Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Working Up an Appetite

Here we are at the "Buck Moon" full moon for July already. I'm happy to report that I was able to go to Ellen Peters' Cat Whiskers Studio yesterday while the temperatures were still cool. Here is Ellen, below, getting my quilt loaded on to the big machine.

This quilt is a large log cabin at 97" by 99", roughly square. Its size presented some minor challenges with my 90" Warm & White batting. My batting was too skinny!
Fortunately, Ellen is always very generous with her personal batting scrap pile, so we found a piece that was a long skinny strip to tuck in on one side. Thanks, Ellen!

The design of this particular layout is credited to Cheryl in Iowa and I felt that it was complex enough to warrant very simple quilting. This is what the layout looked like before quilting.

I chose a very soft buff antique tan quilting thread for both the top and below on the bobbin.

Here I am, below, ready to start the 24 runs of large scale clam shells. The blocks themselves, at 8" square, provided a very good visual spacing mechanism as I worked across each row.

I quilted this pattern upside down, making approximately 4 inch wide letter "U's" that dipped halfway down the length of each block.
Then, every following row began with a skinny half of a "U" that aimed upwards to meet the middle of the curve of the previous row.

In this way, each row was automatically offset from the next row. The other benefit was that I was never stranded at the end of the row. I'd just drop down the side of the quilt a wee bit and continue on in the opposite direction.

More disturbing than having batting that wasn't wide enough for this behemoth, was discovering at the end of the quilting, that the backing barely made it to the edge! Yikes! My binding is going right out to the selvedge.

All's well that ends well, as Shakespeare said! We made it work.

Soon I was home to photograph the backing fabric. This was listed by Thousands Of Bolts as a "Gold" flannel cotton wide backing, but I'd say it is a warm tan or beige.

Below is another photo of it, but without the flash to show the quilting a little better. The quilting is nice and open so I hope that it will be a nice drapey quilt, albeit heavy.

The pattern is quite an old traditional favorite and I like the way it lets the fabrics speak.

The nicest thing is to know that it is quilted now and not just a pile of blocks gathering dust in a basket! Yippee!

Felix mixed some eggs with Panko seasoned breadcrumbs and flour and sauteed it all with big chunks of garden fresh zucchini. He put a lid on top of the wok to steam the zucchini as the breading browned. Boy, oh boy, was it ever good!

I was hungry after all that quilting!

Linking up to Whoop! Whoop! Friday. Link.

Happy sewing!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Mile-A-Minute Tutorial For Civil War Log Cabins

My photos were all pulled from my files and may not exactly follow the text description.

Mile-A-Minute Log Cabin Blocks

Cut 16 Red 2½" squares for your "Chimneys".

Select a Light strip and place it FACE UP on your machine bed. I used 1½" strips for the one I'm working on right now, but I've also used 2½" strips, 2" strips, and the random scrappy width strips like in this one below.

Drop a chimney FACE DOWN onto the light strip that you had placed FACE UP on your machine bed. Sew forward over that first chimney, and then stop, then grab another chimney and place it also on top of the light strip beside the first one. Continue sewing your regular ¼" seam in this fashion until all 16 of your little Chimneys are sewn onto the one light strip.
If you have placed the chimneys carefully, butting them up against the previous one, then you should be able to get all 16 onto one light width-of-fabric strip.

Now take a second light strip and place it FACE UP onto the machine bed. Clip the very first one of the chimneys that you had sewn, cutting it free of the first light strip, leaving the rest of them still joined together in the chain. This chain ensures an orderly progression and also prevents a stray block from getting lost.

Finger press the dark chimney upwards (to the dark), then turn it over and place it FACE DOWN onto your second light strip with the RED side against the light strip and the RED chimney going first as it feeds through the machine. Sew each of the 16 in this manner, adding a new light strip as necessary. As you work, sometimes you are trimming a "start" or "stop" color change edge even with the block.

When all 16 have a second light strip sewn onto them, select and do a dark strip, always leading with the little RED chimney going into the machine first to keep you oriented.

Do a second dark strip to all 16. Your block will be small but square now.

Look carefully at it, noticing the outermost edges. Of the four edges of the block, one edge will have zero seams, two edges will have one seam, but ONLY ONE edge will have TWO SEAMS that are perpendicular to the edge. 
In the block below, for example, the brown edge has the two seams on it, so it will get flipped over and placed FACE DOWN onto the waiting blue strip that is already FACE UP on the machine bed.

This Two-Seam edge will ALWAYS be where to join the next strip AND the new strip must ALWAYS MATCH the color of the strip that is on that Two Seam edge.
So if the Double-Seam edge has a light strip, then you must use a light strip. If the Double-Seam edge has a dark strip, then you must use a dark strip. Knowing this little rule will keep you from panicking if you are called away and come back feeling lost.

