Thursday, February 20, 2020


The Framed 9 Patch quilt is officially finished.  The binding is on, turned to the back and stitched.

 This is the best photo I can get of the whole quilt. It is on my king size bed and completely covers the top. It will not be used on this bed  is only here for the photo. I can't get far enough away to get a better photo and I can't put it up on my design wall because it is too heavy for me to do it by getting up on a ladder.

This is one section of the piano key border, which was sewn to the inner border and quilted before adding to the quilt. There is stitching in the ditch along the seam where it was added.

This is that section on the back showing the machine stitched edge of the backing.  I had turned the edges under and pressed them and fused them and then stitched in the ditch from the front. I was really happy that all my machine stitched edges on the back  turned out so well.

These are 2 of the corners with Double Four Patch Blocks.  I stitched on the front, in the ditch along the binding.

This is one of those corners on the back. I caught the binding on the back along the whole quilt and all my corner miters came out well.
However, the width of the binding on the back was not even all over. The weight of the quilt at times dragged the quilt and made it hard to manage a uniform 1/4 inch seam. I did examine the edges and fixed some ares before turning the binding to the back but I missed some places and because I had already started to fuse some of the binding down, there was not going back. It is good from the front and because I use double fold binding it is not going to come loose. It probably would not pass inspection from the judges or the quilt police but I'm happy.

This is the last quilt this large I will ever make. Even quilting it in sections, it became really hard to manage after I added the third section.  I don't see how I can make my sewing space different to make quilting something this large easier. I know I will be content to make smaller quilts and I intend to make another smaller Framed 9 Patch and I have other projects in mind also. After all, I have all those scraps to use.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Framed 9 Patch Debut

The Framed 9 Patch quilt made it's debut. Well, kind of, it is almost finished. The binding is sewed on but it still needs to be turned to the back and stitched down.  I was showing it anyway. We had family over yesterday and 2 of our youngest great grand children were here.  I had spread the quilt over our bed to show their moms and grandma. The 2 year old and her 10 month old cousin wanted to get up on the bed and have a look. They spent the next 15 minutes jumping and bouncing round on the bed. It was too much fun watching them laughing having the best time and no harm done to the quilt or the kids.

These are 3 photos of the fun, terrible photography I know; photos are all manipulated for clarity. However, they captures the spirit of the moment.

I think in this one he was just landing.

I hope to sew the binding down on the back today and then I will post a photo of the real finish.

Monday, February 3, 2020

February Bulletin Board.

Here it is Monday and I have not done one bit of sewing on the piano key borders. I think I was too optimistic to think I would get anything done this week.

I did clean up my desk and cutting table and vacuumed the floor and I was amazed that I can pick up straight pins with my long handled grasping tool. I could see there were a lot of pins and I didn't want to bend over to reach for them. Age is putting limits on what is comfortable for me to do.
While I was putting away the last of the Christmas things from my design walls and bulletin boards, I came across some of my quilted hearts and put them on one of the bulletin boards.
 I like to have some of the things out that usually reside in the closet,

The heart quilt is made with uneven Log Cabin blocks from the book "Log Cabin in the Round" by Barb Schaffield and Beth Vickery.  The little house square in the center was from Beth Shibley of Love Laugh Quilt blogspot. She sent then to everyone who participated in her Neighborhood Block Party", The quilt is 22 inches W and 18 inches H. The crazy pieced hearts are valentines  leftover  from the ones I sent to friends. The black and white square is a participant patch made by Lori one of the Basement Divas for the annual Jellyroll Race. The pink square doesn't really show up well in a photo; it was an experiment using red ink to draw a zen tangle inspired heart on a pink fabric. I layered it up and quilted it with red thread on the longer lines. The photo is enhanced but the color isn't really true. It does show up more "in person". Not every experiment turns out to be something to pursue but some of them are worth keeping just  because.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Almost There

It seems as though I have been working on this quilt forever.  In the past when I was excited about a quilt, I worked on it every day and sometimes all day. That doesn't happen anymore but I have maintained my level of enthusiasm and I am closing in on the finish.

