Harpsichord Quilt Blocks

Two more of the Harpsichord Quilt blocks done.  It has been quite a while since I worked on these little beauties.  On the weekend I got out my Patchworks of Lucy Boston book and was again so inspired by all the beautiful patchworks she made.  The original patchwork made by Lucy Boston using this design is called the Keyboard Patchwork but because of the gorgeous harpsichords we saw two summers ago I decided my version of that patchwork would be called the Harpsichord Quilt.

The back of the blocks:

Yesterday, Karen Dianne asked about supplies for and where people hand piece.  I have no particular set-up.  I piece wherever I have good light.  That’s the most important ingredient for me.  I piece on the couch when watching television, outside on the roof garden, anywhere there is good light.  All I need are needles, thread,  thread snips and my finger pincushion.  The finger pincushion was a gift from a friend and is worth its weight in gold.  I am so used to using it now that I feel lost without it.   I usually wear it on the index finger of my left hand when hand piecing, although I know a lot use it on their thumbs, and that’s where I park the needles that I use as pins.

#12 sharps are both needles and pins when I hand piece.  They are much finer than any pin I’ve ever tried and don’t throw a seam off when pinning.  I pin one step ahead of myself rather than pinning a whole seam.  When I reach the pin/needle, I move it to the next spot of the seam where I want a pin and so on to the end of the seam.  As I use Inklingo to print my templates on to the back of the fabric and as the templates all have matching points, all I need to do is line up the matching points, pin through them and then stitch.

Thread is a whole other matter.  I love using YLI Heirloom, YLI Select, DMC and Mettler 60/2 threads.  I’m one of those who likes to match thread to the fabric I’m stitching.  In the picture above, there are spools of black, grey, cream and blue thread.  For the Harpsichord block that has the blue squares I used three different threads — the black, the blue and the cream.  The black thread was used for all seams that involved the black fabric.  The cream thread was used when I was joining the outer beige octagons.  When I added the cream octaagons around the block, I used both black and blue thread.  I think I have as much fun picking out the right threads as I do hand piecing the blocks.

The grey YLI thread in the photo is one of my favourites when piecing something that is completely scrappy and has many, many colours in it.  I used it to piece my shabby chic king-sized quilt and am using it to put together the other hexagon top on which I’m currently working.  It seems to melt into the seam and match just about every colour. Except for black fabric, that is.  Whenever I work with black fabric, I use black thread.

The cats aren’t the least bit interested in any of it except for the finger pincushion.  That appears to have magic kitty attraction powers.  Lester, in particular, likes to spear it with a claw.

He was sprawled right out of his kitty bed Monday.

Smudge was, I think, contemplating what mischief he could get into.

10 thoughts on “Harpsichord Quilt Blocks

  1. We approach hand piecing in very much the same manner. I love selecting which color to use too :0)

    That is one of the few pictures of Lester that would give Smudge a run for his money in the lounging contest LOL.



  2. What an interesting block…and why is it named harpsicord? It looks like a flower to me. If ind it interesting that you would use the same colour of thread as the fabric you are hand piecing…I have always used either , white, black or grey . May give using different colours a try…

    Love the pictures of your cats…they are full of personality.


  3. I agree on the black thread for black fabric whether hand or machine piecing. By machine I use med. gray for most other piecing.

    Lester must have needed a good stretch there.


  4. Cathi, There is a lot of good information in here. I use my left index finger, too, only I don’t have any sort of protection so you can imagine I’m building up a callous. And CATHI I LOVE THAT PINNING TIP! WOW. That’s very helpful. I’m going to try that tonight. This is so much better. Makes nothing but sense. I’m excited you shared this. Gosh. I’m glad I asked, too.

    You rock. (oh. You should probably visit and see whose visiting)


  5. Just tried that “one pin” thing. Definitely! Makes the stitches so much better, too. I’m jumping up and down and doing the happy dance. (well, carefully of course)


  6. Hi Cathi, Thank you so much for sharing all this valuable info!
    I will need to re-read it carefully and apply point by point…
    Thank you for being a patient teacher!


  7. Pingback: Harpsichord Blocks « Quilt Obsession

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