Sunday, May 13, 2018

Hands 2 Help -- Opportunity Blocks!

Hi, all!

We're almost to the end of this year's Hands2Help Challenge - can you believe it?  We've had such great guest bloggers this year, and there's still one more - so let me introduce you to Bonnie, who blogs at Institches with Bonnie.  Bonnie is a very lucky person (she'll tell you why below!) and I count myself as lucky too, because not only is she guest blogging for Hands2Help, she'll also be one of the bloggers in the 12 Days of Christmas in July blog hop!  So enjoy her post below - it's a good one!


Sarah -- What fun it is to be a guest blogger on Confessions of a Fabric Addict.  I will also confess I am a fabric addict too.  And a book addict. And a pattern addict. And a block addict.  Which gets me to talking about blocks that are hanging around my house.  I belong to a quilt guild that has a block of the month program. Instead of making the blocks for yourself you make what I call "Opportunity" blocks.  Well, everyone else calls them Lotto blocks.  I enter blocks to help use up my stash.

Great idea but, darn!  I am a lucky gal.  I've won the blocks many times.  And, I participate in a bee group.  We each have a turn at picking the block and color and the others make blocks and mail them to us.  I go to a retreat where I also participate in a lottery block.  Have you gotten the picture yet?  I have what seems like an unending supply of blocks.  But wait, there's more!  I've been an internet quilter from way back. (Think 1980s and Prodigy.)  So I also have blocks from swaps from those days too.  So when I decided I better get going on a quilt for Hands 2 Help I pulled out my computer and checked my UFO spread sheet.  (I won't even admit how many items are on that and I know I don't have all of them listed.) It was easy to find a group of blocks that I could work with for Hands 2 Help.

This block is called Square Upon Squares and came from Quilter's Cache.  (Have you found Quilter's Cache? Click on the link and then click on the drop down menu -- you're looking for Quilt Blocks Galore - Free Quilt Block Patterns.  It's a great resource for blocks.  You can search by size or title.  Marsha's been running this web site for years. )  I won these blocks in November of 2015.  Definitely well aged.
I had 13 blocks so one was missing here.  But see the block in the 2nd row, 2nd from the left.  Way too dark, not enough contrast.  I threw it to the side.  
I remembered that Little Lambs was looking for square quilts.  So with not too much fuss I made two more blocks and took apart that really dark block and added lighter fabrics so another 2 more blocks were easily made.

The hardest part of making a quilt with lottery blocks is trying to get a group of various blocks to "go" together. These only had the block style in common.   Remember I said I threw out a block originally? It was one I made that was black and white fabric paired with purple.  It really stuck out with the original grouping.  But when I made the extra blocks I tried to make a couple of fairly light ones.  Here's the new group of 16 blocks.

After a day or so of moving the blocks around and consulting with quilting friends,  I came up with a layout. (No, it wasn't this one.) I tried this with the black blocks heading right and left.  No -- not that great.  One thing I realized is there was a lot of turquoise or teal or aqua in the blocks.  So I tried to spread those colors out through out the quilt and not have too many of the really bright blocks sticking out.  I finally got the blocks the way I thought they looked good and sewed them together.

I'm auditioning the border here. I'm sure this was taken at night because you can't see the design in the black fabric.  But it worked beautifully with the blocks. It is not a solid but grey on black.

One thing I decided to skip at the beginning was measuring the blocks to make sure they were all the same size.  So I was faced with one block that was a half inch smaller than all the rest.  Ugh.  Most of the seams matched but there were a few blocks that were forced into compliance.  I paid for skipping the measuring and trimming.

My way of dealing with it was to trim the excess off the sides before I put the border on.   I trimmed as needed.  That's about a quarter inch I'm taking off this section!  I tried to line up the ruler with the lines within the block.  And then I whacked off the excess. So I would recommend you take the time to measure each block and then trim all the blocks to match the smallest size.  With this particular block it would not have made much of a difference. However if you have triangles on the edges you might end up trimming off points.  Uneven sized blocks is another down side of working with blocks made by a lot of different people.  Sometimes you just have to let a block go because it is so far from the required size or the color just doesn't make it.

The borders were cut the same size as the block units: 3.5".  It was straightforward to measure and add the borders.

Within the week, this beauty was "thrown" on the long arm and quilted.  I used a lightweight poly batting to help with the concept of folding and putting it into a back pack.  I picked a quilting pattern called Mermaid Fingers.  It quilted up beautifully except one thing!  I ran out of bobbin thread with about 15" of quilting left.  Oh well!  I particularly like the definition I got from the combination of thread, quilt and batting. I used a teal thread to match the backing fabric, an old Jinny Beyer fabric I received from a quilter's estate.  I always feel great about using her fabric for a charity project!

With this quilt almost done, it's time for me to take a look at some of the other groups of blocks I have.  Perhaps I can clear some more blocks out of my UFO list?  The only question for me would be what size and style of blocks do I want to work on next.  Maybe you have a block set hanging around the studio that you can make up and get a quilt into the hands of someone who would really appreciate it.  

Thanks Sarah.  I've enjoyed being your guest blogger today.   


Thank you so much, Bonnie!  I know I'm eyeing my pile of orphan blocks in a whole new way now - I bet there's a quilt or two in that box!  How about the rest of you?

And remember, next week begins the final link-up for Hands2Help!  You'll have until Friday, May 25th at about noon to link up to be part of the final count and giveaways - please be sure to link up!  It's always amazing to see how many quilts are made each year, and I'm sure all of you want to see them too!

And as always, if life gets in the way and you don't think you'll be able to finish your quilt by May 25th, please email me directly! I'll be happy to see what we can work out - most problems can be solved!

See you next week!




  1. Beautiful quilt, and I love to read the process. Very inspiring. Good tips about triming the blocks too!

  2. I can appreciate putting this 'pile' of blocks into good use and now it will be a great comfort quilt!

  3. Lovely quilt! Last year I donated a bunch of my orphan blocks to a quilter on IG who shared them with her quilting guild to make charity quilts. I did wonder how those single blocks could become a true quilt, so your post gave me insight!

  4. Thank you, Bonnie for the inspiration. Your quilt turned out really cute!
    And I can't believe how early I started on my quilts this year and yet they are not done! I'm sewing the binding still on a little baby quilt and I have just one row to sew on my bigger quilt. Life keeps getting in the way of my stitching! I am just too darn close not to finish on time but seriously how am I having to rush this?! I swear it was February just yesterday! LOL

  5. Really pretty quilt. I had found Quilter's Cache some time ago, but had not seen this block. Many thanks to you, Bonnie.

  6. Question--I failed to take pix of the two quilts I sent so not sure how to do the link up? Guess I assumed pix would be taken upon arrival and I know they got there. Thanks!

  7. Thanks for the block blog Bonnie, I really enjoyed hearing your story of blocks that have languished for some time waiting for their purpose. Doesn't it feel really good that you know you are not alone with this problem. Hehehe. Great quilt too and really like your final layout.

  8. Great inspiration!

    Can't wait for the final link up 'cause I actually have written my post showing the two quilts that I got made and sent off for this year.

  9. That's a great block and finished quilt. I finished my quilt on the weekend. Cutting it a bit close to the deadline LOL

  10. Well this was a very thought provoking presentation. Love the outcome and the link to the Quilters Cache.
    I do have a question regarding the H2H linkup. Are you talking about posting on your Friday LinkUp posts?

  11. I never thought of putting my UFO's on a spread sheet. That might be a scary thing, to see how many I really have. Hmmm...


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