Monday, September 26, 2011

I like it better this way, anyway

My son's new quilt. I'm maybe halfway done with the top. I like it so much better.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

So much for that

Remember that log cabin quilt I was working so hard on?  The one I was working so hard on, even though I didn't care for the colors anymore, because I wanted to make a nice blanket for my son?

This quilt?

I was wondering and wondering why I couldn't figure out how to lay the squares in a barn raising arrangement.  I even broke down and tried mapping it out on graph paper, planning on another quilt where I'd be assembling blocks clockwise, counterclockwise, and with the light and dark logs in different orders.  I still couldn't figure it out.  So I Googled it, and then re-read the book I bought.  And it turns out that the arrangement is really easy.

When you assemble the blocks correctly.

It turns out that the top log and the right-side log are supposed to be one color, and the bottom and left-side logs are another color.  Mine are put together...backwards?  Sideways?  Not correctly, anyway.  And even though I know that they could still be put together to form a perfectly warm and cuddly quilt, I also know that it would bug me if I did that.  So, with 11 out of the necessary 25 blocks completed, I'm scrapping the project.  Instead, I'll use what's left of my fabric to make a housetop quilt, which is like one giant log cabin block.  It'll be too much work to disassemble all of my blocks to re-use the fabric, so I think I'll probably make them into potholders.  My brother is on the process of buying a condo, so, happy housewarming Rob! 

On the plus side, my daughter's quilt is coming together beautifully.  I'm halfway done with the quilt top.  It's nice that at least one project is working out.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Kids' quilts

Today I bought fabric for my daughter's lap quilt.  I got four fat quarters and one charm pack (Moda's City Weekend collection, if you feel like Googling).  And I have to say, charm packs are AMAZING.  Pre-cut squares?  I'm in love.  You can tell that the bottom row is from the fat quarters I picked out because they're so imperfectly cut.

It's just going to be basic patchwork squares, but I really like the mismatched nature of it.  Well, half of it will be coordinated nicely because it came from one collection, but the other half will be sort of random.  But when I think of a homemade patchwork quilt I just think of cheery colors, and that's what this will be.

I'm still forging ahead on my son's lap quilt.  I have five blocks done...twenty-five to go.  As always, Lucky Lou is part of the shot.

Both of the quilts will be son's will be about three and a half feet by four feet, and my daughter's will be slightly smaller.  I wanted them to be big enough to cover the kids, but small enough for them to drag around and spread out by themselves.  Also, I want to quilt these on my machine, and I might be able to since they're small.

I'm still not crazy about my log cabin quilt blocks, but I'm hoping that they'll "read" as a cohesive pattern once they're together.  We'll see.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Best-laid plans

So I know I planned on making two quilts...a barn raising log cabin quilt, and a housetop quilt for my kids.  But when my son saw my practice log cabin quilt squares he asked excitedly if it was his quilt, and I didn't have the heart to say no.  I still want to make a housetop quilt, but it will have to wait a while.

The other change is the pattern...that barn raising thing is HARD.  At least for me, it is. So I abandoned the idea of doing that, and laid out the squares like this instead.

Oh, the paw belongs to my sewing buddy, Lucky Lou.
Lucky likes to hang out in the basement, and I have all my sewing stuff in a little corner.  So when I sew he sometimes comes and annoys me keeps me company. 

So anyway, back to the squares.  I'm not crazy about the layout.  I tried a few others and didn't like them either.  I'm also not happy with the colors.  In fact, you can see that I messed up lower right square in the picture above, but I'm not sure I'll bother to go back and fix it.  At this point I'd be tempted to scrap the whole project, but my son is already attached to "his" quilt.  I just keep reminding myself that this is a learning process, and that the most important part of this is what I learn, not what I produce.  I have years, even decades to make the perfect barn raising log cabin quilt.  Turning out a less-than-ideal quilt is not a bad thing if I learn from it.

Still, I wish I'd picked better fabrics.  Damn.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Planning my next quilt

My husband works at a bookstore, and gets a pretty good employee discount.  Recently he bought me a book called Modern Log Cabin Quilting. I had kind of a soft spot for log cabin quilts because when I worked at a living history museum in college we were working on making a reproduction of a log cabin quilt from the 1800s.  At the time I hated the slow process of piecing each block by hand, but even then I thought the quilt was beautiful.  Now that I'm no longer afraid of my sewing machine and I've discovered how much fun machine quilting can be, I was eager to read about modern log cabin quilts.

After reading this book, I have to say, my love of log cabin has intensified.  There are so many beautiful variations and the blocks seem so versatile.  So in a couple weeks I'll start work on a pattern called a housetop quilt, which is just a big, simplified log cabin square.  I wanted to make a quilt for my kids to snuggle under in the living room while they read or watch TV.  However, they both seem to love the quilt on my bed and my son has repeatedly requested "a quilt of my very own," so I may wind up making one for each of them.  My son will pick out all the materials since it'll be his.  In the meantime I'm going to practice piecing traditional log cabin squares with my scrap fabric, and once I'm comfortable I'm going to start making a quilt in a barn raising arrangement.  I want to make it brown and green, and I figured I'd just use my own scraps and then pick up fat quarters of different brown and green fabrics that I like.  I think it'll look okay with different fabric patterns as long as I stick with just a few colors.

I'm excited, but slightly nervous.  When I made my first quilt I was winging it the entire time.  Now that I've read and learned more I feel like there's a "right way" and a "wrong way," and I don't want to screw up.  I'm not going to worry about it too much though...that'll suck the fun out of it.  And what's the point of pursuing this hobby if it's not fun?