From Lonely Quilt Block to Finished Project

As the days and hours of National Craft Month begin to dwindle, my desire to finish a project only becomes more intense. I may have only finished one quilt block I’d intended for this month, but that doesn’t mean I can’t turn it into something amazing by the stroke of midnight tomorrow.

I’m happy to report; I’ve successfully completed a paper-pieced wolf block. I started making the quilt block featured in the “Howl” Quilt from Animal Quilts by Juliet van der Heijden as my first attempt at paper-pieced quilt blocks. I’m pleasantly surprised by the outcome; the block turned out way better than I’d expected, but in all honesty, I’m in no hurry to make the three matching wolf quilt blocks to complete the quilt top.

In an effort to finish my project by the end of the month (and to ease my guilt over not wanting to complete the project as intended), I’ve called upon my colleagues here at The Quilting Company to help me brainstorm alternative projects for my completed block. Here is a look at the ideas they sent my way; I’m not sure I’ll be able to choose!

Block Into a Pillow

So you’ve made a beautiful, large block. Perhaps it was very complicated, intricate, or detailed. You love it but, well … maybe making one block was enough. What to do? Make a pillow, of course!

My “Howl” quilt block would make a lovely pillow on my couch.

Treat the block like a mini quilt — this works best with a block on the large side, such as 18″ or 20″ square. Layer it with batting and a backing (like muslin, as it will not be seen), and baste the layers together. Quilt as desired; however you quilt it, though — fancifully or simply — quilt it with a relatively even distribution of stitching. This will help in the wear-and-tear department going forward.

After quilting, trim the block to square it up.

Add a pillow backing

There are many ways to finish a pillow — add a zipper, sew it shut after inserting a pillow form, create flaps (also known as an envelope backing) and probably many more. Don’t miss our Easy Envelope Backs for Quilted Pillows blog post for a quick tutorial.

Once the pillowcase is complete, insert a pillow form and admire your work!

Tip: For a plump pillow, use a pillow form that is 1″-2″ bigger than the final size of the finished pillow cover.

-Kristine Lundblad

Column-Style Quilt

Vanessa’s Reader’s Delight quilt

Ever since watching the 3101 episode of Love of Quilting, with the beautiful Quilt of Valor called It Waves Forever, I’ve been fascinated by column-style quilts. They’re so adaptable—far more than I ever realized! For my Reader’s Delight quilt, I took our Squares and Stripes pattern, widened the solid columns to accommodate blocks from Angela Pingel’s Book Nerd pattern and Janeen Van Niekerk’s Silhouette Cat #3, and then set the strip-pieced patches on point. (Changing the color choices made a dramatic difference, doesn’t it?)

I’d do something similar with your quilt block. I’d use the gray as the main background throughout. Instead of multiple blocks, I’d feature JUST the wolf block in the lower left, leaving all the other columns a solid gray (fun space for longarming!). Instead of the strip-pieced spacer columns, I’d have rows of falling pinwheel star blocks—stars made of all those scrappy yellows against the gray background.

Your wolf would really howl at the moon then!

-Vanessa Lyman

Make a Bed Runner

Curves Ahead Bed Runner by Annette Ornelas

This block would look great sandwiched between the other blocks of the Curves Ahead Bed Runner. The quilt blocks come together in a snap with 5″ pre-cut squares, and remind me of crescent and quarter moons—a perfect pairing for this “Howl” block. The block is the ideal size to incorporate with this runner, so no quilt surgery is necessary. I love the idea of the “Howl” block offset at one end of the runner; it would be a great way to show of the intricate piecing every day.

-Katie Chicarello

Frame Your Block

Use a tutorial on creating your own stretched canvas to create a piece of wall art featuring your quilt block. There are many available, with instructions on creating a “gallery-wrapped” canvas. Adapt these instructions slightly — considering you are using a block made of quilting-weight cotton rather than a durable canvas — and go gently on the stretching and stapling. If you fear stapling through your block, you can sew a border of wide grosgrain ribbon in a coordinating color all around the four sides of the block and staple through that instead.

Before mounting it on the frame, decide whether you wish to quilt it first or leave it unquilted.

Once complete, add a hanging bracket or other hardware and hang it for all to see!

– Kristine Lundblad

[editor’s note: if you’re interested in learning more about the approach Kristine suggested, here’s a great tutorial from Lori Baker!]

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