My first log cabin quilt

One of the students my spouse taught in high school has kept up with us since graduating. We received an invitation last week – he’s finally getting married. And what should we give as a wedding gift? A quilt, of course!

quilt sampler mag

After paging through nearly all my pattern books and bunches of downloaded patterns I found a simple log cabin quilt in the Spring/Summer 2018 issue of BHG’s Quilt Sampler magazine. It’s called Colorful Cabins.

I’ve never made a log cabin quilt before. While I’m certainly aware of their popularity, a log cabin quilt never appealed to me before. Even after quilting for nearly 7 years, I tend to choose patterns that have more of a central medallion. But this one is different: its got nothing but patterned fabrics and THAT appeals to me.

The scrappy modified log cabin blocks are mostly medium to dark prints, with the blocks set on point, so it’s a lively, energetic pattern. The setting triangles are a black multi print as well, so it’s a visual feast of pattern on pattern with no solid fabric in sight. We both thought this was perfect for the gift. With a little over 7 weeks to the wedding, I had to start right away.

I have a large collection of Kaffe Fassett fat quarters (FQs), so I pulled them from my stash and began grouping them for a “planned scrappy” look. To make sure I got a balance of darks and lights, I photographed the fat quarters with my iPhone then used the edit function in the camera to change the photo to black and white. See image on the left? That’s over 65 different fabrics. I never knew I had so many Kaffe FQs – and there are even more that didn’t make the cut.

Using the black and white version it’s easier to see the value of each fabric. For the quilt to be exciting and visually pleasing it needs to contain high, medium, and low value prints. It also needs a variety of types of print to create contrast between the log cabin rows. Some need to be organic patterns (like florals), some geometrics (like stripes), and some need to act more like blenders.

I grouped fabrics with similar hues into sets of three, paying attention to value, pattern scale, and pattern type. Then my spouse and I took turns voting on the fabric sets that would go in the quilt. Here’s the final selection; it will be a spectacularly colorful quilt.

Tomorrow I begin pressing and cutting the FQs. I drew a cutting plan last night so I can maximize the use of each fat quarter. The pattern explains how to achieve planned scrappy look by grouping the fabric in sets of three to make six different blocks.

I can cut the FQ in strips parallel to the selvage on each piece, which means it’s on the straight of grain. Perfect! Less chance of stretching as I stitch. The cutting plan also helped determine how many FQs I need and how to make the most of each FQ. Using the plan, I’ve determined that I can create at least 6 different blocks from a set of three coordinated fat quarters.

Here’s the cutting plan. The selvage is on the short side of each FQ.

So check back later to see the progress after I make my first few blocks.



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