Quilt Lessons: Nine Patch Quilt and more

Quilt Story 3: Nine Patch and other Daisy Kingdom class quilts, mid-1990’s

While finishing my Log Cabin quilt, I discovered the world of quilting resources available through library books, TV shows, and local classes. (This was still pre-internet!) In the mid 90’s, I took a series of classes at Daisy Kingdom, a fabric and creative sewing store near me in old town Portland, Oregon. The store was a wonderland of fabric and original design home sewing creations. I learned a variety of quilting skills from local quilt teachers in their upstairs classroom.


Nine Patch quilt, 38″ x 50″, by Margaret Klute, 1994

Nine Patch: In the Beginning Quilting class, the teacher helped us find a focus fabric and two complementary fabrics, and then make a basic nine patch quilt. I chose this musical print, as my young son was particularly fond of musical instruments. We learned about value as a key to fabric selection and placement, also strip cutting and piecing, sewing accurate seam allowances, and many tips and tricks about assembly, basting, quilting and binding.


In the Hand Quilting class I learned about pattern transfer, and stitching techniques.


Hand Quilted Wallhanging, 16″ x 16″, by Margaret Klute, 1996


The project for the Appliqué class was this small heart appliqué quilt. I chose to set the hearts with scraps of the same fabrics, and then hand quilted the wall hanging.


Heart Appliqué Wallhanging, 15″ x 15″, by Margaret Klute, 1995


In the Foundation Piecing class I learned to make stitch and flip blocks on tearaway foundation or paper. I turned my little blocks  (two to three inches wide) into Christmas tree ornaments by blanket stitching them together with gold metallic thread.


Foundation Paper Pieced Christmas Ornaments, by Margaret Klute, 1990’s

I learned precision piecing skills while taking the Feathered Star Table Runner class. I also learned later the cruel lesson of not prewashing fabric. The red fabric has bled into the background, despite the use of color catchers in the washing machine.


Feathered Star Table Runner, 15.5″ x 45″, by Margaret Klute, 1995



Photo taken before the table runner was washed.

Some of the projects took me years to finish. I don’t remember the teacher’s names, but I know that I was lucky to have such a wonderful resource available to me. I was so excited at the time to be immersing myself in quilting. Although Daisy Kingdom is long since gone as a business, its legacy lives on in many creations by former customers like me.

And just for fun: I still have these items in my stash purchased from Daisy Kingdom way back then that are waiting for inspiration and time. Mary Englebreit and Elinor Peace Bailey were two of the Daisy Kingdom fabric designers.


Mary Englebreit panels


Elinor Peace Bailey fabric and panel

(outro music by Joni Mitchell: “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til its gone!”)

Log Cabin Quilt

Quilt Story 2: Log Cabin Quilt, 1976-1993

After finishing my first quilt, the Sunflower Sue quilt, I wanted to make another quilt. I was home for a couple of weeks during my first year of college, and saw a Log Cabin quilt in one of my mother’s magazines – McCalls, maybe. This was 1976, the bicentennial, and a period of revival of quilting in the national zeitgeist. The magazine quilt had a log cabin center, a piano key border, and was very scrappy. I made construction paper copies of the templates printed in the back of the magazine, and raided my Mom’s and neighbor Sally’s scrap fabric boxes again. Over the next year or so I cut out with scissors up to three log sets of different sizes from each fabric. I may have sewn one or two blocks together at this time, but mostly I left them stashed for the next few years as college activities took over my time.


I still have the original templates with my pattern files.

One summer (1982?) I was staying in San Francisco with Danny (future husband) while he was in medical school. I pulled out my log cabin strips and sewed them into blocks, one block a day. When I tried to put the blocks together, I realized that they weren’t exactly square – there was up to a half inch difference in some of the blocks, due to both inaccurate cutting out with scissors and templates, and variably estimated quarter inch seam allowances. So that was a problem waiting to be solved. The blocks got tucked away again for a few years while I finished grad school, got married, moved to the Portland, Oregon area, and had our first child. My poor baby was rather colicky, so poor us, it was nearly impossible to imagine leaving him with a babysitter. At this point, we realized we might never leave the house again so we bought a television and VCR to watch movies in the evening. We hadn’t had a TV for years. One day, while home with the baby I noticed a quilting program on the Public Television channel. I watched in fascination while Eleanor Burns of Quilt in A Day started slicing up fabric with what looked like pizza cutter. Squaring up blocks! Based on my son’s age, this would have been 1990 or 1991. I was amazed, enchanted, and immediately called the number on my screen to order a rotary cutter, a mat, and acrylic rulers!


I still have these original Quilt in a Day tools.

I squared up my blocks! I played with the layout, finally deciding on a color wash/barn raising setting, with the light and dark value halves of blocks creating concentric squares.


Log Cabin, 1993, 66″ x 86″, by Margaret Klute

Around this time we moved to our current home in Portland, and I remember laying the blocks out, piecing them, then going to the nearby Fabricland store to buy border and backing fabric and batting. I basted with safety pins, as modeled by Eleanor Burns, and then I minimally quilted the quilt by machine stitching in the ditch along the block seams.


