Thursday, October 31, 2013

November Scrappy Log Cabin

Hooray, I have made a decision on this month's quilt block for you wonderful folks to create.  Both Doris and Linsay wrote about how narrowing down a block is enormously difficult and, as Chris will attest, I have made two previous attempts at block selection.  However, there are some glorious log cabin quilts out there in blogland and I have taken inspiration from Bea Spoke Quilts and Cut to Pieces and decided to ask you to make a scrappy log cabin please.

Here's my proto-type:

I am hoping I can channel my image of stormy oceans and wintery windswept beaches to help you with your fabric selection.  I have been collecting greyish blues, from steel blue to denim colours.  As you can see in the photo above, I even used a straight grey too. 

Here's my collection that I have cut 2.5 inch strips from to use:

A hint of other colours (flotsam? coral reef?) in the blue fabrics together with bit of teal and olive/kelp green fabrics stopped my choices getting dull.

I found the following Kaffe Fassett fabric in a small shop in a neighbouring town and think I might use it as either backing or to frame the quilt top. Or even a great summer frock!  Anyhow, it might help you to match colours.
Incidentally, I have shattered my theory that Kaffe Fassett fabrics have no white....both the above flowers and the purple/green/blue irregular rectangles in the previous photo have white spaces.

Speaking of whites, can you please use a mixture of creams and off-whites for the 'other side' of the log cabin block.  I'd love them to be patterned, although I've been struggling to find things other than polka dots in my local fabric shops.  I really wish my shop would stock some funkier neutrals.  I've use plain calico too.  Actually white might work if there is a low value pattern on it. 

What to make
One scrappy traditional log cabin block using greyish-denim blues and off-whites/creams please.
The central square and all strips to be cut 2.5 inches wide.
Finished block = 14.5 inches wide.
However, if you can't located sufficient fabrics (and I really, truly mean this, because I have found smoky, greyish blues quite hard to find), then feel free to stop at a 10.5 inch block, send it over and I'll add the extra strips.

There are loads of tutorials out there and I couldn't find one to really explain exactly what I'm after, so here is my quick version.
Cut from smoky blues
1 strip 2.5 x 4.5 inches
1 strip 2.5 x 6.5 inches
1 strip 2.5 x 8.5 inches
1 strip 2.5 x 10.5 inches
1 strip 2.5 x 12.5 inches
1 strip 2.5 x 14.5 inches
Cut from off-whites/creams
1 square 2.5 x 2.5 inches
1 strip 2.5 x 4.5 inches
1 strip 2.5 x 6.5 inches
1 strip 2.5 x 8.5 inches
1 strip 2.5 x 10.5 inches
1 strip 2.5 x 12.5 inches
Cut from blue/teal with hint of red, orange, ochre or any other warm colour
1 central square: 2.5 x 2.5 inches

Interestingly, some authors advocate cutting the strips to the exact length and others cut longer (and some wider) and trim after joining each segment.  I tried a mixture of both.  While it was nice to have less stress and trim off the excess fabric, it was always a relief when I used the right length and didn't have to trim.  Moda reckon we should cut fabric strips for log cabins on the lenghtwise grain.   I found that information after I'd already cut most of my strips in the other direction to save fabric!

You old experienced hands feel free to skip this bit.

1. Start with the central square and attach the off-white square, press and join the off-white 4.5 inch strip.  Press.  Then like most tutorials, keep working in a clockwise manner and attach the blue 4.5 inch strip.

2. Then attach blue 6.5 inch strip, followed by off-white 6.5 inch strip.

3. And so on, adding 8.5 inch white strip, then 8.5 inch blue strip.

4.  Then 10.5 inch blue strip and then the same sized white strip:

4.  Then 12.5 inch white strip followed by the 12.5 inch blue strip and finally the 14.5 inch blue strip.

There you go.  I hope that wasn't too tedious to read.  Can't resist adding another photo in though.

These are compelling to make.  I've currently got another two laid out and am auditioning fabric strips.  I think I am aiming for another pale version and a version to include a cobalt liberty print I've found, although that is proving a bit tricky.  You'll notice that I have tended to limit the really darker blue fabrics to the margins of the block.

I hope you enjoy making this block as much as I am.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Shauna's tree block...

