Want to make a dent in your scrap bin? What about making a simple quilt in your favorite colors? This quilt, Lemon Drops and Blueberries, will do either or both. Plus it was fun and easy.
This quilt can easily be made with 3″ wide strips and strip pieced together if you have yardage or bigger scraps. However, I was working with small scraps and cut individual 3″ blocks.
Starting step for Lemon Drops and Blueberries Quilt
Using the same idea from Pintrest as I did for a previous quilt, Simply Squares (indianaquilter40.com/simple-squares-quilt) I cut out stacks of 3″ squares from the scrap bin. I narrowed my color choices to blues and yellows.
For this quilt, I made the blocks 6 squares long by 6 squares across. I use the foot on my machine for the seam line and it is a bit bigger than a quarter inch. My blocks turned out to be 15″ square.
I decided to make the quilt five blocks across and six blocks long (30 blocks total), plus the sashing and posts. So I did not loose count, I pinned the finished blocks together in stacks of 10 blocks.
Adding the posts and sashing to Lemon Drops and Blueberries Quilt
The blocks finished at 15″ square which is the length I cut the sashing. The sashing is 3″ wide.
By sewing sashing, block, sashing, block and repeating, I was able to sew the six rows of five blocks together quickly.
Then I sewed the post, sashing, post, sashing, etc. together until it was the length I wanted to match the block row.
Adding the borders to the Lemon Drops and Blueberries Quilt
The only fabric that is not scraps is the border on my quilt top. I cut it 4″ wide.
I sewed the top and bottom borders on, then ironed. After that I sewed the side borders on and ironed.
The top is complete !! The size is 94″ x 110″.
Remember that this quilt can be adjusted several ways:
The square size can be made larger or smaller than the 3″ squares that I used if you desire. This will enable you to utilize the fabric you have.
Or the number of squares sewn into a block can be adjusted to more or less based on the needs for your own quilt. I used 6 blocks across and long (so 36 squares in each block).
Even the posts and sashings can be narrower or wider than the 3″ I used.
The border can be easily wider or narrower based on the size of quilt needed.
Other ideas for using simple squares and scraps to make a quilt:
Have you ever considered making a personalized quilt as a gift for a special person in your life? Below are two examples of lap quilts that are very personal to the quilt recipients. They were fun to make, and I kept them simple and easy.
A personalized Quilt As A Gift – Reversible Sunflower & Ocean lap quilt
My sister loves sunflowers and the ocean (actually any body of water). I wanted to make her a lap quilt for her birthday. Something she could take along on travels and snuggle in. I made her a reversible quilt that includes both her favorite things.
This is the sunflower side. It is five different sunflower fabrics. The medium green separates the sunflowers. The border is a black. I believe the sizes of the strips are six inches for the sunflower and three inches for the green.
For the water side, I started with a lighthouse panel. By adding 4 different fabrics that coordinated with it the theme continued. The fabric right next to the panel is actually two fabrics – the top part is clouds and lightening, with the bottom fabric being waves.
The outside black border is the same on both sides. It is also the binding.
Finished size is 62″ x 53″. Pieced during Dec. 2017.
Machine quilted by RLM in January 2018 in a stipple pattern.
A PERSONALIZED QUILT AS A GIFT – TEAL & YELLOW LAP QUILT
My niece asked for a quilt in teal and yellow for her birthday. I had plenty of scraps to make the blocks. Bought enough of the teal and yellow paisley fabric for the outside border, binding, and the back.
The blocks started out as 8″ squares sewn diagonally and cut apart, so there were two identical triangle blocks. Directions are in this post. Sewed those into rows, and added the border.
Remember that you can easily adjust a simple pattern like this for your own needs. The blocks can be smaller or larger. The border can easily be adjusted to complete the quilt in the size you want.
Machine pieced and machine quilted in Feb. 2018. The quilting pattern is an all over stipple.
Her mom says that she loves it, and that the quilt is on top of her bed over the other blankets. I am always glad to know that quilts I make are loved.
We were so poor growing up, and my mom hated to sew. I don’t remember ever using anything for a doll quilts around my “babies” but old worn out towels. However, I do have special memories of a doll quilt my mom kept safe and gave me as an adult. This is a brief story of my yo-yo doll quilt memories.
