Posts Tagged ‘Dutch 9-patch’

Sewing Calms

June 29, 2019

A couple of weeks ago I got a phone call from my 91 year old mother before I had gotten out of bed. Well, that can’t be good. Dad’s 96 so the entire time she was talking I was wondering “is Dad dead or alive?” It took her 10 minutes to get to the punchline: Dad was in the hospital, no longer able to stand up. My advice if you’re in a similar situation – start with the punchline, then tell the story of how things evolved. When she hung up I quickly texted my brother to let him know mom was calling him and dad wasn’t dead yet.

Later that day we got word that the doctor wouldn’t discharge dad back to the independent living facility. He had to go to a nursing home. I called my friend in that town to pick her brain about the local nursing homes. She said the one in a nearby town was good if the patient was easy. Her mother wasn’t and their experience was bad. She pointed out that my dad also wouldn’t be easy to deal with. She said they had a good experience with the Odd Fellows home in town. I reported what she said to mom and my brother. Mom stunned me by saying, “I don’t think your father would be any more difficult than anyone else.” I asked her, in disbelief, “How long have you lived with him?” My dad can be extremely difficult to deal with especially since he can’t see and he can’t hear. He was so combative with the hospital staff they hired 24 hour sitters for him. Of course, it being Friday meant nothing would happen until Monday because the hospital social worker and nursing home administrative staff that make things happen don’t work on the weekend.

As you can imagine, I was agitated by all the uncertainty. Was he going to die in the next few days? Would I need to cancel all the appointments I had over the next few weeks? Linda was over that afternoon to sew. I was sick and tired of doing borders and backings so I pulled out the bin of  Dutch 9-patch block kits and started sewing. When I got them out I said, “Self, you better get out a finished block as an example so you get the pieces in the right spot ’cause you know you get it wrong sometimes. Nah, I got this.” You know where this is going, right?


This is the way the books show the Dutch 9-patch. The blocks are perfectly fine, except this isn’t the way I was doing them. In these I reversed the placement of the outer patches. The floral pieces should have been in the center spots and the go-with color on the outer corners. As you sew, so shall you rip. Even though they were fine, they weren’t the way I wanted them so I ripped them apart and did them my way.

I sewed and sewed and sewed over the next week or so. Eventually I began to calm down. Then I had my gastroenterologist appointment and got riled up again. I knew he would want to do a colonoscopy now (my next one wasn’t due until next year). When we talked about the prep, he omitted some pertinent details. Had he included them our discussion of which prep to use would have been longer. After I got home, I looked it up and discovered it’s basically the same stuff I used 25 years ago, except you mix this stuff with gatorade instead of water. It was vile then and I expect it to be just as vile now. Can I drink a gallon of gatorade? I’ve never had gatorade so I bought a bottle to taste. We’ll see. I hope it’s tolerable enough. The only prep I wouldn’t mind too much doing again is the pills but they don’t want to use those anymore because of the risk of blowing out the kidneys from not drinking enough water with them. Yes, I realize my reaction was excessive.

By that time I was determined to finish all the blocks I had cut pieces for. By the time I finished I had calmed down again. Here’s what came out of my bin:


This is the stack before I put them on the design wall. The ones on the bottom have been flattened by the weight of the ones on the top so the pile would be higher if they had just been stacked like they were when I took them off the wall. I should have measured the pile then.

That is 110 blocks. They finish at 9″. I couldn’t fit them all on the wall for one picture. The right side is the 20 blocks that didn’t fit on the wall with those on the left. Up close I didn’t like them side by side but it doesn’t look too bad from distance. I got out the bin of finished blocks from the UFO closet and counted them. 135. So I have a total of 245 blocks to play with. They’re back in the closet to rest while I ponder settings.