This is the body of the quilt with all 3 quilted sections and the quilted side borders sewed together. It is laying on my King size bed because it is too large and heavy for me  to put it upon my design wall. I am not foolish enough to try standing on a ladder to do that.

This is a section of the front of the quilt showing the green inner border and the quilted border sewn on the quilt. I stitched in the ditch on both sides of the 2 inch inner border. I quilted 2 parallel wavy lines along the  length of the borders and then some angled way lines about a hands width apart across the width of the border. It is more utilitarian than artist but that serves its purpose.

This is the same area on the back of the quilt. The black arrow is pointing to the stitching line. it is where I stitched in the ditch on the top edge of the narrow inner border. There were some fiddly steps  I took to get it to com out this way but it was worth the fussing around. I can't hand any seams that long anymore and every seam that I did this way came out the way I hoped for. 

I have  sections for the top and bottom borders on my design wall now and I need to make the blocks for the corners and stitch it all together. I might be optimistic in thinking I can get them on the quilt by next weekend but I am going to try.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020


I finally got around to sewing piano key sections together. No matter what I tell myself, or anyone else, about random being RANDOM; I always end up agonizing over sections that don't look right to me. I even fuss around using my seam ripper and "improving" an offending area. I spent a lot more time working on the two side orders than I needed to. Working with scraps is not necessarily mindless. However I did get them together and layered up and quilted. I need to pin a note up reminding myself that I have never been unhappy about the piano keys once the quilt has been finished.

This border is 82 inches long and this is about half of it. I am still thinking about adding another row of wavy quilting between the 2 rows that I've done so far. If I had quilted in the ditch over all the vertical seams or even quilted feathers I think the stitching would have been too dense for the body of the quilt. I am not gong to rip out the quilting but I am thinking about whether I might add something.

I need to trim the backing and batting and that is a process that requires Trimming away the batting and backing edges different widths and there is a lot of fussing around. I know think I can eliminate at least one step. I am going slow and rethinking my process.

In the meantime these top and bottom borders are still in sections up on my wall. One of the narrow green borders is between them so I can work on both of them at the same time.  I will be putting 7 inch blocks on both ends so the piano keys are able to fit across the wall.  I can agonize over them every time I look in that direction.

Maybe I need to pin up that note reminding me to think about the PK borders on the finished quilts.

Friday, January 10, 2020

2020 A New Year

Here we are in a new year and I am already behind.  I hope it will be a good year and I am giving it my best shot at trying to be optimistic.

After my last post I gave up trying to get in any any sewing or quilting time and folded up my sewing table and put my machine away. When new window were installed in our apartment we had to move a lot of things away from the windows. With my sewing room being a crowded space, putting things away made sense. I spent a lot of November  going over (and over and over) our health care policies and deciding on changes we might want to make. Jack used to take care of all of this; his vision problems have progressed to the point where he had to make his computer screen so large that it took him a very long time to do anything and he kept getting timed out. We also spent a lot of time on Jack's doctor visits and and tests. There will be more of those coming up.

There were good times too! Thanksgiving and Christmas and were special times as well as impromptu family visits. I had a milestone birthday, 85 and my family had a birthday party for me.
They had the party at our church and invited my Bible study group and the ladies in the church quilt group also. They gathered quilts and small items that I had made over the years and given away. They hung them all around the room. It was like a one woman show.

 I thought it was going to be just family and wondered why they couldn't all just come to our home.
It was the most fuss over my birthday in my whole life. I really never felt deprived of a birthday fuss; so close to Christmas the focus was just naturally on Christmas. One thing we always did was put up our Christmas tree on my birthday  and that was special enough.

While I never missed a big birthday fuss, I loved this one.

Here is a 4 generation of all my family who were able to come. 

So..... 2020 is here and my sewing room is back to normal and I am almost ready to sew and finish the Framed 9 patch.  I had it all packed away in an organized way but it still took me some time to  get the piano key border parts back in order on my design wall. They are not all sewn together but in sections of several strips.

