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What is an Orphan Quilt Block or Projects?

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This week we are hitting some fun topics all about Orphan quilt blocks and projects!
Today, how about we discover and explore what actually is an orphan quilt block or project.

Both the orphan quilt block and the orphan project will have their own story and purpose.  Not matter what they are, we’ll learn what they actually are and then how we can get them moving forward!  To me, it’s not really about getting things finished (unless there is a real purpose to it).  I’ve always been one to feel like working on them is actually just as good as finishing them.

The longer the time we take to actually get back to the project or block, the harder it becomes to actually work on them! The interest is no longer there and the fire or desire to work on them fizzles to nothing.  Leaving us with guilt and no desire what so ever to touch them again.

Moving forward on an orphan project is the best thing we can do.  Taking small steps- like gathering supplies, pulling them from the back to the front of the shelf, using a tracking sheet, picking specific time and day to work on them. What ever the progress is- it’s better than nothing!  While the end result of it being completed is awesome, sometimes the small steps is just as important and the only reason why it does get finished.

So What is an Orphan Quilt Block?

It’s a quilt block that you have sewn together….it’s finished.  But, for some reason- it didn’t fit, didn’t match, wasn’t what you wanted, doesn’t belong, odd man out.  You name any reason and there it sits. Without a home.  Without a purpose.  It’s tucked away in a box, a drawer, a pile in the corner of the shelf, behind all the other blocks, with random bits and fabrics.  Basically, it’s forgotten.

Now, orphan quilt blocks are not necessarily bad.  They are sometimes leftovers of exploring colors, ideas, designs, techniques or practice.  Some come from a specific quilt.  Some are just practice pieces.

Whatever the reason, they are left alone.   But not really, because they are typically in a pile of other random orphan quilt blocks- so they are alone but in a collection.

What is an Orphan Project?

This is where the whole project was abandoned.

It sits unfinished in a bag, box, container.  Stacked on a shelf.

You had good intentions of completing it, but something or another happened and the finishing came to a complete halt.

Some reasons are – wasn’t what you envisioned. Not the right colors. Not your favorite anymore. You pushed it aside to complete a more urgent project. It doesn’t spark your interest. It’s ‘blank’ many years old.  It was for someone, but not finished.

Some even may say that these orphan projects hold a certain guilt to them as well.  When you glance at them, you feel all guilty.  Oh, I should be working on that….but you don’t.

In reality you may even feel guilty because if you did finish it, it’s sooooo late that it’s kind of silly to even give it!

Here’s the thing we need to remember.

The orphan project is really something that you came up with– for a certain purpose.  Whatever that purpose is, doesn’t really matter at this point.  Release the guilt and decide if that’s really a project that you want to actually spend time on and complete.

If it is, then that’s where you start.  I say, forget the end result — like giving it as a gift to so and so like you planned too.  Forget that and move forward.  If at the end of the project you think that you could still use it for it’s original purpose, then go right ahead.  But don’t feel guilty about it if your actions change upon completion.

Over the next little bit, we’ll go over some ways of dealing with those orphan projects and quilt blocks.  How to keep them organized, get excited about them again and what to do when we don’t want to work on them at all! Because that happens too.  And.  That’s ok.

So, what is the story behind your orphan quilt blocks or projects? 

And- what’s the plan for them in the future?

You ready to get them moving forward?  I’d love to hear about it!

Share those stories in the comments- 

Learn more about how to tackle those orphan projects and quilt blocks!

Get ideas, help and encouragement moving those orphan projects forward.  We have a week long series featuring articles a challenge and tracking sheets all about orphan projects!

Click here to get all the details!

Love the Orphan Project Challenge?!

Check out the other posts in this series:

6 thoughts on “What is an Orphan Quilt Block or Projects?

  1. Elizabeth J White

    I don’t quilt much but have plenty of sewing orphan projects (and other crafts) in my sewing/crafting/office room. I am hoping this will get me reinvigorated to finish them up! Some were meant to be Christmas presents for last year. My goal is for them to be gifted this year!

  2. Becky

    Can’t wait to hear how it goes! Having a purpose to them and a deadline is definitely a motivator. 🙂

  3. Vera

    I clicked on the “Click to Join” button countless times. I receive only an invitation to join. This is already annoying. I hope others are more lucky.

  4. Cristy Harts

    I am hoping that this challenge will get me inspired to keep reaching deeper into my pile of orphans between newer projects

  5. Teddy

    Hi, Becky! I clicked on your article for fun, and was I happily surprised! You have a fun, easy to read style! Your insights are applicable in many areas… love your comment about forgetting what you were planning to do with your project, just go ahead and show it some love, make a new decision and move forward! Very inspiring!! Thank you! I’ve started a tracking sheet for various projects thanks to you! I’ve read some of your other posts and found them fun, interesting and informative, too! Thank you so much!!!

  6. Becky

    The file for the tracking sheets are in the quilt library- use your code from the email to login. Link is on the menu bar. have fun!

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