What's on the Design Wall

An Update on “Seattle Scrappy” – Haphazard Stitching…

I thought I would give you all an update on the improvisationally free-form log cabin block style pieced quilt I’ve been working on since January 2020 – Seattle Scrappy. I last updated you on this piece in my March post – Update on Seattle Scrappy (though I think here and there in the Postscript section of later posts I provided a brief update…maybe).

A Little Background

To save you time from reading the previous posts about this quilt Update on Seattle Scrappy, Seattle Scrappy (What’s on the Design Wall) , and What’s on the…Design Carpet (and also have you wondering: “she’s posted about this quilt three times over 9+ month, why is it not done yet?!?!?) here is a little summary.

The quilt began as a pile of scraps that my friend Dana let me play with when I attended a quilt retreat in Poulsbo, Washington in January 2020 (see posts Mini Quilt Retreat, January 2020 and A Jaunt About Poulsbo, WA). I pieced these scraps into free form log cabin blocks (no measuring, just “eye-balling” and trimming to make fit):


I made a lot of blocks and when I returned home I arranged them into this quilt top:

I decided to name the piece: Seattle Scrappy.

For the past 7 or so months, I’ve been hand stitching the quilt.

Update on “Seattle Scrappy”

In my mind I am doing something like Kantha hand stitching but actually what I am doing should be called “Drunken Kantha” (no I am not drinking while stitching – that could be disastrous since I am a “light-weight” when it comes to alcohol consumption, I would impale my finger…constantly…with the needle) as, well…it sort of looks…sloppy…

Let’s get this over with – let me show you the photos – I am nearly 1/3rd done on stitching this quilt which measures approximately 60 inches by 60 inches:


If you are gasping or just shaking your head at this point as you look at the nonuniform stitching, I have an artistic design “excuse” for the stitching. It is a weak excuse but here goes: As it frequently rains in Seattle, Washington, I wanted the stitching to capture the feeling of a rainstorm (with the wind blowing the rain sideways…).

There. That sounds quite reasonable – it was just my artistic design, not that I am a terrible Kantha-stitcherist! (smile).

But seriously, I am hopeful it will look acceptable once I get the whole thing stitched, and then trim off the excess batting and backing, do a whole lot of ironing, and bind the edges in some manner (either a traditional quilt binding or the art quilt technique of putting a “facing” on the back edges of the quilt).

I cannot believe how long it takes to hand quilt a lap sized quilt. I’ve hand quilted smaller pieces before (see post What’s on My Lap) and I found it very meditative. I think in the future I will reserve hand quilting only for smaller pieces, it was a bit too ambitious an undertaking (for a slopping hand quilter) to hand quilt Seattle Scrappy!

Till the next update, Seattle Scrappy will continue to sit on the edge of my chair in the living room, waiting for the next set of haphazard stitches!


Hopefully I did not visually traumatize you with images of my hand stitching.

If I have, I would like to undo the damage by referring you to look at the website of one of my extremely talented blogging buddies – Mariss the Quilter: Fabrications – who is a masterful Kantha stitcher. Check out her post On Hand Stitching to see some amazing Kantha stitching!

Someday…maybe…I can get my stitching to a “less scary point”. I am not aiming for her level of talent, just not to scare myself or others – ha!  I did recently actually invest in a book on Kantha stitching. So perhaps there is hope…


70 thoughts on “An Update on “Seattle Scrappy” – Haphazard Stitching…”

  1. I live the connector to the Seattle weather and the vibe of calming rain is truly in the quilt – and what a keepsake!
    Also – life is too short to just use a plain old blanket – well there are awesome blankets and my stepdaughter buys these $200 blankets on Facebook that also has a mission to give some away… anyhow she lives them and so I guess there are lots of blanket options – but the quilts are works of art!
    Art to enjoy in many ways after the creative process of making them

