Friday, October 6, 2023

The Accidental Quilt just needs binding

New commitments have slowed down my progress on tackling my UFO list, but I have managed to keep inching forward.  A little bit at a time, I have managed to quilt the Accidental Quilt.

I named this the Accidental Quilt because I accidentally made a quilt top when I thought I was piecing a backing.  I originally pieced this in August 2022 to be the back of my Starlit Picnic quilt.  I made that quilt top entirely from stash and pieced a batting from batting scraps, then challenged myself to not buy backing either.  I failed the challenge because I ended up really liking the pieced back.  While I could have made a reversible quilt, the quilting I wanted on Starlit Picnic wouldn't have looked great on this pieced backing and I thought it deserved better.  I ditched my self-imposed challenge, heading to the quilt shop to buy wide backing for both Starlit Picnic and this one.  

Piecing the Accidental Quilt exercised a different set of creative muscles than I usually use, which was fun.  I usually plan everything before I start piecing.  In this case I started with a selection of orphan blocks and scraps and made it up as I went along.

Start with orphan blocks

Add some coordinating scraps, and build a few more blocks from smaller orphan units

Start laying things out to se how they might fit together

Move things around and add in a few more bits to fill in spaces

Start framing the center with a common fabric to give the eye somewhere to rest

Build up a wider border from scraps of assorted sizes

My next challenge was to find time to quilt it.  In the end, I'm glad I wasn't able to quilt it right away.  If I had found time right away, I would have quilted one big spiral radiating from the center all the way to the sides.  It would have looked fine, but this summer a different idea  emerged and I think it adds more interest.

Here are the new options I hastily recorded when they popped into my head in July. 

I opted for the one I circled in the picture above.  The biggest challenge was marking the lines to divide the quilt into quarters.  I originally planned to draw those lines from corner to corner, but the lines were at an angle that clashed with all the 45 degree angles in the quilt and made it look like the quilting lines were unintentionally skewed.  I readjusted the diagonals to cross at 90 degrees and match directions of seams in the piecing.

As you can see above, I didn't stick to the plan as drawn.  I got bored sewing all the lines in one quadrant in the same direction. I ended up filling some space with lines running vertically down the quilt.  Though it shows up well in person, I had trouble taking a picture of the front that lets you see the quilting.  Here's the back instead:

The quilt still needs binding, but I paused because I need to trim a bit more first and I'm not sure quite how I want to handle it.  Either during the basting or the quilting I distorted the quilt a bit.  The top was perfectly flat and square before I basted and quilted, but now it's a bit skewed and I'm going to have to trim a little off the bottom border to straighten things.  Do I trim the same amount off the top border to even things up?  Does it really matter?  Probably not...

I will say I'm a little bit salty about the distortion.  I haven't had that issue in the past and I'm not quite sure what I need to do to avoid it in future.  Suggestions are welcome!

Also, I'd love to see pictures of quilts you have made from orphan blocks.  I'm thinking about compiling a list of tips and strategies for fitting assorted blocks together.  Would you find that useful?  Do you have any tips you'd like to contribute?  Please share in the comments or send me an email!

Happy quilting,



  1. I love how this looks. You always have such delightful blues and greens. I've just started an orphaned block quilt - it's been fun!

  2. Your accidental quilt looks great Joanne - I think you did a good job with the placement of your orphan blocks. I often think I should have a pile of co-ordinating fabrics set aside to use if I want to make a test block, so that they will co-ordinate and be able to be sewn together into an orphan/accidental (!) quilt. But it doesn't work like that. I don't set out to sew solo blocks very often! Your quilting design looks really good. I can't help you with the technical side of the distortion but I wonder if it's something to do with fabric on the diagonal being stretched by the diagonal stitching????

  3. I love and make quilts with orphan blocks. But I use mixed colours with nothing coordinating . Totally scraps. I wonder if it distorted due to the directions of the quilting. Just trim the bottom because it’s not symmetrical. I love the finish.

  4. I wish this were a pattern—would love to make something like this.

  5. I wish this were a pattern. Would love to make this.


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