Octagon Nine Patch: Ready for Quilting

Octagon Nine Patch Top
Octagon Nine Patch Top

I finished the top and back over the weekend. I started this project in 2015 and am really glad to be done with it.

It is a nice quilt and I will send it off to friends after showing it around.

Octagon Nine Patch top detail
Octagon Nine Patch top detail

I made an effort to use cool colors on the border to pick up some of the cool colors in the Nine Patches. I think some of the darks in the border are too dark, but live and learn. This is not a pattern I will be repeating.

I tried to make the piece look like it was woven and I think, if you get close, you will see that impression. At least I hope you will. I couldn’t completely keep like colors away from each other, but I did my best. I am pleased with the way the whole thing came out.

Octagon Nine Patch back
Octagon Nine Patch back

I was fortunate to find a piece of Kaffe in my backing pile that fit the quilt widthwise. I only had to make a strip to cover the rest of the vertical. I was thrilled. Not only was the Kaffe the perfect size, but the colors make it look like it was made for this quilt. Yay!

Weekend Progress- Octagon 9 Patch

Octagon 9 Patch - April Progress
Octagon 9 Patch – April Progress

I worked on the Octagon Nine Patch quite a bit over the weekend, despite the several hours I spent helping clear out my MIL’s house. I am pleased with my progress.

I didn’t want to do a complicated border, but the quilt demanded something more than a plain border and self-bordering is way better than sewing on a plain border any day! This means I am creating more Snowball units with the intention of “finishing off” the Nine Patches. In between the border snowball units I will put squares of grey. I am hoping it will look more woven this way, but I don’t know. You can see some of it coming together in the lower right hand corner.

Octagon 9 Patch Progress

Finally! I know.

Octagon 9 Patch in process
Octagon 9 Patch in process

It has taken me forever to sew the 9 patch blocks to the octagon/snowball blocks for this project. On Saturday, as I was nearing the end of a shrinking pile, I decided that I would sew as many more as I could to make as many rows as possible and then be done with it. It is done and it is 13 blocks by 18 blocks – a lap quilt for sure, but a nice sized lap quilt.

It has a slightly woven look to it, which I always liked. As one reader said, it looks like a summer afternoon with popsicles.

Octagon 9 Patch Again

Octagon 9 Patch, joining blocks
Octagon 9 Patch, joining blocks

I am working on this project very slightly. Each time I need a leader and ender, but am not working on a donation block, I put one of these through the machine. I have a fair number now.

I am only joining one octagon block to one 9 patch block at the moment. Once I do that, I’ll see where to go next. Design wall, probably, which is full at the moment.

Octagon Nine Patch Update

Octagon 9 Patch - October 2015
Octagon 9 Patch – October 2015

I was anxious to get the Octagon 9 Patch back up on the wall. There it sat for a few weeks and now I have taken it off the wall again. I couldn’t get all the blocks up on the wall anyway and I wanted to use the design wall for the Carpenter’s Wheel.

The exercise wasn’t completely useless, because I got to look at the pieces for awhile. I really have a lot of warm colors in this piece. I like that it makes the quilt feel warm, but I wonder if I need more cools. Also, as Julie said at one point, the solids do look a bit like holes. I think I can mitigate that by having Colleen quilt in each one.

Also, in realizing I couldn’t put all the blocks up, I figure out that I needed to count the blocks and decide on the layout. Sounds stupid, I know, but I always think the piece will just come together. It would if I had an infinite design wall, but I don’t so I have to count.

I had a brilliant idea after deciding to count, but not wanting to count only to have to count again in a week because I forgot the number. I pinned the blocks together in groups of 10. Yay! or DUH! depending on how daft I feel at the moment.

Snowball blocks: 110

9Patch blocks: 111

Without really trying, I have a very similar amount for both types of blocks. Perhaps I counted before?

Now comes the math. I have to figure out how to lay out the blocks – basically starting with a nine patch or an octagon is mostly what I need to figure out.

The other thing I was wondering is if I need to put another row between each row.

Octagon 9 Patch Returns

After whining a bit about this project, I got back in the saddle and sewed a few 9 patches. I had to cut more grey, but that was easy enough and I took the opportunity to cut some grey for the Flying Geese swap as well.