Apparently these quilts were popular during the 1920’s to 1940’s. They were portable, could be used for scraps, only required a circle template (a plate or cup would do), did not need a sewing machine, and many did not have any kind of batting or backing. Quilters make due when times are tough.
Yo-yo doll quilt memories
This 18″ x 22″ yo-yo doll quilt is a really pretty example of this technique. Most of it is 1930s fabrics with a few pieces being 1940s. My grandma (the same wonderful woman who years later would teach me to sew) made it from scraps she had available. There is lots of blues and pinks, with some yellow and multi colored fabrics typical of the time in it.
When grandma died, I inherited her treadle sewing machine and fabrics. With the scraps were some still bright fabric pieces that match the fabrics in this quilt.
The yo-yo’s are sewn down to a piece of muslin for stability. My mom had a real baby doll to play with. Mom was born in the mid 1930s so life was still hard and the Great Depression still a real part of life.
When I was growing up, this yo-yo quilt was stored in a chest in my parents’ room. Once in a great while, mom would bring it out for me to touch and look at. The texture was wonderful. The backing had thin spots and a few small holes. A few of the yo-yo’s themselves were starting to come undone at the center.
Mom would tell me stories of her childhood while I rubbed my hands across the fabrics and thought about the huge family my mom was part of and how various people played such a part in her childhood. Most of the children of those same people were my playmates.
If you have a quilt that is passed down to you, please find out as much as possible about it. When it is passed on again, the story will make the quilt so much more precious.
I encourage you to keep some sort of notes and photos for the quilts you make. Put a tag on the back telling who and when it was made by.
Quilts are like hugs across the generations and years. There are quilts that are made to be loved to death with usage. Some are meant to be used and enjoyed. There are some that are meant to be heirlooms. The world needs all three types of quilts.
Have you ever had an idea for a quilt that was so totally different than what you see normally in the quilt world? The idea just rattles around in your head and you can’t get away from it? But you think it is embarrassing to even consider something so different from “normal” quilts. Stop thinking that. Quilting should be fun, and making quilts from the ideas in your head can be so satisfying.
I am going to share three very different quilts from my quilt scrapbooks because I want you to make the quilts that make you happy. We are all unique creations, and it should not be surprising that we have ideas for unique quilts.
Before we start, put away the angering, sad, and depressing thoughts about the current events in our country. We are taking a break and just going to have fun for a few minutes.
Making quilts from the ideas in your head – Queen’s Crown #1 Mini Quilt
See here about this fun, hand quilted mini quilt that is embellished with beads.
Making quilts from the ideas in your head – Welsh Beauty Whole Cloth Quilt
When I mentioned making this whole cloth quilt to a few ladies in the local quilt guild, they gave me either blank looks or were verbally negative. The kindest comment asked me why I would “want to quilt silk fabric, and use itchy wool batting? And something about extremely sore fingers. I continued on with my plan for this beautiful quilt.
Welsh Beauty is posted on my old blog here, see for details.
Making quilts from the ideas in your head – Maxine Strikes Again (reversible quilt)
My mom-in-law really, really likes Maxine (you know, the really sarcastic old woman comic strip). When I found both the Christmas and regular fabric versions, I had the wild idea to make a reversible quilt.
This is probably pretty tame compared to my “normal” outside the box quilt ideas, but it was fun. Coordinating fabrics from my stash. A little math to make them the right size.
The Christmas side I made 2″ bigger all the way around than the regular print side. This was so I could do self-binding.
advice to you
Go ahead and make quilts from the ideas in your head. If you have an idea for a quilt, follow your heart and mind, and just make it. So what if the quilt is not how you imagined it. If it truly is not what you want when it is done, gift it to someone else in your family or community.
But it may turn out better than you ever thought. Just think what a satisfying finished quilt you would have missed if you had not made it. Follow your ideas.
Enjoy your quilting journey.
PLEASE NOTE: ALL PHOTOS AND WRITTEN CONTENT ARE MY OWN UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.
Remember the saying “Laughter is the best medicine”? This week has been rough. We need something light hearted in the midst of all the anger and fear being projected by events and media. Quilters – laughter is good for us.
