Saturday, July 6, 2019

A Tried and True Idea That Never Seems to Get Boring

I was able to put in some good long hours on the improv. quarter log cabin quilt these last couple days.. It's an old design, but it never gets boring. All the kids were gone on the Fourth of July and we had such a peaceful day! I made a mac salad and the husband grilled us a burger. Would you believe, we didn't feel like we'd missed out on a single thing by being lazy with our day. This year I think we just needed the peace and quiet more than any socializing.
Improv. Log Cabin
Before trimming up the blocks, I laid them all out on the floor in an approximate layout. Once I had settled on a seemingly balanced layout, then I proceeded to trim the sides to 15" {the 'sane' number!}. Since I had cut and sewn them in the improv. style, they were anywhere from 15 1/4" to 18", but I didn't worry about the length so only trimmed them to be straight across the top and bottom.
It's not really a bat, honest! It's a bird in flight...
Like always, I stacked them into neat little piles with the row number pinned to the top block. Then I started making the three applique blocks. At the bottom of this post is a picture of the little drawing I made just before diving into this project. It's pretty common for me to make a doodle of the potential quilt that I'm making, but actually very uncommon of me to follow it to a T. 
Loving these colors
Luckily I stopped myself before finishing the applique work on all three blocks, as I had a hunch three might would be overkill. Just to check and be sure, I took my little stacks of blocks and did a quick layout with the background only of the applique blocks included. {Sorry, no pic as it was very late in the evening for that foray!} 

When I laid the proposed applique fabric across the top of the blocks, it was so interesting to see that the blue fabric I had chosen for the birds was NOT going to work after all. In fact, it required a deep dig into the stash totes to find something, anything! in the darker coral fabrics instead. At first I thought to use some of that raspberry colored plaid included in the quarter log cabin blocks, but it just felt too predictable. Too matchy matchy. Too meh! Choosing colors can still surprise me. You think it's so easy, so very obvious, and then, it's really not. 
Sashing worked out pretty good!
Addressing the applique blocks, I needed a shape to cut out. Still hadn't come up with anything good. Try as I might, there was not a single 'flying' bird template anywhere, in any of my books, that suited. I looked all over Pinterest too, thinking surely there was something that would fit the particular mood of this quilt. 

Finally, I went back to my little doodle drawing in defeat and quickly drew up the strange little bird that I had scribbled a couple months back. Just to have a starting point. Which, okay! Wow! Turned out a little more interesting than I had thought it would. Simple, but striking. One flying bird was just enough. Three was definitely too many. Not going to force it! And if you think my bird looks like a bat, that' okay too. I never said you had to like it.
Just a little bit of make-do sewing included
So then it was time to settle on the fabrics for between the blocks in the vertical rows and also the longer vertical sashing strips. Coming up with the very light cream for between the blocks was fairly simple. Everything else sort of disappeared or was entirely too dark, and I really didn't want to go scrappy on that part of the quilt so mixing up the fabrics was a big no

The longer, wider sashing strips were much harder to define and I dithered over a couple different dark fabrics until early one morning {half asleep}, I remembered this floral reproduction print I had bought several years ago. All my larger pieces of fabric have usually been bought for a border, background or backing. Sometimes they don't work out as planned or I hijack them for another project before they actually get used for the initial purpose.  Hmm...  I wonder? And though it seemed a little too 'yellow' at first glance, I went ahead and went with it, loving the old fashioned look to the floral and faint stripe underneath.
A quick quilty doodle drawing
All through the sewing, I was crossing my fingers that this particular choice wasn't a huge mistake, because it's not an obvious good choice either. Sometimes we just go with our gut and hope it all works out! 

Somehow in the final layout audition, several blocks got moved around {for better color flow don't you know!} and imagine my surprise when 5-6 blocks were much too wide to sew onto the 15" cream block sashing strips. Seriously? So apparently some of the blocks are now a perfect 15" square and there was a bit less of the 'make-do' look that I was hoping to see from vertical row to row. comparison-wise. Oh well! 

Overall I'm very happy with how this quilt top turned out. It seems to be a great mix of old utility quilt style and modern make-do'ism. Is that a word? Linking up with Wendy-s Peacock Party and also Julies test Linky Party. It's not a true-blue 4th of July quilt, but I thoroughly enjoyed working on it over the holiday regardless. Already have lots of ideas for the next quarter log cabin quilt too! Isn't that just the way it works around here....


  1. I think you always get a quilt to make do! it always works out in the end - love all the colors in this

  2. I really like the color combination and the layout. Making do is what adds character to quilts. I try to add those in my quilts.

  3. I love it!! I need to do a strip quilt using that pattern...just must do it!

  4. What fun. Your bird looks like a bird in a large flower to me although I’ve no idea why she is nesting there.🙂 A quiet Fourth sounds good to us, too, now that the kids are grown and gone.
    Thanks for sharing your process.

  5. I like the fabric you chose for the stashing. It's just dark enough to reced and let the blocks come forward. It's nice to have a quiet holiday now and then.

  6. Loving the colours in this! The peach & blue combo have always been a favourite of mine, and that 'pop' of pink really makes it! I also like how you've sashed this one, makes a nice change from just setting the blocks next to each other.

  7. I love that you're already thinking about the next quilt. It's never ending, isn't it. The little whimsical bird is a nice touch.

  8. We had a relaxing day at home too with just hubby and I. We didn't even step outside to see fireworks!
    Love your quilt!

  9. Fun utility/modern style top, those are the best kind! I enjoyed your process, an exciting adventure.
    We went for a walk on the Fourth and heard fireworks, we walked along the beach trail and saw about 20 dolphins swimming past. It's not every day we see that, it was a treat.

  10. One, I love the blue/coral combo. Two, that bird is the bomb! And three, I'm impressed that you stuck to your original idea this closely. (It seems that I never even get started with a solid idea.) This quilt is going to be awesome. I can't wait to see it all finished!


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