These are sections of the 2 side borders with the green narrow inner border strips above one of the border sections. 
The side borders will be 81 inches long and are ready to sew together, pretty much in the this order. The top 2 rows, with the green inner border strips above, are one and the bottom 2 are the other.  My design wall is not wide enough to stretch the whole border across the wall.  I will layer them up and quilt them and join them to the sides of the right and left quilt sections. More to come about the process of joining the sections and adding the top and bottom borders later.

I wish everyone a happy and healthy New year with time to sew and time to post and time to enjoy with those you love. May the new year be filled with many blessings.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Moving Along .........Slowly

I am moving along with the framed 9 patch quilt. I got the left top and bottom sections together and I have all the rest of the sections layered up and ready to quilt. I used to get a lot more done, not because I was fast but because I use to have more time for quilting.

Warning!! This is a long post and may be boring,
I took some photos as I went along so I could show the steps I take when I am quilting in sections.

This is the center top section. I will quilt all the way to the edge on the top (the left side in the photo).
I will leave 2 inches not quilted on all 3 of the other edges. I have pinned strips of selvage along those 3 edges  to remind me not to  stitch beyond the 2 inches.  I once believed that putting safety pins across the area where I wanted to stop would work. However I just removed the pins when I stitched up to them and kept on stitching. I did it more than once until I started pinning selvage scraps or ribbon along in those areas.

My finger is pointing to where I will stop stitching in the ditch seam between the blocks. I will be quilting in the ditch around the nine patch center and across the solid diagonal patches. Later, after joining the sections, I will only need to finish the stitching in the ditch on that 2 inch section.

                  These next 3 photos show how I prepare the edge that I have left not quilted.

On the left I have folded the backing down from the edge where the quilting stopped 2 inches from the edge.
In the center I have turned the section over to the front and using my long ruler I trimmed the batting even with the quilt top.
On the right At this point the backing is still pinned out of the way. I have folded back and pinned the edge on the pieced top that has been left not quilted and I trimmed the batting. The measurement of the batting that I trim away is 2 x the width of my seam allowance when using my walking foot. This will allow the batting that is quilted to the edge to butt up against the batting that has not been quilted to the edge.  I always test what that measurement will be because I have found that it is not an exact 1/4 inch using the edge of my walking foot as a guide. Changing a needle will sometimes change the measurement. This time it was a little over 1/4 inch so I trimmed 5/8.  This might not be so important using 80/20 batting but with Warm and Natural I noticed if the batting overlapped.

I don't have a photo of the section that I quilted  to the edge. I trim the batting and backing even with the pieced and quilted top. I trim only the edge that I will be joining to the next section as I am ready to join the sections.  That makes me confident that I have an easy option in case I quilt to the wrong
edge on a section. For this quilt I am not really worried about that because  there are only 6 sections.

In this photo the section with the backing turned back is on top of the other section and ready to be pinned. Usually, I will have unpinned the folded back backing and trimmed it so that it can be folded under enough to cover the stitching that joins the sections. I would then pin it out of the way again. I do a lot of pinning and re pinning because I have learned a lesson the hard way about not doing it .

I pin first where I will match seams and then ease in the fabric between those pins,
 The edge that is not quilted will be slightly longer; if there are not seams to be matched I start pinning in the center of the  entire edge and on the ends and divide and pin by half  and half again in order to ease in any fullness.
This  photo shows the edges pinned together; the stitching will not catch the batting.

After I stitch the seam I always check the front to make sure it is OK before I move on to whipping the edges of the batting together.

I pressed seam to the  section that is stitched to the edge. I use a long needle, about 5 inches long, and catch the edge that is quilted to the edge and the loose batting from the other section.
You might seethe needle if you enlarge the photo.

It seems as though I do a lot of fussing around making the batting butt up against the next section but I am happy with the result.

When I am ready to hand stitch the backing to cover the joining seam I start pinning in the center and ease in the fabric as I did when joining the quilted and not quilted edges. The first time I quilted in sections I just started at one end and started pinning and stitching a short distance and then pinned again and stitched again, About half way down a very long seam I realized that something was not right. I would have ended up with tucks in the seam.  Hand stitching is much more difficult to rip out that machine stitching.

