Orphan Block Rescue (again)

I was the January speaker at a local quilt guild. As is true with most guilds, there was a free and giveaway table in the back of the room. Books, fabric, patterns, thread. Piles of lovely things. But what caught my eye was this lonely hand quilted block square with a few stains in the corners. We are talking OLD! It called out to me: "Please, Miss Debby, will you please take me home? No one wants me. I'm old and stained and abandoned." It just broke my heart!

Abandoned hand quilted block about to get a beauty makeover
She convinced me and I immediately had a plan. This would be a perfect sample for my Free Motion Quilting classes I teach for the Sewing Expo. I wanted my students to see hand quilting up close (so they know why they are learning machine quilting) and this would be awesome after her transformation. I trimmed this to a perfect 14" square as shown above.

I had to deal with those nasty stains (which I don't have pictures of). I realized I could add printed triangles to the corners and those stains would be no more! I cut four 4-1/2" squares from the Fantasy Collection by Windham Fabrics. I drew lines along the diagonals and then stitched on those lines. But I pulled the batting BACK so I wouldn't catch it in the stitching. I just sewed on the pink front fabric.

Stitching along the diagonal line
Time to trim. Again, ONLY the floral and pink.

Trim away the floral and pink fabrics
Now I bring the batting and backing back up.

Batting and backing ready to be covered
And to press the fabric. Don't you just love that triangle!
One of the four corners
Now let's see this all together. I used the same fabric for the binding. Isn't she so sweet?

My sweet little Orphan Block in her new clothes
And how does this little Orphan Block feel today? She thanked me over and over again and came with me on my trip to Atlanta last week. She was the first sample out of the box and all my students were oohing and aahing.

This is such a little treasure to me. I hope you might be inspired to rescue a piece of hand quilting from long ago that you may have in your drawers. I don't know the maker of this, but if she is still in that guild, she's going to be pleasantly surprised to see the rescue.


  1. I love your story. I recently purchased a forgotten orphan hand quilted bloc of hearts from my local thrift shop in town for 50 cents. I had pulled it out of a drawer in a little corner of the shop. it had been stored in a plastic baggie. the fabric looked vintage and it still had the hand basting present. I could not leave it at the shop so I took it home. I looked in my stash for an appropriate piece of fabric to bind it with and found a lovely vintage piece of pale green floral cotton I had picked up at a thrift store in Elsworth Wisconsin about 6 - 7 years ago when I had lived in Hudson Wisconsion on 80 Heritage Blvd. it was a perfect match. After squaring up my block I machine stitched the binding on and finished it with hand stitching. I do not know who hand quilted this Block but I am hopeful that she would have been pleased with how she was finished. this lovely mini quilt now Grace's the wall of my Sewing Studio.

  2. Thanks, Diane for that lovely story, too! Yes, these old blocks have personality and it was so much fun to rescue that little block as I know you enjoyed yours.

    I used to hand quilt (that was the ONLY acceptable method back when I began 30 years ago). I enjoyed it, but then I made so many tops I had to jump in with machine work. I am not crazy about it (and I’m a teacher!) but it gets them done.

    Thanks for stopping by and for sharing YOUR story. I think there are many more out there like ours, too.

  3. What a sweet rescue! It's a real treasure and you finished it off perfectly.


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Thanks for stopping by Debby Kratovil Quilts! If you had a question and don't get an answer from me, please feel free to email me at: kratovil@his.com