Sit down, grab a cuppa, this is a long one! Nothing dramatic, just one of those conversational posts with lots of photos that I feel compelled to write every now and then.
Back in November last year I picked up a jelly roll* (40 strips, 2.5″ wide) and two mini-charm packs (2.5″ square) of Carolyn Friedlander’s new line Gleaned.
The colours are fresh and modern and play so well with all of Carolyn’s other lines (something I love about her fabrics). I also really love the botanical flavour of many of the prints, especially as I’ve just been reading the latest Uppercase book, which is full of beautiful blooms.
And includes a spread on artist and fabric designer Bari J Ackerman!
There’s also some rather pretty botanica right outside my window at the moment…
But I digress. Anyway, these pre-cuts sat on my (messy) sewing table for quite a bit while I considered what to do with them. I circled back to log cabins blocks because they’re just so easy when using the 2.5″ strips from a roll.
I really liked the colour order used to put the jelly roll together and wanted to keep the neighbouring colours together as “centres” and “logs”.
Aren’t these fantastic neutrals/low-volumes?
When I unwrapped all the mini charms I just took the top colour off and popped it underneath the pile (see below). Then all the centres were one colour further along the colour order than the logs. I just sewed my log cabins from the two colours that were at the top of both piles.
I found I could make two log cabin blocks from each fabric strip (using 2 x mini-charm squares). If you can’t find mini-charm packs, it’s easy enough to take a layer cake* (10″) and chop it into quarters (2.5″).
Now, the strip roll and mini-charm packs didn’t have the exact same number of all the fabrics. In some cases I had more squares than strips for a colour combination, and occasionally more strips than squares. Not a problem, I just matched up the leftovers in pleasing colour combinations.
From a 40 strip roll and 2 x mini-charm packs I made 80 log cabin blocks. I chain pieced them all with a scant quarter inch seam.
My sewing machine ran hot that weekend. Sometimes it’s great to churn out a whole bunch of blocks really quickly.
Then I trimmed all the blocks to 6.5″ square.
Given I had 80 blocks, I decided on an 8 x 10 block layout. This would give a lap sized quilt (48″ x 60″).
This was the first layout I tried.
I was trying to keep the neighbouring colours from the strip roll together but I just wasn’t feeling the love.
I continued on in this vein, trying move the colours across the quilt in the order I wanted. Sadly none of my arrangements were what I had pictured.
It wasn’t helping that I’d had a bad day at work that day (I tend to feel uncreative on such days).
Or that a play fort had appeared in the path between my machine and my design wall:
We’ve had a lot of rain the past week. The kids had fun building an indoor fort with a couple of cool indoor fort kits* and some of our queen bed sheets. (It’s too hot for quilt forts here in Australia right now.)
I wasn’t having a win with the design so I decided to step away from it for a day. I thought perhaps a bit of time off would encourage some different ideas. Plus I had to help the 6 yr old build a farm in the fort. Very important business, you see :)
I have a bunch more photos of other layouts, but I’ll save them for the next post, which you can find here.
Hope you’re all having better luck with your creativity!
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