Friday, April 3, 2009

The Quilt Files, Episode 9

There are times when someone very conveniently announces an engagement months before the wedding, giving you time to plan the quilt. And then there are the times when someone has a whirlwind romance and gets married when six months ago you didn't even know they had a boyfriend. In that case, it's time to dip into the stash.

I don't think I've spoken of the stash before, but most quilters have one. Of course, it contains all the leftover fabric scraps from quilts you have finished; it also contains fabrics you saw in the store that you just had to have, even if you didn't know what to do with them. In any case, to make a quick log cabin quilt, all you need to do is raid your stash for some scrap strips (these were 1½" wide) in a variety of colors, and you're on your way.

I wanted to make this log cabin entirely from batik fabrics, but at the time I started this project, I'd only finished a couple of projects. Luckily, my grandmother and mother lent me some of their own stashes. That gave me most of the color groups I needed, so I only needed to buy a few fat quarters of oranges and pinks to create log cabin blocks that were half cool tones (green, turquoise, blue) and half warm tones (pink, yellow, orange). Of course, the centers were red, according to the tradition that they represent the hearth (or heart) of the home.

There are half a dozen ways to arrange log cabin blocks; after making a few, I tried a couple different arrangements and discovered that for these colors, I preferred the one called "barn-raising." I modified it a bit with some three-quarter/one-quarter light/dark squares, to get better defined corners for the center diamonds. Then I put all my leftover strips together and sliced them smaller to make the borders.

I found some suitable fabrics for backing, and machine quilted some large diamond patterns in each quadrant. For a project that had no real planning beforehand, and which took me three to four months to finish, I thought it came out pretty well. Maybe sometime I'll return to my stash and make a smaller version for myself.


  1. That picture doesn't do justice to the beautiful colors in the quilt. We whirlwind romancers love it. It's nice to hear the story behind it :)

  2. It looks beautiful, Diane. What lucky friends you have! I'm working on a log cabin myself at the moment. I like the way you can play with the arrangement of blocks to get quite different effects.

  3. Thanks for stopping by, Marina! That is much of the fun of quilting, I find: playing around with fabric and seeing how different fabrics can look, depending on how you arrange them. Next time I make log cabin squares, I'll have to photograph the different ways you can arrange them, just to see what happens.