Thursday, September 28, 2017

Log Cabin :: With A Modern Twist

The Log Cabin is a very recognizable block, one that seemingly has been around forever. The block has a central square surrounded by strips of fabric, sometimes half is dark fabric and the other half is light fabric. Modern or traditional, variations of the Log Cabin are unlimited and never dull! 

I couldn't resist the Log Cabin!  The colors, the challenge of modernizing and going small. A little bit of inspiration goes a long way!

12 1/2" x 12 1/2"
In case you haven't heard, there's a new quilt magazine in town!  Curated Quilts is a quarterly journal that shares a gallery of quilts.  Imagine having inspiration at your finger tips?!  Not only will there be beautiful quilts, but there will be interviews, current trends, mini challenges and much, much more.  The first issue is out and available for purchase.  (Click on the link above to purchase your copy)  

Each issue will have a 'call for entries' featuring a theme for mini quilts. This time it was Log Cabin blocks and these are the inspiration colors.  I was inspired by these colors and frankly, couldn't wait to jump in!

Once I pulled my fabrics I began the process of log cutting!  Since I'm going mini, I cut my log strips 1" wide.  Here's a look at how the block progressed during the piecing process.

I kept the center logs using a variety of gray's and eventually started pulling in the color.  Pink, citron, coral and blue. 

I worked around the block one piece at a time.  I'd place my color, figure out how long I wanted it to be and then add a gray to finish it off.    

What always delights me is the back!  Seeing all those seams makes me happy and amazes me all at the same time. 

The quilting, well let's just say I was inspired by that as well.  It seemed like the perfect time to mix it up with machine quilting and hand quilting.  It's been a while since I hand quilted so I was looking forward to that.  And, I was excited while picking thread colors because I had just the right colors for this project!

I used Aurifil 50 wt in Bright Pink #2425, Gold Yellow #5015, Delft Blue #2730 and Medium Red #5002.

I also had some perle cotton in a light gray and used that for the hand quilting.

Eventually I figured out my quilting strategy!  I picked two rows and two sides for each of the four colors of thread and began by matchstick quilting.  Very random, very organic and very skinny!

My mission was to leave the center open for hand quilting and use the match stick quilting for a frame effect.

Choosing to hand quilt circles was a last minute decision.  Initially I thought I'd be doing big stitch lines throughout, but plans change and I'm glad they did.  I like how the circles with the logs, how it breaks up the prim and properness of the block.

The back shows the quilting much better.  You can see what I meant by quilting two sides with a color and how it frames the center as planned.

I also matched the binding to bring the colors of the design right to the edge.  As far as matching goes, this was one of the easiest!  

There is no guarantee that this piece will be chosen for Curated Quilts Mini Challenge, and that's totally fine!  It was a fun challenge!  

Working with this color palette was inspiring to me and like I said...I couldn't resist!

What about you?  Do you get inspired by a color or color palette?  Do you like to take a traditional block and make it modern?  Quilting and the endless possibilities are inspiring each and every day!


Sunday, September 24, 2017

Pink With An Attitude!

This color combination has been on my mind for well over a year and frankly, I've had a stack or corals, ruby reds and peachy oranges waiting for this very moment!  It took long enough, but I think it was worth the wait!

The goals for this quilt were quite simple.  Use a lot of prints, big blocks and stay on track with simplicity.  


Believe it or not, picking fabric wasn't the problem this time.  I had it in my mind for well over a year so you'd think after all that time it would be set in stone!  Coming up with a design or a block was the biggest hold up.  


So, I pondered.  Hemmed and hawed.  Flipped and flopped.  Finally I settled on this 8 1/2" block.  

I stitched diagonal lines for the half square triangles, then sliced, pressed and trimmed each one.  Again, thank you Bloc-Loc for making this step much quicker and easier!

For the rectangle blocks I stitched a diagonal line from corner to corner.  I could have left it at that and sliced 1/4" from the seam.  But with one extra step I could have a stack of half square triangles stitched and ready for another project at a later date.

I stitched another line a 1/2" from the corner to corner diagonal line. With my rotary cutter I cut in between the lines giving each seam a 1/4".  Now those bonus HST's are ready to rock and roll into another quilt...sometime, later, one day or maybe sooner!

After pressing its time to match prints and assemble the blocks.  The rectangle needs nothing after trimming the corner, but the HST required a square to be added.  With the layout I choose, I decided I wanted to add solids so that the four squares became four different shades.  

Then is was simply sewing the two pieces together to create an 8 1/2" (unfinished) block.

After which became one big 16 1/2" (unfinished) block by sewing four together.  And boy do I love big blocks!  At this point it made assembly of the quilt top super quick and easy.  There was some matching of seams in the mix, but nothing that drove me crazy!

