Showing posts with label Nine Patch Jubilee. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nine Patch Jubilee. Show all posts

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Finally Finished!

Black, White and Read All Over, 64" x 64"
Edward's quilt is finally finished! Started in November 2010, the flimsy was finished and the quilt was basted in 2012. I started the quilting on my old machine, which had to be taken for repair and cleaning twice during the process. And it still wasn't until I got my new machine this spring that I managed to finish the quilting.

It is straight line quilted:

I like quilting double lines like this, because it fools the eye into thinking the lines are straighter than they are!

In the close up you can see that all the fabrics have some kind of kanji script, either real or imaginary. So theoretically, you could "read" the quilt. Hence the title:

You can see the label was optimistically stitched in 2012, lol! The design is from Carrie Nelson's Schnibbles Times Two book. She sews the label to the back before it is quilted, which I tried here as well. I worried about it catching during the machine quilting, but it didn't. With all the problems I did have on this quilt, the label wasn't one of them.

The backing is a new flannel sheet that I got on sale. It really was too heavy for my old machine, but the new machine handled it fine. I like the masculine Buffalo check!

So, Edward's quilt is my second finished flimsy, and my second finished quilt. While we were out taking photos, I took a better picture of Nine Patch Jubilee as well. That was my third finished flimsy, and first finished quilt:

Where is flimsy number one, you ask? LOL. Packed away. Maybe I will get it out some day, maybe not.

Anyway, it feels great to finally have this one done. I even have a 3" scar on my forearm from one of the basting pins that came open when I started the quilting in 2012! But it's fading...

Best of all, now I have room for a new project in my sewing area! Home Sweet Home will get the nod, I think.

Saturday, November 23, 2013


I have been writing this post in my head for two years, but now that it is finally time to write it for real I've forgotten what I meant to say! In any case, it is two years since I started this blog, almost two years since I started this quilt, and well over 30 years since I started starting quilts, and this is the first one to make it all the way to the end. 100% finished!

Nine Patch Jubilee, 54" x 66"

The sun was not co-operating today, but it was too cold to stand out there for long! I made one attempt to style the quilt before I hurried back inside:

Yes, that is a small dusting of snow around the garden pagoda.

I named the quilt Nine Patch Jubilee because the filler squares and the backing are from the Jubilee Garden collection by Connecting Threads, which they had a couple of years ago. And it seemed right to celebrate my first finished quilt.

With the red and white colour scheme, it felt appropriate to do the label in redwork too:

The quilt is machine quilted (yes, by me) in channels the length of the quilt, 1/4" on either side of each square in the nine patch block, and carried through the solid squares. The binding is machine sewn to the front and hand stitched down on the back. I miscalculated the width of the binding, so it is a little wide on the back, but I think that's fine.

I also tried out a sewn mitre technique for the corners of the binding that I saw Ricky Tims demonstrate on The Quilt Show. It uses this tool from Animas Quilts:

There is a video demonstration of how to use it here. Two of my corners came out perfectly...

...and two did not, lol. But the problem was that I had miscalculated the width of the binding, so the corner didn't hit in the right place. Those corners are a little wrinkly, but again, everything can't be perfect on the first quilt. I have concluded that I do like the tool, and I will continue to use it on large projects. The big advantage for me is that you only have to sew the binding on one edge at a time, so each length of binding is more manageable, and I can take a break after each long seam.

So, yay! And, whew!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

How I Baste a Quilt

In my machine quilting class about 15 years ago we were taught how to baste a quilt using safety pins, with the three layers of the quilt clamped to a table top. This past year, when I was finally ready to baste a large quilt, that method no longer worked for me. There were two reasons:
  1. No appropriate table. Our dining room table has deep, slightly curved sides, and is made from a soft wood. It inevitably would have been damaged by clamps and/or pins, and it's not square anyway.
  2. Bad back. Although I am fairly strong, a couple of back injuries over the years make standing bent over a table, or crawling around on the floor, out of the question.
Fortunately, I came across Sharon Schamber's quilt basting technique. I have used this method twice now, with slight variations, once with safety pins and once with hand basting. It holds the three layers beautifully, almost like a frame, AND, you can baste your quilt sitting down comfortably.

