99 blocks

This, believe it or not, is a pile (two piles, in fact) of 99 quilted blocks.

Each block looks roughly like these:

I took a long time deciding what was going where, and who was sitting next to whom, but I think this will work.

Extra challenging to know that the backs are all different too, and also have to sit well together. A bit like doing a double-sided jigsaw.

And then I just had to see how they actually joined together, never having done quilt-as-you-go. Each layer has to be secured separately, so the top is oversewn in the usual paper-piecing way, then the batting is ladder-stitched together edge-to-edge, and then the backing seam is slip stitched closed. Sounds more complicated than it is, though it is fiddly and time-consuming – but then, really, you’re doing three parts all at once.

The first pair of blocks (fronts):

And the same pair from the back:

97 to go.

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26 Responses to 99 blocks

  1. Jill says:

    absolutely brilliant – really stunning!

  2. Anneliese says:

    Fantastic, absoluteIy fantastic! Great work! It will be a beautiful quilt!

  3. annie! says:

    Only 97! Cool. That means you have three completed! WAY back – about 25 years ago…this was the way I was shown to make a quilt. The lady called it lap quilting and although I’ve never tried it, I like the idea. I make fabric books and it’s always an interesting challenge to think about what will show up on the reverse side and where. I love this project of yours.

    • Karen Turner says:

      This quilt will be in rows/columns of 9 x 11, making the finished thing about 72″ x 88″ – I wanted an odd number of blocks along each edge so that the light/dark pattern will be consistent right up to the corners. If I’d done 100 blocks as 10 x 10, I would have had a dark in one corner and a light in the other. I think odd numbers usually look better. 97 sounds pretty overwhelming at the moment!

  4. these are just stunning…hope you enjoy the process…

  5. connie rose says:

    Wow, what a LOT of work! But how beautiful!

  6. lyn lewis says:

    Absolutely smashing! Does sound tedious but am sure its more manageable than hefting a whole cloth about! I love the myriad of colours, magic the way they all seem to blend so beautifully too.

    • Karen Turner says:

      Yes, I find manoeuvring large quilts very tiring, and although this will become large at some point, the batting and backing will always be under control.

  7. bluecloth says:

    I really like your quilt. Love the colors and for awhile it will be very portable – fantastic.

  8. Penny says:

    Oh, this looks fabulous!!! I love it!! Just the idea of making up 99 quilt squares seems daunting to me – let alone what you had to do to stitch it all together. Beautiful job.

    • Karen Turner says:

      It’s a bit like eating an elephant, I think – one bite at a time and before you know it, the job is done. It would be easy to get overwhelmed by the whole thing, but breaking it down into manageable steps makes life much less daunting.

  9. Chloe says:

    Oh no, I don’t think that blue on the bottom right is good there… JUST KIDDING! Must have taken such a long time to arrange them to get that subtle checkerboard effect, it works really well. It’s quite incredible how such a large piece of work can be created from such titchy ‘waste’ pieces. Lovely, lovely. How will you edge it?

    • Karen Turner says:

      Yes, all tiny scraps – amazing, really. But I think this is how time works – a few minutes here and there, all joined together, and before you know it you have a whole life time. I’ve been thinking about the edges, and I don’t know yet how I’ll deal with them. Traditionally, English quilts didn’t have bindings the way American ones did; the edges were just turned under. I think I may try that. Long way to go though, still plenty of time to be thinking about it.

  10. Jeannie says:

    Absolutely beautiful!!!

  11. talulahlynn says:

    I love this so much. I’m often discouraged by a LARGE quilt because I like to work by hand, in my lap. This really look doable….and I love that each one is different and how they came together…inspired by you again!!

    • Karen Turner says:

      I’ve been very impressed by the manageability of this method and will definitely use it again. It remains portable for a long time, and it’s easy to pick it up and put it down in any spare moments that happen to be available.

  12. Flaming Nora says:

    Flippin’ ‘eck.

  13. Marie says:

    WOW, this is impressive!! And gorgeous.

  14. helen salo says:

    Gorgeous! but yes, FIDDLEY! You have definately shown that persistence and patience goes along way with hand sewing. Think how great you’ll feel when it is complete. Dare I say, Good Luck. 🙂 those words sometimes work reverse, like a curse, but not how it is intended. 🙂

  15. Dot says:

    Hi Karen. I love how you incorporate smaller pieces of fabric in your quilts to make a stunning larger quilt. Your photo’s are gorgeous and your color choices stunning. Dot

  16. Clare says:

    I’ve always wanted to try this method – I think you may have given me confidence now…thank you

  17. Janice says:

    Karen, it’s gorgeous. I hadn’t thought that the backs will all be different too. So it will be as beautiful from the underside as it is on top. Well done, they are all beautiful and it’s going to be magnificent!

  18. Penny Berens says:

    You are having fun!

  19. Tina says:

    Lovely idea-I think I would like to try this sometime. A very nice way to use up scraps and make something really fun, interesting and challenging.

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