Let me encourage you, this time shall pass. The year of 2020, which started with promise, has deteriorated into a full blown mess. But as my grandma would say, “make lemonade from those lemons.”
With that in mind, I thought just to share a few things that made me laugh today. I am hoping they cheer up your day, and that you get a laugh from them. All of the following are from my Pintrest board “Fun Quilting Quotes”.
Remember quilters – laughter is good for us. “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine…” (KJV) Proverbs 17:22
Are you new to quilting? What are must haves for a basic quilter’s tool box to get started piecing? If you have been reading my blog for anytime at all, you know I am all about keeping my life fairly simple. Several readers ask recently what I absolutely have to have in my basic quilter’s tool box to piece a quilt top.
There are so many gadgets in stores, quilting websites, and advertisements that claim to be “must haves” for the beginner quilter. It makes it hard to decide, and it is easy to get distracted. For those on a tight budget there is no money to waste on something not really needed.
Forty years ago, I started quilting with my sewing box from Home Ec class. All these years later, I am using many of the same tools because they still do the job. However, as I have gotten older and have a bit more money to sink into better tools, I have… if it is something I will actually use.
I am more about my tools being functional than pretty or the “newest and greatest”. There is nothing wrong with those things, but there is also nothing wrong with using simple things to get a project done. It is not a contest, decide what works for you.
As stated numerous times in various posts – get the best supplies you can afford now. You will be happier than just buying whatever is cheapest to save a few dollars. If you continue to quilt then upgrade as time, interest, and budget allow for better tools and gadgets.
Forget the fabric and thread for right now – this list is the “prequel” to that.
A super basic list for (in my mind at least) the basic quilter’s tool box:
This can be a separate table, an old desk, or any other flat surface. You just need a flat space that will hold your machine safely and allow you enough room to use it.
In my life time of sewing, I have used the end area of a long table, an old sewing cabinet, a small kitchen table, and a plastic picnic table. Now an sturdy old wooden desk with drawers is home to my sewing machine and tools. Post on old blog about my desk (and other useful stuff) is here .
Something to use as an ironing board, and an iron.
I own an ironing board, but the reality is I rarely use it. Why? Because I like more room when ironing. See here . If you prefer to have an ironing board, then get one. They are readily available and not expensive.
However, in the past I have used a table top covered with several layers of towels. I have also (when much younger) spread an old wool blanket on the floor. Think outside the box here, if you do not have space or a budget for an ironing board, what can you use that is already on hand?
For me personally, I don’t spend a lot of money on irons. I am hard on them plus they get dropped routinely (no one ever said I was graceful). I do use a spray bottle for water instead of filling the iron. This one has lasted longer than the normal (for me) six to twelve months. What you need is what will be comfortable and usable for you.
A reliable sewing machine that is easy to use and maintain.
Find one that fits your budget with features you will use. Some people get a machine with all the bells and whistles, others go with what can be purchased at Wal-Mart or JoAnn’s.
I openly admit I own and use a Pfaff sewing machine. I use my sewing machine constantly. The machine needs to be a work horse. It needs to be easy to clean and maintain. Another requirement is simple to use. Before you say, those machines are way out of my budget, look at the less fancy ones. Mine has useful stitches, but mostly it is just a hard working machine. No computer to crash, it is functional without lots of extras I will not use.
I just looked at the shop in Indianapolis where I bought this one in 2011 and the new price for the current model of this one is $649 + tax. Ok, not cheap but not unreasonable either.
Rotary cutting mat in a size that works for the area you must use it in.
These mats come in all sizes from a few inches to large enough to cover a table top. The original mat I bought was 12″ x 18″. When I had more space and money to upgrade, I got one 24″ x 36″. I still have the smaller mat and it is great for those times I am traveling and take fabric with me to cut. Get a mat that fits for your needs.
A rotary cutter and ruler that is a “general” all purpose.
Rotary cutters come in different sizes and with various types of handles. If you spend hours cutting what you want is one that fits your hand and is comfortable. I prefer the straight one above and a 45 mm blade. Be safe with your tool, they are sharp and a nasty cut (with possible stitches) will slow down your quilting project.
