Building a Log Cabin Workshop

The Log Cabin block is one of my favourites to piece. I find the huge range of layouts that can be made just by re-orientating a few of these blocks quite fascinating. So when a quilt group friend expressed an interest in learning how to make a Log Cabin quilt my little brain cogs starting whirring!

Whirligig Log Cabin by Allison Reid
Log Cabin blocks arranged in a ‘Whirligig’ pattern – I made this quilt way back in 2015
Another of my Log Cabin quilts. The blocks are arranged in a ‘Fields and Furrows’ layout

First of all I gave some thought to the skills and techniques I could teach using the Log Cabin block. I decided to teach a basic square-in-the-middle block using speedy strip piecing techniques for part of the workshop and then switch to the slower, but more precise, individual rotary cut piece technique to make curved Log Cabin blocks.

Log Cabin Class Quilt (1) by Allison ReidNext step was to draw up the blocks and play around with layouts on EQ7…

The blocks are 10″ finished and the quilt top with borders measures 68″ square. Once I started getting down to the nitty-gritty math of the quilt I was pleased to find this pattern will be ‘Jelly Roll friendly’. I was even more pleased when I found a Moda French General Jelly Roll listed on Lucy’s ‘Secret Garden Quilting’ website that looked to have the limited colour palette I had in mind for my sample quilt 🙂

And whoopie-do when the Jelly Roll arrived – and I did that brave thing and unrolled it – I found just the right number of blue strips and red strips required for the quilt top 🙂 There are a few beige strips too and these  can be used as background. The beige strips helped me to colour-match low-volume fabrics from my stash to make up the 2m of background fabric I’ve calculated is needed to complete the design . We shall see! Obviously making up a sample quilt is a good and necessary part of testing a pattern but it’s fun too; seeing an idea move from paper or a screen to being realised in fabrics.

Stars and Moons jelly roll by Allison Reid
Moda ‘Vive La France’ Jelly Roll
Stars and Moons jelly roll strips by Allison Reid
Vive La France Jelly Roll strips decorating my design wall 🙂

This morning I spent a couple of hours making a start writing the pattern on my lap top. It takes me quite a while to do this. As I’m writing I think through the logical steps in choosing fabrics, cutting the fabrics, making the blocks and putting the quilt top together. I enjoy teaching workshops using my own patterns as I get to see them being used and I learn more about the different ways patchwork quilters read and interpret patterns.

I’m planning to schedule the ‘Build a Log Cabin Workshop’ for early in the New Year. Keep an eye on the Workshop of this blog for a date and venue 🙂

While the Log Cabin workshop pattern has some way to go before publication you can find my other patterns by clicking on to my Etsy Shop, www.etsy.com/uk/shop/AllisonsPatchworks . Most are available as instant download PDFs, a few are hard copy paper patterns for sale in the UK only.

Linking with Judy for Design Wall Monday. Judy has a teeny-tiny Apple Core quilt in the making. Also linking with Beth for Monday Making, she shares the beautiful square-in-a-square applique quilt she has been busy working on the past week.

Allison

Not Your Typical Bank Holiday Monday!

Today is an atypical Bank Holiday Monday. For one it is sunny and VERY hot! Being British we plan for cool, rainy holidays….

Secondly, in our household we are waiting, waiting… To hear from our eldest son who was admitted to hospital last night and is undergoing emergency hernia surgery as I write. To occupy our anxious wait I have retreated to the relative cool of my sewing room while my husband is in the sitting room watching the hi-lights of yesterday’s dramatic Ashes Test match.

Yesterday evening, blissfully unaware that our son (who lives across town) was writhing around in agony, I managed to complete all the fmq feather swirls on the first Square-in-a-Square quilt. My free motion ‘skills’ produced a variety of swirls – some with just seven feathers others with ten. But I am content with the overall look.

Square in a Square FMQ feather swirl (3) by Allison Reid

Square in a Square FMQ feather swirl (2) by Allison Reid

Now. with my heart beating a little faster than is necessary for the activity involved, I am squaring off the quilt and preparing to attach the binding. Thankfully neither job requires my full attention 🙂

Square in a Square trimming by Allison Reid

I am so thankful to our God for the gift of prayer. Yesterday morning we sat with both our sons in Church, we sang God’s praises together, prayed together and shared in Holy Communion together. Our God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow 🙂 We can trust him through the good times and the difficult times.

Linking with Beth for Monday Making and Em for Moving It Forward Monday.

Allison

Blue Monday and the latest Just A Card campaign

The countdown to my ‘Into the Woods’ foundation paper piecing and crazy patchwork workshop is well underway. The 12th July really isn’t too far distant now so I have a build-up of nervous energy to tap into as I prepare for the big day! I’ve made a start on a monochromatic version of the Into the Woods runner. Raiding my colour sorted STASH (stash = pieces of fabric larger than a fat quarter) and my colour sorted SCRAPS (you won’t be surprised to read: scraps = pieces of fabric smaller than a fat quarter) made me realise that I have a LOT of blue fabric pieces so the colour choice was already shouting at me!

Read moreBlue Monday and the latest Just A Card campaign

Free Motion Quilting – issues of scale and contentment

Well! I’ve made a start free motion quilting my Scrappy Trip Along quilt. I can’t say it’s been plain sailing! Never mind, I’m doing it!

Scrappy Trip Along top with borders by Allison Reid
Scrappy Trip Along quilt top.

I’ve found one of the issues I have with fmq is creating the ‘right’ scale. Ideally I want to achieve a fairly open quilting pattern so the finished quilt will feel soft and drape easily. However I end up with stitching lines closer together than I intend. I think there are two factors playing against my intentions (in addition to lack of skill!):

  1. I’m concentrating on the small section of quilt under the machine foot and bordered by the span of my fairly small hands.
  2. Any lines of stitching behind the needle are obscured by the machine foot and the body of the sewing machine so I sometimes mis-judge how close I am stitching to previous stitching.

The quilters view by Allison Reid

Here is the first feathered swirl I stitched. It measures a much smaller than intended, 6″ long by 5″ wide:

Scrappy Trip Along small feathered swirl by Allison Reid

My second feathered swirls measures a much more satisfactory 13″ long by 9″ wide:

Scrappy Trip Along large feathered swirl by Allison Reid

The second is larger because I drew the curved spine of the feathered swirl onto the quilt using a Chaco marker. I found this simple measure a great help in stitching out a larger, more open, relaxed motif. Not perfect by any means but much nearer to what I’d set out to achieve.

Serendipity and all that….  Teri of TerifiCreations shared a short, encouraging video clip by Angela Walters’ entitled ‘Three Things Quilters Shouldn’t Do‘. It spoke to me at just the right time 🙂 encouraging me to stop doing these things and start enjoying the quilting I am doing!

Finally: A shout out for what a wonderful bunch of people there are inhabiting the Worldwide Quilting Community. This morning I was so fortunate to have Jo Westfoot aka ‘The Crafty Nomad’ come visit me at home to, in typically generous fashion, share her knowledge of the Electric Quilt software. Thanks to Jo I’m now much closer to publishing my first foundation paper pieced pattern 🙂 Her kindness didn’t stop there though! With her encouragement and practical experience I have for the first time submitted a quilt pattern to a magazine! How exciting! As my boys would say, ‘Nothing ventured, nothing gained!’

Check out Jo’s website, gorgeous patterns, subscription groups and workshops here and let’s keep being thankful for the lovely community built around the craft of patchwork quilting.

I’m off to enjoy some more free motion quilting 🙂

Joining in with Moving it Forward Monday over at Em’s Scrapbag and with Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt.

Allison