Sunday, March 28, 2010

Log Cabin Sampler

I've named this king-size quilt "Log Cabin Sampler" because it has
  1. several ways to arrange log cabin blocks to create different patterns
  2. many machine quilting techniques -- there is straightline stitching and stitch-in-the-ditch with a walking foot, free motion stippling, and a free motion pattern.  While I was in the process of making the log cabin squares, I took a free-motion class, and used the black sections of the quilt to try out different patterns.  They're all  angular (squares or triangles) to match the quilt ... and because I'm not too comfortable with curves yet!
  3. quilt-as-you-go (the large sections are quilted separately, and then connected using sashing) as well as traditional block assembly (inside the large sections.)

Here's another view that shows how I did the corners: 

If you're interested in the details .......


It took 186 of these log cabin squares.  These were combined with plain black sections to create 2 white diamond sections, 3 black diamond sections, 4 windmill sections, and 9 vee sections for the zig-zag around the edges


Then I quilted each section.  I did straight-line quilting or stich-in-the-ditch for the log cabin blocks, because they are already busy enough, and I wasn't quite ready to try free-motion going over all those seams.  I practiced my stippling on the black sections.  Here's one example -- I used black thread on the black fabric, because I really did not want the quilting to be the focal point of the whole quilt.  The design created by the log cabin blocks was really my focus.  Anyway, I tried to get a picture of some of this stippling, but the black-on-black was kinda hard to photograph .... it looks a lot better in real life!

Finally, I came up with a free-motion pattern for the blocks in the corners, and also for the 3 "header" sections at the top of the quilt.  This pattern was actually a doodle that my grandfather's 2nd wife,  Mabel, taught me when I was a kid.  I didn't really know her that well or spend much time with her, but I do remember sitting with her and learning this doodle.  Funny the things we remember. 
Stephanie, the quilting class instructor, had suggested using red thread for quilting on the black fabric, but I was  (at that time!) a little bit afraid of doing anything that would stand out and show all my mistakes!  By the time I had done all the large blocks, however, I was ready to give it a try, so these header blocks are for Stephanie!  They came out great, although they have almost an Oriental style that doesn't really match the rest of the quilt.  But I like them anyway.  I used a programmed stitch on my machine to do the extra border inside each section.