What I’m Working On…

Before I get into today’s post just a heads up for those you have recently contacted me about sending quilt tops.  I am delayed in getting back to you.  It might be until next week before they get shipped out.  I’ve had a busy last week and weekend and this week looks to be crazy too.  Thanks for getting to me and I promise, I’ll be sending them out as soon as time allows.

Now to today’s post…

I was a busy bee in the quilting room this week.  When I last left you I was looking at this mess.  I was hoping to get it cleaned…

The only problem is that when I clean, it actually means more than cleaning and organizing.  It means tackling projects that have been dumped into the sewing room.

This little book has long been a favorite.  It’s a cloth type baby book by my favorite illustrator, Eloise Wilkin.

The back cover had been ripped off and I couldn’t bear to throw it away.  I ended up putting a binding on the edge just like you would a quilt.

I had a stack of dish towels and cloth napkins to hem.

That took no time at all.

Then rather than pack this up and put it in the UFO cabinet, I decided to get it together at least enough so it was a flimsy…or quilt top.  I only had four blocks done.

You might remember this is our quilt that was featured in American Patchwork and Quilting called Inspired by the past.  I did a tutorial of sorts on how to make the block HERE.  Other info on the quilt is HERE.

When I was making mine for the magazine, I cut out too many blocks.  I decided to sew them up and make them into a throw.  I was one block short..

I got that block made and then started a debate on what to do for a layout.

I didn’t have extra of the pink sashing fabric I originally used.  I didn’t want to buy fabric so I decided that I would use scrappy neutral fabrics instead.
I was pleased with how it was working out.

…but of course, I had to do a little seam ripping.  Nothing bad.

I got it ironed, then laid it out on the floor to give it a look.


Of course, Rosie had to be her Rosie self.  She saw the quilt out and immediately wanted a treat so she posed.

I tried to get her off the quilt to give it a good look but she wouldn’t get off.

I can’t decide what to do.  Maybe you could help.  Notice the outer edge?  The blocks don’t come together to make 16 patches like in the middle of the quilt.  The edges are only 4×3.  Hmm.  I don’t know if I like that.

When I made the quilt for the magazine, I didn’t add the sashing on the outside.

I needed it on this new version though as the top wasn’t very big so I added it.

The original quilt that my quilt was based on looked like this… Notice the patchwork top and bottom borders?

Here is a look at my top again…

I’m thinking about adding a three-layer border of squares around the whole thing.  What do you think?

I also thought about adding a single-width border around with the patchwork squares so that the outer squares are all 16 patches.  Hmm.  I decided I would just leave that project that far along and let you all chime with your suggestion on what you would do to finish the quilt.  Please leave a comment and let me know.

So being that was set aside I looked around to see what another mess was that I could tackle and right at the top of the list were these string pieced borders I’ve been working on.  I need 144 or them.  I only had 68 so I did some power sewing and finished all of them.

Now they need to be de-papered and trimmed to size.  Whew.  All of the mess at my Singer 15-91 is cleaned up.  MUCH BETTER.

I did make a new purchase for the sewing room, a circle ruler.  I’ve been wanting one of these.  Typically when I need a circle I run all around the house looking for the size of bowl I want.  NO MORE.  I have a ruler…and I can see through it so I can make sure the circle is actually centered.
Sometimes it’s the little things.  I didn’t get a chance to try it out yet…soon I hope.  I bought mine HERE.

I’m working on another pincushion idea and this is going to be perfect.

So…my sewing room isn’t clean yet, but I’m tackling projects and that feels REALLY good.  Please let me know what you think I should do for borders on my quilt.  I’d love your input.

62 thoughts on “What I’m Working On…”

  1. Rosie knows and good cuddle quilt when she sees one! I agree with her. I really like the neutral sashing on this version of “Inspired by the Past.” I also like the idea of filling out the side and corner blocks to make 16-patch blocks with a narrow neutral strip added to the sides of the star blocks. Add another border with scrappy binding or just a single color binding if the quilt is wide enough. I can’t wait to see what you decide!

