Second Chances Quilt: “Is It Too Late?” to “Great Update!”

The blocks arrived, warped, wrinkled and neglected. They had languished for years and been through at least two previous owners. (Maybe this should be a “Third Chances” quilt?)

But, the fabric was interesting and the hand piecing was precious. The shine of the sateen begged, “It isn’t too late for me to be beautiful.”

First step was the square up the blocks. This was a worrisome because of the hand piecing, but it was mostly just points and distorted corners. They would still hold together. The chosen size: 11-1/2″.

Once squared up there were still problems. ALL of the outside edges of the pink pieces were cut on the bias. The blocks wanted to wave and bunch in the middle even as the sides wanted to stretch. The only hope was sashing.

I went to my local quilt shop, not even knowing exactly what I was looking for…maybe something with pink, black and cream? But, then I saw it: A blue floral print from the Little Women collection by Riley Blake (While this line is fairly recent, you may or may not be able to find it. But it is worth the search.)

Initially, I thought I should put the blocks on top of the sashing as I stitched them together, believing it would be easier to watch for problems and adjust while sewing. That was not the case. I finally tried putting the sashing on top and things lined out much more smoothly. Surprising, but lesson learned.

The blocks became rows, and the rows became a top, complete with a matching outer border. It is about 1-1/2 times as wide as the sashing. I like the extension and finish it gives the top. Alas, there are still bubbles and waves. The bias refused to give up easily.

My friend Jennifer, who does the hard longarm work for me, has a trick of using high loft batting in these situations. It might seem old fashioned, but it absorbs the “excess,” which is what needs to happen.

The final result is all I hoped for. The beauty of the work of the original maker shines through. The simple back picks up the green in the floral print. And there was enough of the pink fabric that came with the blocks for the binding. Talk about lucky!

No, it wasn’t too late for those blocks.

The final size is about 55″ x 67″. A nice display piece or throw to cuddle under, and to think about the value of second (or even third) chances.

NOTE: This post also featured in the Online Quilt Magazine.

20 thoughts on “Second Chances Quilt: “Is It Too Late?” to “Great Update!”

  1. I am so glad you were able to save these blocks. They are precious and turned out beautifully.

  2. God has given you a wonderful gift! I love the way you use it. You are an inspiration.

  3. Your creativity amazes me! What a lovely finish to an otherwise forgotten project. The original quilter would be honored with your work.

  4. There are a lot of great life and quilting lessons to be learned from this story. Thanks for that!

  5. FYI if have old quilt top that is warped and out of shape do this with high loft batting


  6. What a wonderful way to save those blocks! I would never have thought to use a print but it the blue works so well. I can’t believe there was enough pink in the bag for binding….meant to be for sure!!

  7. So amazing! Love, love how these blocks got a ‘third’ chance. They are beautiful – and you have a special heart to have given these this moment to shine-on….!

  8. Wow! That simple quilting design totally changes the way the block looks! It looks like a completely different block!

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