First, here are Sharon's two videos, and after I'll show photos of my quilt and discuss some details.

I love buying quilting supplies at Home Depot! For the boards in Sharon's method I bought pre-finished fibreboard trim in the 2.5" x 0.5" x 8 ft size. Click the photo to see the label larger:

At the store they cut the pieces for me down to 74" long, which is about right for most of my quilts so far. It is perfectly straight and square, better for this purpose than solid wood would be. It seems a little flexible, but it lies perfectly flat on the table.

I did buy the tatting thread Sharon mentions somewhere to use for basting:

I used up the whole ball, on my 54" x 66" quilt, and was left with 9 blocks still unbasted. So I was also able to try stranded embroidery floss on the last corner. The tatting thread had a tendency to snarl, until I figured out that it has a right direction and a wrong direction, like wool thread. Once you know that, it is easy to run the thread through your fingers and tell which way is right. For the stranded embroidery floss I used two strands in the needle. I tested one strand, but it did not seem as robust. Either thread works. The tatting thread is a little quicker, because you do not need to separate the threads. But embroidery floss is available everywhere, so you do not need to special order it. I bought the tatting thread from Nordic Needle.

With Sharon's tiny demo quilt she is able to lay out the back and the top together before she rolls them onto the boards. Edward's quilt has a flannel backing, so that proved to be completely impossible for me. Fortunately, I found that it is easier to roll each layer separately. Just make sure the back is right side down, and the top is right side up, before you roll them. And double check your measurements!

Here's my quilt halfway through the basting process:

In the centre are the two rows I am in the process of basting. The lower edge (with the plaid backing showing) is the part that is already basted and folded out of the way. At the top you can see the quilt top rolled onto its board, and the quilt batting behind/under that. At the top right corner you can see a lump under the batting which is the quilt back rolled onto its own board. The batting is not rolled, it stays flat.

When I am finished a section and ready to advance the quilt, I roll up the finished part, slide the whole thing towards me, and then flip the batting forward to reveal the backing:

Then I can unroll the backing, flip the batting back and smooth it all out, and finally unroll another two rows of the quilt top for basting. It seems a little logistically challenging at first, but once you get the idea it works beautifully, and the quilt is almost as taut as on a frame, just from the weight of the boards. And you can sit down!

The table top, by the way, is protected by a flannel-backed vinyl tablecloth. I slide a sheet of bristol board between the quilt and the vinyl where I am working to make sure the pins or needle don't pierce the vinyl.

It was not my plan to hand baste this quilt. I had braved the snowy roads in search of safety pins, because all mine were still in Edward's quilt. All I could find, though, were cheap, nickel-plated pins, and they were useless, catching the fabric and impossible to get through the layers. My brass quilter's pins, on the other hand, glide through the fabric like a dream: 


Hand basting easily took twice as long as pin basting did. But I am hoping that I can leave it in while I machine quilt between the basting:

Hopefully that will save time later! In any case I suppose it was good practice for when I am ready to hand quilt. Feel free to put any questions or additional information on your basting techniques in the comments!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Nine Patch Flimsy

Well, here it is, finally. I love that secondary trellis pattern that appears from such a deceptively simple block, even with so many different fabrics. On this one I took the time to trim the nine patch blocks to exactly 6 1/2", and checked those first seams as I paired them with the solid fabric, so that everything was accurate across the row. It seemed time-consuming, but it was totally worth it. The rows went together so well that I did not even have to check all the corners, because I could feel them locking together perfectly as I sewed.

My plan today was to go and buy more safety pins to baste it. But right now it is snowing again, and our garbage bins are blocking the driveway, so I'll see if it looks any better later this afternoon.

All my pins are currently still in Edward's quilt. I am struggling with that one, it is quite heavy with its flannel backing. I think it would be best to work the kinks out of my machine quilting technique with this one first. I had to do quite a bit of thinking and re-organizing to set up my small sewing space for quilting. But, I think I have all the theoretical problems solved, so now it is just practice.