Rotary rulers come in different sizes and shapes for different projects. I encourage you to get a general size and shape for the first one. My favorite is still the 18″ x 3″ pictured above. When you shop, think in terms of one that will work for strips and squares, is easy to handle, has a safe area for your fingers to hold the ruler down, and is comfortable.
The yellow handled one is my original and it still sees a lot of use. The gray one is a commemorative model for 25 years of Olfa cutters. The handle is a bit thicker and feels different. I use both, but am looking at the ergonomic ones that are available now. My wrists and elbows are not as young as they once were.
Fabric scissors that you like and will use.
Even with the rotary cutter, you will need at least one pair of scissors. They will be used for cutting threads, small amounts of fabric (like for applique), and just general fabric cutting. Mark them as only for fabric, or store with your sewing supplies. Cutting paper, wire, and cardboard will make them too dull to cut fabric or thread easily.
Sewing scissors come in various sizes with different kinds of handles. Again, try them out if possible and get the pair that feels good in your hands. Make sure you get right handed or left handed scissors depending on your need.
Quilting pins and a container to safely hold them.
Quilting pins are a must for pinning blocks together at intersections. They are helpful for bindings, and pinning rows or blocks together. They are just a great tool with numerous uses. Sometimes I think mine act like extra fingers.
Along with a pin cushion or some form of container to hold the pins is necessary. Unless you find the game of “pick up pins” to be fun. I store my pins in a regular canning jar. When I am using them they get put in a magnetic cup that I bought for $2 at the Dollar Store in the automotive section.
This basic quilting tool comes in various sizes and shapes. Find something that fits your hand. When sewing it is easy to make mistakes or not sew a straight seam. A seam ripper is tons easier to use to fix this then a pair of scissors.
A BASIC QUILTER’S TOOL BOX Needs a container to keep all the small items in.
This can be a clear plastic box with a lid, a cardboard shoe box, a fancy sewing box, or something else. The important thing is to have a container to keep all the small tools in.
I use my ugly orange Tupperware sewing box that originally held all my sewing tools for Home Ec class in school. It still does the job, and with a tight fitting lid can travel or be moved around without loosing items.
A good reference book or website that will walk you through the steps to making your first quilt top.
I still have these books for reference and ideas. Do some research and talk to other quilters to see what they use for instructions. There are some really good books. If you prefer videos, see what you can find on YouTube.
The important thing is to find an instructor or instructions that help you. I remember seeing an Eleanor Burns video and being so excited because she was fun and made the quilts look easy.
Finally for your basic Quilter’s Tool Box…
There is a learning curve to using the tools and getting comfortable with them. The most important thing is for you to like the tools and practice with them. This is especially true with the machine and the rotary cutter.
But it is something you can learn. Quilting is not rocket science. It is very do-able. Just remember to have fun with it. Find another quilter who can mentor you when you get stuck. The most important tool is you being willing to learn, and enjoying the process.
PLEASE NOTE: ALL PHOTOS AND WRITTEN CONTENT ARE MY OWN UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.
Spending the day cutting quilt pieces ?? Is the scrap bin or space on your shelves too crowded for more fabric? Are you really wanting to get started on a new quilt but just not getting to the cutting part? The solution maybe to block off some time to spend part or all of the day cutting quilt pieces.
This week, I was able to sort out scraps and iron for one entire afternoon. I turned my phone off, listened to music I like, and just enjoyed the process of pulling various scraps out of the bins, ironing them, and laying them flat on an extra plastic table.
The next day, I got up early to get my work done. Then I was able to make a block of several hours to cut up those ironed scraps. Again I turned off the phone, put in music I like, and enjoyed the process of cutting.
a word about messy sewing rooms
I have been working from home for several weeks thanks to the COVID-19. It’s a really nice change to not be traveling each day. The downside is that I have more and more quilting ideas – which leads to an even messier quilting area.
Did I say messy – what an understatement!! I am one of those creative types who does not clean up the mess until I am done with said project. I feel like there has been just one continuous project the last several weeks. What that means is that in several weeks, the mess has grown because I continue to go happily from one project to the next.
I didn’t realize how bad it was until another quilter was here over the weekend. Her first question was, “what happened in here??” I really looked at the mess then. I am going to simply say there is no excuse (I can certainly relate to this kids book).
