Log cabin quilt: 1

26 06 2008

OK, I said it’d be a few days… well, it’s been a few minutes!

I’ve had a log cabin quilt in mind for a while, and I thought that one with black as the solid would look good with the jewel colors at the cooler end of the color wheel—the pinks, purples, blues, and greens. I started making blocks some weeks ago, and have made a few at a time. To make a Queen Bed size quilt, I need 144 blocks… and that’s just the start. Then there’s the border, backing fabric, quilting, binding, etc.

I chose six major color themes, raided my stash to find appropriate fabric (three of each color theme, and three different blacks), purchased some foundation paper pieces from my friend Bobbie at The Quilt Mouse, and started making my 6″ blocks.

Making a log cabin with foundation piecing is not the quickest way, but it’s accurate. I know that my finished blocks will be the right size and will fit together exactly. If I was making a log cabin quilt using chain piecing I couldn’t guarantee that. Also, with chain piecing, the cutting and 1/4″ seams have to be absolutely accurate. With foundation paper piecing that’s not the case—I don’t have to be 100% accurate with my cutting and as I stitch on the printed lines and cut the 1/4″ seam using an Add-a-Quarter ruler, it’s easy.

Here’s part of a completed block—each ‘log’ in the cabin is a finished 3/4″ wide, and the ‘log fire’ for all blocks is a yellow square.

So far I’ve made well over 120 blocks—I’ve nearly completed the first stage! Today it was time to go to Bobbie’s new house and play with the blocks on the design wall in her quilting studio. My original thought was to do a furrows pattern, but after she played with a few variations on her computer (using EQ6), I saw one I really liked. It’s still a furrows pattern, but while the blocks run in one diagonal direction, the color bands run in the other.

That sounds more difficult than it is, so here are some photos. The first is my original plan (not all the blocks are laid out, just enough to get a sense of the pattern and color combinations):

Then we tried the pattern I liked on the computer. Notice how the diagonal patterns run in two ways—there’s the furrows (top left to bottom right diagonal), and then there are the colors running in the opposite (top right to bottom left) diagonal direction:

I’m not happy with the dark blue. Most of the other color-themed fabrics have batiks in them, or something that looks like a batik. But the dark blue has plaids. And I don’t like it. It doesn’t suit the rest of the fabrics. But after making 24 of these blocks (approx. 15 mins per block, so that’s about 6 hours of work), I sure didn’t feel like doing them again! However, Bobbie said something that stuck—she said if I don’t like the blue now, I sure won’t like it in a couple of years time. She said that every time I look at this quilt, I’ll focus on the blue plaid and how much I don’t like it. She’s right. So I got some more fabric this afternoon! I’ll redo those blue blocks and use the old ones for something else where they’ll be more suitable (anyone want a set of blue and black place mats? ;-) )

One other variation I tried was the large diamond blocks. It’s never been a preferred option, but I’ll show you what it looks like anyway:

I still don’t like the blue plaid any way I look at it! It has to go!!

So, your thoughts? Which design takes *your* fancy?

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14 responses

26 06 2008
Char James-Tanny

I think that the large diamond backs are really cool to look at and very dramatic. But since they aren’t preferred ;-), my next choice would be the first one…I like the furrows this way.

27 06 2008
Rhonda

This from Michelle via email:
The log cabin blocks look great and I totally agree with both you and Bobbie… the dark blue blocks have to go. The plaid fabric stands out like “dogs balls” and really draw your eye to the print. A good choice to re-do them. I look forward to seeing the end result.

Originally I liked the second layout. But … I have gone back and look at layout 1 & 2 again… and I think I am more partial to the 1st layout. But that is me. The thing is… you have to go with what YOU like… cos you are the one who has to look at it after all.

1 07 2008
Bobbie

I love the second layout and look forward to seeing it with the “new” blue blocks. Now is the time for you to think about 2 things:
1. what are you going to call the quilt?
2. how will you have it quilted?
You could canvass your friends and clients for name suggestions:
“Night Rainbow”
“Rainbow Dreams”
“Dark Rainbow”
“Night Life”
Well done Rhonda and thanks for the “plugs”.
Bobbie

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10 11 2008
Beth

I like the top version. The colors flow much better. But then that’s just me.

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4 07 2009
Shan

stunning. I just started quilting this year 2009 and am just browsing the net. I love doing the log cabin block but do not yet have the nerve to try something that requires my own input with the varying colours as you did.
Really beautiful.

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