Friday, November 30, 2012

Sandy Quilt Block Drive - An Update

Yes, the blocks should have been shipped off by now, but Thanksgiving happened and it was the best TG ever!  Now that all the feasting is done, it's back to finishing those blocks! To refresh our memories, here are the blocks at 6-1/2 inches and you can catch up on the start of this project here.

So, on with the sewing and pressing and trimming and pressing...

And here they are at 10-1/2" square.

Notice how they look right up against one another.  Actually let me show you a close up of a pair of blocks. They kind of blend into each other.

Here are two blocks with sashing and four without...Okay, I have to admit each grouping has its own charm.  However, in order to create wonkiness, the sashing is necessary. The black borders give them a stained glass look, don't you think?

It's late now, so we'll save the finale for another day, but hold on to this last image because the finished blocks look amazing! 


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Monday, November 19, 2012

Sandy Quilt Block Drive - In the Beginning

A block made following Quilting Gallery's Tutorial
Wonky Scrappy Log Cabin Quilt Block

The Quilting Gallery needs help with their first ever Quilt Block Drive for victims of  super storm Sandy.  I volunteered to make 10 blocks for the Sandy Quilt Block Drive.

They've provided a great tutorial for the Wonky Scrappy Log Cabin Quilt Block, a sample block of which is pictured above.

So I got organized and pulled out all the strips I've collected over the years. Each strip should measure between 0.75" and 2".

Strips from my stash
Washed and ironed several more fat quarters, also from my stash.

Fat Quarters at the ready
Cut more strips.

And began organizing my work area.  Placed the instructions in a visible location away from all the activity.

Instructions from Tutorial without pictures
Set up my cutting table with ruler and rotary cutter.

Cutting Station
Turned the iron on high.

Ironing Station
Readied the sewing machine.

Sewing Station
And began chain piecing the first two 1-1/2" squares.

Chain piecing center of block
They were pressed open and away from the center.  The third strip was then added.

Chain piecing the third strip
The sewn seams were pressed in place.

Pressing sewn seams prior to trimming
The blocks were then trimmed even with the top and bottom of the block.

Blocks are trimmed
And pressed open.

Pressed open
And so the process continued of chain piecing, pressing, trimming and pressing. And pretty soon the sewing area looked pretty messy.

Time to clean up!
My blocks (14 in all) currently measure 6-1/2" square.  They're supposed to finish at around 11.5" without borders and finish at between 13" to 14.5" after a 2" border is sewn on all four sides of each block.  So I'm at the halfway point.

Hope to get them done by tomorrow evening so I can mail them on Tuesday.  Here is a preview of what my blocks look like on the design wall.

I love quilting!  And I love quilting even more when it's for such a good cause!


Monday, November 5, 2012

Greek Key Log Cabin Quilt - Tutorial

This design is also known as a Spiral Log Cabin.

This wall quilt is 20 inches square
Selecting fabrics for a quilt is the first and one of the most enjoyable steps in designing and making a quilt.  All fabrics were fat quarters that were picked from an existing stash.

Dots, checks and stripes

Using my colored drawing, I picked the focus fabric.  Because this focus fabric would have to serve as the last log, (22" long) and because fat quarters are cut 18" by 22" long, I decided to cut the strips 2" wide and also folded each fat quarter in half along the 22" edge, prior to cutting.

Colored drawing
I then created a strawman for the sewing sequence and penciled in the color replacements at the bottom of the drawing, along with the cutting measurements for each log.  I next calculated the number of strips I would need from each fabric and wrote that at the top of the strawman.

Strawman of sewing sequence
Strips were cut 2" wide for a finished size of 1-1/2" logs.

2" wide strips
Following the sewing sequence on the strawman, the first two logs at the center of the block were sewn together, the length trimmed to equal the width and pressed away from the center (checked fabric in this case) of the block.
1st 4 logs are sewn
Instead of cutting each log to the required length, the strip method of sewing the logs together saved a lot of time.  The new strip is placed right side up, the sewn block placed on the strip face down on it (making sure the new log is sewn on the correct edge).  This strip piecing method saves a great deal of time if several log cabin blocks have to be made.

Sewn block is placed on strip
What I noticed was that, beginning with the 5th log, the log that comprised the same fabric as the new strip always appeared in the top right hand corner.

Block placement
To avoid skewing the block, the strip is placed a tiny bit above the block.  The sewn block is then squared up by cutting away the excess at the top and bottom of the block.

Cut excess fabric at top of sewn block
Cut excess fabric at bottom of sewn block
All sewn seams are pressed away from the center of the block.

Press all seams towards newest log
The rhythm therefore is to sew, trim and press.  With the quilt top done, it was time to decide on the binding fabric.  Because the block is so graphic and angular, I decided on a floral fabric for the binding.

Floral binding fabric
The quilt top was layered with batting and backing fabric and pinned in place. The batting and backing fabric were then cut 1/2" larger than the quilt top, so that the binding finished at 3/4".

Quilt top layered and pinned
The top was quilted in the ditch (within the seams), the binding was sewn on and the quilt was done!

Quilted and bound 
Here is the back of the quilt.

Back of quilt
The quilt can be used as a table topper or as a wall hanging.

Table topper
I hope you enjoy making this log cabin quilt as much as I did.