“Nine Patch Sawtooth Stars” Finished!

I am so happy that this project has moved from the UFO list to the Finished list! More than five years ago, fellow guild member Sharon organized a 3″ “Nine Patch” block exchange. As I recall, each month we made and swapped about 30 blocks. At the end of a year, we had hundreds of “Nine Patches.” I used some in the border of my “Crabapples” quilt and some in a table runner. The remainder I sewed together as the centers of 12″ “Sawtooth Stars.”

I used various gold prints from stash for star points and purchased the navy print from JoAnn’s. About a year ago, I assembled the interior of the quilt . . . and there it sat . . . in its tidy project box. It needed a gold border and a wide outer border of the same navy print. Why did I procrastinate?

The impetus for my finish is Bonnie Hunter’s upcoming annual mystery quilt. For the last few years, I have been too busy between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day to participate in the mystery quilt along. Since her mystery quilt designs are stunning, I really want to participate this year. However, I feel guilty about starting a new project when I have so many unfinished quilts. So I made a deal with myself. If I can finish four of my UFOs prior to Thanksgiving, I will join the mystery quilt along.

Would you like to participate in Bonnie’s mystery? You can find the details and fabric description on her blog, quiltville.blogspot.com. Here is the link to the October 31, 2019 post in which she introduces the “Frolic” mystery.

More info on the “Nine Patch Sawtooth Star” quilt pictured above: The quilt measures 65″ x 85,” a nice size for a tall grandson. I used an old gold polyester thread which glimmers nicely in the navy areas and blends well in the patchwork sections of the quilt. The pantograph is “Happy Times” designed by Hermione Agee and distributed by Urban Elementz.

I am pretty confident I will make my goal of finishing the UFOs on my short list by Thanksgiving. So confident, in fact, that I already pulled fabric from stash to make the mystery quilt.

The drawing for the Dec/Jan issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts is tomorrow. At last count, only 16 people have commented. Wouldn’t you also like to be in the running? Link to this post and leave a comment!

Vintage “Nine Patch”

I know you all enjoy reading about quilts with a history or story, and this story spans about 35 years.

Renee and I attend our church’s sewing/quilting/crafting group on Wednesday mornings. At the beginning of the summer, she found a box of fabric squares with a cardboard template while helping her mom with cleaning and organizing. They deduced that they were leftovers from a quilt Renee’s sister made as a teenager. (The quilt was simply made of many small squares of a great variety of prints.)

Renee decided to use the leftover squares to secretly make a quilt for her sister’s 50th birthday. Alas, the squares were various sizes due to the gradual wearing down of the cardboard template as it was traced hundreds of times. Renee sewed squares into Nine Patches, and then trimmed the Nine Patches into a uniform size. She sashed the blocks with a royal blue, and then she and her mother hand quilted hearts and shamrocks in the sashing between the Nine Patches. Hearts for love and shamrocks for her sister’s legendary  propensity for finding four leaf clovers.

Renee make a pocket on the back of the quilt and inserted that time-worn template.

At the recent birthday party, Renee’s sister was surprised to the point of tears. She gratefully uses her gift as a sofa quilt, wrapping up in it when viewing TV.


National Quilting Day 2019

Tomorrow, March 16, is National Quilting Day! What will you be sewing on?

I am working on “Liz’s Quilt” which was published in the January/February issue of Fons and Porter’s Love of Quilting magazine. This quilt of mini Nine Patches and Ohio Stars caught my eye as I thumbed through the magazine. I love the scrappiness; I love the sparkling bits of color that dance across the quilt. I’m using 1 1/2″ squares from my extensive collection for the mini Nine Patches. The 4 yds. of background shirting and the 1 1/2 yds. of blue micro print is from stash. Could this qualify as a “free quilt?”

Several quilting friends are joining me in an ad hoc quilt along for this quilt. Want to join us? We are encouraging each other as we put our scraps to good use in this gorgeous quilt. As published, “Liz’s Quilt” utilizes various colors for the Ohio Stars, but I’m modifying the design by using one print fabric.

Click here to link to The Quilting Company website where you can order a copy of the magazine.

Saturday Scrap Strategy #4

During the Second Quarter (April – June) I’ve challenged myself and blog readers to cut and store scraps in an organized and usable way. I find it easier to cut into my odds and ends if I have a scrappy quilt project in mind. Then, as I cut, I can set aside the squares or strips that would work well in a particular project. Those fabrics that are too small or two few to be used in the project I’ll cut and store in boxes with others of like size or shape.

One of the scrap quilt designs I’ve recently admired on Pinterest is a simple “Irish Chain” made of scrappy “Nine Patches.” This pattern, of course, can be made with any size square (the smaller, the cuter). Since I have an abundance of 2 1/2″ squares, I planned to use that size, making 6″ finished “Nine Patches.” While looking on my fabric shelves for the container of partially constructed scrappy patchwork house pieces, I opened a mystery bin containing … you guessed it … “Nine Patches.” (More about the scrappy houses later.)