Upper left


Upper right


Lower left


Lower right

I made the binding by pulling the backing fabric to the front.


The backing was turned to the front and machine stitched down to create the binding.


Close up of hand stitched signature.

I was very happy with the final quilt. I had used a thin cotton batting this time, so the quilting was easier. I learned by my experience, and by watching Eleanor Burns, the importance of consistent seam allowances. I still loved the idea of scrappy quilts, but I was beginning to get the concept of controlling the color palette. My next quilts would be made from a more limited fabric selection, with guidance from taking a few classes and using pattern books.

The Log Cabin quilt kept us warm for many years, and I was able to retire the now worn Sunbonnet Sue quilt. These two quilts share many fabrics in common, so I was able to continue to enjoy the scraps from my past as I used this quilt.


Hamilton Mountain, WA, and first knit socks of 2020

January 3, 2020 – Our first hike of the New Year was to Hamilton Mountain in Beacon Rock State Park on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge. We’ve been many times, usually to see the cliffs become hanging gardens in the spring. Today we had perfect winter hiking conditions – not too cold, a bit muddy, full waterfalls, clear views from the top.


The first summit of Hamilton Mountain, as seen from the power line cut on the lower trail.


Approaching the upper cliffs, eastern gorge beyond.


Bonneville Dam, with Mt Hood appearing to the south.


First view from the summit- Mt Adams glowing in winter white beyond Table Mountain.


Wide view from the summit.


Mt Hood to the south, in low winter light.

After lunch at the summit we continued the trail to the northern saddle/plateau –


A last look back at Mt Hood.


Western gorge, filling with mist and a painterly sky.


Columbian lewisia foliage in the saddle.


Crossing over a very full Rodney Falls on the return hike.

Hike #1 for 2020, 8.2 miles, 2250 feet.



First knit finish in 2020 – traveling socks that I started last May.

2019 review/2020 preview

High points for 2019 were two weddings, a reunion, and a graduation that gave us multiple opportunities for connecting with family and friends. We travelled to San Francisco, southern Connecticut, Brooklyn, Baltimore, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Colorado,and twice to Los Angeles.

I look at my intentions set for 2019, and I completed about half of them.  I have kept up with this blog (58 posts), though I know it is occupying time I might have previously spent quilting during late night inspiration sessions.

Hiking – 58 hikes, 289 miles, 51180 feet in elevation. Snowshoeing at Crater Lake, and hiking through the lush wildflower meadows of Mt Rainier were among our amazing experiences last year.

Knitting- According to Ravelry I knit 3353 yards in 17 projects. I made a spectrum of items – hats, a headband, a shawl, a cowl, socks, slippers, fingerless mitts, washcloths, a bib, a cup cozy, a peach and an acorn. I have found a weekly knit group, and I am so enjoying getting to know the other knitters.

Reading- According to Goodreads I read 75 books.

Quilting/sewing- Quilting is mostly in hibernation mode. I mended a lot of hiking pants and altered clothing that were no longer fitting well.

Health update- My health is good. My body has adapted to the acromegaly medications, and I have managed to beat back some of the metabolic issues that the excess growth hormone was amplifying before my diagnosis and surgery. I am maintaining a healthy weight, and hope to keep up with my husband as he heads into retirement.

2020 Plans- Retirement will bring more travel – I am pre-exhausted with the planning, but also looking forward to our upcoming adventures! We have New Zealand, Washington DC, and Italy on our calendar for next year.

I plan to keep up with this blog, though it may have gaps during travel times.

Crafting-  I hope to finish some of those languishing quilts, sew some clothing, set up my embroidery frame, and finish some scrap books that are done but for the writing.  And I have new yarn for three different knitting projects:


Lows – I like to celebrate high points and the beauty in the world on my blog. There have been private losses this year as well. The low I feel it important to acknowledge is the dementor-like gloom of the political climate, the constantly ratcheted upward incivility and threats to democracy, my fear of impulsive ignorance and that someone wants to be the one to start world war three or some facsimile thereof. I return to this poem, found on a neighborhood poetry post last year, that expresses the optimism I try to feel going forward.




Colorful holidays, and a visit to Eugene

Christmas week, 2019

Various Christmas trees, lights, candles and sweets:

We drove to Eugene for a day to visit family and walk along the Willamette River.


Leaving Portland via the Macadam Bridge.


Dense fog in the Willamette Valley.


Sunny skies and lunch at the Public Market in Eugene.


View upriver from the Peter DeFazio Bridge.


Downstream view- a heron, and the Ferry Street Bridge.

Four of the twenty four American Nobel Peace Prize Laureates that are honored in the Peace Plaza at Alton Baker Park.


Downstream view from the Ferry Street Bridge.



I  finished the Rafa’s Hat for my son after he tried it on – thankfully it fit and he wore it for the rest of the day.


I unsuccessfully searched my button collection for buttons for the Meris cardigan.