This is my third finished flimsy, but still no finished quilts. This will be the one, though, I'm determined!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

50 Blocks Done

Today I finished the last three nine-patch blocks, and got them all up on my "design wall." That is one of the most fun parts, isn't it?

I didn't want to over think the layout here.  I put mostly darker blocks around the edges, because those will show dirt less over time.  I broke up any glaring light patches, and tried not to have the same fabric in two adjacent blocks.  Then I took the photo and packed it up again.

This quilt is a lot more interesting close up, rather than from further back.  I think it's main claim to fame is the variety of fabrics - from batiks to prints, modern, retro and reproduction.  You can find some close ups of the blocks in previous posts.

I am pretty sure now that this will be the first quilt that makes it all the way to the end.  It's been a long time coming!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Actual Quiltmaking

The stars aligned and today I finally was able to return to my sewing machine.  What a relief!  First on list to finish is that nine patch quilt that's been lost in the confusion. There were seven blocks left, but I only got four done because the phone guy showed up an hour early.

For new readers, these are repurposed 2.5" squares that I originally cut for another quilt.  That was probably two years ago now! My cutting skills were less developed then. These fabrics are not washed either, so it will be exciting to see what happens during the first wash.

Weather permitting, I hope to make a lot of progress tomorrow.  Happy quilting!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Nine Patch Update

Here are a few more of my nine patch blocks done.  I cut the fabric over a year ago, and it has been great rediscovering them as I sew.  Three of the lights you see here are from a set of "conversationals", based on historic designs.  They were 10" squares that I bought from Keepsake Quilting.  They are now out of stock, which is too bad, because I would love some more!

When I've been sewing these nine patches it's been the first time that I've really consistently managed the direction the seams are pressed, so that subsequent rows will "lock" together.  I am amazed at how much it helps!  These blocks have been going together beautifully, even though my cutting was sometimes off.  I didn't do this on Edward's quilt, and I am paying for it now, because it has been really challenging to get the seams to match.  And on that quilt it's pretty important!  I can feel that I am about to become quite fanatical about pressing!

Speaking of pressing, I am also quite devoted to my Clover pressing tool, the white plastic thing you see in the photo.  I don't have room for an iron in my sewing area, but even if I did, I would prefer the Clover tool.  It seems quite elegantly low tech to me!  And the hard plastic doesn't distort your fabrics like a wooden tool would.

Although I'd love a huge quilting studio, I am also very impressed with many Japanese quilters that I've seen featured in magazines, who make huge complex quilts in tiny spaces and with minimal technology.  I think many Japanese quilts have been made completely without electricity!  I feel a lot of sympathy for such a simplified approach, although I will not be giving up my sewing machine any time soon!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Auditioning Backgrounds for my Nine Patch

This is a "repurposed" UFO that I've just started to work on again.  I cut the fabric over a year ago for a different project.  Since then I have become a convert to using washed fabrics, and none of these fabrics were washed.  I also recently realized that I made a cutting error, and cut the wrong proportion of large squares to small squares.  Then finally, I decided that it would be better to paper piece the original design, using washed fabrics.

So, what to do with all these unwashed squares?  I decided a basic nine patch would use up some of the small squares, and I will try to wash the remaining large squares to use in the paper pieced quilt.

My only remaining question was what fabric to use for the background squares.  The first is the Redwork Toile by Alex Anderson:

And the second is from the Jubilee Garden collection from Connecting Threads:

It is interesting how different they look in photos compared to real life!  In real life I immediately preferred the second one, which looks kind of plain in the photo.  But upon reflection I still will use the second one.  I don't like the way the darker lights seem to clash with the toile, and even in the photo you can see it is too busy.  The toile is beautiful, I'm sure I will think of a better use for it.

This is yet another quilt to finish before I start Sedona Star!  But I cannot order the fabric until after January 1st, so that gives me a little extra time.  In any case, Sedona Star will come first, and this quilt is in the "nice to have" category, but not essential.
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