Weekend Donation Blocks

While I was sewing Frolic! over the weekend, I made a bunch of donation blocks as leaders and enders. I am getting quite a collection to turn in when I finally get to back to guild.

I counted all the donation blocks I have made in 2020 and the total came out to about 76. Not bad. Not 30 per month, but not bad.

Traffic Jam Donation Top

Vicki Holloway of My Creative Corner3 induced me to try out the Traffic Jam Sew-a-Long with her FB group.

Traffic Pattern block #1
Traffic Pattern block #1

Traffic Jam is a free pattern by Pat Sloan. I didn’t need a pattern to make this quilt. I just started sewing my mini-charms together and cut the background fabrics to fit the standard 9 patch layout.

I did seek out the pattern after Vicki mentioned the secondary pattern that appears when the pattern is made with sashing. In the first photo, I didn’t see the secondary pattern, but in checking out the Linky photos, I did see it. Not sure I will add sashing and cornerstones, but we will see.

I am using that beige-ish fabric as the background as I probably won’t use it for one of my own quilts. I have no idea why I bought it, but it works pretty well for this piece. I have a yard and will make as many blocks as I can with that much fabric.

I am using mini-charm packs of Marmalade Dreams by Valori Wells. I collected a bunch of them at some point – at some quilt event. I probably won’t use them for another project, though I do like them.

St. Patrick’s Day Donation Blocks

I talked about Sew Day the other day. The blocks I made are below. I didn’t take photos of all of the blocks, unfortunately, but I got 12 of them.

A Very Small Dent

Blue Strip Donation Blocks - mid-February
Blue Strip Donation Blocks – mid-February

I am up to 21 blocks for my latest Color Strip donation quilt. I plan to make another 14 so it is slightly larger than the red and orange donation quilts.

Regardless, I have barely made a dent in my blue scraps. Of course, I generate them at a faster clip than other colors, except, maybe, pink, but still. I’d like to be able to see progress. Perhaps I will be able to make 4 quilts out of this drawer.

They went very quickly as I worked on Frolic the other day. There were a lot of small fiddly seams to sew on Frolic!, so I needed leaders and enders. They come together very quickly once you start and some strips I have are very long, so I can cut 2-3 blocks out of a strip set.

Donation Block Updates

Blue donation blocks, February 2020
Blue donation blocks, February 2020
Here is a brief update of the blocks I am making for the blue version of the Color Strip quilts. This is also being sewn from scraps. I haven’t made many blocks, but there is no dent in my scrap drawer. Do you think they multiply in the night? More likely I have just not made a concentrated effort to deal with them.


Fortunately, there are a lot strips, so I have been able to make a number of strip sets that yield more than one block.

You can also see the in progress blocks as well.

Community Sew Day

Saturday was a Community Sew Day. I made about 18 blocks, some were the blocks of the day; some were the 16 patches. I’ll show those another day.

Scrappy Community Quilt Day block 3
Scrappy Community Quilt Day block 3

These blocks can be super scrappy. I tried to stick to a common color scheme so it would be easier to put blocks together into a cohesive whole. As the day wore on the pickins got a little slim and eventually I switched to a dark color scheme. I am not as happy with those blocks as they just seem dark. They will be good for a boy quilt, so they won’t be wasted. Perhaps I can make 6 more blocks in the same colors so Peggy can make a top.

These are similar to the Mav block I made a few weeks ago. The good thing is there are no seams to match so they make a good pattern for group sewing. You need:

  • 5-4.5″ squares
  • 5 – 2.5 x 4.5″ strips
  • 2- 2.5 x 6.5″ strips

Use the image above as a guide for the layout.

Nine blocks make a quilt – at least they did for our project. The group ended up with 8 quilt tops and a few extra blocks. Some of us were talking about cutting scraps into pieces in these sizes and making them whenever we had spare time or needed leaders and enders.

The quilts are VERY scrappy.

More Donation Blocks in White-ish

White donation blocks are probably not the best idea. I am thinking dirt. Still, I have a lot of white scraps and something has to be done with them. The first two are from a chunk that was large so they look very similar, if not the same.

These, once in a quilt, will fit with the others in the series.

Retreat Donation Blocks

Retreat Donation Blocks
Retreat Donation Blocks

I needed something for leaders and enders at the Retreat. While there, I made donation blocks for the Community Giving Project at BAM.

I didn’t have it in me to gather up and bring the pieces I needed for my new strips donation blocks, so I grabbed my bin of 2.5 inch squares and used those. Peggy always appreciates more blocks and I have been wanting to make more for her. Since I have been focusing on my strip quilts and improv quilts for the community giving project I haven’t made as many of the postage stamp donation blocks.

I had a slow start, but eventually ended up with 6. I made these while I worked on the Running with Scissors tote.

New Donation Blocks

I am not quite finished with the Orange Improv Donation Top, but I had to start on new blocks for leaders and enders reasons.

I won’t have enough strips in these colors to make the number of blocks I need for a quilt top, but it is a start. I will either make chunks like I did for the Red Chunk Donation top or put the blocks aside until I get more of the right color scraps. I could also combine these blocks with the greys, but that might muddy the brightness of the quilt.

A Couple of Donation Blocks

Zipper Pouch Day Donation Block
Zipper Pouch Day Donation Block

I took some packs of leaders and enders at Sew Day. I wanted to make a couple of blocks in between sewing the zipper pouches. I used the packs that Peggy always has available.