Christmas Eve at Dry Creek Falls, and knitted ornaments

December 24, 2019, Cascade Locks, Oregon

A foggy day – a good time to head into the forest. The trailhead park at the Bridge of the Gods was decorated for the holidays. We hiked in the other direction, south on the Pacific Crest Trail, and up hill away from the Columbia River. It is about 2.5 miles to this lovely waterfall that pours over a columnar basalt cliff. We had it to ourselves for lunch and a photo session. Then back down the trail, back to town, to finish up some elf work.


Bridge of the Gods trailhead



Into the foggy forest that is scarred by the 2017 fire.


Dry Creek just below the waterfall.


Dry Creek Falls


Closer views:



Still foggy on the cliffs as we drive home.


Hike #58, 5.5 miles, 1050 feet

Back home, I baked a few cookies, wrapped a few presents, and constantly rechecked the airline website as our daughter’s flight from DC was on a long delay. She eventually arrived about 1 am. Her visit for the week is the best present!

Knitted ornaments


I made a little acorn for my friend’s tree – a last minute project. I collected the acorn caps last year after seeing some knitted acorns on Ravelry. It was a very quick project, using a bit of scrap yarn.


A knitting group friend gave us all ornaments that were knitted by a mouse.


Up the Labyrinth and down Coyote Wall in fog and sun

12/13/2019  Coyote Wall, Washington

Once again we drive through the foggy, rainy Columbia River Gorge to the east side of the Cascade Mountains…


Rainbow over White Salmon, from the Hood River Bridge.

Once again, we walk along Old Highway 8, parallel to the Columbia River…


Look Lake reflections.


Columbia River, Oregon beyond.


Geese on those rocks above the river.

Once again we hike up the winding trails of The Labyrinth, through layers of shifting fog.


Red Oregon grape along the trail.


Labyrinth waterfall


Fog ahead


My favorite oak grove


The sun is trying


Mt Hood’s flattish top peaking in and out at us as we go higher.



Our favorite landmark tree viewpoint – one moment in the fog, 


then clear skies for a while.

Once again we hike higher, then across Atwood Road to the sudden cliff edge of Coyote Wall.


Cliffs of Coyote Wall are just beyond the oak tree


Coyote Wall, Look Lake, Columbia River.


Looking north to the upper slopes of Coyote Wall.


Eastern Columbia River Gorge.

Once again we hike down the ankle breaking bike trails, one called the Crybaby trail, while the fog layers shift and disperse.


East view from Old Ranch Road


Looking back up the wall, fog descending again.


Summer parsley.


Looking East toward the Rowena orchards.


Almost back to the Coyote Wall trailhead.

(Hike #57, 7 miles, 1500 feet)



Button bands on the Meris cardigan done; and about two thirds of a Rafa Hat.

Oaks Bottom, a rainbow, and a knitting update

12/8/2019  Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge

We went for a quick walk around the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge in Portland. The last time here I was in the slow walk mode, recovering from my pituitary surgery. Today we walked briskly along – not too many birds out, but a nice dryish respite from the rainy days behind and ahead. (Hike #56, 3.1 miles, 100 feet)


Oaks Bottom



Bald eagle on a perch in the Willamette River.



Lots of rain, and a rainbow…I am looking forward to the solstice.



I finished a foxy bib for a baby shower present,


I put the thumbs on the mitts,


and have finished the body and icord hem on the Meris cardigan; on to the button bands….


Ridgefield birds, and darning success

11/30/2019  Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge, WA

On a cold morning we walked the Oaks to Wetlands Trail in the northern unit – the best views are from the railroad bridge. (Hike #55, 2 miles)



Swans in the lake…



Frosty leaves



Bird, oak galls.

We then drove the Auto Tour Route in the southern River ‘S’ unit and saw many more birds than were here in early October.


View from the bird blind – swans and geese will be closer on the far side of the driving loop.


Beyond the lake, a large flock of tall birds…


Zooming in-


sand hill cranes, a heron,


and an egret.


A great blue heron landed right next to the road.

Meanwhile, in the lake:


Lots of geese and swans,



and a black swan.

Knitting and the darning pile:


Fingerless mitts – just need the thumbs. Malabrigo Arroyo in the Jupiter color way.


Darned and depilled – three pairs of socks and a sweater!

Reflections and birds at Steigerwald Lake, WA


This is the place we go to see upside down trees that don’t exist except as reflected imagery in water.


Mt Hood beyond the lake.


And birds. We enjoy spotting them in their home, though we are not true ‘birders’.


Northern Harrier


We saw this Great Blue Heron several times from different vantage points:



Hiding in plain sight. I didn’t notice the heron in the middle of the picture until I was looking at my photos later.



Green Heron



Steigerwald Lake Wildlife Refuge is in the early stages of a major overhaul. Dikes to the Columbia River will be breached, the lake will be enlarged, and wild salmon will return to the streams in the surrounding hills. Trails will be rerouted. Today we see early work – large logs have been placed to provide underwater wildlife habitat throughout the area that will become the enlarged lake.


Hike #54, 3.8 miles

Knitting, etc

Cold front in Portland this week, Thanksgiving supplies are in – I am chopping and baking and decorating for a small gathering.


One pair of sock toes mended so far.


Chocolate silk pie!