Thursday, July 30, 2015

Through the Prism July - Crazy Cabin

Back in April I joined a quilting challenge. You haven't seen anything posted about it, because I missed the deadline for the first two months thanks to busier than anticipated...things. But I'm on track, have July done and a plan to finish up the May and June miniquilts.

The rules are simple:

Purchase: Special ROYGBIV fabric Bundle from Cherrywood Fabrics

What: One block-inspired challenge will be issued each month for seven months. Use that block, plus ONE fabric from your special ROYGBIV bundle, then add anything else you need to create a 20” finished quilt by the month's deadline.

- Each final project should read predominantly as one color in the spectrum: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, or violet.
- A ROYGBIV hand-dyed color bundle of fabric must be purchased from Cherrywood Fabrics
- You must use ONE fabric from the ROYGBIV challenge bundle in each quilt
- Any other fabrics from your stash may be added.
- You must use the month's block
- Quilts must finish 20” square.

Challenges must be completed by each monthly deadline.
You can participate in as many monthly challenges as you’d like (one, or all seven!) but each challenge quilt MUST be started and finished within that month.

For July, the block for the challenge is the traditional Log Cabin block. The chances are you have seen this block: a square center (most traditionally red or yellow to represent the hearth) is surrounded by "logs", added to each side in sequence around the center. Because of that, each log is slightly longer than the one on the previous side, giving a stair-step diagonal to the block. It can be colored many different ways, arranged even more. To see a good overview of the kinds of traditional quilts possible from this block, simply Google "traditional log cabin quilt" and take a look at the images.

The basic block looks like this:
The block, however, is only the "inspiration", a jumping off point, if you will.

One of the reasons I joined this challenge is to be able to play a bit. With all that's gone on in the last few years with moving, the change in responsibilities at work, the sewing studio being the last room unpacked, the learning curve of the new machine and the need to finish projects meant for others, my skills seem to have acquired a layer of rust. Time to sand some of that off.

The starting point of my primarily indigo quilt was a rough, five sided...blob. Yes, that is a technical quilting term. I hacked off a piece of the Cherrywood indigo (the hand dyed fabric has a beautiful hand, soft and suede-like; I would love to make a skirt for winter out of it (lined, since the cotton alone is a bit light for our Wisconsin winters)). From that odd center, I proceeded with a traditional log cabin assembly, adding a "log" to each side in turn around the center. A few logs were cut a bit on the diagonal after attaching them, just to keep things interesting.

Once the piece was large enough, I cut a 16" finished square, and added 2" borders of the Cherrywood fabric all around to bring it up to 20" square.

Then the fun started. I spent a couple of hours playing on a scrap quilt, trying out the various decorative stitches on the Bernina 830. Hundreds are available. I tend towards decision fatigue when faced with too many choices; I put about two dozen samples on the practice piece, and chose my final stitches from that limited pool. At the same time, I pulled out a number of different types of thread: polyester embroidery thread, shiny rayons, a metallic or two, a variegated cotton.

Each seam is covered by a decorative stitch, crazy-quilt style. The final border has a free motion, ribbon-like curl motif (and boy, am I rusty on that, too). The binding, true to the scrappy look of the cabin, is pieced from several of the "log" fabrics, joined with a diagonal seam.

It's a slightly non-traditional log cabin block, done in a crazy quilt style.

What better name than "Crazy Cabin"?
In process. The decorative stitches serve as the quilting,
holding the top, batting and back together.

Full quilt, finishing at 20" square. A little bit of orange
to brighten it up a bit.

Close up of some of the stitching.
To see more of the incredible quilts, plus take a look at the May and June entries, go to Persimon Dreams and click on the links in the right sidebar.


melissa said...

I adore the look of a crazy quilt, but would have to run screaming from the room with my hands waving over my head. So much detail, and I'm even detail oriented. :)

Your work boggles my mind. Truly.

Diane said...

I would never attempt to do one by hand. Same reaction as you. As crazy quilts go, this is almost naked. Should have added flowers, bees...not enough time.

Rochelle aka Bella Quilts said...

I like all the decorative stitches on your quilt. They really finish the quilt nicely. Great idea to use the "blob" style!!