I have been trying to squeeze Shauna's tree block in on my off hours, but I always felt a bit cautious about starting..and then finishing...the tree. I wanted it to be perfect. I've known Shauna since highschool, and trees have rooted our friendship in so many wonderful ways. The tree is such a symbol of beauty, strength, art, wisdom, spirit, fun, reflection and hope. Much like Shauna...

I started this block three times...I redid the last attempt entirely, and at that point didn't have a white piece of cotton big enough, so found a white pillowcase that was ready to be recycled and here is Shauna's tree....on recycled cotton, which also makes me think of Shauna.

I know the block was due in the late spring, but...I think its design speaks nicely to the last rays of fall that we are holding on to here. I know it snowed near Shauna's house on the weekend, so winter is just around the corner. And I can imagine this tree in the winter, barren but for the owl sitting there.

love you Shauna...I'll mail it off tomorrow.


Katy is catching up...

I think our move is still slowing catching up to me...coupled with new schools for my kids and a hectic work schedule this fall, renovating our new house, etc etc., well...I have precious few hours to sew each month, so I apologize for being behind on my quilting 'i owe you's...

Stephanie, I had fun with this block pattern. Mostly, I loved rediscovering fabrics in my odds n ends bags. It reminded me a lot of Amy's spider web quilt from last year... I can't wait to see the final product. I'll drop this in the mail tomorrow.

I am now focusing on getting Shauna's tree quilt done...and have all my fabrics picked out for Amy's October block - eesh, that's a lot of HSTs!!!

I have a fun block in mind for the charity quilt and will get that off in the mail before December arrives, Jennifer.

And now to finish the Halloween costumes! Both boys want to be Skylander characters... Hot Head and Shroom Boom. Eeps!! I did discover my new favourite online fabric store while hunting for the perfect fabric...simple pleasures.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

To Amy, from Linsay

I thought that this photo looked alright when I took it but now that I have uploaded it, it seems very out of focus.  Although I am not happy with the photo, I am very happy with the block.  There is a lot of sewing in this block and I loved doing every stitch.  We are all fast becoming experts in half-square-triangles.  I found some good Christmas style fabrics.  One of the greens has golden musical notes which feel Christmasy, one of the reds has little holly leaves on it and one of the whites has Christmas greetings in lots of languages.  The words have been chopped up rather a lot so there are only fragments of words left but the Christmas spirit is still in there.
I will put it in the post tomorrow to give you time to finish it all before Christmas.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Another Christmas Star for Amy

I can understand why Jennifer wanted to keep her block for a while and just admire it.  I have impressed myself with all that sewing up of little squares.  I tried really hard to keep the points pointy and match the seams, so it is very satisfying to find a couple of spots where six fabrics meet reasonably nicely.  I look forward to seeing your completed quilt Amy.

Amy (Canada)

Here is my square for this month. I've been sewing like crazy getting ready for my annual open house in November. Here is a link to my site in case you are interested in seeing what I've been up to:
I'll get it in the mail in the next couple of days!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Someone Else is Sewing Today!

Be sure to see the other two new posts below mine.

Chris and I were catching up by email earlier this week. She mentioned that she was getting ready for a move. I asked if she would like me to make her October block and she took me up on it. I was really happy to do this because as I posted last week I was wishing I had used more fabrics in my first October block. I was curious to see what changes would take place with more fabrics.

So this time I used 10 reds and 7 greens, To be perfectly honest, I don't see much difference! I like them both! Here is today's version:

Here are both blocks together. Amy, I will be finished admiring after this weekend. They will be in the mail to you next week, one from me and one from Chris.


Another Charity Block

This is a traditional block called 'Honey Bee'.  The lady who taught me this block thought that the petal shapes were bees and the nine-patch in the middle was the honey pot.  I have always loved this block and it has worked well with the colours from Jennifer's inspiration fabric.  This was one of the first blocks I made when I learned patchwork in a little local shop in Australia.  We were taught how to draw the block pattern on paper, transfer it to stencil plastic, cut from the fabrics and then hand-sew the whole block together.

Here is the original block from 2003 and here it is with its friends in my first quilt, on my bed.

Phew, here's a weight off my mind

Don't worry Amy, I have made progress on your Christmas block and have the HST's all trimmed.  But I did need to finish the charity blocks first as they were laid out on my cutting mat!

My starting point was the bright green tree fabric.  And I liked these Winged Squares that I found on this blog (during quiet time) and around Pinterest.  So I thought I'd experiment and combine them.   I have made a couple of errors by sewing two of the scrappy HST's of the same colour right next to each other and was too lazy to unpick them.