The white is Kona Snow and I considered adding triangles to corners of the solid squares.  I went so far as to put a call out on Instagram for opinions!  In the end I stayed with my original plan.  Keep it simple.  My intentions were to have a quilt with loads of these colors...and that's just what I did! 

The block layout changed a bit from the picture above, but the top is finished.  And its big!  It'll be 64" x 80"!  If only I had backing!  To be continued!


Thursday, September 21, 2017

Blogger's Quilt Festival :: Tinker Toys

I love when this festival comes around every year!  Blogger's Quilt Festival is in full swing and we get to soak up all the beautiful quilts gaining friends and inspiration!  There is a huge online community of quilters and this is our chance to see who they are, what they do and fill our minds with creative ideas!

It's difficult deciding which quilts to share!  I choose to share 'Tinker Toys' just because I love it!  It's rainbow, it's English Paper Piecing, its different!

47" x 62"
It all started with English Paper Piecing and a pattern called 'Striped Octagon' from Tierney Barden.  I love having a hand project to work on in the evenings...idle hands are not good for me...and settled on this one.

When I had what I thought was a good amount of pieces, I wondered what to do with in.  It could have simply been a mini quilt and be done, but I wanted to take it further.  Push myself.  Let it morph into something different!  And it certainly did morph!

Letting the top stew for a week or two, finally an idea came to me on how I wanted to quilt it.  I started with the center panel by making circles in each white square and in the center of each octagon stripe.

Each stripe is quilted in a matching thread using 1/4" straight lines, with some extend through the background. 

One of the hardest parts of making this quilt was matching the lines that extended from the center panel!  Some worked perfectly, some not so much!  I extended the lines in varying lengths, some went to the edge, some started from the edge.  The final touch was matching the binding to the strips that went to the edge!

I love this quilt because it's just plain happy!  Happy and weird and different!

I hope you get a chance to check out some of the other entries in the Bloggers Quilt Festival!  There are some beautiful and inspiring quilts entered!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

This Round Is On Me :: Scrappy Drunkards Path

It really did take a simple, semi-mindless project that got me back in to the swing of things. A couple months ago I had glue basted a big pile of Drunkard's Path blocks that were intended for those days when you just want to sew something or just a little.  A long term project.  So when I found myself low on inspiration and Mojo, I picked those up and began stitching curves.

Last time I blogged about this quilt 'Getting My MoJo Back', I had pieced all the blocks together but hadn't assembled the quilt top.  Mostly because I wasn't sure on my layout! That is now behind me as is the drought of inspiration and oomph!

47 1/2" x 62"
I love this finish!  The scrappy-ness, the circles, the crisp clean feel.  Yes, scraps are good...very good!  

As you can see, I staggered the blocks in each row.  This layout was the best option for the quantity of blocks I had.  A little luck and a lot of ingenuity I had just enough of the Kona White for the background.   

Sandwiched and pinned, I began thinking about how I should quilt it.  My ideas were grandiose and complex and then I came to my senses!  As much as I would have loved to quilt in and around each circle, I knew I wasn't ready to get that deep into a quilting project at this time.  

Instead I went with simple straight lines.  My usual standby!  The more I quilted each line, the more a beautiful geometric design started to emerge.  I had no idea!  Its not like I actually planned the design ahead of time!  I'm calling it my 'Geometric Spider Web'!

Diagonal, vertical and horizontal lines intersect in the center of each circle all the while creating interesting diamonds throughout the quilt.  Here's a diagram of how I quilted for the geometric spider web design.

It was also time to try something a little different with thread.  I've seen so many quilters trying heavier weight thread for quilting and it was high time I gave it a go myself!  

I grabbed a spool of 28wt White (2024) for the top and 50wt Chalk (2026) for the bobbin. Because of the weight of the 28 thread it's recommended to use a 40 or 50 weight in the bobbin and also a 90/14 needle.  It wasn't until I quilted on a practice piece of fabric that I knew it was going to work.  As in perfect!  

I love the look of the 28 wt thread on the top of the quilt.  Because of the thickness, it stands out. Front and center.  A 40 or 50 wt thread tends to blend and disappear in the fabric, which is what I like about a lighter weight.  I'm looking forward to using it again, next time something more intense!  

For the backing I used Kona Breakers.  I thought it would be a nice compliment to the prints in the blocks.  

The binding is a plethora of scraps!  You would think between this quilt and the binding and my Glam Clam quilt that my scraps must be gone by now!  There has been a significant dent in the pile.  I'm afraid I might never be rid of them all!

I am certain there will be more quarter circles, half circles or Drunkard's Path blocks in my future...and most likely they will be glue basted just like these were.  

It was important for me to 'break the ice' and get back to what I love doing...quilting.  There is healing in quilting and doing what you love.  

