Second Chances Quilt: Odd Blocks To Visual Treat

I was excited to have a package of blocks and some extra fabric come my way. The tulip blocks were intriguing. However, there weren’t very many of them and the seam allowance wasn’t quite standard, making them an odd size. But, much too nice to throw away.

First I tried a variety of possible layouts, just seeing what might happen.

It needed a few more blocks.

And sashing.

What next? Sometimes with something like this you just need to experiment. The centers of the tulips were created with 2-1/2″ squares, so I started playing around with ideas to keep the blocks on point and make the quilt larger at the same time.

The math took some thinking, and an inner border was needed, but I added large “setting triangles” made of 2-1/2″ squares.

Then a binding that matched the inner border (which, in its turn, matched the center of the tulips). It seems to bring unity and help the quilt feel truly finished: 40″ square. A visual treat as a wall hanging, a table topper or a lap or baby quilt.

I enjoyed the challenge and surprise of discovery as I worked on this project. I hope you enjoy it, too. Maybe take a look at an abandoned project of your own…Could it be finished by giving it a Second Chance?

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

Second Chance Quilt: Odd Blocks To A Fun Finish

I was given this interesting pile of blocks. The colors were appealing, but they needed…a few things.

First trimming to a uniform size.

Then a layout. There weren’t enough, so it was time to find coordinating fabric. Part of what makes Second Chances quilts work in the end is the unexpected.

I made simple half square triangle blocks to match.

Then added borders.

And sashing.

And quilting and binding…Ta-dah!

This is my first minkee back, and I think I like it. Not for every quilt, but it works for this one.

Final size: 41″ square. This is finish #4 of my weekend binding blitz. Whew!

Big lesson from this quilt: Don’t be afraid to play. Second Chance quilts are a great chance to try something new and take a (low risk) risk.

Second Chances Quilt: Fruit Loops

Diane sent me a Second Chances Quilt challenge. She had started this quilt and even cut much of the fabric.

Hmmmm…what to do? I didn’t want to build the tesselated star, but the fabric was already in triangles and rectangles.

Sudden inspiration struck…the triangles could be saved. I could cut a 2″ square and a 1-1/2″ square from each one. Yes, there was some waste, but not as much waste as doing nothing with it at all.

I decided to make snowball blocks in two sizes–6″ and 3″.

Each 6″ blocks uses 4 2-1/2″ colored squares and 2 3″ colored squares. Also, 1 2-1/2″ background square and 2 3″ background squares.

Each 3″ block uses 4 1-1/2″ colored squares and 2 2″ colored squares. Also, 1 1-1/2″ background square and 2 2″ background squares.

I can make a more complete tutorial in the future if needed. The finished size of this one is 36″ square.

It was fun to explore such a different look with a print background.

The final result brings a smile to my face. It has already been gifted to a coworker who needed a smile, too.

Second Chances Quilt: Half Square Baby

Debra was so kind to share some of her leftover half square triangle blocks.

All they needed was some sorting and squaring up.

The backing was from stash, also donated, maybe by Stephanie?

Isn’t it lovely how fabric can find a purpose over time and distance?! I am really pleased with the results.

Second Chance Quilt: Whoops? to Wow!

Sometimes you have a good idea that doesn’t quite work out. But, it did require effort and fabric and time…you hate to throw it away.

I was fortunate enough to inherit some such items. It appears the original maker was working towards a wonky coin quilt of some kind. Foundation pieced. But a little odd…

First I squared them up and trimmed to a standard size: 5-1/2″ x 46″.

It felt like a border would both make them more stable and give definition. Added 1-1/2″ strip all the way around. Now they are 7-1/2″ x 48″.

Then, because the piecing was already a little wonky, I added strips top and bottom to give that movement to the entire quilt. I started with background fabric cut into pieces 7-1/2″ x 13″. I then cut those into pairs: 3″ and 10″, 5″ and 8″, 7″ and 6″, 9″ and 4″, 11″ and 2″. These were added to the top and bottom of each coin strip. (Only four strips shown in this picture, sorry) That brought the total length of each strip to 60″. Finally, I added pieces 3″x60″ to the sides and between each coin strip. The size was selected by using half the width of the coin section finished (5″ finished /2 = 2-1/2″. Then add the seam allowance of 1/2″.) TIP: When adding components, consider using fractions or multiples of a chosen “base” component. The final result tends to be more balanced and finished feeling.

Total finished size 50″ x 60″.

Quilt and bind.

And a surprise backing–that panel that I didn’t know what else to do with.

Consider how this might work for you on a future quilt. It is fun to take great-ideas-that-didn’t-quite-work and treat them as raw materials. They can be the start (foundation) of a successful quilt.

Matching Mini

A friend recently made a quilt with her mother out of fabric that the mother had brought back from the Far East several years ago.

The quilt with stay with the mother, but there were a few small scraps. I suggested she give them to me.

Using the picture of the top as a guide, I made a matching mini.

Yes, a few solids were added, but hopefully the spirit of the quilt has been maintained. The mini will probably hang on the wall of her sewing room and remind her of a wonderful weekend with family.

Second Chance Quilt: HST Cast-Offs to Pinwheel Lap Quilt

A hand-me-down bag had a lot of fairly large half-square triangles in it. They weren’t all the same size, but the colors looked nice together. Some were already stitched across the diagonal, some weren’t.

First, I stitched the diagonals as needed, then pressed the blocks open and trimmed them to 4″, the largest size that would fit the blocks.

TIP: When working with Half Square Triangle blocks (HSTs), it is completely worth your time to trim and square up the blocks. There are many good tutorials out there and a variety of methods. Try a few and decide what works for you, but DO NOT skip this step.

I decided that this one would be a simple lap size quilt. I didn’t have any background fabric that really worked with the lighter color in the HSTs, and there was enough to make good size top using only the fabric I had.

Pinwheel time! All the pinwheels were made with a single fabric for the colored sections. Except two, where I mixed similar colors to fill out the needed 48 blocks.

Stitch them together and, ta-dah!, a 42″ x 56″ quilt. Good for a young child or anyone needing a snuggle. This isn’t anything special, I guess, but it is fabric that has found a purpose instead of a bag of guilt. That is a win in my book.

Do you have HSTs lying around, or charm squares that could be paired up with a background fabric? Give it a go!


Let me know how it works out for you, or if you have questions that I might be able to help with.

This post first appeared in the Online Quilt Magazine. Consider subscribing. There is a FREE version, or get the paid upgrade for a GREAT price (totally worth it!)

ps–It took a lot of trial and error to come up with that binding, but the final result was worth it.