Saturday Series: Holiday Gift Ideas from Orphan Blocks

Orphan Blocks--- Who's got 'em?

The mysterious piles of blocks that seemingly come from nowhere and multiply rapidly could be lurking in every sewist's stitchery or closet. Perhaps they were a design you wanted to try out, a few blocks intended for a quilt back, the ones that got vetoed from the final layout, leftovers from a bee or swap, or just something that seemed like a good idea at the time.
 These wonky log cabins are from 2000. Yikes!
 Projects started and some leftover hexagons from my latest quilt...
 Extra blocks from a quilt back and Drunkard's Path blocks from, er, 22 years ago. (It's time to use 'em up!!)
These are blocks dragged home from a thrift store because, "Somebody made these, so we can't let them be ground into stuffing!!!".

So on my mission to de-clutter I started thinking about things to make and give away that could use some of these blocks. I will personally sew quilt blocks on anything and everything and call it style, but some of my friends and relations (and their kids) have a more refined approach. A few ideas I have done, for myself and others, are purses, skirts, shirts, tote bags, laptop and Ipad sleeves, pot holders, aprons, and the ever-useful throw pillow cover.
 A simple wrap skirt is good if you don't know someone's exact size...
 ...or a drawstring skirt for a growing girl.
 The ubiquitous throw pillow.
 This block was intended for a pillow but ended up being too 'country' so it got made into a bag flap after a while on the shelf.
Another good use is a doll quilt. Even American Girl dolls get cold at night! This is a pillow sham/ doll quilt made with leftover blocks from the recipient's punk rock baby quilt.
This apron was actually made for these blocks, but you get the idea!

Using an orphan block to embellish or freshen up an existing tote bag is a quick project as well and can be a gift on its own or the reusable wrapping of something else.
 I have a stack of sturdy canvas tote bags waiting to be repurposed. (What the heck is this even advertising?)
These obviously aren't sewn down but it is looking much better already! Bonus points if you turn the orphan block into a handy pocket.

 Most of these can use up one or two blocks or a number together will make a trim. There are tons of ideas and tutorials out there. You could sew four 12 inch blocks into a tube, hook up a lining, attach a strap, and some lucky friend gets a new yoga mat bag. Or a sewing machine cover. Or a stand mixer cozy. Or slap one on the back of a denim shirt for a modern West look. Or, well, you get the idea.

Pull out the stacks of old blocks and the gift giving list and start creating!


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