Friday, October 11, 2019

fall-ing for log cabins

fall's here! in theory, at least. most days we still hover in the 90's for now. i feel like it doesn't actually reach us until december. that's desert living. however, now that it's october, i feel safe making seasonal changes inside the house no matter what's going on outdoors. after practically two months of no sewing, on a complete whim i've started a fall log cabin quilt inspired by one i pinned ages ago:

something about this color combination and the log cabin layout really appeals to me, which is kind of funny because i'm not a purple lover. somehow the purple-loving chromosome got left off my X gene. (or is that the gene got left off the chromosome?) i consider myself a girly-girly, but that has never included liking purple. but here i like it!

yesterday i was picking up a sewing machine from servicing and decided to get some purples for my stash so i could make a fall log cabin quilt. then i stopped at my other local store on the way home and got even more bits and pieces.

$$$xxx later, i'm ready to make a fall log cabin quilt! so bad.
interestingly enough, i must have mashed up all the low-volume log cabins i've been admiring lately with the memory of the fall log cabin, because when i looked up the original quilt i had in mind, once i was home and had bought all that fabric, i was really surprised with what i saw. i didn't remember the dark colors at all. but i like both ideas!

i got mostly 1/4 and 1/3 yard cuts of fabric. i really wanted the quilt to be scrappy, so i got a lot of different little bits. obviously, even with small pieces of fabric, there was going to be a lot of leftovers, which was totally fine by me. there are some other layouts i want to make with the same color scheme anyway. so i plan on having a couple of fall quilts when i'm done making with all this fabric.

i decided to work with 2.5" cut strips to get the size of blocks i want quickly. at first i was just cutting one or two strips, but then i realized it would be much easier to just cut each piece into as many strips as i could get from it at once. that way i would have lots of strips for any other quilts i want to make with this fabric pull. almost all were 2.5'" friendly, anyway, so why not?

i've never bought 1/3 yard cuts before, but i was feeling like i might want just a bit more than 1/4 yard and not as much as 1/2 yard with some printss. i like the extra few inches i am getting out of them.

cutting into this heather ross unicorn fabric from stash was nerve-wracking. the unicorn was bigger than the strip i needed and i didn't want to make it look funny or have a lot of waste after i cut. i know it's "only fabric," buuuutttt . . . heather ross out-of-print unicorns!

after making the first few blocks, i realized it is much faster to work on two blocks in tandem. that allows me to let a pressed block sit under some floppy books and get flat without wasting time waiting on it. also, moving from machine to cutting table to pressing board with each addition takes a lot more time than other types of piecing do. the log cabin block is pretty straight forward and simple, it's just time consuming. maybe there's a better way to go about making log cabins, like precutting everything. but i'm just deciding what to add on in what order as i go, only working with strips and trimming once they are on the block.

the process goes something like this:

1. sew the new piece on the block. 
2. trim the strip.
3. press open the strip and leave sitting under some floppy books to aid flattening of the block.
(sometimes i press and then trim.)
4. move back to machine and work on the other block, repeating steps 1-3, while first piece is flattening and cooling.

i keep building both blocks at the same time in this way. without having everything precut (which would also take a lot of time and thinking and prep), it's as close to chainpiecing as i can get. having to press each strip once attached before adding the next one is what takes so long.

i'm pretty sure i would like the look of the blocks even better with thinner strips, but that would take ssoooo much longer! and i'm really hoping that this will be a quick-ish finish. for this fall, not next year.

how many mistakes can you spot with this attachment? at least two. i got everything wrong at once! which also meant i could fix it all at the same time. hand me the seam ripper, please.

both of my unicorn blocks turned out well. i will lose a little of the horn in the seam allowance, but not too much.

six of the 12 needed blocks are complete.
it's time to get back to the other machine.


  1. I can totally relate to not wanting to slice into the HR unicorn! Your quilt is going to be wonderful! Yay for a quick finish!

  2. Well, this fabric is perfect for log cabin blocks. I love all of them together like this.
    These blocks are charming


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