Just remember that I have quilted for 40 years…I did not gain all this overnight. Nor did I buy all of it. Some was traded for other items (quilting and non-quilting items). My hubby, kids, and mom-in-law buy me yards of fabric for b-days and holidays.
A MARATHON OF SPENDING THE DAY CUTTING QUILT PIECES
Do you ever have days you just feel like cutting fabric?? I tend to do marathon ironing and cutting back to back. I work with some standard sizes of strips and blocks so I can cut up a pile of fabric fairly quick with a little preparation.
Sort out the fabric you want to work with – whether scraps or yardage.
Iron and then lay out on a nice flat surface that will not be disturbed.
I personally cut fabric from the largest to the smallest blocks/strips I want from that fabric. In my case, I keep a bin of 2.5″ strips, 3″ blocks, and 5″ blocks on hand all the time. I will cut up the piece until there is nothing left but a scrap that does not fit with what I normally use.
I saw a quilt on Pintrest made of rectangles, so while I am cutting scraps I got out another bin and started putting 4″ x 7″ rectangles in that.
A word of warning: Rotary blades are sharp and will make a serious cut in your finger or hand. Always, always pay attention to where your fingers are before using the cutter. Keep blade covered when not actually using it.
A cutting area for yourself needs to work for you. Below is my cutting table. It is a sturdy 6 foot long plastic table on risers so the table is at a comfortable height. Under the table is the “crumb” bin, then a bin of colored yarn (for tying quilts) with a bag of big plastic clamps (for holding down quilts to table as I tie them). The stacked bins on the right are toys for the grand-daughter when she is here.
Here is another photo of the area. This is what works for me. When making a work area for yourself, arrange so it works for you.
That left-over piece goes into the “nesting” bag (that will later be sewn shut and given to the humane shelter) or the “crumb” box (for making string/crumb quilts). Think about the size of scrap you will realistically use for the “crumb” box. The rest goes in the “nesting” bag.
As you completely cut each size of strip or block, put it in the correct bin. Here they will stay nice and flat to be used when you are ready.
Set up a comfortable area for yourself to do quilt related activities in. A table the right height. A chair that is comfortable for you. Shelves or some sort of storage area for fabric and books. A way to organize your actual tools that works for your area and budget.Get busy on doing your own spending the day cutting quilt pieces.
I love to see how others organize their sewing areas, however, I am more about function than beauty. I have a budget for quilting and will cut corners by buying the furniture (shelves, desk, chair, plastic bins and jars, etc) at a used store or a dollar store. That leaves more money for fabric, batting, and the annual trip to Paducah quilt show.
Today is Memorial Day. We probably all know at least one person who has served this country either as active duty, reservists, or as a loving spouse. Have you considered making one or many veteran quilts for our patriots? If not, please take a moment to think what a quilt means to you – it’s a kind of warm hug, right? Our service members would love to have that “hug” as well.
Ideas for places to take or send veteran quilts
There are several places to donate veteran quilts for our patriots. Please check the sites out, find the one that feels right to you, and follow the guidelines they have for the gift quilts if you are interested.
Please don’t forget that local VFW posts might take quilts for their members, and local quilt guilds can also have members who head up quilts for veterans. Check around at local fabric shops or libraries for points of contact. Also local churches may know or participate in making veteran quilts. Many nursing homes have veterans as residents.
My personal journey with veteran quilts
I am extremely patriotic and have had exposure to military members and their families my entire life. They give an awful lot so I have the rights available to me to as an American.
I have donated many lap size quilts over the years to groups or churches who dealt directly with wounded or traumatized veterans. The need is great. Sometimes I worked on the quilts alone, sometimes as part of an informal group who wants to do more than just say “thank you” to veterans.
I do not have bragging rights because of helping with this worthy cause. It was within my skill and interest simply to do something.
Other people told others that I was involved in this and suddenly people starting donating fabrics and supplies. Many, many thanks to those who help by keeping me or us in supplies. Not all the fabric was patriotic themed, but all of it is used.
With the informal group, the lap “quilts” were crocheted, tied, machine quilted, and even sometimes hand quilted. We give them to local wounded vets, and I know of one woman who keeps several in her car to be given to those “old” men that are seen in caps that say “______ veteran”.
