Friday, February 28, 2014

Searching For Elusive Fabric

I've made more log cabin blocks over the past week.  Here are a couple of photos that show the curves forming in the layout.

These blocks are not sewn together yet, just stuck to my flannel "design bed."

I'm not sure yet whether to go border or no border on this quilt.  My plan is to make enough blocks for the size I want without a border, see what it looks like on the design bed, then decide.  But I'm leaning towards the no border look, maybe with a strong binding color as a narrow frame.

My last log cabin was this Christmas version and it does have a border. 

If I decide to add a border to my curved log cabin quilt, I will need to buy some fabric because I don't have anything suitable in my Fig Tree stash.  Finding fabric from older collections can be tricky.  The stock at my LQS tends to turn over fairly rapidly, as it does at the online shops I use most often.  But in similar situations in the past, has come to my rescue. is a search engine that allows you to search the inventory of a large number of independent quilt shops at one time, searching by color, manufacturer, collection name, or other search terms.  The results turn up with thumbnail photos and links to the shop's website so you can check the price and yardage available. You place your order directly with the member shop, on that shop's website.   I've used it several times to buy fabric for borders, binding, and backing and always been totally satisfied. 

As an example, I did a search for "Fig Tree Buttercup."  Buttercup is a fabric line from Fig Tree Quilts that Moda put out about three years ago.  Amazingly, some shops still have some of the prints in stock. 

So next time you are desperate for that specific something fabric, you know another place to try.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Generosity of Quilters

I've been saved by a quilter in shining armor!  After my setback of last week, when I realized the cutting directions I had for the curved log cabin block were not correct and I had cut one set of strips too short, a blog reader came to my rescue.  Nicole sent me some fabric from her Fig Tree Quilts stash, enough to add to what I had already cut and give me variety and the number of strips I need.  I'm back in business and feeling confident about this project again.  Thank you, Nicole!

And isn't this one more example of how generous quilters can be!  Making quilts for babies and kids in need, making pillowcases for our servicemen and women, buying raffle tickets to support another guild's project...all the time spent around warm quilts must lead to warm hearts.

Back to my project.  Seeing just one block doesn't give a very good idea of how the curve comes into play in these curved log cabin blocks.  So here's the first four blocks finished and I think this gives a better idea.

The logs in the light prints are half the width (finished size) of the logs in the darker prints.  You sew them in rounds in the normal way and even though all the pieces have straight sides and you aren't sewing any curves, you get this curved effect.  Now that I'm back in business, I should have more to show later this week.

If you would like to see more scrappy quilt projects, visit Scrap Basket Sunday at Kim's Quilting Adventure.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Curved Log Cabin Block

Here's my first block.  It is 9" finished.


My original plan was to make one of the quilts from Extraordinary Log Cabin Quilts, by Judy Martin.  But the more I looked at the designs, the more intimidated I became.  And I wanted to use my Fig Tree Quilts stash, which wasn't going to work for my two favorite designs from the book, Grandpa's Log Cabin and Main Street Log Cabin.  So I decided to try a more basic curved log cabin instead.

Thank you, Internet!  How did we live without Google and Pinterest?!  I found cutting directions for the block from Quilty, as well as this video tutorial with Mary Fons on YouTube.

Just one problem!  The cutting directions are incorrect!  The longest log cut from print fabric should be 8.75", not 8.25".  Unfortunately, I found this out as I was sewing my first block, AFTER I cut all the pieces.  I now have 80 cut pieces that are too short and I already cut almost all the fabric I have in my chosen color combination.  I can always trim down those too-short pieces to work in other positions in the block but I cannot magically add half an inch.  Very upsetting.  I did manage to pull together 50 of the 80 pieces I need from the fabric I still had in the basket but have to figure out what to do about the remaining 30 pieces.