  2. Lovely quilt top. My vote is for you to add just a single border to make 16 patch blocks. When I visited my daughter in Utah at Christmas I managed to buy a copy of the the magazine your quilt pattern is in (it’s not easy to find here in UK) and I’m collecting fabrics together to make it later this year. It’s fabulous
    Regards from grey-skied England

  3. that I could possibly give a proper comment about anything you are creating is just not really worthy of a comment SO I will just cheer you on …..

  4. That quilt is so beautiful! I was thinking it didn’t need anything else, but since you mentioned it, the three rows of squares would make a nice border. You do fantastic work! What are you going to do with all the dish towels? I don’t know how you manage to get so much done! You must have worked out a special deal with 48 hour days with someone up above! Keep up the good work! I think you motivate us all!

    1. Yep, and then make a decision about adding a border increasing the size. You’ll see better what the quilt wants.

  5. I love this quilt! My first thought is it might be interesting to have the patch blocks look like they notch into the border. I might add a row/border on all four sides that is the width of the squares in the patch blocks. Where the patches are, complete those blocks and in between use one fabric. Then add another border using that same fabric. That would complete the patch blocks and add a border. I know you like scrappy and can “see” it differently than I can, so maybe there is room for “scrappy” somewhere in there. Have fun creating and thanks for sharing your thoughts! I learn a lot from reading your blog.

  6. I love the scrappy neutral sashing!! Many quilts ago, I made Scrappy Happy Burgoyne Surround, from Becky @ Quilted Twins, and it is still one of my favorite quilts. It has scrappy neutral sashing, makes it so much more interesting.
    Regarding the finish of this quilt, what are you after? Is it a larger size? Do you care if it becomes more a bed size and less throw size? Do you just want to get it done? Will it make you cringe every time you see it if it doesn’t have 16-P all around? As is, I think it looks balanced since it has the same 12-P all the way around, intentional to my eye, not at all deficient or unfinished. Whatever you decide I’m sure it will be lovely, you create such wonderful quilts!

  7. Another vote for the row of squares. I know if I have a quilt like this and I notice it, it’ll stand out like a sore thumb and bug me until I fix it. ;-)
    It’s a beautiful quilt, Jo!
    Love and prayers

  8. I love this pattern—it looks just as beautiful in this new version! As you’ve done the sashing border I would do a narrow border finishing the 16-patch and then another border around that. In the narrow border between little squares you could use the same color as the outside border, so the 16-patch looks like it sticks out into the border.

  9. I would finish the 16 patch, but would sash with various darks, kinda to frame it out. Then decide if it needs an additional border.

  10. I love this quilt and it’s lovely the way it is although another row of blocks would look good too and finish the 16 patches. I’m amazed at how the changes sashing changes the look of the entire quilt! It will be a great quilt to snuggle under.

  11. Beautiful quilt! I know you will make the right decision for the border – you always do! You amaze me at how much quilting you accomplish when you say you didn’t get much sewing done.

  12. I initially thought one border with the squares to make the 16 patch and neutral but I like Roxanne’s idea above.

  13. I also vote for just one more row of single blocks to complete the sixteen patches. It looks wonderful! I always love your quilts, Jo!

  14. This quilt is great. To finish the edges, maybe you could make a border of neutral sashing strips and 4 squares. This finishes off the 16-patch, is simpler, which I think this quilt calls for, and will be visually appealing. I’m not a fan of the top and bottom borders on the vintage quilt. It’s just too much. I know whatever you decide will be what’s best for you. Good luck.

  15. I like Kathy and Roxanne’s idea. Complete the 16-patches, but between the groups of squares put a rectangle of another color – not a neutral – so the neutrals you already have keep their shape as well. Maybe your beloved red?

  16. I agree with Roxanne as a suggestion in finishing the border to make the 16 patches and add all around in the same neutral to bring it all together. The colors look great.

    1. The two solutions you described were the two that I thought of too. (What an awkward sentence!) I also think Roxanne’s solution sounds good. I am not much help, but just validating some good ideas…..lol.

  17. Colleen Powshik

    I was thinking the same as Roxanne when I read your post but whatever you decide will be
    wonderful. I love reading your posts every morning with coffee thank you.