On the back I hand stitched the backing to cover the seam and it looked good. But I knew I had to find another way. It was way too slow and difficult and painful for my old hands.

I did not remove the hand stitching.

On the front, I stitched in the ditch on the joining seam between the blocks.  The seam here is between the 2 horizontal rows. It looks good!

I caught most of the edge on the back The arrows show where I didn't catch the edge and where I did.
If I use the same technique that I use for binding I know it will work. I will take care to cover the seam by just a little more than when I do the binding.  I might use glue instead of Wonder Under for basting,

I am moving on to quilting the rest of the sections and finishing the piano key borders. I ordered a subdued green fabric for an inner border and binding. I am hoping we get the snow the weather people promise us, even though I usually hate snow.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

A Detour And Back On Track With The Framed 9 Patch

I was starting to cut the backing sections for the Framed 9 Patch quilt when I decided to move some things out of the way in my sewing room. I needed to move my table away from the wall so I could work around it when I started to layer up the sections.  I piled some things on a chair and pushed them into my bedroom. I looked at one corner and it struck me that maybe a 16 x 22 tall chest that is in my sewing room closet would just fit in that corner. I made the mistake of asking Jack what he thought, fully intending to think it over and do it another time (or maybe not at all). The next thing I knew we were moving furniture. That involved more than moving one chest because we had to move his bedroom dresser and desk a few inches. We could not budge the dresser without taking the drawers out so we did and moved things over. He measured the space for the chest and then I measured a slightly different way and we discussed it. Hmm!!   There is baseboard heating that runs along the wall and turns the corner that had to be taken into consideration and we each had a different idea about how to measure. We decided it would work and began the process of moving the chest after taking all the drawers out and emptying one drawer that was too heavy to take out with all the stuff in it. We had to move some furniture in my sewing room in order to get the chest out of the corner of the closet We finally moved the chest and IT FIT.  This was a no small thing for us to do.  We are both over 80. It's done and we are both no worse for wear but next time I want something moved I will ask one of our kids or grandkids.

It took me two hours to get the sewing room in order, not perfect but I gained a some closet space that will make things easier.

I cut all the backing sections and got the 3 bottom sections of the quilt layered up and pin basted. I even got started on the quilting. This morning I finished one section.

I quilted in the ditch between the blocks in both directions. On this section, I quilted all the way to the edge on all 4 sides. I will trim away the batting and backing on all 4 sides when I am ready to join it to the next section.

This is a close up of 2 adjacent blocks.
I quilted inside the frame strips and on the diagonal across the solid squares in the 9 patch.  After quilting a couple of blocks I determined the best way (for me) would be to quilt around the 9 patch and across one diagonal and then decide which side I would stitch over to get to the diagonal line that would take me closest to the next block, about 2 inches. I quilted inside of one block at a time and I stopped and started my ditch stitching with tiny stitches.  I do not be bury my threads I cut them after the tiny stitches and I have never had anything come apart.  It looks good on the front and the back.

Now that I have some of my basting pins free I am going to layer and pin baste the left top section. I want to get the left top and bottom together so I can determine the exact length of the side borders. I want to alternate between the quilting and the other things that need to be done to finish this quilt. I helps to give my fingers a rest from the pinning and my neck a rest from the quilting. I will want to give myself a break once I start doing the hand sewing on the back when I get as far as joining the sections. I will also be taking bits of time for adding things to my laundry basket of things to say goody bye to, We'll see how it goes.

Monday, October 21, 2019


When I revisited Melody Johnson's post from October 17 I had a moment of clarity. I have too much stuff,  leftover pieces and parts, EVERYWHERE. They need to go. I have so many half square triangle blocks in various sizes and vintages that it would be a way bigger project to use them than I want to handle. The same goes for 4 patch blocks and most of the odd blocks that I have. They are taking up time and space. They are taking away my creative energy.

I have been trying to make myself work on the backing panels for the Framed 9 patch quilt sections. I can't stick with it because it just sucks up all my energy. It is not fun or even mildly satisfying.
I have used up a lot of left overs over time and almost of of the fun stuff has already been used.

