Sunday, March 25, 2018

Checkerboard Rails–A Quilting Finish!

It was snowy and blowy as we left Quilt Villa, Virginia in a hurry to beat the storm.

5’’ to 8’’ of snow predicted yesterday in the highlands of Virginia – and it’s nearly April for crying out loud!

Still, I was told when we were purchasing our place in Grayson county that Mt Rogers WAS after all, Virginia’s highest mountain peak and created its own weather vortex and to be aware.

We were very aware as we finished up our breakfast, loaded the van and began our climb down the steep lane way to the main road below.

There wasn’t even an inch on the ground yet, but the downhill descent was steep, wet and a bit slippery.  Even with Moby’s all-wheel-drive, I found myself holding my breath and carefully pumping my brakes as I began to swerve and slide towards the bottom.

No, beautiful as it was, we had to get out of there and quickly – after all, I have a flight to Des Moines on Monday (tomorrow!) and if we didn’t leave, I’d be stuck until a thaw came round.

Click to Play:

This was as we were just leaving!

With no internet/WiFi at the cabin there is no way to hook up a camera to check on how much really fell.  It was hovering about 32 degrees as I made it over and under the Blue Ridge Parkway and started my way down to Wilkesboro, NC traveling along highway 16.


Just a skiff, but it was falling pretty good at this time!

By the time I had hit lower altitudes, the temperature had warmed up to only rain, and the surrounding countryside was verdant green instead of snow frosted white.  What a difference a few feet in elevation can make.

By evening time at home it had also started to sleet/snow here in Wallburg, North Carolina.  I wondered what I would wake up to find this morning, and found out on this morning’s walk with Sadie:


More frosting!

Click to play:

It’s far too cold for Almost April!

Being home 24 hours early, I was able to spend some more studio time at the long arm yesterday:


Checkerboard Rails came off the machine last evening!


Close up of Quilting

I used an edge to edge design called Gossamer by Hermione Agee of Lorien Quilting on this one, spacing the lines far enough apart to allow the loft of the wool batting to add lovely texture without too much over-quilting. 



Miles of very green homespun had been gifted to me years ago, and they found their perfect place to land in the back of this quilt, and I love the green.  Leftover trimmed off half-block bits were sewn together in hodgepodge fashion and extended the backing yardage, adding a bit of interest here – leaving me LESS scraps to put into the orphan bin.


Binding strips at the ready.

This also uses up the last bit of this yardage that has lived in the stash for many years.  I love a good sour apple green! 

You'll find the block pattern for Checkerboard Rails under the Free Patterns tab at the top of the blog.  I "MAY" (at some point) rewrite the directions to include my on-point setting, but there are many irons in the fire right now and it "MAY" be a while before I can do it.

It's basically pretty easy.  Arrange your blocks as you wish them to fall.  Make some 6-rail blocks (without checkerboard) and turn them so that the strips fall in the direction you want them to.  Place the 1/4'' line on your ruler along the diagonal of the 6 rail block. Trim block into a setting triangle, leaving 1/4'' seam allowance beyond the diagonal of block.

I didn't make 6 rail blocks for the top and bottom of quilt, I just trimmed the checkerboard blocks the same way - the top and bottom of the quilt finish with chopped off checkerboards running off the top and bottom of the quilt.

The only thing stopping me now is that the low shank straight stitch walking foot is ----back at the cabin from the last binding I put on.  UGH!  I’ve ordered two more and they should be here by the time I get back from Iowa.  I want one for here, one for the cabin, and one for the travel bag.

I’ve got a not-so-lazy Sunday ahead.  I’ll have time to spend at the long arm today, but I also need to get everything ready for tomorrow morning’s flight to Des Moines, trunk show bags packed, my own luggage re-packed, and everything made ready to go.

But at a leisurely pace.  That’s the goal!

And don’t forget – our Quilty Box drawing happens TONIGHT!  Get your entry in HERE.


Quiltville Quote of the Day!

Leader & Ender quilt shared in last week’s Illinois Workshops!

Do your soul a favor and just love yourself right now, as you are - because as you do, more love will come to you in ways you may have never imagined.

Happy Sunday, folks!


  1. Very pretty finish, Bonnie! I love hand binding...that is a fun step too!

  2. So all I need is a low shank walking foot for my featherweight? I’ve always despised the binding process but have since learned the totally machine way. Like it much better. Only save the hand binding for the special quilts in my life....no more on the charity give always ����

  3. Love that green pieced back! Really a beautiful, fun quilt! You said this was going on your bed replacing the one thats been there for awhile. Can we see s photo of that quilt? Happy Sunday & safe travels! Snow in Idaho this morning !

  4. Lovely, vibrant finish! That kelly green you used on the back is one of my very favorite colors, and it plays so well with the bright, colorful scraps. It has been fun to watch this quilt grow and develop!

  5. Love the Checkerboard Rails quilt! Yesterday, at noon on the dot, I went on the Quilt Odyssey website and was able to get into your Garden Party class!! Hooray! I need a jumping up and down emoji! Can’t wait!
    Carol Grant

  6. Are those rhododendrons all around the cabin? If so that is going to be beautiful when they are all in bloom!

  7. Love, love, LOVE that quilt!! Congrats on your finish.

  8. The video of the cabin and snow was beautiful, it looked so cold. Snow on the high peaks of Victoria, Australia are also predicted today. Hard to believe when we are only a month into Autumn. Love the colours in your quilt. X

  9. SEW... what is on the Long Arm today now that Checkerboard Rails is OFF??? Have fun in Iowa! Happy for Springtime in Walla Walla and watching the Daffodils and Crocuses nodding in the breezes. Good to have duplicates of those most needed and used items.

  10. Thanks for that piece of advice! Why is it so hard to love oneself? I love apple green!! OK, I love ANY green. LOL

  11. World weather has gone crazy, here in Western Australia we have endured a late summer scorcher of hot winds and high temps instead of our balmy Autumn. Love your quilt

  12. Looked for the pattern of this beautiful quilt. I was unable to find it under the free patterns by name. WhT did I do incorrectly?

  13. Thanks for your the quickie tutorial for the settings on the sides! I was so excited, I just ran upstairs to count my checkerboard rails blocks. Egad! I have a long way to go. But the stash of ugly fabrics is shrinking, eventually to be beautiful. What a great pattern!

  14. Tips are needed for those of us who don't have long arm machines and those who have Arthritis in their hands. Thumb surgery left me with a Frozen thumb and less use of index finger in my dominate right hand, and I'm not a lefty by any means.

    1. There are two sizes of "hoops" available made by Martelli: the 8-inch and the 12-inch. These have a special material on the bottom that grips the quilt, and two handles on top of the hoop that you hold on to. They can be tightened to be fixed handles, or loosened slightly to provide rotating handles. I have no affiliation, just a satisfied customer. https://www.amazon.com/Martelli-Gripper-Rings-Motion-Quilting/dp/B01IFM2O76/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1522110738&sr=8-1&keywords=martelli+hoop

  15. Glad you made it safely off the mountain.
    I really love Checkerboard Rails!!


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