I have decided that the one's I made are really too busy in reality.  I think it is the flecked fabric I used as the background - it doesn't disappear enough.  Also the tree pattern in the middle doesn't really work as a bi-colour central square that during quiet time's blocks use very effectively.

Oh well, lesson learned.  I hope you can slot them into the charity quilt Jennifer.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Catching up!

Finally made Stephanie's September blocks this week:

Lots of Kaffe fabrics in there for you, this is going to be a fun and vibrant quilt!
And this one took a little more time, but what a fabulous Christmas quilt your parents are going to receive! Amy, I'll bring it to MQG next week...

Now, off to get started on Halloween costumes!

Happy October,


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Amy, I can't wait to see this quilt when it is finished. It is going to be fabulous! I really like the finished look of my block, it is very festive! Here is my contribution:

And here are just a few more notes that might help our other group members:
  • This was a good project to work on in stages. One night I cut everything out, another night I sewed my half square triangles and squared them up, and then finally today I started sewing it all together.
  • For some reason I missed the request on Amy's post to use at least 6 reds and 4 greens. I used 6 reds and 3 greens. As I started assembling the area outside of the star, I wished I had cut more of a variety of both reds and greens.
  • Sewing the pieces together in small groupings was helpful. These were my stages: 
The center star:

The four corners:

The four sides:

As Amy suggested, it was extremely helpful to take pictures as I worked so that I could keep track of where every piece belonged and to be sure the pieces were all turned in the right direction. 

So now my block is going to hang on my design wall 
for a few days before I send it ...just so I can admire it!

Thanks Amy, I'm glad I could be a part of  this quilt for your parents!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Better Late Than Never ?!? are my July blocks. Hot off the sewing machine today! THANK YOU DORIS, for patiently awaiting these blocks. Hopefully they will fit into the 2 empty spots nicely. Ahem! I now have some printed text fabrics to add to my stash! are my 2 August blocks! Thank you CHRIS for your patience!! The pinks look a tad washed out in this photo. Looking forward to seeing all of our blocks together :)

And soon to be September and October blocks :)
Happy Fall, from Canada!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

October Block for Amy (USA)

Hello All! Now that Fall is upon us here in the Northern Hemisphere, I feel the need for a Christmas quilt! I have set the lofty goal of completing this quilt in time for Christmas for my parents! They have a cabin in the Colorado Rocky Mountains and I can picture this quilt on the couch by the fire! I spent quite a bit of time looking for inspiration and stumbled upon a block tutorial by Melissa at Happy Quilting. I am using her Star Value Tutorial-

I changed around the colors using reds, greens, and white/creams. If you have Christmas fabrics in your stash, use them! If not, I am looking for deeper reds (no pinks) and deeper greens. In my block, I feel like a few of the green triangles are too light, but I am going with it! You can use prints or solids. I included both creams and whites in the stars and outer corners.
Please use at least 4 different green fabrics and at least 6 different red fabrics.

Cutting Chart for a 16 inch block-

Red Squares for HST   need  16  measuring 3 inches x 3 inches

Green Squares for HST  need 12 measuring 3 inches x 3 inches

White/Cream Squares for Star HST  need 8  measuring 3 inches x 3 inches

White/Cream Squares for Diamond HST  need 4 measuring 3 inches x 3 inches

Red Squares need 16 cut 2 1/2 inches x 2 1/2 inches

White/Cream squares for Star  need 8 cut 2 1/2 inches x 2 1/2 inches

After cutting-
Match 4 green 3" x 3" with 4 white/cream 3" x 3"

Match 8 red 3" x 3" with 8 white/cream 3" x 3"

Match 8 red 3" x 3" with 8 green 3" x 3"

Follow Melissa's tutorial for making and trimming up the HST's to 2 1/2" squares and for assembling the block.  After I laid the block out, I took a picture before starting sewing. This definitely helped me when it was time to sew. I referred back to the picture many times & saved myself from having to use my seam ripper.
I am excited to see this quilt come together! My mom thinks our group here is absolutely amazing-I must agree! My biggest difficulty will be not telling her over the next couple of months!
If any questions arise please let me know!  Thanks in advance! 
Amy (USA)

PS I also got Stephanie's blocks done-just have to get to the post office!