Friday, September 16, 2016

2 A.M. Stitching Tips & Secret Sewing

Tickling the Ivories 
Quilting the Piano Key Border

Have you ever taken in so much in just one day you felt like a different person when you fell into bed? I had one Aha Moment after the next yesterday, and was so geared up I could barely eat supper. Seriously, me not eat? You can read about my first experience batiking with a tjap over on "One More Thing Before I Dye." Not eating meant I woke up starving at 2 A.M., and I quilted the next 2 hours until the family started getting up for work.

Here is a close up of the finished chocolate dotted border. There were places the rust colored Perle cotton extended into it, and others where I used the mint.

I didn't plan all the quilting out beforehand. I know most people do, but I try to stay open to ideas I get while in process. For instance, I know many quilters would only choose to quilt down one side of each 'key' in a piano key border. That would have worked with the batting I used--a bamboo/cotton blend, but I though visually it would look better with both sides of each key quilted.

To reduce the number of times I had to flip my frame, and a large, heavy quilt, I work with multiple needles and lines of thread. Here I have 3 going. I've quilted down the rows with each, and will turn the frame and bulk just once. When I'm done with the up and down sequence, I knot and bury all 3 at the same time. Knot the threads again at the same time, and continue. It sounds awkward, but I've timed it, and it's a great time saving method.

Last, but not least, I'm doing some secret sewing for Fall Market. Here's part of a background I'm constructing, and I've been snapping my photos in black and white for a balance of value. It's interesting to work this way without regard to the color. There's been so much behind the scenes sewing this year, it's hard not to show you something. 

I hope you're all working on something that excites you. I feel like this fall is just full of possibilities! Have fun!

Come on, Doxie girls.
Let's go sew.


  1. That's one of the beauties of hand stitching - changing thread is so much easier than with machine quilting. Look forward to seeing all that secret sewing.

  2. I think working with multiple threads at a time is a great advantage to hand quilting (not that I've done any), but it would also allow you to work with multiple colors easier. I'm quite enjoying watching this project as it comes together.

  3. You really were running on adrenalin there . I find that too , my brain runs away excitedly during the night . I thought it was my age ! I love that you are hand quilting this , multiple needles is a great idea

  4. It has been a long, long time since I have done any hand quilting. You have me feeling nostalgic. Love the idea of working multiple needles. Thanks for the tip.

  5. Your quilt is gorgeous! Love that texture from the stitching. I rarely plan my stitching out beforehand either. Sometimes I literally have no idea about what needs to happen until I dive in and start stitching!

  6. What a great idea for quilting piano key borders! And I feel your pain on secret sewing - it's so hard to keep that secret!! Good luck (ps it's gonna be gorgeous!)

  7. I love that you timed it. I do that way to often with projects. My problem becomes trying to beat my best time. Not very relaxing. Your piano keys are looking terrific.

  8. I really like your double lines of quilting in the corners. The colors look great together.
    --Nancy. (ndmessier @,

  9. Goodness Julie, you are up & about so early! I too use multiple threads when hand quilting, it feels like I'm getting there faster... but I guess that's just an illusion! Your hand quilting will certainly make this one special quilt!

  10. 2 am is plenty early but lovely quilting

  11. Nothing like getting an early start. Smart idea using three needles.

  12. Lovely! It is very pretty ♥

  13. Love your quilting idea to quilt on both sides of the piano keys. I've seen this done before and think it goes a long way in focusing the eye on a particular shape or motif.

    Can't say I'd join you at that hour for quilting. I need all the beauty rest I can get! However, I'm guess you accomplished quite a bit with anyone to disturb you!

  14. It's looking good. Can't wait to see your secret projects!


It's always enlightening to hear your thoughts or suggestions. I try to respond in a timely manner, but admit life is very full here! I will return comments online if it's of general interest, but offline if a personal response is more appropriate. Give me a shout with anything urgent at, and I'll try to get right back with you. While I believe in free speech, spamming will not be tolerated, and as in all our interactions, speak kindly.

If you want to be certain of a personal reply, leave your email or email me privately. Many people are not even aware when they have become a no-reply blogger. Yes, I know it's frustrating for us all.