanks for the inspiration!

Jenn @ A Quarter Inch from the Edge November 7, 2014 - 4:47 pm

I love that someone else calls them orphans too! I often make baby quilts to donate to my local women's & children's hospital. Sometimes I have enough orphans to make an entire quilt and sometimes I have to supplement a little. But either way, I know they're going to give comfort & warmth to some little NICU babies!

Kathy4aday November 9, 2014 - 2:33 am

I need to do something with mine, thanks for the inspiration.

Andrea @ Mouse in My Pocket November 12, 2014 - 4:01 pm

It looks like you just need to make a green quilt with all of those green orphan blocks! I love some of these ideas. I have lots of orphan blocks, especially because I like to purchase scrap fabric at yard sales, which often provides me with great vintage orphan block treasures. Now to decide what to do with them.

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