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very beautiful, Tierney. There is a hominess to the “informal” stitching to the quilt. I admire anyone that can create textile art that is functional. That book looks interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My first thought when I saw the stitches was “rain”! The stitching may not be perfect (whatever perfect may be) but I think it fits with the improv nature of the piecing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Your quilt is amazing – love the colors and how dynamic it is! When I saw the first pictures of your quilt, I thought – that stitching looks like rain, which is does a bunch in Seattle. Literally LOLed when I got to you saying the same thing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much I really appreciate that! All good I’ve captured the rain and I’m glad I came up with that imaginary reason why my stitching looks so awkward! I appreciate your comments 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Dear Drunken Kantha Stitcher. This is to say that I REALLY love your stitching. I think it suits the quilt perfectly and is a beautiful representation of rain. I must also say that I object to your calling your stitching sloppy and haphazard (ha!). Artistic it certainly is.
    Thank you for your generous praise of my work and for providing a link to my website. I am gratified and grateful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 😀😀😀Thanks so much for the smile this morning! I appreciate your kind comments and I’m not going to make for my stitching anymore since you have said it is acceptable and I consider you a reliable resource! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I love that you are hand stitching this quilt and that those stitches reflect Seattle’s nature. I have many a childhood memory of walking into my Nana’s house and finding her seated around a quilt frame with her Amish neighbors stitching away. She gave me two quilts and those hand stitches are a piece of her that lives on.

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  7. I don’t think there is a handcrafter or needle worker on the planet who would ever wonder why a quilt or other project is not done! Your project looks great! I love the look of your stitches. For a scrappy quilt it speaks to the function and form of what they were initially intended for. My grandmother was part of a church quilting bee at the turn of the 1900s. The ladies made stunning bed-sized quilts as the primary fundraiser. Their stitches were impeccable. There were no sewing machines at the ready. AMAZING! They were stitching for a different purpose. I love that about quilts. You do beautiful work, Tierney.
    Give Mike a boop!

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  8. I love the connection with rain, your stitching and the colors of your quilt, too. It’s lovely and shows how well scraps can be used to make something beautiful and useful. quilts (and also ‘traditionally-pieced’ and hand appliqued) and am inspired by how you put the scraps together Your stitching suits the quilt so well; I love your ‘drunken’ label; your stitching is the perfect choice for free style patchwork.
    I only hand quilt, mostly small to medium lap quilts (no bed size quilts anymore!), and mostly in Big Stitch with #12 perle cotton. You’ve inspired me to try my own version of ‘drunken’ and I’ll be sure to visit Mariss Stevens.
    I follow your blog in Old Reader so never miss a post. I enjoy your stack of books (I listen to the Owl podcast too!) . I learn so much from your blog, from your quilts and from the links you share with your readers. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment I really appreciate it! That is awesome that you hand quilt and I’m using perle cotton too – I bet your sisters look a lot better than mine ha ha ha ha 🙂


  9. I was really hoping that Seattle Scrappy was a new movie on Hallmark about a kid from the wrong side of the tracks that took up sewing which saved their life. I think we have a screenplay in the making.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I love this quilt, Tierney. I enjoy the way your blocks explore the beauty of grey, it’s very painterly (and reminds me of the 1 painting class I took where we learned about all of the things greys can do). And the kantha stitching is perfect for conveying the movement of rain. When I look at the all the blocks together, they remind me of an apartment with all of the windows (the blues and browns) under a gentle rainstorm. It’s a very peaceful scene. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! When I lived in Seattle they did have some exquisitely beautiful days but much of the time it was pretty grey! Thanks for calling it “painterly” – I really appreciate that! Your thoughtful comments made me smile!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I can’t wait until we add this quilt to the collection of great quilts we have. Pictures do not do show how really beautiful it is.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! The first time I visited Seattle it did not rain for like 5 days and it was so beautiful sunny and green with gorgeous blue skies and mountains. It lured me into moving there for 8 years (of gray and rain, ha!) But seriously the Pacific NW is a beautiful part of North America!

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