19 9 Patches
19 9 Patches

Once you start, it is hard to stop. The good part was that I needed leaders and enders for the FOTY 2014 project and these were handy and required. I scavenged leftover foreground squares and made these 9 patches. I don’t know how many I will need to complete the Octagon 9 Patch top, but these will certainly help.

They also helped complete the FOTY top. Yes, it is done. I still need to do a few things, which will need to be done this weekend, but between the donation blocks and these 9 patches, I had plenty of leaders and enders.

I am in view of being able to put this project back on the design wall and I can’t wait to see it up there again and decide on next steps.

The O9P Hump

Math is a problem.

Well, math is a problem for me. I try to avoid it where possible, but as a quiltmaker, I clearly can’t avoid it all the time. I do have strategies. If my blocks are on the design wall, I can count them and don’t have to do actual math. I live with brilliant math geniuses to whom i explain my math problem and they figure it out. Usually, they say, “oh you just have to factor this number into….” then I am back sitting in 7th grade math class the horror that I could not understand the teacher dawning afresh. As a purely self preservation tactic, I start drifting off into color and visuals land while they sound like the teacher on Charlie Brown cartoon (WAH WAH WAH) in the background. I drift back when they give me the answer and everyone is happy. Well, at least I am happy. I don’t think the boys really care or not. They know they will have to explain the same concept to me again at some future date.

O9P Not on the Design Wall
O9P Not on the Design Wall

The problem really comes in when my blocks are not on the design wall and I can’t get a sense of where I need to go. I believe the last time I worked on this was sometime around the end of April. I think I got it off the design wall so I could work on Field Day Zipper and the Food Quilt #2. I don’t really remember.

It is pretty easy to just sew 9 patch, except for the hump. I need more foreground/colored squares. The problem is I don’t know how many I should cut so that I can finish the 9 patches I need and not have too many leftover. This means math and I have been avoiding it. Or I could just cut a strip off each piece of yardage and not worry about the leftovers. Isn’t as though there is a shortage of fabric in my house.

Lots of humps in my life at the moment.

This would be a great project to move forward on as I stitch the FOTY 2014 pairs together, so perhaps I should do some math?

O9P Retreat Progress

9 Patch O9P blocks
9 Patch O9P blocks

Another thing I did a the retreat was work on the nine patch blocks for the O9P quilt.

Before I got to the Box Full of Letters blocks, I worked on these. I wanted to finish all of the parts and then cut more when I got home – I need about 55 more 9 patches to fill in the rest of the O9P quilt. As I finished the squares, I realized that they were getting to look too much alike and I decided to switch to the Box Full of Letters blocks.

Good decision as I got two sets of blocks done and major dents in both projects.

No, it isn’t about getting things done and finished, but it is about making progress and both of these projects felt stalled before I left. Now I feel like I am back on the road.

More O9P

Octagon Nine Patch full- April 2015
Octagon Nine Patch full- April 2015

Another part of the wackiness of the weekend was adding to my nine patch stash for the Octagon Nine Patch. I made some progress on adding to my nine patch pile.

when I stand next to the piece, I feel like I am making progress, but when I look at it in a photo I post here, I think I will never be finished. I guess that is why I take photos, then I can compare. For example, this photo with the last one.

Octagon Nine Patch - detail - April 2015
Octagon Nine Patch – detail – April 2015

One part of my attitude is that people comment on how small the blocks are. Yes they are on the smallish side, but are by no means miniatures.

I think I need to sew some parts together pretty soon. That will make the piece much smaller, of course, but will also enhance the feeling of accomplishment.


Octagon 9 Patch - late March 2015
Octagon 9 Patch – late March 2015

More progress on the Octagon 9 Patch. It seems slow, but I see the progress. Compare from last time and let me know what you think.

The 9 patches are not in their final locations. I started to arrange them as I made them, but it was hard to judge progress so now I just put each nine patch in the next open space. I’ll arrange them later.

O9P Progresses

Octagon 9 Patch - mid-March 2015
Octagon 9 Patch – mid-March 2015

I don’t think I have made much progress but I am making some progress. I finished all of the extra octagons so the piece is much bigger. I have to make a few more just to complete one side. I also still have a lot of nine patches to make.

I am now out of grey squares and have to make a concentrated effort to cut a bunch more. It isn’t a big deal; I just have to do it.