I remember making these blocks a couple of summers ago when most of my fabric was in storage. I just cut and sewed the scraps I had taken to our temporary living quarters. The bin contained 28 blocks, more than I need for a lap quilt. Most of the blocks were blue or green; a few were red. Since I plan to donate the quilt to the local Veteran’s Hospital, I set aside those that are too juvenile or feminine. I made a few more blue blocks to obtain the 25 “Nine Patches” needed. I alternated them with 24 print 6 1/2″ squares arranged in a 7 x 7 grid.

With blue thread, I quilted a “Baptist Fan” all over design. Taking a cue from the red accent squares, I bound the quilt with a red print. My friend Carol K. will approve; she says every quilt should include a little red. I am pleased with this very scrappy quilt. It is simple yet comforting and homey. Besides, it is almost a free quilt: The “Nine Patches” were made from scraps, the alternate squares came from the trimmings of a quilt backing, the navy blue paisley backing was leftover from another quilt backing, and the red print binding was from stash!

Here’s another idea for a smaller “Nine Patch” quilt. On March 17, 2014 I posted a tutorial for a table topper “Irish Chain” made with 2″ squares. Click here to link to the blog post.

What colors or size squares would you use to make “Irish Chain?”

“Conflagration” Quilt Top

This is a wedding quilt for a young couple whose favorite color is orange. But since they bought red couches, the bride asked if I could combine red and orange in the quilt. She said, “I have always liked red and orange together.” Well, personally, I generally do not combine red and orange in the same quilt. I use either red, or I use orange. However, I concluded, after an online search, that orange and red could look really nice together. To see what I saw, search for “images of red and orange quilts.”

I found inspiration for this quilt from a “Nine Patch” quilt on Pinterest made by Leslie with black and white and lime fabrics. I changed the alternate blocks, putting a “Four Patch” on point, square-in-a square style. I purchased quarter yard cuts of 3 red tonals and 3 orange tonals, and I repurposed black and white prints I had saved for a different quilt project. All squares are cut 3 1/2,” and I cut white triangles over-sized so I could easily trim the alternate blocks to 9 1/2.”

I plan and edge to edge quilting design, and the backing is an orange/red and yellow print. But I’m in a quandary over thread color. Red or Orange . . . or Yellow? What is your opinion?

Leprechaun Sighting

leprechaun-sweetsLook what I saw on display at Food Lion today. Lucky Leprechaun and his enticing array of sweets decorated with white and Irish green! And speaking of green, I’d like to remind you of a table quilt I stitched a few years ago. Click here to read my tutorial blog post.

Karla, who blogs at mysewfulretirement.com, made the 23″ square Single Irish Chain quilt this past weekend. While I used scrappy green squares for my topper, she used one Island Batik Spring Fling blue/green along with a cream batik, a text print with French words. She writes, “I loved how the topper turned out. Your instructions were clear and fantastic. Thank you for sharing the tutorial.”


If you’d like to make a table topper using just one green/blue fabric as Karla did, you can, of course, strip piece the Nine Patches. Cut strips 2″ x Width of Fabric (WOF). Make two types of strip sets:  A- Print, White, Print; B- White, Print, White. Press seams toward the Print fabric and cross-cut in 2″ increments. Sew the Nine Patches together in rows, A, B, A. Click here to find instructions for assembling the quilt top.

Green and white are perfect colors for St. Paddy’s Day, but I wonder what other color combinations entice you. Leave a comment below with your suggestions.

The Need to Sew

Months ago, I packed up a lot of my miscellaneous fabric and all my quilting books in preparation for moving. To declutter my studio, I folded and placed the fabric I was most likely to use in clear, lidded bins for easy access. And I filled a tough tote with projects I hoped to finish (or start!) in the months prior to our actual move. I have to admit, I have not been very diligent in working on these projects; I’ve been side-tracked by other shinier designs.

But just now I find myself between quilting projects and in need of something to sew. (I had to send the circuit boards of my long arm machine to the factory for repair, so quilting is “out.” I need something to sew.) I opened the tough tote, rummaged around, and extracted some coordinated leftovers from a baby quilt.


There were seven Uneven Nine Patch blocks among the leftovers. I added a deep purple print and a bright yellow tone-on-tone from stash.


I decided to make six more Uneven Nine Patch blocks with different fabric placement. The twelve blocks just need some white sashing to set them off. And then a purple border.


I fulfilled my need to sew for today, anyway. And I completed two 6″ blocks for my Splendid Sampler as leaders/enders while sewing the baby quilt.


Now all that remains of the coordinating fabric is truly scraps . . . except for that leftover Uneven Nine Patch block!

How about you? Are you feeling the need to sew? What are you working on?