LECIEN LOG CABIN WIP

These days, fabric is coming into the attic quicker than I can cut it up and make things!  As pretty as it looks all piled up on the shelf, and there are a lot of shelves, I recently took some time to start working with the amazing L’s Modern Basics fabrics that Lecien were kind enough to send me. These modern, vibrant blenders are perfect for so many things, but I wanted to really showcase the collection is a clean, graphic way, something which can be at odds with my usually improv piecing method.

I loved that the collection was split into two distinctly different colourways, warm and cool, so decided to work this into my design.  Log cabin blocks lend themselves beautifully to clean lines and optical illusions and are a great way use a large range of prints.  This was clearly the way to go!

I decided to paper piece the blocks as I wanted thin logs, half an inch to be precise, and like the accuracy this method gives.  I drafted a pattern and got cutting.  I’ve spent that last week making up blocks and have loved every second!  The piecing is so addictive and by pre-cutting my pieces to size beforehand, the blocks come together really quickly.

As I made the pattern on quarter-inch dot paper, I found that I was able to use the exact size of fabric for the log and use the dots to line up the pieces before sewing, making everything even easier since there’s no trimming of the seam.  I have the design all planned out and just need a few more blocks before I can start sewing them all together.  Watch this space.

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A GOSSIP QUILT – WIP III

Sometimes the quilting journey is even more enjoyable than the finished quilt, something I can definitely say of the Gossip Quilt.  Placed out of sight for a few good weeks whilst I worked on other things, I returned to this quilt with fresh eyes and renewed enthusiasm.  Creativity swayed the direction many times in the construction of the blocks as well as the final layout.  You may remember my original plan was to have the top composed entirely of full log cabin blocks in the colours featured on the backing fabric.  With my increasing love of negative the quilt top quickly took on a whole new look.

I agonised over the layout with this one, more than I have done with any other quilt I’ve made.  I wanted to convey a sense of gossip, using the blocks as “tidbits” that were spreading and, much like gossip, becoming distorted in the telling.    The layout I finally settled on came to me after some gratefully received Instagram advice.  Never has a design wall been so useful!  The final quilt top is a mash-up of several versions I posted pictures of and I’m so pleased with it.  The weather here in Wales has been atrocious of late so I stole a few moments to photograph this outside during a lull in the rain.  Recently, taking pictures of anything in the house has been a chore, owing to the abundance of grey gloom!  The wind was trying to get the better of me but I was quick fingered on the shutter and ran back inside, pug and quilt top in my arms, before the clouds ripped open once more.

Now to order the batting and decide upon a quilting design…and a thread colour!  In an ideal world there would be a variegated thread with these exact colours running through it.  I’m off to have a look, but not before I link up with Lily’s Quilts for the small blog meet.  You should all know the drill by now!

ACCENTUATE THE NEGATIVE

As many a recording artist has told us, in life we have to “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive“.  Lately I’ve been doing the opposite and giving prominence to the negative, that is, negative space.  With my January blocks for the #NGAQB in the safe keeping of their recipient, it was time to get back to old WIPs abandoned in the name of Christmas and camaraderie.  Top of my list was the Gossip Quilt, which I desperately want to finish.  As I pulled out the blocks and put them back on the design wall, creativity, much like Frodo and the One Ring, took a path I did not expect.  I had negative space on the brain from the ideas formulating in my head for the February #NGAQB block and the more I looked at the Gossip Quilt blocks the more I liked the idea that was forming.

You see, my original plan was to have each 12.5″ block  be a full log cabin, joining them all together to make a 5 x 6 block quilt top.  I took some solid black and began revising the arrangement, adding areas of negative space to and around the log cabins.  I loved it!  Such a simple thing, similar to what I did with the Dinosaur Quilt.  So now, as well as the full size blocks, I’ve started to make smaller log cabin block and sash them in varying widths of black.  I might even have some full 12.5″ square negative space too.  That’s the joy of the design wall; nothing’s place is permanent on it.  Now that the some of the blocks have been reduced in size they’re coming much quicker, and I hope to have the top pieced by next weekend.

