This is the second post about this log cabin quilt design – you can find Part 1 over here.
After much ruminating about these Gleaned log cabin blocks, I finally have a finished quilt top to show you!
But first, let me take you through the process. I want to show you that sometimes this quilt-sewing malarky isn’t easy. And sometimes, it can’t be rushed.
In my last post I finished with the photo below, and also mentioned that I wasn’t happy with that layout.
I was trying to get the colours to run diagonally across the quilt, roughly in the order they appear in the jelly roll. I really liked the way each fabric played nicely with its neighbour and wanted to preserve that aesthetic.
When that didn’t work, I looked at more traditional shapes when grouping the colours:
Neither of those filled me with joy, either. Then I thought about making a big spiral, from the outside to the middle, around the rectangle:
I was liking this more, but it still wasn’t the right log cabin layout for me. Perhaps pulling each colour group into its own corner?
I left this design (above) up on the wall for a few days. It was better than the previous versions but something about it was still bugging me.
I started to get my usual mid-project feelings of despair – what are you doing? This is a terrible idea. How did you manage to take such a pretty jelly roll and make it so bleugh? This nasty little internal voice visits from time to time.
Then I had a small realisation. For some reason I had made the decision that I had to use the whole jelly roll and every single block I had sewed. Why I had put this limitation on myself, I don’t know, because I knew that some of the blocks were giving me trouble (see the tan, white and orange blocks boxed below).
I decided to take them out and replace them with other blocks made with Carolyn Friedlander’s fabric (her lines work very well together, thankfully). After making the 10 replacement blocks and a little bit more rearranging, I was much happier with my new layout:
But was it done? Was this the final layout? I decided no. The overall design felt a bit too busy for me. I needed to create some restful space between all that colour so each fabric had a chance to be noticed.
At first I thought I could separate the quarters with white fabric and that would be enough:
Not bad. (I also tried this layout by rotating all of the quarters 180 degrees, seen below:)
More white space was needed, I was sure of this. But how?
Then I remembered a book that I’d bought 6 years ago about Chinese Lattice Design*.
This isn’t a quilting book. It’s simply sketches of beautiful old Chinese lattice windows (along with notes on history and location, etc), printed in the 1930s. No dimensions, no colours, just pure geometry:
I spent an hour flicking through the pages and decided to try a lattice-style layout for this quilt. The exact layout I chose isn’t in the book, but you can certainly see that’s where the inspiration for this log cabin quilt design came from.
So here’s what I decided on:
I also thought about the rotated version:
And then I considered taking out the centre white cross in both versions :
I decided I preferred it with the extra white in the middle.
To make all that sashing I used 3/4 yd of white fabric, cutting 16 strips 1-1/2″ wide.
I sewed each quarter together separately:
Then I sewed the halves together (with sashing in between) and finally the whole quilt together.
And here it is! I hope you like it. I think I’ll have another rest before deciding on the quilting. This log cabin quilt design has been quite a process . We’re going to take a break from each other for a while. :)
I think this would be a great quilt to make with plain 6-1/2″ squares instead of the log cabins, too. With a single fabric within each lattice compartment.
My 3 lessons learned from this quilt:
- You don’t “have” to do anything (such as use the entire jelly roll in the quilt). It’s your quilt, you do what you please! *Mmm-hmm, snaps fingers*
- If the design doesn’t make you feel happy inside, let it rest a few days and see what solutions pop up. Your mind is very clever and creative, but sometimes it needs a bit of time to work through all the pieces.
- When trying to make a lot of patterned fabric work together, adding a solid (creating space between prints) can be helpful.
I hope some of this has been helpful for you, too – if only to show you that we all have struggles when quilting. Whatever you might be having trouble with on your sewing journey, don’t let it get you down. Don’t let it stop you creating. You’ll find the answer eventually.
Have a great weekend!