Monthly Archives: July 2013

Work in Progress: Log Cabin

Log Cabin Blocks

Finally!!!  I have finished Log 21 of a group of 320  log cabin blocks that are destined to be my fall fair entry this year.  The blocks finish at 5.5 inches, with each log being a half inch wide.   When I started this project, it seemed like a great idea, but along about log 13, I was seriously questioning the wisdom of selecting this quilt pattern with such small logs.  Each log took an average of 8.5 hours to sew and press.  Multiply that by 21 logs and that is a lot of time spent on these blocks!

I typically post about a quilt only when it is finished – done done with the binding on.  However, I am so proud of myself for sticking to this project, that I have to celebrate their completion.  Many other gorgeous quilts have sung their siren songs, tempting me to abandon this one and dive into a new one.  But no, I resisted, held fast and conquered Block 21!  Hooray!

Tomorrow, I will play with layouts on my design wall.  I already have two good options, but want to be sure before I start the assembly of the top.  My choice of layout will likely be affected by how I decide to quilt this one.  Since this will be a competition quilt, I have to quilt it with dense custom quilting.  I will choose a layout that supports a design that I can do well within a maximum of two days quilting time.

There will not be a lot of dithering time since I have entered this quilt in my guild’s September quilt show.   The September date lulled me into thinking I had lots of time to get this finished.  But no, I don’t!  The quilt has to be ready for photography on Thursday of this coming week.  That gives me four days:  One to assemble the top, two to quilt it and one to hand stitch the binding.   Yikes!  I will be very busy this week finishing this finished.  No rest for the wicked, they say.  I have always wanted to be a wicked woman.  I must be on track to achieve that goal!  LOL!

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2013-18: Holiday Squares

Scrappy Blue QuiltThis scrap quilt was made with left-over 2.5 inch squares from several other projects.  Early on, I decided the size of the blocks would be 5 squares across by 7 down.  I simply made up the blocks as I collected the squares.  It took several years before the blocks were finished,

Then, of course, it took a few more years until I was inspired to add sashing and borders .  I had originally intended to put yellow sashing with the blue, but when it was on the design wall, I felt the yellow was too overpowering.  I substituted this blue pinstripe.  It is definitely softer, although I find the quilt a bit gloomy for my tastes.

The finished quilt is 80″ by 96″ and is densely quilted with the pantograph called Red Oak by Nancy Haacke.  The thread is Superior So Fine on top and Superior Bottom Line in the bobbin.  The binding is applied by machine to the front and invisibly stitched on the back with Superior MonoPoly.

The two thumbs in the photo belong to my 6’2″ husband and 6’3″ son who were pressed into quilt-holding duties!

2013-17: Double X Quilt

Double X QuiltThis Double X quilt started out as a flimsie I purchased on EBay.  It did not look too bad when I saw the tiny photo online, but when the packaged arrived I was rather dismayed when I saw the quilt.  It had holes where seams had frayed in the wash, stains from tiny four footed night-scurriers, childishly large hand stitching and the piecing was significantly challenged.  Big sigh.

I liked the blocks, but the setting strips and cornerstones left something to be desired.  On closer examination, I determined that the blocks had been hand pieced by one quilter and the sashing and borders were added at a later date by machine, likely by a different quilter.  This is what it looked like:

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Embarrassed that I had purchased such an awful quilt top, I put it out of sight in  a sewing room cupboard for several years.  Since retirement, I have been committed to clearing all UFOs off my conscience, so I pulled it back out of hiding and began to work on the rescue process.

Since I liked the blocks, I set to work separating them from the rest of the quilt.  Once reclaimed, I repaired seams, reinforced stitching, stabilized bias edges, squared up blocks and eventually discarded two blocks that were beyond repair.   The remaining blocks were heavily starched and pressed and then had green coping strips added to each side.  Then I squared all of the blocks to a consistent size.

Working with blocks that are true and square makes everything else so much easier in the quilting process.  From that point, it was straightforward to add the red sashing and cornerstones and then to apply the navy border.  I chose fabrics with an antique feel that echoed the old fabrics of the Double X blocks.

I chose a Warm and Natural batting because I wanted it to shrink and crinkle up like a well loved antique quilt.  Warm and Natural shrinks about 3%, so after the first wash, it will achieve exactly the look I want.  The quilting design is Jacobean by Anne Bright.  I have quilted quite densely over the quilt for two reasons – to mimic an old fashioned quilt and also to give extra security to the  hand stitched seams of the blocks.  On top, the thread is Superior So Fine in a Dark Olive colour with Superior Bottom Line in the bobbin.

The red binding is applied to the front and stitched to the back with a tiny blanket stitch using Superior MonoPoly.  I hand stitched the corner miters both front and back.

All in all, I am quite pleased with the results of my quilt rescue efforts.  However, I have sworn off buying any more quilt tops on EBay.  I still have three remaining tops from that imprudent buying foray.  I am forcing myself to finish them all so that I will be thoroughly inoculated against impulsive EBay purchases!  As one wise quilter told me…”There is usually a reason why some quilts are left unfinished.”  How true.  Unfortunately, some of us learn our lessons the hard way!  I derive comfort from the saying that “Life is a series of lessons.  You keep repeating the lesson until you get it.”  My consolation is that lessons learned the hard way rarely need repeating.   (Grin!)

2013-16: Double Pinwheel Quilt

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This quilt is made from left-over blocks from the second set of blocks I ever made.  That was back in 1997, before I knew about points and matching seams and squaring up blocks!   I took the best of the lot and made the first quilt  http://wp.me/p1RFMf-4s in 2011.  These Double Pinwheel blocks were the left-over blocks.  I could not bear to throw them out, so I added coping strips of yellow print and then squared them up to the same size.

Then I added a blue striped sashing and a yellow and blue sashing block for the corners.  The border is a tiny blue shirting check.  The quilt design, Anne’s Garden by Anne Bright, is quilted with a Superior light blue So Fine on top and Bottom Line in the bobbin.

Even though the blocks are not as accurate as my current quilting standards would want, I am still very pleased with this quilt and look on it fondly as a statement of where I was when I started quilting.  Not perfect, but a great testimony as to how much I have learned since 1997 when I started quilting.

And it means another UFO done and one more quilt that goes into my wedding gift stash!