What Do YOU Do with YOUR Practice Quilts?

Thumbnail Free Motion Quilts

Good Morning, Quilters!  Today is Open Line Friday…Everyone asks…Everyone answers…Any quilting question…

We LOVE hearing from the experts out there…from all over the world…

Thumbnail Free Motion Quilts

I thought I’d start the ball rolling with a question from my sewing room….

This week I spent some time going through my stack of “Tuesday Tutorials” and other little projects.

I found a lot of forgotten little gems (and a few that were not so good…)

I cut out a few thumbnail “sketches” to save….

Thumbnail Free Motion Quilts

In the past, I’ve used larger practice pieces to make bags and I keep many samples in a binder…

Today’s Question:

What Do YOU do with your samples and your practice pieces?

I’d love to hear…


PS…All images, tutorials, and information are the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only.  Feel free to re-blog, pin, tweet and share with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, please contact me at lckennedy@hotmail.com.  Thank you!



45 thoughts on “What Do YOU Do with YOUR Practice Quilts?

  1. Starting with the designs from yesterday’s post and adding a couple of my own, I’m making a cloth baby book with some of them. It is turning out to be fun and rather cute.

  2. I too have kept a few of my practice pieces. I’ve yet to use them for any thing. I keep thinking I could bind them together in an interesting way to make a small quilt or tote bag. I’m i the rested to see how many post comments and how they use their practice pieces.

  3. When I first started out and my practice was well quite ugly my girlfriend would take them for her dog bed. But now I can think of all kinds of ways to re-purpose them. A purse organizer, small zipper bag like for pencils, a diaper clutch, recover a binder or make a fabric box out of them.
    Thank you for sharing all of your wonderful talent with us. I enjoy reading your blog very much.

  4. Most of my practice pieces are donation quilts for my guild’s outreach programs. Small quilts for the pediatric units of the two hospitals here and, when I get better, larger quilts for Quilts of Valor.

    • my presentable ones are also going to guild outreach (NICU size, ~20″ x ~24″, is perfect for practice)

  5. I have the best intentions to take my small quilt pieces, join them together using a “quilt as you go” method, and donate to my guild’s Quilts on Wheels or Quilts for Kids programs. I just haven’t gotten quite that far yet.

    • Great idea! Combining two loves is nice-love for quilting and love for animals. Thanks for donating to the shelter.

  6. I used to let my samples in a box and do nothing… but now that I saw your blog, I’m making some changes. Little pieces to practice and now making a Drunkard’s Path lap quilt to machine quilt.

    Thanks a lot for your ideas!

  7. I am so happy you asked this question. I never know what to do with all the little practice pieces I have. Hopefully, this will provide me with several ideas. I have really been enjoying your blog. Thanks

    • Love this idea of making potholders. I knew someone would post just the idea I was looking for.

  8. Hi Lori! I use some for little cat mats that cover surfaces next to windows for kitty gazing purposes. in my sewing room.

  9. I turned to your site to learn how to machine quilt a quilt for my first granddaughter. Since my practice quilt had most of the colors of her quilt (and it really LOOKED like a practice quilt!) I cut it up and made a patchwork ball out of it. I threw a rattle in the middle and stuffed it lightly. She loves it.

  10. I don’t really have any practice “pieces”, I practice on the whole quilt, probably 99% of my quilts are donated to kids with cancer or other life threatening diseases. They’re certainly not “heirloom” quality quilts but hopefully they’ll give the kids some kind of comfort.

  11. Great ideas everybody…truthfully mine are floating all over my sewing space…I have three quilts underway all at different stages and a few baby projects snuck in between and one giant project for the hubby and in my digging…yes sadly digging I will run across one of them and oo and ahh over it…the pattern anyhow, the stitching not so much-haha!…I need practice…but I save them for some day. I do have to stop once in a while a dig out and put stuff away or the mess closes in on me so next time I get to that point I will try to get all my mini’s in the same place. I love making bags and totes so I’m thinking something like that.

  12. I have all mine in a large box and just keep adding more to it. I was thinking of making a pot holder quilt someday with them all. I have them all about the same size so sewing them together will be the easy part. Some will never make it to anything but animal blankets sound like a fabulous idea. Thanks

  13. The nicer practice pieces are becoming cat/dog beds for the battered women’s shelter that recently built a shelter for the women’s pets so they can take their pets with them when they start a new life. The less than pretty ones get chopped up and used for filling along with all my small fabric and batting scraps. I love Debbie’s patchwork ball idea! Thanks for asking the question. I get such great ideas from your blog!