Today, I took a break from the Gossip Quilt to work on my February #NGAQB blocks.  All was going well until I came to square up one side…

Yep, I was that much short.  You know those days when nothing seems to go right?  When fabric doesn’t want to play ball and you drop your pins all over the floor, well today was one of those days in the attic.  The negative, the real negative, was well and truly being accentuated.  Apart from some paltry scraps, I had no more of the background grey and didn’t have the patient to order more and wait for it to arrive.  I panicked and got stressed.  I called out to my bee mates for suggestions, taking myself away from the machine whilst I waited for their responses.  A calm descended after a dog walk and a cup of tea.  On my return I looked at the block differently.  They say things happen for  reason and I think they really do.  A quick slice and dice of the block allowed my to add some wonky sashing that has totally transformed it to something I never envisaged.  A happy case of measure once, cut twice!  Don’t you just love it when things like that happen.  My quilting  is far from perfect but sometimes, in the mistakes I make, I see the potential for something closer to it!

Have you ever turned a problem into a positive?

A GOSSIP QUILT – WIP II

I planned to update you on this yesterday.  Alas, my internet connection had other ideas and I spent more time than I would have liked leaning over the back of the TV, unplugging the router and counting to 10.  It’s pleasing to think that in our technology-filled lives, if all should overheat and blow a fuse, at least our trusty needle and thread will see us still sewing.

Despite the technical hitch, I’ve made steady progress on the Gossip Quilt, though I’m still a way off from completing the top.  I spent most of yesterday and this morning piecing blocks, of which there are 30, each finishing at 12.5″ square   I love the randomness and repetitiveness of this project – sew, press, trim, sew, press, trim…

When working on a block I start with a solid center (if you remember from this post, there are 4 solid colours as well as the text and monochromatic fabric) and then add the logs in rounds, squaring up after each set of 4.  The center squares are all different sizes, as are the logs.  I don’t procrastinate over which to use and tend to choose at random, though I do try and have mixture of prints and widths within each block.  So far, I’ve only made pink ones; I have the blue solid cut up ready and will purchase the yellow and orange next week.

A GOSSIP QUILT – WIP

Many things inspire me when I think about making a new quilt.  In the past I’ve found inspiration in photographs, wallpaper and the landscape around me.  However, more often than not, fabric sparks the first idea.  Most of the time I’m a quilter who takes fabric, be it a single fat quarter or an entire collection, and builds a quilt around it, rather than using a pattern or specific block.

So is the case with the next quilt on my to-do list, tentatively entitled ‘Gossip’.  Like the dinosaur quilt before, it was the backing fabric that dictated how the quilt should look.  I remember when I first saw it, in IKEA of all places, and knew that it would make a great quilt back.  They have some wonderful 100%  cotton fabrics there, almost all wider than your average bolt of quilting fabric, making them ideal for backing.  Half an hour later, 4 meters of it was riding shotgun home with me.  I choose the name ‘Gossip” as the women’s faces suggest that’s exactly what they’re doing; sharing secrets and scandal at an afternoon at the baths.  What do you think?

The picture doesn’t do the vibrancy of the colours any justice – pops of neon yellow, pink, orange and blue jump out from the monochrome outlines of the design.  My idea was to take these colours in matching solids and combine them with text, black, white and grey-scale prints in log cabin blocks to create a striking and graphic-looking quilt.  I wanted the monochromatic fabrics to dominate, with the colours appearing here and there, much like the backing fabric, and I liked the idea of using text prints to echo the talkative nature of the fabric’s figures.

When I read other quilting blogs, more than the finished quilts I look forward to reading about the process behind it.  When making my own I like to document everything and share it here.  I usually start with a rough sketch, using it to determine the finished quilt’s size and rough block layout.  I then use this to make a first, or practice, block.

Remember these fabrics?  Yesterday I cut into them, along with others from stash, and made a few blocks.  I’m still waiting for more text fabrics to arrive, and also need to pick up a yellow and orange solid when I visit the village haberdashery at the end of the month.  I want to buy them in person so I can make the closest match possible.  The Kona valentine in this first block came from this purchase and was the perfect choice.  Don’t you love it when the same fabric works for different projects!

Look out for more blocks soon.