Pam’s Nine Patch Garden


Pam’s Nine Patch Garden is one of the quilts I inherited from my Mom. I first introduced my readers to this quilt eons ago. Way back in March of 2017 I had the pleasure of spending a number of days at the Woodland Ridge Retreat Center in Menomonie, Wisconsin. While there, aside from many excursions, my attention was focused on five quilts passed on to me by my Mom. All of them were in various stages of completion. If you would like to read about my adventures at the Center you will find them here. My original story about this quilt can be found here.

This quilt is extra special to me for two reasons. First, my Mom is a big fan of flowers. My Mom is well-known for turning the majority of her lawn into garden space. Those gardens were always overflowing with flowers. Her love for gardening and for flowers was passed on to me.

The second reason is because my Mother is also an avid cross-stitcher as well as a seasoned embroiderer. This quilt has twelve blocks that have been hand embroidered by my Mom. All of them are of various flowers, many of which she has grown in her own gardens. Her love for flowers along with her talent for stitchery are why this quilt is dear to my heart.

When I received the quilt, in it’s plastic package, the twelve embroidered blocks were all that were finished. Not yet assembled were the twelve nine-patch blocks. Included with these items were several lengths of multiple fabrics. Whether or not they were meant to be used for the 12 remaining blocks was unclear. My Mom’s recollections on the status of her quilts is sketchy.

Since I wasn’t really fond of the enclosed fabrics I decided to go out on my own to select options I felt seemed more appropriate. I pulled specimen after specimen from my fabric stash to audition as candidates. By the time I had finished I had accumulated enough fabric to complete all twelve blocks with fabric to spare.

I chose a variety of fabrics from the green, yellow, orange, white and blue families. The fabrics were adorned with flowers, birds as well as catchy phrases that seemed to match well with the quilt’s theme. Among the phrases or words of encouragement were:

  • find true love
  • have more fun
  • love
  • make a quilt for my children
  • peace
  • smile more

One even has a mini bucket list printed on it.

With my fabric choices conquered it was time to create the nine-patch blocks. Typically I would assemble strip sets to create them. In this case I wanted to be more strategic in the arrangement of these fabrics. I wanted to make certain I had a well-rounded distribution of color as well as printed phrases. To facilitate this outcome I individually cut squares and hand placed them in groupings of nine. Once I was satisfied I stitched them together.

The embroidered blocks and the nine-patch blocks were then laid out on a table and juggled around until I was satisfied with the appearance. They too were then stitched together into rows and finally into one piece.

To the 24 blocks I added first a small border of hand-dyed orange fabric. Next I added an over-dyed border of blue. With the last border in place it was time to load the quilt onto my longarm machine for quilting.

Since it is obviously impossible to pack up and take my machine along on trips, I think my husband would shoot me if I asked him to do that, the quilting had to wait until a later date.

Fast-forward to December of 2017. This was the first opportunity I had to even contemplate accomplishing this task. I chose a pretty floral batik from my inventory to serve as the quilt’s backing. After loading my carefully pressed top, batting and the batik on my machine I set to work adding a variety of stitches.

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Pam’s Nine Patch Garden Quilt

In the outermost border I stitched a swirly pattern using a color coordinated thread. The bright orange border was treated with a soft flowing line of cream colored stitches. In the nine-patch blocks I stitched a meander of angular lines. To polish off the remaining blocks I first added a row of stitching around the outer border. Next I echoed around each of the flowers giving them a dimensional appearance with the same cream colored thread.

Curious what the stitching looks like from the back?

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Back of Pam’s Nine Patch Garden Quilt

This last photo was included for three reasons:

  1. I wanted to give you a closeup of a flower block so that you could see both the embroidery as well as the longarm quilting
  2. I thought you might like to see one of the nine-patch squares with the phrase, “make a quilt for each of my children” and most of all because
  3. The sunflower is my all-time favorite flower. I was tickled pink to see that an embroidered sunflower was incorporated into the pattern.

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Combined together I believe all of my added touches created a magnificent quilt; one with which my Mom would be well pleased. I did have the chance to show it to her early in December of 2017. She was overjoyed to see the quilt and extremely thrilled with its outcome. I asked if she remembered doing the embroidery and she did.

I set myself a goal to finish all five of my Mom’s quilts before she is no longer with us. She’s getting on in years so I know the timeframe I have to work with is limited. Finishing this one meant I was one step closer to reaching my goal.

I am very happy to say that the other four, one of which was The American Flag Picnic Throw, have been completed as well. I will share their stories in the coming weeks.

American Flag Picnic Blanket (Quilting)
American Flag Picnic Throw Closeup

This wraps up the story of my Mom’s Nine-Patch quilt. I hope that you have enjoyed reading about its history as much as I have enjoyed sharing it. They say that behind every quilt is a story. This quilt is certainly no exception.

Thank you for spending time with me as I revealed this story. I’m so glad we had the opportunity! Be watching for the quilt number three of five.

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Number Sixteen: American Flag Picnic Throw Update


This Is It

The process of revealing all sixteen, of my recently finished items, will come to and end with this post. So far I have provided updates on:

Not An Art Quilt

Surprisingly this last item is not an art quilt! Imagine that! 🙂 No! Instead it is one of the five quilts I had inherited from my mom and began while on a retreat at Woodland Ridge Retreat Center in March of 2017. By the time the retreat was over this particular quilt top was among the three that were finished. I have to confess though that this was the simplest of the five. The pattern was so easy to make that it would have been a shame not to finish it. Don’t we quilters strive to add another “finish” to our list of accomplishments? Even though the project was easy to assemble it still was a “finish” and of that I was thankful!