Other than that one rather major problem, the blocks are going together beautifully.  I like this method of cutting all the logs to size.  While I spent a lot of time cutting upfront, the blocks will go together pretty quickly now.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

A New Project From The Magic Basket

We've had a rough winter so far in my neck of the woods:  snow, ice, sleet, more snow, more ice, slush - in a word, YUCK!  Not the kind of weather for driving 40 minutes to the LQS for supplies. 

So I decided to skip over my Hawaii quilt project for now (for which I need additional yardage) and instead, turn to a project I could start with what I have on hand.  After checking my Pinterest to-do list, I settled on a log cabin design using fabric from the magic basket, aka basket of a thousand quilts. 

The magic basket is where I've been keeping my stash of Fig Tree Quilts fabrics.  This is the collection of fat quarters and other pre-cuts I bought over time and put away because they were too pretty to use.  Then a couple of years ago, I resolved to use them, calling it my Fig Tree Harvest.  I've made six quilts so far but the level in the basket hardly appears to lower.  Does it have magic properties?  Now I call it the basket of a thousand quilts. 

Anyway...On Saturday, I started pulling fabric from the stash, pressing, and cutting.  I'm using the Marti Michell method, where you cut each log to size.  This is in contrast to the Quilt in a Day method, the technique I used for my first log cabin quilt, where you sew long strips of fabric, trimming after sewing to get the correct size. This method worked fine for me the first time I used it, for a very simple log cabin with large blocks (it was the first quilt I made on a sewing machine; my prior projects were from the dark ages of hand piecing), but the second time, with narrower logs, the blocks did not end up all exactly the same size.  So I'm trying the cut-to-size method this time.  It is a LOT of cutting!  By dinner time on Saturday, I had the light strips cut and have been working on the dark side strips today.

This print from the Fresh Cottons collection is my inspiration for color for the quilt. 

Back to pressing and cutting.  I'm almost done and want to get to the sewing part!  Can you believe I've used almost a whole bottle of spray starch on this?
I'm joining Kim's Scrap Basket Sunday with this project.  Go take a look at the other scrap projects.

Friday, February 14, 2014

White Christmas

It's Valentine's Day but the weather here on Main Street looks more like Christmas! 

So it is only fitting that I finished the Christmas Quilt of 2014, aka Christmas Trellis.  I even pieced the back (a Nancy Halvorsen fabric from the 2012 Christmas collection) and it is ready to go to the quilter. 


I'm looking forward to starting a new project this weekend.  I have a couple of things in mind; what I select depends on the weather because for one project I need to make a trip to the LQS for additional supplies.  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Horrible Miscalculation

I'm not a big sports fan but I enjoy watching the Olympic Games.  Every fourth winter, I hunker down for a blitz of snowboarding, cross country ski races, speed skating, and figure skating (especially figure skating).  And I always have some hand sewing to work on, during the talky bits or between races.  Always... until this year.

This year, I miscalculated badly and failed to line up a handwork project.  I had some things in mind but did not put them into action.  My vacation ate into the time and then I had vague thoughts of perhaps having some bindings to sew down.

So now I sit here, watching the races and the performances, with nothing in my hands.  I'll have to give myself a manicure instead.


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Taking Shape

I made lots of progress on my Christmas quilt over the weekend.  We've had great quilting and sewing weather lately, cold and lots of snow, best to stay inside.  Earlier, I showed you what one block of this quilt looks like:

With18 blocks finished, you can see how the design comes together.  (The blocks are not sewn together yet.)

Unfortunately, the design wall I made out of insulation board and batting got ruined while in our basement over the Christmas and New Year's holiday.  I was storing it down there to get it out of the sewing/guest room during my Mom's visit and left it there while on the trip to Hawaii.  While I was gone, we had the hardwood floors in the first floor of our house replaced.  The process dislodged a lot of dust and gunk from the basement ceiling, now all firmly lodged on the design wall's batting.  Yuck!  I'm going back to the design bed, using a white flannel sheet spread over Miss Main Street's bed.  With her away, I won't have to pick it up every night in order to sleep in the bed so it should work out better than it did before.  
Back to the quilt in progress...the design is from Modern Bee by Lindsay Conner.