So, Dad’s in the nursing home, doing better physically, maybe. Mom says some days she can’t wake him up when she’s there. My brother said he’s noticeably declined since we saw him in May and that I’d better come for a visit sooner than the planned one in August. So a trip to Illinois is in my immediate future. Oh, and they said he’s stage 4 Alzheimer’s. Great. Another condition to add to his collection. And, Mom’s planning to move to a one bedroom apartment if he’s not coming home which means my brother and I have a lot of work to do. The bulk of the burden is falling on him because he’s only 180 miles away. I think both mom and dad are in denial now thinking maybe he will be able to come home. I don’t think that’s going to work out.

I went through my inventory of UFOs and tagged them with the stage they’ve reached. There are at least 8 that need borders and backing. Sigh. I’ve just done half a dozen or so. Some of these need pieced or appliqued borders. I’m tired of borders and backings. But, I’m also feeling the burden of all the UFOs. The sooner I get the borders and backings done, the sooner they can go to the quilter and get finished! Of course, there are about 57 new things I want to start. Right. This. Minute. I just finished making the back for the Kaffe leaf quilt. That’s the second one I have ready to take to the quilter and I took two to her a few weeks ago. So, maybe, I could start one new project as a reward? Please? Pretty please with sugar on it?

Clearing the deck

January 5, 2017

I had a bunch of blocks made in late 2016 that haven’t been documented here so here they are. I can’t think of anything clever to say about them.


More spool blocks


Another set of Wild and Goosey blocks

A bunch of Dutch 9-patch. Or double 9-patch if you prefer.


More bonus triangle blocks. I wonder where I put the rest of them?

More Ts for Two blocks. The background in these is a strong yellow color. Don’t know why it’s showing up so pale this time.

Applique blocks three and four of Home Sweet Home. Block three is backwards from the pattern but so be it, not doing it over.

Every year when I go back to Illinois for Christmas I say I’m going to take a picture of the castle at Eastern Illinois University when it’s lit up for Christmas. This year I did.


I don’t remember it being blue before. It seems like there are fewer lights than I remember (could be a faulty memory). That may be due to the state’s budget impass. They’re in year two without a budget. It’s really taking a toll on the state universities. Lots of employees have been laid off. A friend told me that neighboring states are waiving out of state tuition in order to attract Illinois students.

While I was in Illinois I delivered Sourdough Stars.


As might be expected, they put them down with the back side up. Can’t blame them, the backs are warm, soft fleece.

I pinned the pieces on this block, expecting to sew them down.



Well, shoot. See that dark spot in the upper right? That’s a hole, folks. There was a piece of some sort of plastic woven into the threads. When I pulled it out, it left a hole. I considered sewing it as is and finding something like a butterfly to add later as a cover-up but thought better of that. Fortunately, the background piece was bigger than required. I took off all the pieces and moved everything over so the hole is underneath a piece. Instead of sewing this block I moved on to the next because I want to verify that the block will still be symmetrical when it is trimmed down, now that the pieces aren’t centered on the background. I didn’t take any measuring devices with me so that needed to wait until I got home.

What happens when you think you aren’t doing anything

October 19, 2016

I haven’t sewn at all in the past 2 weeks because I’ve been down with a bad respiratory virus. Although I’m not fully recovered yet, I feel much better this week. I don’t feel like I’ve done much sewing since I got back from Illinois in August. But, I had a pile of blocks I hadn’t documented yet so here’s what I’ve done since the last batch of blocks I showed.


Two Wild and Goosey segments.


A bunch of leader/ender spools.


Six string blocks.

Some T blocks for Becky and Bill’s quilt. I took the blocks I had with me in August to show her and she liked it! Even wants it queen bed sized. Now I need to cut more blocks.

A bunch of Dutch or double 9-patch blocks. The following two WordPress wouldn’t display the same as the others and apparently, wouldn’t save the cropped version of one.


The rest of these blocks. I finished the last of them yesterday. Now to lay them out and assemble the top. Silly me, I thought this one would be a quick weekend project.