Getting the Black & Grey Teenaged Boy Donation Quilt off the design wall allowed me, as I had wished, to put the Octagon Nine Patch up on the wall.

Octagon 9 Patch - March 2015
Octagon 9 Patch – March 2015

It looks so little. You know I make big quilts so this one just looks weird.

I could cut more octagons and make it bigger, but the pieces are really small and piecing the blocks takes forever.

I have a few more octagons that are in the process of being sewn into Snowballs, so the piece will be a bit bigger, but it won’t be bed sized.

I can add a border and I do have an idea for that already, so that will also enlarge it.

I could also just be okay with the size that it is.

Octagon 9 Patch - March 2015 detail
Octagon 9 Patch – March 2015 detail

There are a lot of warm colors and I may need to cut a few octagons from cool colors, but I am not going to decide until I have more 9 patches completed and all the octagons are made into Snowballs.

Octagon Nine Patch

Octagon to Snowball Blocks
Octagon to Snowball Blocks

I am starting to think I should call this quilt the Snowball Nine Patch. Even though I think of the original shapes as octagons, I am turning them into snowballs. It is probably too late since, by now, I think of this quilt as the Octagon Nine Patch quilt, but it is a thought.

Also, what is it with Nine Patches all of a sudden? First it was the Rick Rack Nine Patch and now I have, as planned, added nine patches to this quilt.

Octagon Nine Patch Detail
Octagon Nine Patch Detail

I felt like I needed to add some nine patches to the octagon/snowball pieces to see some progress. I know I am making progress with the ever increasing number of octagon/snowball pieces, but I needed to see more. Making new scrappy blocks meant cutting a whole bunch of additional squares. Still, it was very gratifying when a couple of nine patches came to fruition.

I am trying to decide if I need more cool colors. I used a lot of the cool colors on the Russian Rubix.  From the top photo, it looks like enough, but when I look closer I see the same fabrics over and over, then one of the circle blue octagons and one of the violet/light purple with the squares and rectangles line drawing. I don’t know how many octagons I will need as I don’t know how large of a quilt I am making. I am trying to restrain myself and wait to cut more until I can put this on the large design wall to see what I see. At this point the quilt (with 64 Snowballs only) will be 208″, which is a respectable size. Adding the Nine Patches will, I think, double the size.

I am getting to the point where this is starting to look like something. Perhaps this will become my number 1 project soon.

Octagon Nine Patch Progress

Octagons to Snowballs - Jan 2015
Octagons to Snowballs – Jan 2015

Progress is being made, but I have still only worked on the snowball blocks since the last post.

There is certainly a lot of pink! And, secondarily, a lot of warm colors. I used most of the cool colors on the Russian Rubix and want to use what I have.

The good news is that I have to make the 9 Patches, so I can use more cool colors there if the design warrants it.

I am adding the corner pieces using the leaders and enders method. Adding the triangles to the corners makes the octagons look really different from the octagons in the Russian Rubix quilt. I am glad, because it keeps the piece from being boring.

Octagon Nine Patch

It makes no sense to me to work on a project and not use leaders and enders to save thread and get some other rote piecing done. To that end, as I worked on the Stepping Stones, I also added grey triangles to the leftover octagons so I could work towards the Octagon Nine Patch quilt.

Octagon Nine Patch Test
Octagon Nine Patch Test

I kind of wanted to remind myself what mine would look like so I made a mockup in EQ7.

Something looked off so I went and looked at the picture and my piece and realized that I reversed the foreground and background from the original that I saw at PIQF. I was a little upset, but I quickly realized that I had to do it this way, because of the way the octagons were made. My octagon patch is a foreground piece. In Dina Carmiel’s piece, A Touch of Autumn, she used background fabric for the octagons, because they are a base for some applique’. I would have had to completely remake the octagons with the background grey if I wanted to mimic her quilt. The point of my piece is to use up octagons that I already cut for the Russian Rubix quilt.

Octagons to Snowballs December 2014
Octagons to Snowballs December 2014

The sewing of the corner triangles takes a lot of time and if I didn’t like the cheerful colors so much I might give up. As a result, this work makes great leaders and enders piecing. Progress still takes a lot of time.

This is the third quilt I have made with these fabrics and I am really eager to have all three side by side to see the differences.