The Sandwich

The quilt, known as American Flag Picnic Throw (I didn’t choose the name), was sandwiched with a layer of Warm & Natural batting and a soft and cozy, red and black flannel. The flannel was taken from my stash. It was one of those purchases I made that was designated for a future quilt backing. How awesome to finally be able to put it to use! The fabric for the binding had already been acquired by my mom, which meant I had one last thing to purchase. This fabric is also a flannel. The colors chosen coordinated perfectly with the faux flag fabric.

The Finale

To secure the three layers together I used an all-over simple swirl pattern because I thought the swirls reminded me of the fireworks that burst about the sky on the 4th of July! American Flag Picnic Throw measures 70 1/2″ x 55″. This is what my American Flag Picnic Throw looks like now.

American Flag Picnic Blanket
American Flag Picnic Throw
American Flag Picnic Blanket (Quilting)
American Flag Picnic Throw Closeup
American Flag Picnic Blanket (Back)
American Flag Picnic Throw Backing & Binding

This picnic throw could very easily serve double duty as a warm and snuggly lap quilt.

That’s It

Well, there we have it! The last post in a very long series of reveals. I’ve had a wonderful time sharing and talking about my projects. I hope you have enjoyed reading about them. In closing I have one question, which one was your favorite?

Thank You!

Thank you so much for being a faithful follower! I truly enjoy the time we spend together. Let’s do this again real soon.

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Day Four


You know how it is when you make plans to get away. All the excitement gets you pumped up with anticipation. Then the day of departure finally arrives and you can’t believe it’s actually time to go. You arrive at your destination, settle in, and watch as your experience unfolds. Before you know it the special event is almost over and you wonder where the time went.

Saturday, aka Day Four, I woke up in just that state of mind. With only one full day of my five day retreat left it hit me…where had the time gone? Obviously most of it was spent focused on finishing my Mom’s five quilts. But yet it just seemed so hard to believe that my retreat was almost over.

All of my companions were just as wrapped up in their projects as I was. It was absolutely amazing to watch as their works of art unfolded. They were incredibly talented quilters and I stood in awe at what they were able to accomplish. I felt so blessed to be immersed in their process.

With only one full day left I had to maintain my intense focus if I was going to be able to meet my goal. While finishing my Mom’s five in-progress quilts was a mountainous task it was attainable. Well at least I hoped it was!?!

On Friday I was very fortunate to get a deep-tissue massage. There was a group of ladies that were housed in the other wing of the retreat center. They had arranged for a masous to come and perform massages on Thursday. Once our group found out about the masous there was an overwhelming enthusiasm to ask her to return on Friday. Thankfully she agreed to come back. There were a limited number of openings available and I obtained one of those appointments.

The massage, as deep-tissue massages go, was quite painful yet relaxing. I had no idea my upper body muscles were so tangled up in knots. Thinking back over the number of quilts I had recently worked with, on my longarm quilt machine, it actually made sense. The physical movements my body goes through while manipulating my machine do tend to fatigue my muscles. The fatigue is obviously accumulative and I was totally unaware of the impact it was having on me.

When the massage was over the masous told me she was afraid she wasn’t going to be able to work all of the knots out. Some of them were so deep they were hard to get to. She was very pleased to announce that she had been successful. I know how it feels when a tough task is finally accomplished and you can stand back in amazement.

Saturday morning I focused my attention on measuring up and adding the red borders around the Stars and Stripes Table Topper. In no time I had them cut and stitched to the outer edges. Here’s how the table topper looked when I was finished.

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Stars and Stripes Table Topper

There were now three quilts left to do, two that could be quite complicated and one that I knew was going to be super easy. Bet you can figure out what one I chose! That’s right! You guessed it! The super easy one.

My Mom’s third semi-finished quilt is called the American Flag Picnic Throw. The pattern was printed on a half sheet of tan paper. The instructions were super, super easy to follow. So easy that I had the picnic throw cut and stitched together in about an hour. Here’s the third item on my list of finished projects.

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American Flag Picnic Quilt Throw

Now it was time to decide which of the two more involved quilts I wanted to tackle. My choices were these.

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Harrest Melody Quilt

The Harvest Melody Quilt and the

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French Cottage Garden Quilt.

Before making my decision I opened each of the bags that contained the patterns. I wanted to learn just how involved they were and their state of completion. The French Cottage Garden Quilt was easy to eliminate because it involved embroidery. There was no way I was even remotely interested in doing that so I pushed that one aside.

The Harvest Melody was designed by my sister Pat Farnsworth and Lisa Ippolito in August of 2001. After exploring the progress my Mom had made it was evident that the majority of the pattern had already been cut out and many of the individual leaves and stems had been assembled. Here’s a photo of the mockup my Mom had made.

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Harvest Melody Quilt Sections

Left to do was the stitching together of the individual sections into a completed leaf.

After making certain that there were enough of each of the units I began stitching random colors together. By the time I called it quits for the day I had assembled twenty-four of the flowers. With the pattern designed for forty-eight that meant I had twenty-five to go. I felt confident those twenty-five could easily be finished on my fifth and final day.

Thanks for you interest in my retreat experience and for stopping by. I know your time is very valuable and in short supply!

Cindy Anderson