This is what I have been wrestling with the last few days. I got as far as the side strips and stopped. I didn't sew the top and bottom strips. I am not going to try to make this work. I didn't use these border strips when I made them because they were a mistake. I should have kept each set of strips together instead of mixing them up. They weren't cohesive when I made them years ago and they still aren't.

I found this fabric at Joann's on their clearance shelves, at 70% off. It has a nice hand and it washed up nicely. I bought all of it, over 9 yards. I have enough for the back of the quilt and I hope that there will not be much left over.

So what to do with all my pieces and parts. I am pretty sure this borders on hoarding. I started to go through some if it.  I put it all away again.I found myself picking out parts that would make a block or two that were all ready to put together or that maybe needed another square of HST. I am not going to look at any more of it.  I can't do this myself, I need help to do it.

For now, I am keeping some of my odd scraps that I use for improve blocks. I find those fun to  make. I will also keep strips for piano key borders. There area few projects that I want to finish for which I have actual plans. There are some things that are long term projects that I work on from time to time. Maybe I will finish them up in a smaller size and maybe I will pass them on as is.
I have a lot of fabric I like that is less than a yard or half yard, that should satisfy my need to make scrap quilts. There are some pieces and parts for which there are plans.  However, I will not keep anything that does not speak sing to me.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Backing Sections

I seems as though everything I do lately gets bogged down while I am either waiting for something or doing something I have to do that has nothing to do with quilting. Of course sometimes I am wavering over what I want to do or how to do it.

I am working on the backing sections for the Framed 9 Patch quilt. I will be quilting it in 6 sections so I planned to have a scrappy back.  I pulled out a bunch of pieces but nothing was big enough or looked good together. Some fabrics looked good but there wasn't enough to make anything cohesive for all six sections. I will be quilting separate border sections as well. I am really serious about using up everything I have but sometimes that just doesn't work out.

I found some picket fence borders that I had planned for another quilt several years ago. I didn't use them because they looked like they belonged on a different quilt. That was my thought when I tried them out and when Jack said that, without my prompting, I knew they didn't belong on that quilt.  I drag them out every time I try to use something from my odds and ends but they never work.

This is one border section.

 This is 2 sections showing the pattern in the  way I will sew them together.
The borders are sewn in long strips and I will be taking them apart in short sections.

This is the way the sections will look when I get them made. At this point I am not worrying about the colors. Random is random and this time it is really random and it looks like it.

I went shopping and bought the floral fabric, it was on sale and I bought all of it. I will have enough to frame all the picket fence sections and for the borders and even enough to change my mind.

Years ago, when it was my turn, I asked the Friendship Group to make 71/2 inch HST blocks; probably 3 blocks using different fabrics in each. I sliced them in 2 1/2 inch strips and rearranged them. I mixed up all the colors and if I remember correctly I had quite a mixed up time getting them in the right order. It would have been easier to keep each original block together like the one here. However I wanted random. I am counting on the floral fabric to make it all come together.

I would have felt guilty if I didn't use the blocks I requested, like I was rejecting their efforts. These have been hanging around chastising me. I will be really happy to get them off my conscience and out of my Odd Blocks Box.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Table Toppers and Piano Keys

I finally finished my autumn table mats for my mismatched end tables. I had been waiting for a walking foot for my lightweight Brother that I bought for a "take along" machine. I never expected to use it for quilting. I ordered the foot from Amazon and after 2 weeks they informed me the order was lost. I ordered  it on line from Walmart and got it in two days.
 I also finally got my Bernina out to the sewing center for service this week.  I was waiting for  family member to drive me there. The walking foot worked OK on the Brother but I really miss my Bernina and I hope it will be coming home soon.

So the mats are finished, they are on the tables  adding some color. I didn't even bother with a photo of the one on the table next to Jack's chair. It is pretty much covered up by an assortment of things he wants within arm's reach.

 This little 8 x 10 quilt on the other table is slipped over one of those clear plastic stand up sign holders. I made several of these for my mother in law when she was in assisted living. Some were for a month, some for a season or holiday. I have some of them now and I remembered to get this one out since the theme here right now seems to be leaves and pumpkins.

