Using Test Blocks for Mini Door Quilts

Apr 13, 2021 8:32:00 AM / by HollyAnne Knight

Happy spring, Rockstars! My name is HollyAnne Knight of String & Story where it’s my job to guide you to quilt with confidence. Today, I’m here with a fun, fast project and some free motion quilting inspiration!

Let’s talk about orphan blocks and test blocks, hm? As the weather (at least here in the Northern Hemisphere) begins to warm and the days lengthen, that “Spring Cleaning” bug is coming in strong. So, as we may be freshening up our sewing spaces for prettier days, what can we do with orphan blocks we find hiding about? Or, going forward, can we have a plan for test blocks that helps us feel a little bit more excited about trying out a pattern or die before we get properly started? Personally, my favorite quick project for these blocks is turning them into a door quilt. Door quilts give my orphan and test blocks a job and help the entry of my house feel fresh and seasonal-- what a win!




What is a Door Quilt?

A door quilt is basically a mini quilt that I hang on my front door in place of a wreath. Think of it a bit like a barn quilt for your house. I love them because:

  1. They give me an easy purpose for stray blocks-- from leftover blocks to scrap blocks to “let me just try out this new AccuQuilt die” blocks, I can give these extra bits a lovely job cheering up my front door.
  2. They’re really pretty like a wreath, but they take up a lot less space to store
  3. It’s fun to tell friends, “you’re at the right house when you see the quilt on the door.” 




Ready to make your first Door Quilt?

Huzzah! Let’s get to it! Gather supplies to make a little mini quilt (I think 9"-16" is ideal), and also collect:

  • A wreath hook or adhesive hook for your front door
  • A ¼-½ inch dowel that is about the width of or slightly wider than your mini quilt
  • Yarn, twine, or string to hang the dowel from your hook (a yard or so)

For today’s quilt, I’m making a small version of my Dogwood Blossoms quilt block. This is a very AccuQuilt friendly block because it uses half square triangles, triangle in a squares, and square in a squares. The full pattern is available in the String & Story shop. 


Make Your Mini Quilt

I already mentioned that these lil’ door quilts are the perfect project for using up stray blocks, but they are also perfect for trying out new free motion quilting  skills, motifs, and plans! Or, you could use some free motion quilting (FMQ) to customize your orphan block into and even more perfect door quilt. As a bit of inspiration, let’s look at a couple of ideas for quilting my new Dogwood Blossoms door quilt!

QP2-DogwoodBlossoms-HAKnight              QP2-DogwoodBlossoms-HAKnight


Both of these quilting plans use traditional quilting motifs. The first is what I would consider an “introductory” or beginner friendly plan that allows even a relatively inexperienced FMQ-er to play around with the custom look of a few motifs. The second plan is a bit more advanced, including pebbles and ruler work. 

QP3-DogwoodBlossoms-HAKnight              QP4--DogwoodBlossoms-HAKnight


These second two quilting plans play around with layering a few threads to create almost embroidery-like quilted words combined with a filler design for the background. Quilting plans like this or choosing novelty print fabrics or for your mini quilt are an easy way to get the seasonal feel of a wreath with the fun of a quilt. 


Hanging Your Mini Quilt

As with just about anything, there are a few ways you could hang the quilt on your door-- a hanging loop, clips, etc. Personally, I like to attach a skinny sleeve to the back of my quilt when I put on the binding, slide a dowel through, then loop twine around the ends of the dowel to hang the mini quilt.


To make the sleeve, I take a 2 ½ inch strip of fabric that is the same width of my mini quilt, fold each end in ½ inch and then ½ inch again and stitch in place (creating 1 inch of margin on each side between the end of the sleeve and the edge of the quilt). Fold in half lengthwise and stitch to the back of the quilt when attaching the binding. 

Don’t forget to step back and admire your gorgeous work when you’re done!



Additional Resources

Here are some helpful links for making your very own Door Quilt:

  • AccuQuilt has a fabulous collection of seasonal and novelty applique dies here 
  • Want to make a Spring Dogwood Blossoms quilt like mine? You can get the pattern in my shop here 
  • Inspired to try free motion quilting, but not sure how to get started? Check out my mini course Intro to FMQ here! 
  • Last but not least, find me across social media @stringandstory and tag me in pictures of your lovely door quilts!

Topics: mini quilt, Quilting, free-motion quilting

HollyAnne Knight

Written by HollyAnne Knight