New Orleans House Project

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Thinkin' About RSC 2018: A Quarter Log Cabin Tutorial

As the year comes to a close, I find myself looking back at the year's quilting projects and also looking ahead and planning my quilty priorities for the coming year.  I'll save the year-end wrap-up for another post, because for the past few days I have been playing with scraps for a 2018 Rainbow Scrap Challenge project.

I find that some of my favorite RSC projects have involved fairly simple piecing - something that can be completed in just an hour or so of fabric play time.  It's very satisfying to be able to complete a block while I'm waiting for Dear Hubby to come home from work, or even on my lunch break - working from home has its perks!

With that in mind, I thought I might like to make a version of the "cross" quilts that have been popular for the last few years.  After looking at lots of quilts online and on Instagram, I chose the cover quilt from Modern Log Cabin Quilting as my inspiration.

After reading through the author's instructions, I knew I would need to make modifications in order to utilize my scraps.  I also decided to use reproduction/traditional fabric scraps, so I guess my version won't really be "modern".  No worries, the pattern is actually based on our age-old favorite, the log cabin block.

I grabbed some red and green scraps (c'mon - it's Christmas!) and a variety of background fabrics, and started measuring and cutting.  Since many of my scraps are already cut into 2.5 inch strips and squares, I used that as my starting point.

Each cross block requires:
4 - 2.5 inch squares of the focus (dark) fabric
4 - 2.5 inch squares of background (light) fabric
4 - 2.5 inch x 4.5 inch rectangles of focus (dark) fabric
4 - 2.5 inch x 4.5 inch rectangles of background (light) fabric
4 - 2.5 inch x 6.5 inch rectangles of background (light) fabric

Start with 4 2.5 inch squares of the focus (dark) and background (light) fabrics.  Stitch one dark and one light square together and press the seam toward the darker fabric.

Next up, add the dark 2.5 inch by 4.5 inch rectangles to each set of squares, keeping the dark fabric square on the right (see above).  Press the seams to the dark side.

Now add the 2.5 inch by 4.5 inch light rectangle as illustrated.  Press the seam to the outside.

The final rectangle (2.5 inches by 6.5 inches) is added to the top of the block. 

This time, press the seam toward the inside of the block - this will allow the quarter log units to align smoothly (nestle) when stitched together.

The completed quarter log units should look like this.

Arrange the quarter log units into a cross shape.  Stitch two units together to make the left half of the cross, then the other two units for the right half of the cross.  Finally, stitch the right and left sides together with one long seam down the middle.  I pressed the final seam open instead of to one side or the other.  

Finished block!

The finished blocks measure 12 inches.  Since I never seem to be able to make small quilts, I figure I'll aim for at least a twin bed sized quilt: possibly 6 x7 blocks.  These are kind of like potato chips - once you get started, you just want to keep making them!  I've already picked out more red and green scraps for the next round of blocks.

More scrappy inspiration to be found at Angela's Soscrappy blog this morning.  

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Slow Wrap-Up

I'm still trying to wrap up some Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects before the end of the year.  Between work-related travel and other holiday-related activities this week, not much sewing took place.  Still, little bits of stitching here and there help get the projects completed and provide soothing fabric therapy when life gets stressful!

I did manage to stitch the binding to the front of the Carpenter's Wheel quilt.  Before attaching the binding, I decided to add a hanging sleeve (the lighter strip of white fabric in the middle of the picture).  I'd like to enter this quilt in a local quilt show this spring, so having a sleeve already attached will make life easier.  The quilt sleeve can be made of the same fabric as the quilt backing, or something that coordinates with the quilt - or whatever fabric you fancy.

