Wednesday, December 17, 2014

New Log Cabin Blocks

I've slowly cut strips from the stack of low volume prints until I had enough to do something with. It took me awhile to get in the mood to start sewing though, mostly because the charm of these particular fabrics is very, very subtle. Working on the crumb blocks helped a lot, allowing me to see wonderful texture from combining unexpected prints together into a whole. We really shouldn't underestimate the ripple effects simply caused from playing!
My fabric strips
After thinking through different ideas about how to use these fabrics together, I decided on making log cabin blocks. I used to get stuck on the idea that difficult or complicated blocks made for better quilts, but more and more, I'm trying for simplicity {whatever that may be} in order to let the fabric, prints and/or color combination speak 'louder'.

 I cut the low volume strips into random widths from 3/4" to about 3", usually with a mix of several widths per fabric. I wanted the different strips widths so that I could more easily create a 'free' looking block, but I did use a ruler {and the straight of the grain} so I didn't have to worry about weird bias stretching. The fabrics may be quiet and subtle, but they can still have character. Mixing different widths seems like a super easy way to achieve this.
Starting the log cabin blocks
Starting with a set of five, {working in a chain piecing manner}, I made the first log cabin blocks. I sewed the lengths together, ironed them open and then trimmed at the end. Rinse and repeat around the center square. They don't look like much in the picture, but let me tell you, I am very excited to see them come together! The part between envisioning a quilt in my head and then trying to make it happen is often very difficult. Those wispy ideas seem very mercurial and uncertain when in reality, I need to remember that those ideas are just the spark. It's the place where I get started is all. And how many years did it take me to figure that out?*wink
The first 5 blocks on the wall....
Onto the next set of log cabin blocks! I will keep adding strips of fabric until they are approximately 9 1/2" square. Right now I am tentatively planning on making at least 32 blocks. Depending on how I end up setting them though, the number might increase to 40 or more. I like to keep my options open and um... free wheeling? This quilt is much more serious to me than the crumb blocks, but really, it's just a different kind of play.
Starting a new set
And why not? That's the best part about quilting for me, never quite knowing where I'll end up. Every now and then I actually get a result that feels rather brilliant and then all the frustration and agony of making the next decision feels totally worthwhile. When I get bogged down with indecision... well, then I just go play with something like the crumb blocks! Something that feels very no-pressure to me because honestly, I don't much care about the end result. Of course I'll be thrilled if it turns out to be really cool, but if not? What have I really lost? A bit of time and a handful of scraps from the scrap bin!
Crumb Blocks play
And yes, I did end up sewing the little strip of orangey-yellow into the crumb blocks after all. I really like the energy it adds to the quilt, that little unexpected bit of zest. Hmm... I think it's time to leave this on the wall and let it simmer for awhile. There are other, more important, projects beckoning right now!

19 comments:

  1. I had not thought of different width strips for a log cabin block. Well, I have done them where the strips on two sides are wider than the strips on the other two but not mixing widths randomly. I do like the look. A touch of applique at the end would look good.

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  2. I do just love that time when I just play in the scraps. That creativity just fuels more, and more, and more!! So I do understand, and love the direction your creativity is going!! (and sometimes I actually get a quilt done too, LOL!)

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  3. Your log cabin blocks have an improv style to them...looking really good!

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  4. The journey is so much fun even with its moments of indecision!

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  5. it looks really good, looking forward to seeing what it will look like in the end.

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  6. Log cabin is almost my all time favorite, love these.

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  7. The different width of logs is very intriguing. Can't wait to see where it all leads you. I'm glad you left the Orange in your crumb block. It's the spark.

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  8. You inspire me with the Crumb block. I always despair about what to do with random small scraps, and this is a great solution - sew them together to make a fabric! Love the pop of orangey-yellow - it will make the final project sing!

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  9. Letting it simmer...that is the perfect description!!!
    I like the 'zest' and the log cabin blocks are fun. Can't wait to see what happens with them, thanks for sharing the journey.

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  10. Yummy low-volumeness!

    I like your philosophy of our "wispy ideas" being just the spark, not the final real deal; good thing to keep in mind when creating.

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  11. Love your low volume log cabin blocks! The different widths of the centers and logs will make for a very eye catching top I think. I am going to pull my fabrics for my next quilt like you did; I used to do that with bolts at my LQS--now why don't I do that at home--(weird ol' moi!!) thanks for sharing your process. I like freer forms of old favorites...hugs, Julierose

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  12. I enjoy your blog so much. You let your individuality shine through and it's so refreshing. Happy Holidays~

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  13. Very interesting to change the log widths and randomize light/dark. You're so creative. This will be fun to follow.

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  14. I really like the look of these, they look modern even though the fabrics are not, very clever!

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  15. Youre making those scraps sing with these 2 wonderful projects!! Go Audrey!!

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  16. I like that orange strip quite a bit, and it will be fun to see what happens next with the log cabins!

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  17. It been fun catching up with your projects. I love the crumbs play piece. I haven't made crumb blocks, but plan to next year.
    Your log cabin blocks are awesome! I made a similar quilt with black, white and grey for my son - love it!

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