Some bonus triangle blocks produced by the blocks above. I still have a bunch of bonus triangles to assemble into blocks. I’m going to make some bigger blocks to mix in with the smaller ones.

That was a lot of blocks, right? They add up even if you only sew two a day.

Mimi’s Grad School November meeting was moved up to October 31 because of Quilters’ Quest. I’ve got to get my bird block ready for the display  wall on Monday. Oh, wait, I’ve got an extra week before Halloween. Whew! (wiping brow). Still, I’m going to try to get it done this week. By done, I mean the pieces prepared for applique and pinned to the background.


August 5, 2016

I hadn’t been sewing much for a while but since it’s been so long, quite a few blocks have piled up. It’s high time to show them.

Some leader/ender spools. I now have 500 and change. Guess I’d better check the book and see how many makes what size quilt so I can determine how many more I need.

Some Wild and Goosey cuteness. Each of those segments is 3.5″. They make no dent in the scrap bin whatsoever. I wish I could find the ones I made before so I’d know how many I’ve made.

Some blocks for Ts for Two. The yellow is more true in the picture on the right. Originally I was going to present the completed quilt as a surprise. I started to fret that maybe they wouldn’t like so much yellow so I decided to just finish the top and get approval before finishing with a back customized to their interests. I wasn’t intending it to be bed size but it occurred to me that maybe they would like it a different size than I intend. I think I’m going to take the blocks and border fabric, lay them out on my friend’s bed and see what she thinks. If this version doesn’t pass muster, I’ll finish it and have it for future gifting and make another one to suit them.

Double or Dutch 9-patch blocks. I love making these. I’ll be sad when my bin is empty – it’s halfway there now. I haven’t even tried to figure out how many quilts the blocks will make. People often ask me “how big is it going to be?” My standard response is “Ask me when it’s finished.” I don’t even know how I’m going to set these yet but I have some ideas percolating.


June 19, 2016

When I last wrote I was unhappy with the stitches my Bernina 1230 was making and dealing with the pain caused by a stuck joint. I haven’t been doing much sewing despite what you’ll see in the pictures. The new Janome 9400 became available at the end of May. I’m planning to go down to Capitol Quilts on Tuesday to get the grand tour. Unless something unexpected occurs, I plan to buy one. Will they have stock or will I have to wait for one to come from Janome? I’ll also have to order a new insert for my Horn cabinet – that takes a few weeks. I expect the stop in the cabinet will need to be adjusted. I’ve tried to do it for the Bernina but I can’t budge the bolt. A friend has offered her son’s services for that task – I’m going to take her up on it once I get the new machine. It will be a while before the new machine will be properly set up.

I’ll disperse the photos of what I’ve sewn since the last post throughout this post.

I was so disgusted with the Bernina that I sank it into the cabinet and set up my Jem Gold for stitching the applique blocks for Mimi’s grad school project. More on that in a later post. I’m caught up on that project so put the Jem back in the car and brought the Bernina out.

I decided to finish going through the books in the huge box in the guest storage room. I started that a year ago. That led to other excavations in that room and rearrangement of things which allowed me to get some bins out of the sewing room. Even though I wasn’t sewing I was please with what I accomplished. No, I’m not about to show before or after photos of that mess. I loaded up the car and took a bunch of stuff to Goodwill. That felt good.


I feel like I haven’t had much time to sew, what with three chiropractic appointments a week which include physical therapy exercises and massage therapy once a week. The good news is that the pain is mostly gone and my joint mobility has improved but still not normal. I have three treatments again this week and then maybe go to two next week.


The decorative piece above hangs in the massage therapy office. Doesn’t it remind you of a Cathedral Window quilt?


One of the BOMs I want to make this year is Jinny Beyer’s Cosmos shown below. It is a free pattern but you can only get it if you get her monthly newsletter by email.

