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And relax! (How to hand quilt a 9-patch border)

Easter Sunday, quiet and peaceful. It’s just Kim, myself, the cats and the chickens – and Kim’s spent most of the day asleep! It’s been a blessing and has meant that I’ve been able to get on with quite a bit of hand quilting this afternoon. Losing myself in the sound of the thread coming through the layers, with the warmth of the quilt on my lap and Wuthering Heights (the black and white 1939 version!) on the laptop in the background reminds me of the quiet, lazy Sundays of childhood (a black and white film on the tv in the afternoon and nothing else to do but watch it!).

 Lily the cat sitting on a quilt in progress. © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Gratuitous cat photo! Helping Lily? No!

I’ve been sat at my desk stitching with the heavenly scent of narcissi wafting in from the sitting room. And Lily has been ‘helping’.

Norfolk Bricks, lap quilt. © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Hand stitched nine-patch border on my Norfolk Bricks lap quilt

Time has gone quickly and I’m very happy with my progress.  I’ve almost finished quilting the nine patch squares in three  borders of the quilt and the texture is just what I hoped for.

How to quilt the borders

It’s very easy to achieve this look.  First of all quilt the squares in the ditch. Next mark out the square quilting lines in pencil (which you can see in the photographs) with a quarter inch ruler placed along the seam.

Rather than quilting each square individually, it’s much quicker and easier to work in rows: starting on the righthand side (if you’re right handed) stitch one row along the entire length of the border bridging the gap between squares by carrying the thread between the layers at the end of one pencil line (which is the corner of a square) and the beginning of the next (the next corner of a square) (see below).

Hand Quilting, © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Bridging the gap between squares

Complete all the horizontal rows in this way.

Next you stitch the vertical rows using the same method.  As these are much shorter rows of only three squares you can go up the side of one set of squares and back down the other without having to cut and bury your threads, remembering to bridge the gap between squares as shown above..

Hand Quilting © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Direction of stitching for the short rows

It’s much quicker this way because you’re not having to turn your work all the time.  You’ll soon become aware of how many stitches you need to take to cross a side of a square too (about 6 in my case on this quilt) which will help you line up the stitches in the corner of each square too.

Norfolk Bricks quilt close up - © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

In detail

And that’s it! I hope you’ll have a go and let me know how you get on, and of course if you have another method leave a comment below – I love trying out new techniques!


I also managed to finish up some Ocean Waves blocks during the week, which has made a big difference to my feelings of accomplishment with this quilt top.  I’ve taken a few photographs so if all goes well hope to show you how I”m getting on during the week.

Today though I’m linking up with Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching and hope to see what you’ve been up to too.  Although Kim my have other ideas for this evening… we’re about to watch Interstellar together, should be fun!

Until next time, Happy Easter and even happier stitching!

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6 replies
  1. Carla
    Carla says:

    I had never thought of stitching pieced blocks this way. Very interesting and it will make me think twice next time I am hand quilting. I like putting on my headphones and listening to audio books when I stitch! It helps me to forget about those chores I should be doing around the house! LOL Can’t wait to see your quilt completed, your stitches are really bringing it to life.

    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Thank you Carla, hope you have a go next time! I’m not very good at listening to books, I tend to drift off in a world of my own and forget what I heard! Music is a better option for me I think!

  2. Quilter Kathy
    Quilter Kathy says:

    That is a great tip to quilting the border blocks. I would never have thought of it, thinking that I had to quilt one block at a time, with lots of turning of the project.
    Thanks for linking up!


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