Continue making rounds in this manner, just adding strips as you need them. The further that you go, the bigger the block gets and as it grows, you will need more strips per round.

One block is 12 rounds; 6 lights, and 6 darks. When you count the rounds on any block, count the Chimney as Zero, 1 Light, 2 light, 3 dark, 4 dark, 5 light, 6 light, etc.

We don't count any colors in traditional Log Cabin blocks, but rather, they are just Lights and Darks. Throw out all your mediums to use in a different quilt. Use those mediums in a string quilt, but not in a log cabin. You need good contrast for a traditional Log Cabin to work as a pattern.
I do use a pop of cheddar often, which might be considered a medium, so perhaps I break this rule. I refrain from using red right beside the red chimney, but that's probably just being anally retentive.

Most of all have fun with it! 
You can make your runs of log cabin blocks in any number, but the reason that I prefer 16-block runs is that the 2½" Red Chimney takes up that first light strip very nicely when using a width of fabric strip. There is very little waste.
As always, my guidelines are open to adaptations and creative changes as you develop your own criteria for your design.

 Linking up to Love Laugh Quilt. Link.
 Also to Main Crush Mondays. Link.
And to Em's Scrapbag. Link.
And to Design Wall Monday. Link.  
And, of course, to Log Cabin Lunacy! Link. 

Happy quilting!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Waxing Philosophic

There is much sadness in the world lately. During this week there were three horrific events; there were officers slain in a racial hate crime in Dallas, Texas, there were civilians mowed down by a radical Muslim terrorist in a large truck in Nice, France, and there was a bloody failed coup d'etat in Ankara, Turkey.

My quilting sometimes seems irrelevant to the violence and chaos that others must bear.

Stay aware.

Pray if you can.

Quilt if you feel like it.

Most of all, tune in to goodness and mercy and beauty.

Appreciate little miracles around you.

Seek the company of like-minded people.

Perhaps staying positive is the strongest thing that we can do in the world.
Thank you!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


As some very knowledgeable quilters have here attested, sewing complicated patterns of blocks can be very tricky.

Perhaps it was unwise of me to try to sew blocks into rows at my sewing bees where the very enjoyable chat can, none the less, interrupt my chain of thought.

These pictures are of my assembled rows that are not yet sewn together because they are all wrong for the layout that I've chosen.

I had to lay them out and photograph them to try to understand how to chase away all the gremlins.

It took some time to fix. It took some seam ripping to fix. It took some reversals of 90° of the row placements to fix. Most of all, it took confidence that I could make it right if I'd just stay at it!

Below is the correct pattern and the proof that I did it.

Keep your belief in your own abilities! Miss Emma Lynne knew that...

Stay calm and quilt on!

Linking up to Oh Scrap! Link.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Sale At The Golden Gese!

There was lots of quilty fun at The Golden Gese quilt shop on 22 Liberty Street in Concord, New Hampshire on Friday. And shop owner, Nancy, is offering 20% off all her regular bolts' stock and fat quarters for the entire month of July, so plan your visit soon!

Below, is Maureen, with a whole slew of her quilts that were just dropped off by her longarmer service.

Looks like a big binding spree to me, wheeee!

I spy table runners for Christmas presents, shhh, don't tell!

And the leftovers from her Dutchman's Puzzle quilt became another beautiful table runner, too.

I love the backing in a beautiful tan from Barbara Brackman for Moda. Was that from her Metropolitan Fair line? Not sure, but I love it!

Maureen's big quilt this time, seen below, was that Double Square Star that you've seen her working on this summer. That one was a Jenny Doan from Missouri Star Quilt Company pattern. Link.

The colors are just vibrant! Good job, Maureen!

Sue, seen below, is making hay while the sun shines, on her "Storytellers" quilt Block Of the month from Windham's designer, Nancy Gere.

Just look at all those little pieces to keep track of!!!

When you see how it all comes together, it is soooooooooo worth it. Oh my! Beautiful workmanship, Sue!

Beverly, below, had a great start on her tri-color Rhombus quilt and she made more progress on it. You go, girl!

This one is also a Missouri Star free pattern. Link.

One of our favorite Upstairs Gang ladies, Barbara, seen below, came to to show us that she'd finished her Civil War reproduction Churn Dash on point quilt top. Here it is.

The fabrics are so quaint and charming! But you know that I'm biased in that direction, anyway.

She had chosen this 108" wide backing that is also Civil War era reproduction and that's on sale, too!

It will look smashing and I'm coveting some of that backing for myself, now that I think of it.

When I got home, I struggled onward with the quilty yoga to finish picking up all those Jewel Box blocks; bend and stretch, bend and stretch.

Hope that you got a ways along with some fun stuff in your life, too. Don't forget to chomp some chocolate!

Linking up to Love Laugh Quilt. Link.
And to Em's Scrapbag. Link.

Stay calm and quilt on!

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