Dazzling orphan

While rummaging for more scraps I found this old orphan block from 2013 hiding in a box. That year I designed this foundation paper piecing pattern called Dazzle and I tested the block in different fabric combinations. I don’t think this particular block ever made it to the blog that I had just started that year.

Back then I did not own a lot of quilting fabrics and my choice of fabric stores was limited. I had to make do with regular cottons which are a little bit thicker and coarser than quilting cotton.


I still adore the bright pink and purple colors, but wish I had put this block together a bit better and that I had used better quality fabrics. The centre of the block is just atrocious, if I say so myself! Because of the thickness of the fabric the centre seams didn’t want to twirl round and lay flat. They just bunched up. The top looks like a circus tent in the centre.

Oh boy, it is bad!


BUT, adding feathers in neon pink and some sparkling threads always do the trick!


I went around the flower with a back-and-forth line of about an inch, while ignoring the darker grey border.


I filled in the rest with a purple metallic with small stipple.


Maybe I should have done a different freemotion pattern around the star. The silver and the purple don’t stand out as much as I thought they would.


What would you do?

Add more silver around the star to lighten the area up?

Add more purple to darker the area on the edges?

Any other ideas??? I am not afraid to build up layers of pattern and thread on top of each other.

Please give me some advice on this!

I am planning a button for the centre of this orphan block.


The neon thread is a polyester thread called Polyneon by Madeira. The silver metallic thread is also by Madeira (article number 9846, color no.40). The purple metallic thread is by Wonderfil (color number 8896). My machine prefers the Madeira threads over the Wonderfil . I guess each machine has different preferences. When using the metallic threads I used a very thin thread by Wonderfil, called Invisafil as the bobbin thread. For the neon pink I used a Amann thread in the bobbin, which always works beautifully in my machine too. As a rule I use a Topstitch 90/14 needle when freemotion quilting. Sometimes I use a 100/16 needle if the thread is thicker.

I am still debating what to do with this block. Keep it as a mini for my sewing room or give it away as a pillow? I will think about it some more…

Please help me with this project!

Thank you!


p.s. I am linking up with:

– Confessions of a Fabric Addict for ‘Can I get a Whoop Whoop?’

– My Quilt Infatuation for ‘Needle and Thread Thursday‘.

– Crazy Mom Quilts for ‘Finish it Up Friday‘.




23 thoughts on “Dazzling orphan

  1. I like the button idea! Takes away the focus of the “circus tent” you feel is going on. Though non quilters probably wouldn’t notice 🙂

  2. I agree, the thread colors do not pop as much as you might have thought, but.. it does look really good. How about using several smaller buttons for the center instead on one (belly button sort of look). Just an idea. I love to finish orphan blocks that I forgot I made a while back. Good for you.

    • Thank you for your kind words. I like your idea of more than one button! I will go to the quilt shop tomorrow to check what they have got. I know they have cute selection. Thanks again for the idea!
      Have a lovely weekend,

  3. Sorry I have no advice on the thread issue, but this is a really pretty block, and I think your quilting works very well with it. I’d frame it and hang it in my sewing room!

  4. I think if this was mine and I had the same thoughts as you about how well the star/flower stands out, I’d stitch in the ditch in white around all the petals to give the edges a tiny ‘sparkle’ of brightness. I’d be looking for a way to make the flower stand out from the background. Despite the lumpy centre, this is still a beautiful block, and making a cushion from it, with the button pulled into the centre to take up the excess fabric, would be a beautiful way to use it.

    • I have started adding some green metallic around the pink petals. So far so good. There is more of a contrast in the design now. I think I like it better. If it doesn’t look good in the end, I will count this orphan block as a ‘learning experience’.

  5. I like the button in the the middle and think it will make an elegant pillow. If you had a do over, I think I would have used the purple to outline the star and a matching color for the filler so it fades into the background.
    Beautiful work.

    • Yes, that would have been awesome too! I will try that on the next block in the ‘orphan box’. There is plenty more where this one came from.
      Thanks again for your suggestion!
      Have a lovely weekend,

  6. Your skill level has skyrocketed since 2013. I would give the middle of the quilt a ” stardust ” button (or several) and leave it as a pillow. Adding some white stitching might help.

    • Oooooo a stardust botton would look awesome! I need to go and hunt down some cool buttons for projects like this.
      I have started to add some green next to the pink petals. So far so good!

  7. I would create some kind of yellow/brown/black verigated center and applique it on then either cross hatch or circular quilt it….all flowers have centers

  8. Frankly, Esther, I’d call it good and make it into a beautiful pillow! I quite like it as it is.

  9. Would it have laid flat if you’d done a circular spiral from the center out, then quilted the rest? (Just curious, newbie to FMQ.) I love the pin idea though! I’m trying to recycle some of my mom’s old accessories and that would be a great use for her pins!!

    • Your suggestion of the twirling is correct, but the fabric is so thick and distorted by my bad piecing technique (in 2013) that this is beyond repair, ha ha!
      Your idea of using a pin is lovely! A great way to display something from your mom!!!
      Have a lovely weekend!

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