This is on my front door. Everyone else on our apartment hall had something seasonal and my door looked neglected. I wanted something that is not so big it covers the number on our door.  I used MS Paint to cover my apt. number in the photo (that is the brown rectangle above the leaves). This covers the peep hole on my door but I can see through a little space looking from inside. I feel like we are now decorated for autumn with various pumpkins sitting around and table toppers with leaves and wall hangings in autumn colors.

My Brother machine is very nice for piecing so I haven't been idle while waiting for the walking foot. I worked on the piano key borders for the Framed 9 Patch quilt.

 I have been sewing strips of different lengths together together. Most of the strips are around 2 inches some a bit more narrow, some a bit wider. The longer sets will be cut in sections that are the needed size and the sections joined with other sections. 

If there are pieces left when I cut the long sets into sections I often get one or two  narrow widths that I turn and use between sections like this little strip on the right side of the set. I think it adds a little interest.
A few days ago I went through my scrap bins and pulled out strips that were in with all the assorted odd pieces and sorted them into similar lengths.

I still have to decide on the backing for the 6 Framed  9 Patch sections. I don't know if I want them all different, all the same, or some pattern of 2 or 3 different fabrics. I don't know if I want to quilt all the border sections separate or add them to the outside edges of the sections. These things are in the back of my mind and I haven't had much chance to bring them to the forefront and finalize my plan.

Thursday, September 19, 2019


 Jack is feeling pretty good and we are having a short break from doctors appointments and I have a little time to sew.

 I made some table toppers for my mismatched end tables and they are all ready to quilt. I am currently without my Bernina and I am waiting for a even feed foot from Amazon for my Brother. I bought the Brother for a lightweight machine to take with me  to classes and sewing events. I like the machine for piecing but I thought I would never be quilting with it. It will work just fine for small things.

I keep saying I don't like brown but brown is what I needed for these and I found some brown fabrics in my strips and scrap bins that I don't hate.

For this one, I sewed 2 inch strips together on the short edges and cut 23 inch sections and sewed them together on the long edges.  This will be on the table next to "Jack's chair". He has a bunch of things arranged precisely on the table and a mat eliminates the need for coasters as well as adding some color (even if it is brown color).

I like this one a little better. I had a larger size piece of the left print and I was able to cut a square and corner pieces. I used more strips from my scrap bins.

I guess I don't really hate brown. When I started quilting I used a lot of it. Cotton fabrics were mostly in the mauve and blue, peach and green, red white and blue, or rust and brown range, not colors that fit with our decor. My first big quilt was rust and ,gold and brown with small amounts of turquoise for accents. patches.

Right now I have my autumn quilts out and guess what, they are mostly brown. These 3 quilts are on my walls.

 The one above is an early color wash made sometime around 1997-1998. It is in the living room. I named it "Lake County Autumn A Real Ohio Star". I happen to think autumn in Lake County Ohio rivals anywhere in the world.

 The one next to it was made in 1998 and is in the dining room.  I consider his one a watercolor quilt instead of a color wash. They were both made with 2 inch squares. I named it "Flower Basket"

The quilt on the right is a panel that I used as it was, except I trimmed it down on the sides to fit a narrow wall inside our front door and added the narrow green border and the orange and black border.
I made this last year after I saw the panel in the quilt shop. I passed buying it 3 times before I went back and bought it. The border fabric was displayed right next to it and was part of the reason I couldn't resist.

This is on my dining room table. You can see the brown curtains beyond the table; the living room drapes are the same color, ugly brown, the same as the carpet.

This is a painting by a local artist.

 The reason  I bought it was the autumn colors shout of Lake County and we used to drive past an area that looked just like this on our autumn foliage drives. It is in the dining room also.

So.... maybe I should rethink my attitude toward brown. I don't think I really hate all browns. I don't mind the carpet. I don't actually hate the color of the curtains.
I hate my curtains.
I hate them because they are so big when they are closed and make the room so dark. We were in a big hurry to get the windows covered that day because the sun glare on the TV made watching TV impossible. Jack picked them out and I allowed him to just for expedience.
I will change the curtains!
Without input!