My method for making a quilt-hanging sleeve is to cut a strip 10 inches wide and 4-5 inches shorter than the length of the top of the quilt.  On the short edges of the fabric strip, fold a quarter of an inch of fabric to the wrong side and stitch in place to create a hem.  Next, press the strip, right sides together, so the long raw edges are together.  Baste the long, raw edges of the strip to the top of the quilt with a scant quarter inch seam.  When you stitch the binding to the quilt, the regular seam will hold the sleeve in place - be careful not to catch any other part of the sleeve in the binding seam.  Now you only need to hand stitch the bottom edge of the sleeve to the quilt backing!

Another project waiting for end-of-year wrap up is the blue and white sawtooth star quilt.  I've been waiting for some fabric samples to audition for a final outer border.  The fabrics arrived this week, so I taped them up next to the quilt to try to make a decision.
Here's fabric choice #1.  Maybe a little too dark?

Choice #2.  I love the birds, but maybe they are a distraction?

Choice #3.  In person, I thought this fabric might be too light in color, but the photograph makes it look pretty good.  What do you think about the 3 choices?

I've been out running the roads all day, wrapping up various Christmas preparations.  I'm looking forward to a cup of hot tea and checking out more Rainbow Scrap project wrap-ups.  Maybe I'll even do some stitching on the Carpenter's Wheel binding...

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Sneaux Day Quilting

You may have heard that parts of the Deep South experienced a little snowfall yesterday.  
At our house, all we had was cold rain and sleet, although a few places around town reported seeing fat, wet flakes falling from the sky.  Just north of the city there was enough snow to accumulate, which caused snowman building and snowball fights, not to mention vehicles slipping and sliding all over the roads.  Apparently Mike the Tiger, LSU's mascot, enjoyed his sneaux day, too!

You'd think the inclement weather would be a perfect excuse to stay home and quilt, but it didn't really work out that way.  Dear Hubby and I had planned on taking vacation days in honor of his birthday, so neither of us had to work.  Since the weather wasn't great for driving, our plans to go to the camp and/or do some antiquing got scrapped, and we wound up baking (bread and cookies) and doing Christmas decorating.   I tried to sneak in a little quilt-related activity, but didn't get far.

I started to trim the excess backing and batting from my Carpenter's Wheel quilt, but only finished one side.  I made the binding (all 300+ inches of it) last weekend, so once the quilt is trimmed and squared up, I will stitch the binding in place.  This quilt was a Rainbow Scrap Challenge project in 2014; it's been hanging around, waiting for binding for over a year, so I'd really like to put in the finishing stitches before the end of 2017!

I made this mini 9-patch several years ago, using up scraps from Bento Box quilts I had made for my nieces.  
Bento Box quilt under construction, circa 2009.  Pattern by Tracey Brookshier.

The mini 9-patch sat around for a long time, waiting to be quilted.  Last week I decided this quilt needed to be DONE and set to work layering and pinning.  I found the just the right shade of orange thread in my stash and started by quilting in the ditch, because that was the easiest thing to do.  Next I did some quilting a quarter inch from the seams in the setting triangles.  I decided I liked the quarter inch quilting much better than quilting in the ditch and vowed never to use ditch quilting again unless absolutely necessary!  I finished up with more quarter inch quilting around the center of each 9-patch.  
I've almost finished hand-stitching the binding to the back of the quilt.  I love this orange bandana print backing!  

One more Finish 'Er Up project has been on the front burner over the past few weeks.  This quilt was inspired by a month of blue scraps for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  I've been working on it in fits and starts since the end of 2013, so I think it's time for this one to be DONE, too!

The quilt measures about 80 inches square right now, but I want it to fit on a queen-sized bed, so it needs to be at least 10 inches larger all around.  I want a blue and white fabric for an outer border, but haven't found The Right Thing at my local quilt shops.  I think I found a couple of candidates online, so I'm waiting for samples to arrive before I order yardage.  

Those are the projects I hope to wrap up for the end of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge this year.  I still have plenty of RSC UFOs, but they will have to wait a bit longer to get finished.  In the meantime, I will be checking out how other RSC quilters are wrapping up their projects for the year!