Second Chance Quilt: Seek The Near Perfect Solution

What to do with three blocks?

Maybe a table runner? Wall hanging?

The good news is that you don’t have to create something from scratch. I did a quick search for “table runner 9 inch blocks.”

This near perfect solution came up: A free pattern from All People Quilt. That is the website associated with American Patchwork and Quilting, a magazine (in addition to the Online Quilt Magazine, of course) that is worth subscribing to. Yes, the block style isn’t the same, but everything else checks out.

And gives those blocks a second chance, and you a quick finish.

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

Second Chance Quilt: Bits And Bobs Make A Quick Job (Christmas Table Topper)

Susan shared a few of her bits and bobs with me.

The blocks were already 6″, so I did all I could with the assorted half-square triangles and leftover scraps, adding a few other 6″ blocks that caught my eye.

Those strips of 2″ squares became the border.

And, ta-dah!, a cute Christmas table topper or wall hanging. It finished at 30″ square.

Don’t give up on those bits and bobs (or odds and ends, or leftovers). Sometimes they are most of a pretty good idea and just need a little nudge to turn into a quick finish. That is just the sort of thing we all need this time of the year.

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

Second Chance Quilt: Four Blocks That Grew A Lot

Can four blocks, even fairly large ones (18″) make a quilt?

Well, they will need some help. In this case I used a simple 6″ block that could be repeated and serve as a sort of background and filler, while adding texture and interest. It uses 1 2-1/2″ square for the center and 2- 2-1/2″ squares and 2 2-1/2″ x 6-1/2″ strips to round it out. They go together really quickly.

Then a small stop border and a wider (3″ finished) outside border.

And, before you know it, you’ve got a quilt.

The minkee backing was chosen by the new owner. Those blocks were just waiting for the right idea to turn into a great couch-cuddle quilt. Thanks to Susan for sending them my way.

Maybe you have a few blocks laying around. Give them another look and a second chance. They just might be ready to grow into a complete quilt.

This post first appeared in

Second Chance Quilt: Loose Squares Now Going Somewhere (with Tutorial!)

I received a plastic bag mostly full of 2″ squares.

It felt more like a bag of scraps than a Second Chance possibility until I noticed that quite a number of the squares had been sewn together.

Some pairs, some 4-patches, some strips…Really quite a variety. And that is where the challenge came: Use EVERY seam that had already been stitched and create a quilt. Hmmm…

There were assorted pieces–quite a few 4-patches and then miscellaneous.

Solid rows of squares first.

Then add 4-patches (I had to make several more)

Then solid squares.

And a border.

A small, but serviceable baby quilt.

And I have more squares leftover for a future project. YAY!


33-1/2″ x 33-1/2″


244 2″ squares

3/4 yard background fabric

1-1/8 yard for backing


1/3 yard for binding (depending on if you use 2-1/4″ or 2-1/2″)


  1. Using the 2″ squares, create 16 4-patches (should be 3-1/2″ square).
  2. Using the 2″ squares, create 5 strips 2 squares x 18 squares.
  3. Cut 25 3-1/2″ squares from background fabric.
  4. Lay out according to (poor quality) picture above.
  5. From background cut two strips 3-1/2″ x 27-1/2″. Attach to top and bottom.
  6. From background cut two strips 3-1/2″ x 33-1/2″. Attach to the sides.

Yes, this is a small quilt, but it would be easy to enlarge it. Contact me with any questions. I’m happy to help. Enjoy!

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.

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.