  14. Depends on what I’ve practiced! Some I cut into 4 or 5″ squares to make coasters, some have turned into hot pads or pot holders. Uglies are relayered and practiced over again and again. Some are still just sitting there, waiting to be repurposed. There are lots of good ideas here to think about while ‘practicing’.

  15. I take mine to the FMQ classes I teach….just to show them how skills do progress – and some of the failures! Those that are quilted over every square inch eventually get tossed as I use them as warm up pieces or to try new patterns. IF ever I make a quilt sandwich good enough to save for another purpose – hot pads or a soft baby book are great ideas!

  16. All these good ideas! I cut mine up into coasters, placemats, tea cozies, sewing machine covers, mug rugs (room to the side to place your snack) or small appliance mats with little tabs so you can pull the appliance out and not get rubber skid marks on your counter top. Since we have laminate floors, my practice pieces also turn into protectors for the floor; underneath the bed risers for my vintage ironing board.

    Thank you for all your inspiration Lori! Hugs, Allison in Plano, TX USA

  17. So far I have made mine into pads for under my sewing machine. Some I have just thrown away. I like some of the above ideas though.

  18. What a treasure trove of ideas!! Thanks everyone. I do my “practice” machine quilting on my group’s charity quilts — practice improves everything, so they are pretty good these days.

  19. I use the “sandwiches” to put in between potsn pans and special dishware. Others love these when I give them to them

  20. I make baby quilts to practice on. Then I bind them and donate them to our local “baby bank”. The mothers are so appreciative and are not critical of less than perfect stitching.

  21. I did a few improv. pieces and small art pieces and put them all into a lap quilt…not quite finished but nearly there then I hope to use FMQ in the negative spaces.

  22. I serge the edges and use them as packing blankets. Here in Florida we have to cover plants during cold snaps and they come in handy for that.

  23. My very first practice piece, my mother grabbed it, bound it and uses it for a small lap robe. I keep telling her I’ve done much better since that one and it needs to be replaced, but she insist on keeping it. I like the ideas I have seen here.

  24. I cut them out either 10″ or 12″ sq and put on a binding.. I use them for table decoration or a pot holder. If really small than they are Mud Rugs…

  25. I have been using my practice machine quilting pieces to “cushion” my good china. I place a small piece between each plate and cup and saucer when they are stored.

  26. Lots of super ideas here. I like the idea of a book of FMQ samples to show in class and to use the quilt as you go method to join a few together to make a kitty mat or place mats. Thank you.

  27. I was thinking of making a cover for my Kitchen Aid mixer or a cover for my sewing machine. (Haven’t done it yet.)

  28. I tidy-up my practice quilts, bind them, then take to the local hospital for “babies/ children in need” program. Have been told that the children are not critical of the looks, but get great pleasure out of just using their finger trace the quilting lines.

  29. In my case, it’s the other way round: I think of a project (uaually a small one), such as a set of placemats or small bag, and I practise on it. I hate to just practise without a final destination to the piece. But now i’ve seen others’ ideas, I think I’m going to make a lot more potholeders!!

  30. All my “practice” pieces are quilts…my own or my customers! It that bad that I don’t have little practice pieces? Of course, little is difficult to do on a longarm! The only real “practice” piece I have is a muslin sandwich that I check my tension when I change my thread or bobbin. When that has been used to the max, I make sure all the threads are trimmed, sew the open sides closed and put it in my dog’s crate for extra padding.

  31. Some pieces I throw away when I have quilted every inch of it. I use them to test stitches or trouble shoot with my machine. Other good pieces I keep. Currently they are waiting to be turned into a sample book. I have already used the pieces when deciding on a FMQ pattern with a quilt buddy.

  32. I put some orphan bilks together for a cover for my baby lok Tiara. It is a pretty big machine. Then I used that to practice on.
    Love all the great ideas!

  33. I make practice blocks into dining room place mats. Sometimes they simply save the table cloth and other times, they give me new ideas. Either way, they are useful and don’t take up space in sewing room storage. If you have a lot, there is always a donation quilt project who would welcome them.

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