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The 9 Patch Dilemma

Hand quilting a 9 patch quilt © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Hello, hello, how are you this Sunday?  I’m feeling a bit more lively than I have done all week. I’ve spent most of it asleep or curled up under a quilt nursing a throbbing head cold, boooo!  It finally seems to be on the wane and I’m hopeful I can manage a few hours concentration this afternoon: I’ve got my 9 patch Summer Blues quilt back in the hoop.

Hand quilting a 9 patch quilt © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Hand quilting today

Your Summer what?!  Hmm, I confess it’s been a long time heading towards a finish. Some 7 years or so for such a simple 9 patch quilt.  Ahem. Too many things have been more exciting!

'Summer Blues' (9 patch bed quilt in progress) ©Stephanie Boon 2014 www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Summer Blues

It’s not that I’ve fallen out of love with the old 9 patch (even if it is badly stitched), it has a lot of good memories. It was meant to mark the start of a new beginning after I separated from Kim’s dad after 23 years. It reminds me of sitting out in the garden hand piecing the 9 patch blocks and the excitement of choosing a few wonderful Kaffe Fassett fat quarters every week at my local store. It reminds me of summers, blue skies and the sea.

Procrastination

But… But I’ve been procrastinating about the quilting and that procrastination has ground me to a halt.  Should I just quilt in the ditch along the sashing and then across the 9 patch blocks and leave it at that?  Should I spend more time and try my hand at some feathers or scrolls in the sashing (something I’ve never done before)? Should I just do whatever’s quickest and get it finished?

Last year I finally bought some backing and got the quilt sandwich made (you can see the backing here). Then I made a start on quilting the ditches. And then I got sidetracked. And now it’s back in the hoop and I’m procrastinating again! What is wrong with me people?!?! I have this evil little voice in my head and it’s telling me to just get on with it until I can get over to the fabric store to buy more wadding and a backing for one of the improv tops I made recently. But would it be better to just concentrate on it and get it done? What would you do? I need help! (Obviously!!)

Hand quilting a 9 patch quilt © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Monochrome sample in the background

Sampler

Other than procrastinating about my 9 patch I really haven’t accomplished much at all this week.  I took a few more stitches on my monochrome sampler (in the background of the picture above) and ripped lots of them out, convinced they were terrible. I chastised myself mightily for the variation in stitch size and the wonky curves and considered ripping the entire thing apart and setting fire to it.  On reflection I think the heavy cold may have been affecting both my work and my thoughts about it!  I’m still not convinced I shouldn’t rip the whole lot out though!  But then again, it is just a sample, so really, what does it matter?

Linking up with Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching.  I hope you’ll head on over with me – and leave all the procrastination behind!

Happy stitching

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28 replies
  1. CathieJ
    CathieJ says:

    A sample means you get to experiment and learn and not really worry about the outcome. Enjoy the process. Get cracking on that nine-patch too. In the end you will be so happy that you did. It took me almost 20 years to finish hand-quilting my first queen-sized quilt. I was so happy when it was finished and so sorry that I hadn’t done so earlier. Enjoy your stitching.

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Thanks Cathie – I think that’s wise advice 🙂 This one was meant for my bed and the others I have in mind are lap quilts…or even to go on the wall! As simple as it is, I still love it and it will be so much better to have it in use than hidden away somewhere. It was never going to be of ‘show quilt’ standard, so what am I worrying about!

      Reply
  2. Lorna McMahon
    Lorna McMahon says:

    I remember you posting about this quilt previously. And I love it! Maybe it’s the simplicity of the nine patch blocks and how they show off those beautiful fabrics. Or perhaps it’s because blue is my favourite colour. Looking forward to reading what you decide for the quilting. Keep at it, Stephie!

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Well Lorna, I have to say you’ve inspired me with your own determination to get a quilt finished for your bed – and fabulous it is too! I was really impressed with the way you just pushed on through and think I should take a leaf out of your book 🙂 x

      Reply
  3. Deb @ Frugal Little Bungalow
    Deb @ Frugal Little Bungalow says:

    This is a lovely quilt….looks old fashioned, soft, dreamy, timeless. I would say that you might be bored quilting in the ditch because you can’t really see your stitches when you are quilting ? I went through that a year or so ago quilting on my snowball quilt…..the brown fabric. I was putting stitches in but it didn’t seem to show progress. Maybe try circles or fans or something on every other block to keep yourself interested ? The other thing is that when I am hand quilting something and get bored with it I promise myself just one length of thread a day or something and then I still see progress 🙂

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Promising to stitch one length of thread a day is an awesome idea Deb – and once I start I find it difficult to stop! My fingers are pretty raw this morning because once I finally got going yesterday I just forgot about all the silly procrastination, got on with it and enjoyed every stitch 🙂 I hadn’t even thought about doing anything different in the 9 patch blocks, thanks for the ideas!

      Reply
  4. Karen in Breezy Point
    Karen in Breezy Point says:

    Sometimes it is just plain boring (as opposed to meditative) to do hand quilting. I think Deb’s idea of doing one thread a day is genius–a little progress is better than nothing and before you know it, it will be finished! And it will be a lovely, classic quilt when it’s done!

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Thanks Karen – Deb’s a clever old bean isn’t she?! Another idea I’ve had is to leave it all set up and next to my desk so that I can just take a few stitches here and there. It’s bizarre how most of the problems are actually in my head!!!