Sometimes I cut the pieces and hand those off to another quilter to piece. Or I tie the finished tops. I bind many that need it. All those involved worked around their own schedules. We only get together every 2 or 3 months for a work day together. Here are photos of a few simple veteran quilts that I have been involved with over the years:
Quilters tend to be very giving in mentoring new quilters, making quilts for local charity auctions and local victims of domestic abuse or house fires. Here is another idea for volunteering your time and talents by utilizing your quilting skills to make veteran quilts for our patriots. Think outside the box. Look around your community and see who would love to have quilt “hug”.
Thank a veteran today.
PLEASE NOTE: ALL PHOTOS AND WRITTEN CONTENT ARE MY OWN UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.
Millennium Quilts – looking back 20 years. Were you quilting 20 years ago? If so, do you remember if you had a special quilt project for the year 2000? I went through a pile of quilts last week that needed to be aired out and refolded. In the pile were two millennium quilts that I made.
When I found the millennium quilts and realized 20 years have passed – wow!! The time is just flying by day by day. So many changes, both in my quilting and personally.
As far as my quilting, the past 20 years have been mostly fun. I have tried more hand applique. Using the rotary cutter has become second nature and I learned after one serious accident to keep my fingers firmly on the ruler. Combining colors and designs of fabric no longer scares me. I rarely feel the need to respond to the question “how many quilts have you made? – it is not a contest. Quilting gives me joy and a sense of peace, plus I can actually enjoy and see the finished item, which is not something visible in my daily job.
The making of my millennium quilts – looking back 20 years
In the late 1990’s I saw ads in quilting magazines from people all over the world who wanted to trade 3″ squares to make millennium quilts. I thought it would be a fun challenge to make a quilt with 2000 different fabrics. So I traded, and traded…….. Eventually I traded 10,000 three inch squares with other quilters all over the world. Each envelope was so exciting to open and see what new treasures were inside.
The squares came from all over Europe, Canada, and the USA. There were even a few packages from Africa, India, Japan, and South America. I certainly never thought about all the different fabrics that were available the world over. This project really opened my eyes to quilting being international – not just American.
In fact, the post mistress of our little town was so excited about all the places these envelopes came from that I would open them right there so she could see what they contained. The selection of fabrics was amazing. Ultimately, I ended up with 43 repeats out of the 10,000 squares traded!! And only one person did not trade back (or maybe the envelope was lost somewhere in the mail system).
2000 Millennium Charm Quilt – looking back 20 years
I cut the 3″ traded squares to 2.5″ simply so they were actually all the same size. If you have quilted any time at all, you know how my 3″ square maybe a bit (or a lot) different than your 3″ square. I have never figured that out, but that is not the point either.
The variety of colors, patterns, and even quality of the cotton was amazing. The squares were kept in plastic bags by color groups. I changed my mind several times about exactly how I would design this millennium quilt – after all, the year 2000 was a big deal (or was supposed to be!).
Finally opting to do 16 square blocks. It was a simple way to double check to make sure there were no duplicates. This way also allowed me to loosely use the squares by color. I didn’t stress over if my planned look for each block turned out differently – frankly I just let myself have fun putting the blocks together.
Even as I pieced this top together during Jan. to March of 1999, the packages of 3″ squares continued to come in. It seemed that no matter how many I used, there were more to work with.
I finally stopped making the blocks, and added a navy blue border with “2000” in it. Then I added another border down two sides of more blocks. There is one square of the border fabric somewhere in the top so that there are exactly 2000 different fabrics for this millennium quilt.
It was quilted in Nov. 1999 by MG in an all-over cloud design. The final size is 90″ x 98″. The top is all cottons, the batting is polyester, and the backing a queen size flat sheet.
2001 Millennium Charm Quilt – looking back 20 years
Still using the 2.5″ charm squares, I simply just randomly sewed the medium and dark ones together. I was still getting packages in the mail and at this point just felt overwhelmed at how many different cotton fabrics there were around the world.
I pieced the quilt header “2001” area using the lighter squares as the background and darker ones for the 2001.
I worked on this quilt on and off during the first half of 2001. In Oct. 2001 it was machine quilted by CM in the loopy design. The backing is a light colored large flat sheet.