The picture above shows the two color ways of the kits available from Jinny’s store. I already had the same border print in a different color that is no longer available so I’m making it with my own fabrics. I cut the January and February blocks back in March but got sidetracked by other work and the broken sewing machine and forgot about the BOM until someone showed their blocks at the last JB Club meeting. I immediately sewed up the blocks I had cut. All the blocks use templates rather than rotary cutting so aren’t as quick to make. Do you think I’ll ever get caught up? The last 2 months are 8 applique blocks. The background is a very pale green which isn’t showing in the photo.


I don’t expect to get much sewing done this week as I will be busy with events every day.

Are you a Row by Rower? I will stop and pick up a few Row by Row patterns in my travels this week. There are quite a few new to me stores in our area this year so I’m planning some all day trips. I enjoy seeing shops I’ve never been to before.

Procrastination report

May 8, 2016

It’s been a busy couple of weeks and I’ve successfully managed to procrastinate working on quilting the baby quilts. I dragged out the first set of twin quilts last week, fully intending to finish them. I managed to do the ditch quilting on the one that wasn’t pieced as quilt as you go. Then I started procrastinating because I didn’t want to do the quilting that shows. Here’s what I did instead of quilting the quilt.

More double 9-patch blocks:

Some leader/ender spools:


My string piecing during the news is working out for the most part. I don’t manage every week day. Monday is guild night so I don’t see the evening news. Friday night I woke up from a little nap just about news time but was too tired to be messing about with dangerous machines. I added these blocks to the collection:

Once a month I get together with a group of people that started as a lunch time group at work. I decide it was easiest to do something mindless so I have a bin of random scraps that I’ve been working from for the past 2.5 years. This bin is dedicated to the once a month sew-in so it isn’t the same container I’m working from during the news. So far I think I’ve made the string pieces for 4 quilts. The bin still looks full, doesn’t it?


Most recently I’ve been working on the pieces for a String X quilt – a free pattern from Bonnie Hunter. Monday I bought fabric for the background and border. The majority of the fabric in the strings came from Amy. There are a lot of turquoise and green so I thought these fabrics would work well.


I need to update my stash accounting to add 3.5 yards.

I was able to borrow a die for the triangles from Patty. Cutting a lot of pieces from one fabric is where the die cutter definitely saves time. So, in my ongoing quest to not work on the baby quilts, I started assembling blocks for String X. Here are 4 of them to show the design. I still need to make 6 or 7 more string pieces to have enough for 12 blocks. I’ll decide on an inner border and binding after the body is finished.


Yesterday, after finishing all the String X blocks that were ready, I decided it was time to get back to the baby quilts. I’m only doing walking foot quilting so how hard can it be? You’d be surprised. I started stitching and saw this:


What the hell!? Look at those loose stitches! I had to rip it all out and come up with another plan. I reverted to straight stitching instead of the serpentine. I need to give it a close examination today to see if it is acceptable – I saw some stitches that looked a little loose. I may have to revert to quilting it on my Janome Jem Gold or wait until I have a new machine. I don’t want to have to use the Jem because it is a 3/4 size machine and doesn’t have any decorative stitches. I also hate to delay longer because the girls are already 2.5 years old. I want to use the alphabet on the Bernina to quilt the girls’ names into their quilts. I’m going to give it a try and hope it works better than the serpentine.

This is on a Bernina 1230 using the walking foot and the serpentine stitch. I didn’t notice any problem when I did the ditch stitching with the edge stitching foot. I did some test stitching on a practice piece and it was okay. Why is it okay on the practice piece but not on the quilt? I’m going to take a closer look at my piecing to see if there is a problem there. The machine had its maintenance and repair several weeks ago so it shouldn’t be misbehaving. Could it be a bad walking foot? People claim this is the best Bernina ever made but I never bonded with it the way many people do with their machines. In other words, I’m not in love with the Bernina brand.