      Reply
  5. Gail
    Gail says:

    Keep linking up to show your progress each week and you will be done in no time. Everyone at slow Sunday stitching will keep you motivated and inspired to keep stitching!

    Reply
  6. Deb
    Deb says:

    I agree with Deb…. how about stitching through the 9 patches so you can see them – an X though the five and a diamond through the four? Might be ‘more exciting’ to stitch. Don’t worry about stitch length, size, etc. Just enjoy the needle going through the fabric. Hope you are feeling better.

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Thanks Deb – I’m definitely feeling clearer headed this morning, but that could be the humungous mug of Starbucks coffee I’ve just had!!! I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of doing anything different across the 9 patches – too fixated on what I could do in the sashing perhaps? I’m so glad you and t’other Deb have mentioned the idea and given me food for thought, thank you!

      Reply
  7. Kaja
    Kaja says:

    You certainly don’t need to rip up and burn your sampler – just come back to it when you feel better. This is pretty, lovely colours and quilting is a peaceful way to make progress when you’re not up to creative thinking. I’d say keep it up until your cold is done and your energy levels are up a bit, then keep going if you are enjoying it, or don’t it really you want to be doing other stuff. No rules about how long things need to take!

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      That’s true Kaja – no rules! I suppose I feel sad that something I was once so excited about and I’m still really fond of sits forlorn and unloved (now who does that remind me of 😀 ). I think it’s purely that my head has moved on from the simple craft aspect of making a quilt and I want to experiment with ideas. (That doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy the craft for its own sake and appreciate others’ incredible talent – I just think my incredible talent must lie elsewhere, hahahahaha!!!) x

      Reply
  8. Julie in WA
    Julie in WA says:

    I find the best way for me to deal with procrastination is to set small goals. For instance, for this nine patch quilt I would say to hand quilt three nine patch blocks per week. That way you can work on other stuff while still making progress on finishing this one!

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Great idea Julie – I’m definitely someone that needs more than one thing on the go at once. Hmmm, I wonder how many things are too many 😉 Thanks for coming by, lovely too meet you!

      Reply
  9. Quilter Kathy
    Quilter Kathy says:

    I think the 9 patch quilt has helped you through a difficult time and it’s ready to be done now. I would do whatever is quickest and easiest to finish it. You have other things you want to stitch now 🙂

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Kathy thank you. I think you’ve said what’s truly in my heart: it’s ready to be done and I should just do whatever’s quickest. Sometimes you just need to hear that’s ok from someone else when you can’t quite give yourself consent!

      Reply
  10. Cathy L
    Cathy L says:

    I would just get started quilting and before you know it you will be finished and wonder why you didn’t just get to it sooner. I’d leave the sashing for last and do something easy in the nine patches like the Debs suggested. That will get you going and give you time to decide what to do in the sashing. PLUS I would also work on one of the improv tops at the same time since you seem to be craving some work on that too.

    Never burn anything. My stitching is often wonky and uneven but how do you get experience unless you try and try again? (I enjoy the trying part).

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Thanks Cathy. Once I started yesterday I couldn’t stop! I think I could have all the sashing ditches quilted in a week at this rate – now that would make me smile 🙂 You’re so right about gaining experience – I’m just impatient for it to arrive and forget that there’s a lifetime to go!

      Reply
  11. audrey
    audrey says:

    Exactly what Kathy said. This quilt has had it’s purpose as far as therapy etc. goes. Finish it up in a simple manner so you can enjoy it and move on.:) I don’t know why it is that we feel guilty if everything we do isn’t elaborate, complicated or ‘as good as we can make it’. Some things don’t need that much attention and will just drown our creative mojo.

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Audrey I really think you and Kathy have hit the nail on the head. It’s this feeling that to be good craft it has to be elaborate and complicated, but sometimes less really is more. The fact is that it was my first hand pieced bed quilt and it was about learning and fun and therapy. Whenever I find a loose thread or bits of fraying (yes fraying, because I cut some seams too narrow :/ ) it just reminds me how much I’ve improved – and how much there is still to learn. Thank you for your thoughtful comment, it’s so helpful.

      Reply
  12. Calra
    Calra says:

    Isn’t it amazing the memories we quilt into our quilts! I have a quilt that took me over ten years to complete. I just didn’t have the skills I needed to finish it and I guess I had hoped for a more spectacular finish. But I kept at it and was amazed how much the quilting did to save it!

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Oh Carla, after reading these comments it seems we’ve all been there – it’s quite heartening really! I’m glad to hear you persevered, like you say, there are so many memories wrapped up in the hours we spend on them it would be such a shame to leave them go. Thank you so much for coming by and saying hello 🙂

      Reply
  13. Bossymamma
    Bossymamma says:

    Maybe the time just isn’t right to quilt the nine-patch? You say it was started to mark a new beginning – I think you should quilt it only when the time feels right, not because you feel guilty about not having finished it.

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Guilt is a terrible thing isn’t it Dina! It can eat away at you but as others here have said, if you can just do a little bit on a regular basis things will move on and the guilt will just melt away. Yeah and um, those piggy things can fly!!!! I’m definitely going to try the little and often approach though, guilt or no guilt, this baby is going to be finished by Christmas – you heard it here first and you can be the first to give me a guilt trip when it isn’t, haha! x

      Reply
  14. Ann
    Ann says:

    Well, I was out of town this weekend. All the comments are things I might have said. It’s a lovely quilt and it will be better when it’s done… says the woman who’s still (theoretically) quilting a 26 year old top.

    Reply

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