While the machine quilting was fine, the quilt was not centered on the backing. Truthfully, it really made me angry to work so hard and long on a top to have it treated so disrespectfully by the machine quilter. However, I wanted it completed. So a creative answer to fixing this issue for binding was to simply cut off part of the borders on two sides. It ended up being finished size 92″ x 104″.
I continued to use the millennium charm squares in other projects as I was able. The squares also got bagged up and “gifted” to other quilters for birthday or Christmas gifts.
I loved the challenge of working with the squares. It was fun, if time consuming, to keep checking for duplicates. My challenge to other quilters is to do a charm quilt of some sort during your quilt journey.
The year 2000 has come and gone. But I have two very special quilts to represent that year and am so glad I did all those exchanges with so many other quilters around the world.
I am so glad that I took the time and challenge to do the millennium quilts. It has been fun over the past week to look back over the past 20 years of quilting – wow. For myself, somehow those millennium quilts were really freeing for quilting in my life. They improved my critical thinking skills (as in how am I going to fix this problem/mistake?). I spend less time thinking about the individual aspects (will this fabric really match?) and more about the whole quilt design. There is also just making the quilts because each one suits me or my current need.
Each quilt you and I do expands our skills and allows us to learn something new about ourselves. Have fun with your quilt making journey.
Have you discovered how much fun log cabin quilts can be? I was not a fan of them, and it took me a long time to become one. Once I discovered how much fun they could be, I got hooked on making log cabin quilts. There are just so many ways to set them. The color combos are endless. Scrappy or planned, log cabin quilts are awesome.
Sometimes it is hard to see in our heads what we can do with certain blocks or how the final project will look. I thought I would show a few log cabin quilts of mine just to give you some new ideas.
First Log Cabin blocks
My next try at a log cabin quilt
The only quilt magazine I could find while living in Germany was “Quilt”. Many of the articles and patterns had to do with log cabin blocks in various settings. I still was not really confident in exploring various quilt blocks. Looking at that magazine made me feel like I was really missing something in the quilt world.
So I thought I would try another log cabin quilt with larger pieces this time. Same color scheme as the first one since that is what fabric I had to work with.
Third try at a log cabin quilt
Once we returned to the US, fabric was readily available. Somehow, lots a fabric ended up at my home and I really started getting confident in just doing what I liked for quilts.
I learned how to really use the rotary cutter and assembly line piecing. Making more quilts also meant there were more scraps in a bin.
I thought there had to be something really great to log cabin quilts – there were all kinds of photos of them in quilt magazines. Folks in the local quilt guild also seemed to make them routinely. Obviously, something was wrong with me that I didn’t like them.
The ah-HA moment of discovery
So somewhere about this time, a lady at the guild allowed me to borrow one of the first “Quilt in a Day” https://www.quiltinaday.com/ log cabin books from her. At this point, I had that “ah-ha” moment that said, “oh, I can do this now”. I was obviously making this pattern tons harder than it should have been.
Anyone who reads this blog for long realizes that I tend to take the directions or ideas and use them to come up with a system that works for me. The one thing I have stuck with since that first “Quilt in a Day” log cabin book is sticking with 2.5″ wide strips for these blocks.
I find the 2.5″ wide strips are just easy to work with and the amount of strips or “logs” around the center can be adjusted easily for whatever size I want to make.
Color-wise, log cabin blocks really are awesome. Color combos can be anything that appeals based on the project, my mood, or the recipient of the finished quilt.
I keep several bins of already cut 2.5″ wide strips so that now when I want to make a log cabin block or quilt I already have a starting point. I have experimented with the center square though: 2.5″, 3″, 4″, 6″, and 8″.
The last 10 years of making log cabin quilts
So I really started just having fun with log cabin blocks and quilts. They are fun to make and now go together easy. The logs can be adjusted size wise if needed, but I generally have stayed with 2.5″ wide.
Is there a pattern that you want to do, or maybe think as a quilter you should be doing?? My advice is simply to keep trying until you either decide the pattern and design is really not for you. Or keep trying until you figure our a system, style, or size that works for you.
It took me years to figure out how to do log cabins quilts easily and that suited me. Don’t give up the first time around. Look at magazines and books, get on-line and watch tutorials, talk to other quilters. That pattern that is frustrating you might be easier than you think.
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