I am so ready for a new machine. I put it off until after I retired so it would do more than sit unused in the cabinet. I retired 2 years ago so it’s time now. I do love my Jem so I’ve been holding out to get the latest and greatest Janome. The 8900 came out in 2012 so I figured maybe this was the year they’d introduce a new machine for quilters. I was right! Thanks to Linda for letting me know that a new model is coming at the end of the month. I can’t wait to see it. I’m hoping for a special introductory price although I’m a little leery about buying the 1.0 version of a new model.

Mid-April Status Update

April 22, 2016

The first two weeks of April were very busy. On Monday April 4th, we had Mimi’s Grad School class during the day and guild meeting in the evening. On Tues I packed and Wed drove to Chicago. Friday I went to the big quilt show in Rosemont. I didn’t take many photos. Guess I’m just jaded by having gone to too many shows. I think the really good quilts were going to Paducah. On Sat I drove down to my parents home and spent a couple of days with them. Tues came back to Maryland. Wed was turn in day for my guild’s quilt show. Thurs through Sat I worked at the show. Sun was tax prep day. Whew!

I got a little sewing in last week and more this week. Still just making blocks. Got quilt a few done due to changing up the way I’m working. I was doing one block at a time with leader/enders which used lots of leader/ender pieces. I decided to try doing two blocks at once, using one block as the leader/ender for the other. Then, using a true leader/ender when the second block was complete. I can make four blocks in an hour this way.

I’ve kept to the idea of working with the scrap strings during the news except for nights when I have guild or Baltimore Applique Society. Here’s what I’ve done the last couple of weeks.

And last but not least, the leader/ender blocks. Beth gave me a nice little box with charm squares for my birthday. I filled it up with block kits for leader/ender spools.


Saturday Status Report

April 2, 2016

Over the past couple of years, I’ve written dozens of posts in my head but they never made it to the computer. Did you enjoy them? Of course, not, unless you’re psychic. If you are, please let me know – I could use some winning lottery numbers. I also found myself reluctant to post about quilts until they were complete. As slow as I am at finishing things, that makes for posts that are few and far between. I decided to try semi-weekly reports showing what I’ve done since the last report. It probably won’t be every week – like the next two weeks which will be very busy so there won’t be any sewing happening here. There are two or three events that should generate their own posts.

The last couple of days I’ve felt like Penelope, Odysseus’ wife, who unpicked her work every night before going to bed. I’ve been doing a lot of unsewing and practice sewing (no bobbin thread). Sigh.


We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto.

In the last post I showed some of my scrap containers and committed to sewing scraps during the evening news. I should have specified that’s evening news on weekdays.


This is one of my string bins. It weighs 7.4 pounds according to my hand-held luggage scale. I don’t know how accurate that is but let’s stick with that. At 4 yards per pound, that’s about 30 yards of fabric. I want it gone because I prefer to use pretty containers and I already have a string container which is overflowing. I also have a string bin that travels to sew-ins. I worked out of that one one afternoon a month for 2 years without a noticeable reduction in contents.

Shall we play a guessing game? How many quilts will that sack produce? How long will it take me to empty it? I’m guessing it will be quite a while before we have answers to those questions.

This week I  made 25 6″ blocks from that sack. I still have reach the point where I can stir up the contents without getting them all over the floor.

I worked on the Dutch 9-patch or double 9-patch, if you prefer.

That’s 30 blocks. I made one more but it needs some discussion.


Do you spot what’s “wrong” with this block? I put wrong in quotes because, technically, there is nothing wrong with this block. But, I reversed the positions of the large squares in the outer 9-patch. The coloring above is how the block is shown in Barbara Brackman’s book and Jinny Beyer’s book. I didn’t find the coloring I’m using (that I saw on a blog mentioned in my last post) in either book. I thought for a while that I would keep this one like this and just mix it in. After reflection, I decided to fix it because what attracted me to the block was the way the 4 squares of the center 9-patch stood out in the field made by the other fabric. That didn’t stop me from making 4 more of them the “wrong” way – I had to fix them also. Here are the two versions side by side.

