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?

See also:

Evolution of a quilt: 11

26 06 2008

It’s done!

I finished hand stitching the binding in front of TV earlier this week, then tried my hand at some hand sewing with gold metallic thread on the label. I decided that the label should be a grape leaf, so I fused one on the back of the quilt, then did a wobbly blanket stitch around the raw edge and a straight stitch for the veins. After doing that, I remembered why I don’t like hand sewing! All I have to do now is add the provenance details about this quilt—I think I’ll follow the veins of the grape leaf.

Final pics are here, and below is the final quilt pinned on my friend’s design wall, and a close-up of the label.

And you’ve gotta figure that’s not the end of it… While I was waiting for this quilt to come back from Judy (it was away for about 3 months—I was away for 6 weeks of that time too), I got started on a log cabin quilt. But that’s a series of posts for another day!

Links to all posts about this quilt

If this works…

22 06 2008

… it would solve a lot of the world’s energy supply problems. It seems so simple, and if the execution is anywhere near as brilliant as the idea and if it’s affordable, then we need no longer rely on oil, gas and coal for powering an awful lot of stuff.

What am I talking about? Nano Vent-Skin. Tiny wind turbines connected via a mesh that covers a building, roof, wall, vehicle etc. to produce electricity to power that object.

For details and some cool photos see:

If only…

Update 27 July 2008: Something similar is in the plans by Philips, again incorporating very small elements to create energy, water, and light. You can see the details here:

I’m sure someone must’ve thought of this

13 06 2008

I was catching up on some RSS feeds this afternoon, and came across one of Smashing Magazine‘s latest offerings: Beautiful and Original Product Designs.

Yes, most are beautiful and I’d guess many are original. But there was one I can’t believe no-one has thought of before. It’s just so simple…

The “Easy PB&J Jar“—a jar with straight sides and most importantly, lids at both ends so you don’t have to scrape the sides looking for that last little bit of peanut butter, mayo, Vegemite, or whatever. Having spent a couple of minutes this morning scraping the last of the Vegemite in the jar, I would’ve appreciated one of these simple jars!

Evolution of a quilt: 10

7 06 2008

It’s back!

I gave Judy—a local quilter—my dragonfly quilt before I headed off overseas in March. I knew she couldn’t do it for a while and I was OK with that. I got a call from her on Wednesday telling me she’d finished quilting it on her long arm quilting machine (I should have taken some photos of her but I totally forgot to ask her!).

When I’d given her the quilt, we’d talked about some ideas for the quilting—perhaps some sun’s rays, some grapevine tendrils—but I left it in her creative hands. She told me she let the quilt ‘talk to her’ and I’m really pleased with the result. I’ve added a couple of photos at the end of this blog post, but click here for all the photos.

So now I’m down to the last stages—squaring up the quilt, trimming the excess batting and backing, adding a hanging sleeve and doing the binding. I think we’ve got a craft afternoon tomorrow, so maybe I’ll get some of it done then—I’ll need the big tables that the function centre has to get it done properly. My kitchen counter just isn’t suitable!

Oh, and if you’re looking for a good professional quilter, Judy’s details are:

Judy Bland, Blue Rose Quilting, Bridgetown, Western Australia
Ph: +61 8 9761 4546

Links to all posts about this quilt

Local grandmother does well

5 06 2008

When I popped in to town the other day, I saw that the florist and a couple of other shops were plastered with “Go Deb!” and “Australia’s Got Talent” signs. It seems that a local Bridgetown grandmother, 67-year old Deb Perry, has made the grand final of this national TV talent quest. Her talent? Spoons!!

There’s a couple of videos of her on YouTube. For her age, she’s enviably fit and flexible! The first video is of her getting in to the competition; the second is the performance that got her into the grand final, which I think may be next week and the last one is her grand final appearance. Now it’s up to the voters…

How to use a song to get what you want

1 06 2008

Warning: This video contains images of male and female mammary glands (the other words may be censored by certain filtering systems).

When our friend Dave stayed with us last week, we did quite a bit of sharing of various YouTube videos we found amusing or that showed some performers one or the other wasn’t familiar with. One of the ones that Dave put us on to was this country song by Rodney Carrington, where you can see how easy it is to get what you want, just by wrapping it up in a song!

The song is called “Show them to me”, so if you think you’ll be offended, don’t watch it!