Sunday, July 31, 2011

Light-and-Dark Log Cabin

I started a light-and-dark log cabin in early May, following a huge fabric-buying spree at Keepsake and Marden's (a discount store in Sanford, Maine. Don't ask, just go.). I described the motivation and process for the quilt in this post, but it's been so long that I'll go over it again. I felt a sudden compulsion to attempt to use up my (albeit meager) scrap stash and make a log cabin quilt when I returned from the NEMQG retreat. I cut up all the scraps I had into 2" strips (for 1.5" finished "logs") and pulled out a stack of 2.5" squares that I already had sitting around from a failed project that I never posted about. (Don't you love when that happens?) I cut three yards of KF Shot Cotton in Blush into 2" strips, calculated some basic measurements, and went to town sewing a mockup block. Happy with the first attempt, I chain-pieced 48 more.

...not so fast, of course. There was a period during block construction where I just could not believe that the project would ever be finished. You know the stage: when you realize you're only about 60% of the way through the blocks and you find it all but impossible to imagine that your hours of slaving away at the machine have resulted in such a meager pile of fabric. "How many more seasons of Will & Grace must I endure before I finish this thing," you ask yourself as you try to remove the chocolate stain you left on the last block you ironed.

Anyway, the blocks took me more than a month to sew. Once I finished them, I realized that the blocks together measured nearly twice the size of my entire living room. I considered renting space in the library or resorting to other bizarre venues for laying out my blocks. Luckily, my friends Rachel and Piper very generously agreed to allow me to use their dining room, even going so far as to remove almost all of the furniture in the room to accommodate this behemoth.

I'm so glad I went to a friend's house at this stage because the diamond layout I had originally planned just wasn't working, and if I hadn't had another person there to corroborate my negative feelings about my chosen layout, I might have plowed ahead. But neither of us liked it, and finally I settled on a variation of the "barn raising" variation: an off-center diamond.

I am just so happy with the layout we chose, the way the fabrics are working together...everything, really! It's all solids except for one old gingham shirt (which you can't tell is a print unless you are six inches away from it) and a few strips of Yuwa Honeycomb in black. The top measures about 95" square.

Once I had the layout set, I sewed the top together within a couple of days. I also whipped up a backing using Kona Light Jade and as many scraps from the project as possible. I have to admit that I can't conjure up the love for pieced backs that most quilters seem to possess. I think I'm going to start using fat backs, even though the fabric selection leaves much to be desired. By the time I've finished a quilt top, I'm ready to quilt it, bind it, and enjoy it. Sewing a backing just frustrates me. I have "sew-cried" my way through many a pieced back. Now I just need to find an inexpensive source for fat backs...and, of course, quilt this monster!

I hope you all had a productive weekend!


  1. that quilt top is gorgeous! any thoughts on how you're going to quilt it? (also, will and grace?! that sounds like my personal hell right there)
    and OMG I'm so tired of pieced backs. they go quickly on baby quilts but once you get to a queen they are just soul sucking. if you find a good source on backing let me know! you could also just get flat sheets at marshalls lol I think garnet hill had all sizes on sale for $10 but they sold out once I was ready to order. (guess who doesn't want to piece a back for her sampler quilt)

  2. Really lovely, Monet! I am super impressed by your ambition! Can't wait to see how you quilt it!

  3. i love this one! the colors are amazing.
    i'm thinking about buying some blush kaffe fassett now -- that's perfect for this one.
    hope today is going well.