The “wrong” one is on the left and the “right” one is on the right. The one thing I don’t like about the coloring I’m using is putting the blocks side by side with the florals touching each other and the go-withs touching. I’ll have to come up with different ways to set the blocks when I get to that point. It’s going to be a while before I have to worry about that. Here’s the bin of block kits after the 34 blocks I’ve made so far. As you can see, I’ve barely scratched the surface.


Want to play more guessing games? How many blocks will this bin produce? How many quilts will it make? Again, it’s going to be a while before we know the answers. This will get set aside for a time. After the quilt show in two weeks, I have 4 baby quilts to quilt and bind – two sets of twins. Not to mention all the UFOs that deserve to be worked on.

I would get very confused and screw up more blocks than I have if I tried to sew more than one of these Dutch 9-patch blocks at a time. That makes for lots of leader/ender sewing.

That’s 24 rows of tumblers. I only have enough variety to finish the row that is under the needle right now so I’m going to have to devote some time to cutting spool kits for leader/enders. The 3″ spools were Bonnie Hunter’s leader/ender challenge from several years ago. They are so fun to make. I think of them as quilter’s candy.

Oops. I did it again!

March 27, 2016

I couldn’t help myself – I started another project. I read this post showing the Dutch 9-patch and started envisioning the blocks with florals and go-withs. She did a 12″ block which makes for some odd measurements for the center 9-patch. I drafted it as a 9″ block which makes for more pleasant cutting – 3.5″ and 1.5″. I finished the cutting yesterday. I don’t know what word to use to describe how I feel when I see a box like this full of block kits ready for sewing. It gives me a thrill.


I have no idea how many block kits there are and I don’t really care. I’ll probably pick my favorite blocks for a quilt for me and the rest will make quilts that will eventually live with other people. Patty thought it was rash of me to cut all the fabric without sewing a test block. I told her that I have faith that math works.

For the most part I cut a 3.5″ strip from each fabric, then subcut it to get the squares. What do you get when you do this? Scraps, lots of scraps. I was already drowning in scraps.

The left picture is 3.5″ strips left from cutting fabrics that were full width. The fabrics on top of the bin in the center are the crumbs left from cutting a 1.5″ square from a floral 1.5″ x 3.5″ strip. They’ll be good for more Wild and Goosey blocks. The mound above the top of the tub on the right is the remainder of strips from fat quarters and less than full width fabrics.

I got my sewing machine back from the Bernina hospital a couple of weeks ago. I didn’t want to set it up until the stop in the cabinet was moved so it sits flat. I still can’t budge the nut. Barbara L volunteered her son to help so I’ll have to take her up on that but not until after our guild’s quilt show. I went ahead and set up the machine so I could sew some blocks to see how they look. It felt really good to sew again.

While tidying up a while back I found some more leader/ender spool block kits. These were done while doing the above blocks.


What am I going to do about the scraps? I think I have a plan. My friend, Clara, has a unique way of getting her hand applique done. One day at Mimi’s Grad School class she was showing a quilt and said, “This is my Dr. Phil quilt.” We asked for an explanation. She has one project she allocates to work on while watching Dr. Phil and another for Jeopardy/Wheel of Fortune. So, what if I work on sewing scraps while watching the evening news instead of sitting upstairs playing games on the computer? Do you think if I do this I can use the scraps faster than I make new ones? Check back in a few months and we’ll see how it’s going.

I started tonight with the tail ends of the 3.5″ strips. I decided they should be strips like Chinese coins. I got 2 longish strips sewn. The rest of the pieces should get sewn tomorrow night since we have no guild meeting because it’s Easter Monday and the church is closed.

I really have to get sleeves made and sewn onto the last 3 quilts entered in the show. Someone in guild said one of the local stores had the ready-made sleeves but I forgot which store it was. What are the chances they’ll still have some?