  18. Judith Fairchild

    I’m voting for just find a border material that sets the squares off like a picture frame and get it done so you don’t have to fuss with it. Whatever you decide will work. You know what you have. Good for you to clean and repair the little book.

  19. Barbara Yarnell

    I would do the single width border with squares if it were me. I had to laugh when you said you needed 144 of the string strips and only had 68 done! Yesterday i set out to put together the Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt and found out somehow i was 2 blocks short! Either that or i misplaced them (more likely). Anyway i cut out 2 more blocks and laid them out to sew today. Ugh. It will be worth it, though. Its a very pretty quilt

  20. Jo you never cease to amaze! You are a dynamo. You always inspire me. I know you have had many chime in about the quilt borders, so I will throw in my 2 cents worth. I can imagine a row of scrappy squares all around the outside which wold complete the 16 patches and make a scrappy border all in one. I look forward to seeing your completed quilt.

  21. Virginia Grenier

    I see what you mean about the outer borders. It would be better to complete the 16-patch but what to do with the space in between? I see 4 options:

    1) add more patchwork squares just like those in the 16-patch
    2) Find a pink like the magazine version
    3) do a stringy strip
    4) put in Flying Geese

  22. Gorgeous quilt, Jo!
    I think the single width border, making the squares a 4×4 layout would look the best.
    I can’t wait to see what you decide.

  23. I would leave it the way it is…..I think it’s terrific! But asymmetry doesn’t bug me. :-)

    You did a tremendous amount of work clearing your studio. Good job!

    Have a great week Jo.

  24. I bought a circle ruler like the one you have. Word of caution it’s easily broken but I have used it more than I thought.

  25. What a lovely quilt! I’d use up a bunch of squares and just put a simple one layer of squares all the way around so that you end up with 16 patches and then put your binding on. It will look finished, quick to do and you can be on to the next project. Thanks for sharing that….I’m going to have to make one now as I love how you ended up with 16 patches at the sashings.

  26. I’m voting for the single row all around to make them 16 patches. I would bind with a strong color that reads solid to frame.

  27. I think I would do a pieced first border, using a strip then 4 squares, and repeat, making the strips scrappy as well as the squares. This will finish out the 16 patches and add a strip against the strips in the finished blocks. Next I’d add a solid wider border.. or if it’s now big enough, I’d just bind it.

  28. How about flying geese pointing toward the center of each side? One color for the background, you choose about the geese…………one color there also? Probably not.
    First start with a 1″ border, then the geese, then the binding. If some of us are really out in left field on our suggestions, I for one would welcome the feedback explaining why the suggestion didn’t work design-wise.
    Kudos and Continuing good health.

  29. I just added the circle ruler to my cart – thank you! I also run all over the house looking for something to trace, so I hope this solves that!

  30. Katherine Gourley

    I like the several comments about a single border to make 16 patches. It is a beautiful quilt, Jo. Eloise Wilkin is my favorite illustrator and I look for her books at garage sales and thrift store. I have the same cloth book in my collection. As a little girl I had 2 favorites Twins and Fix it Please.

  31. I vote for the single row to fill out the 16 patches. That will make it look symmetrical and will be easier on the eyes.

  32. I like it just the way it is. The arrangement of the star blocks, 16 patch blocks and the other pieced blocks is pleasing to the eye. Adding more of the smaller squared blocks around the outside would be confusing and take away from the setting. I would just bind it in a solid color.

  33. Hi Jo, for the quilt that you are wanting ideas for a border, when I looked at it I thought of doing your second idea – the single width border with patches to make the squares 16 patch. That’s probably what I would do, but I’m sure whatever you do will look wonderful. I enjoy your posts, thank you and God bless.

  34. I like the picture of the quilt made for the magazine best. It’s beautiful. But adding an outer border 3 squares/one piece of sashing/repeat all around would be nice also.

  35. Ginny Andersen

    I would add another set of 4 squares to bring it to 16 also. I also like the idea of multi-rows of scrappy squares all around the quilt like the original vintage quilt. It is such a beautiful quilt.

  36. I would just add enough to make the 16 square blocks with a neutral in between. I don’t care for the top and bottom border on the one you bought. It looks too busy and really does not do anything for that quilt. Keep it simple. The quilt has a lot going on already.

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