This is the first time I have made the postage stamp blocks in awhile and it was kind of fun, though my fabric placement was a bit off.

Donation block from Sew Day
Donation block from Sew Day

Orange Strip Donation Top

I worked on Flying Around over the weekend, as mentioned. In addition,  I made the orange strip donation blocks as leaders and enders.

4 Orange Strip Donation blocks
4 Orange Strip Donation blocks

These are harder to make. Not in terms of technical skills, but in terms of fabric. I don’t have as many orange scraps as I have other scraps. I went through the unsorted scrap pile on my cutting table and came up with a few strips and chunks that will help with the effort. I may have to abandon the strip idea and go straight to more of a chunk/improv look.

As I make these blocks, I am amazed at how much I love the fabrics in my orange scrap bin. As I said, I don’t have a lot of orange scraps, but most of those I do have speak to me. perhaps I chose well when buying orange fabrics?

Thinking about Blocks

I love blocks. I have always loved quilt blocks. I love how they can be broken down into component parts and combined with different blocks built of the same component parts to form a whole new look. I love they way they can be combined. I love how you can make the same block from different fabrics and have a completely different look. It seems, though, blocks are not popular now, being deemed old fashioned by the Modern Quilt Guild.

I am in a closed Facebook Group that is talking, in a sort of roundabout way, about blocks. The overall theme is the 1930s, so naturally the block patterns in newspapers came up. I have been interested in block designs since I started quiltmaking. One of the first books I bought was The Quilter’s Album of Blocks and Borders, the precursor to the more complete Quilter’s Album of Patchwork Patterns. Both are written/compiled by Jinny Beyer.

I don’t know the history of blocks, in general, though I have read enough about them. The most famous publisher, probably,  was the Kansas City Star, because they published quilt patterns in their newspaper. The patterns were syndicated across the country. Quilter By Design says that these patterns were published from 1928-1961, first weekly then monthly. I have not checked the veracity of these date. I am fortunate enough to have set of the newspaper clippings reproduced and spiralbound. In this set is a wealth of inspiration. There are amazing blocks and quilts that spurred on the quilt imagination of a generation of quiltmakers.

I have heard that many of the blocks were not designed by quiltmakers, but by journalists and were never made. The Snowball Wreath is one of those blocks and Barbara Brackman does a great job describing it and showing photos on her blog. Apparently few of this particular block pattern were made into quilts. I salute those ladies! I did a search and saw some that had been made recently. I did a project a few years ago to try and make a block. I made it a little differently than the pattern implies, but didn’t want to make myself crazy.

The oldest block design Jinny Beyer found in her research was from the January 1835 issue of Godey’s Lady’s Book, a hexagon design. Ladies Art Company published quilt and other needlework designs starting in 1889. Beyer reminds us that many block designs in a publication such as Ladies Art Company were republished later by other companies.

One thing modern quilters have done is revived old blocks using new methods. Paper piecing is a great way to get good results without too many tears. Rotary cutting templates make the cutting of strange shapes easy. Jen Kingwell revived the Circle Within a Circle (Ladies Art Company, 1897. It was also published as Bird’s Eye View by Clara Stone in Practical Needlework, 1906**) block, calling it Steampunk. You can see a version of the current incarnation on the Diary of a Quilter page. My only objection to this revival is the lack of citing sources. I can’t complain much since Clara Stone didn’t cite her Ladies Art Company source.

I would love to make at least one of the all the Kansas City Star blocks. I would also like to make one of all the blocks in Jinny Beyer’s Quilter’s Album of Patchwork Patterns. I don’t think I have enough time left in my life. I also am refusing to let myself think of that as a real, possible project. Perhaps a project for me and 100 of my friends?

One of the things I have is knowledge about blocks. I was taught to make quilts using blocks and in the teaching I learned about grids. Now, for the most part, I can break a quilt down into pieces and have a good idea of how to make the quilt. Sometimes having a pattern is easier, but not having to spend $12 on a pattern I will make once is something to think about. Of course, I support the designers when I think I will make a quilt. Remember Metroscape?

Anyway, I love blocks. What about you?







** This information came from The Quilter’s Album of Patchwork Patterns by Jinny Beyer, ©2009

Red Strip Donation Blocks

Yes! It’s all about red lately!

Red Strip Donation Blocks
Red Strip Donation Blocks

I finally finished all of the blocks for the second Red Strip Donation Top. As mentioned before, not all of these scraps were strips, like in the Green Strip Donation Top. There are a lot of chunks. Perhaps I should call it the Red Chunk Donation top? That would differentiate it from the first one.

One of the things I like about working on a design wall is that I see different things after I put the blocks (or pieces) up. In this case, I saw that the quilt looked pretty good with thin white strips in between the blocks. I may cut strips and try that as a layout. I’d use cornerstones as well. More scraps to use up.

The quilt won’t end up as large as the Green Strip, the Purple Strip or the first Red Strip Donation quilts, but it will still be big enough for something. The layout will be a little different than the first red version.

Heading to the Finish Line

24 Red Strip donation blocks for second red quilt
24 Red Strip donation blocks for second red quilt

I am heading to the finish line making blocks for the second Red Strip Donation Quilt, but it is painful. The other day I had 7 left to make and I still have 1 left to finish. It is almost done. Maddeningly, it needs a very small strip on the top or bottom to make it the right size. ERGH!

I thought I would be able to finish by the meeting, but I doubt it now. Fortunately, there is no deadline except in my head.