And wouldn't you know it!  Just when I'm itching to dive in, I have a monstrous deck to stain, two big walls to paint and a bathroom to remodel!  I think I'll be able to fit a little cutting and stitching in between those projects.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Final Round Robin Hand Off :: Round #5

Round #5 is in the books!  I have thoroughly enjoyed my first Round Robin event.  The hardest part has been the stress.  The stress of not knowing what to do and wondering if it'll be cohesive with the other rounds.

Round #5:  45" x 45" 
I had this hanging up for weeks until I finally had a plan.  That's one of the most difficult aspects of a Round Robin.  Am I doing enough, doing too much, not doing enough, doing too little.    

Start Size: 39" x 39"
This is what came to me for my round.  Pretty, don't you think?  It's a color palette that I don't gravitate towards, so it was a pleasure being able to push myself in that department.  I love the pastels!  Weird for me to say that...but, I have been contemplating a pastel quilt for a while.  Perhaps this will push that idea closer to accomplishing!

Do these blocks look familiar?  Since my last quilt was 'Storm At Sea', I let that carry over into this round.  Which seems to be the way most of my rounds have happened.  Whatever I was or am working on it some way or another gets incorporated in the round.

Here's a little insight into my reasoning for using this block.  I couldn't very well use circles or curves because the previous round had plenty.  But I wanted the illusion of curves, and Storm At Sea does that.  Now, I'm the first to admit that the plan didn't exactly work well.  The other part of this idea (such as it is), was that the shapes and angles in my round work well with the previous rounds shapes and angles.  Grasping here?!

See the curve?  Squint with your left eye and tilt your head back and to the right...see it now?!  I used prints...that evens out the curve part in my book!

This was Marcia's center block.  Having just finished a Drunkards Path quilt myself, I was pleased to see this center for my last round!  Marcia started us off with a great block, and every round after played very well with her colors!

And with that...the hardest part is finished!  I cannot tell you how hard it is to come up with the perfect idea for a round.  Talk about being out of my comfort zone and pushing myself!

Since our quilt guild started this in February, I haven't even looked at the rounds added to my starting block.  You can see my starting block here: Round Robin :: My First.    I know...I'm on pins and needles!  I wanted it to be a surprise and it will be just that.  Will it still be pink?  Square?  As soon as I get my hot hands on it you know I'll share!

Round it or hate it?  Rules or no rules?


Thursday, September 7, 2017

Storm at Sea :: Finish, Just Barely

I had so much fun picking this block for our Guilds Paint Chip Challenge.  Picking, yes.  Constructing, yes.  Assembling, NO!

But...I got it done, I got it done, I got it done!  Frustration from beginning to end, yet I love this block!  
24" x 24"
A quick recap:  Those are the two paint chips I had to work with.  We were allowed to use one other color and a neutral if we wanted.  My initial plan was to add an accent color, in this case pink/magenta.  While pre-planning my pieces to paper piece I had to change plans on so many colors it wasn't funny!  During the entire process I was left wondering how this block would turn out in the end.

You can check out Storm Before The Calm...Storm At Sea, for my first go around with this idea.  

Because I was punting on colors based on what I had on hand, I had to mix and match the centers of the large square in a square blocks.  Not a problem.  Except I forgot about that detail after I finished piecing the blocks and when I was piecing the rows together!  

Pretty blocks ready to sew into rows...but I forgot....

The actual piecing of the blocks was a breeze!  I couldn't have been happier!  When I saw what I had done I wanted to cry, instead I swore a blue streak!  I wanted to say 'screw it' and let it live, but I couldn't!  For anyone who paper pieces you know what a pain it is to rip out those teeny tiny stitches!  But I did.  I might have swore even more!

Once I got back on track, after taking a lot of deep breaths and a few glasses of wine, I was ready to pick thread for quilting.  And then there is the quilting plan...that hadn't quite made an appearance in my mind!  

These are my three thread choices:  #2135 yellow, #4129 turf green and #1148 light jade.  All are 50 wt, and in the end I went with just the yellow and light jade.

I eventually decided I was going to follow the flow of the 'sea'!  I wanted the motion and movement to show.  I first stitched in the ditch and then very unscientifically stitched lines.  All, mind you, very free and organic. 

I put the pedal to the metal and went for it!  I especially love the yellow accent thread.  It stands out in just the right way and just the right amount.  

For the center squares, I did a simple geometric star. The star was completely different from the rest of the quilting, simple.  

I really like how this quilt turned out.  From piecing, to color, to quilting!

Even with all the pitfalls, missteps and difficulties, I thoroughly enjoyed making this block. We may complain (and boy do I) about certain parts of any block, but we love it!  

I could see making another version of this block.  Different colors, different guidelines and larger blocks!

What is the one block that tests your limits, but you can't help but love it?!