Friday, June 24, 2016

Peace Cottage Quilt Along Step 3, Log Cabin Blocks

How are you coming? If you are still working on your stars, fret not, this weeks blocks are incredibly easy. If you need to take a break from the stars, set them aside for the moment and start in on these quick fun blocks.

The history of the log cabin block can be traced all the way back to Egyptian times!  It's true!  In the early 19th century tombs in Egypt were being discovered.  There was a fascination with all things Egyptian and many of the funerary objects were shipped back to England.  Below are photos from the British Museum which demonstrate mummy wrapping, you will notice the design of the linens and how they were dyed. 

Animal Mummies, Mummy Wrapping, The British Museum

Cat Mummy, Mummy Wrapping, The British Museum

The log cabin block became popular in the United States of America in the 1860's during the Civil War. The color chosen for the center of the blocks was traditionally red to symbolize the hearth or heart of the home, or yellow to symbolize a light in the window.

There are a multitude of settings and styles of creating this block. The White House Steps, Court House Steps, eight sided Pineapple, Barn Raising, Sunshine and Shadows are but a few of the many names attached to variations on this block and it's layouts.

So let's get started, here is the video for Lesson 3 the Log Cabin Blocks.  Watch this first and I will provide some tips after.

TIP: As I was watching the video, I noticed that she deviated from the actual instructions that were posted in the original magazine article. In the article, the designer has you arrange all of the blocks with the 8" strip at the top.  Since they are square, it really doesn't matter how you arrange them, you will get the same effect but I opted to stick with the original design.  

Tip: Obtaining your perfect 1/4" seam is easy if you use the Sewing Machine Seam Guide that is available here on: Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville site.  Order her seam guide for $4.00 or get a pack of them and share them with your quilting friends! It won't matter what machine you are sewing on, you can quickly check and mark your 1/4 inch seam on your machine by dropping your needle through the premarked hole and noting that on your machine bed. Get one, it's a small expense for easy perfect 1/4 inch seams.

Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville Sewing Machine Seam Guide

TIP:  For this block, pull lots of fabrics. The greater the variety the more interesting your blocks will be. Don't be afraid to mix it up, have fun!

I got ahead of myself last weekend and chain pieced all my blocks. They go together really fast.  This morning I stitched them together and here is the finished portion layed out on the

Please feel free to post pictures of your work, you know I always love to see your work! You can post it here or on our Facebook page.  Make sure you enter the drawing this month on our Facebook page, the link is at the top!

Here is the link to McCall's Peace Cottage Quilt Along:

Sunday, June 19, 2016

McCall's Peace Cottage Quilt Along, Rising Stars!

Summertime and we are quilting along with McCall's Peace Cottage Quilt Along. We've only just begun, are you having fun?  I am blogging my process for you.  You will remember in my last post I pulled lots and lots of different fabrics.  As the time to start cutting drew near, I felt that this little quilt was singing a patriotic song to me and so I pulled some scraps that had been sent to me a few years back from a sweet woman.  I knew those scraps would be delightful in the right quilt and this is their time to shine!

There are several tips I have as we go along so you may wish to read through this before you get started if you haven't already.

I like to chain piece, it makes things go faster and I enjoy the repetitive nature.  So to make that process run smooth, I like to get my fabric bits in order first.  

TIP: In the photo above, you will see that I have cut all the pieces to sew the centers of the blocks and I have stacked them in little piles. I know exactly what is going to go with what.  Now, I may decide after the geese are made that I want to switch things a bit and that is just fine, but I have a plan in mind and I stack my stars as I plan to stitch them.

TIP: Wait! What is this? Well, these are my leaders and enders.  I don't use a scrap piece of fabric to start my thread, if I'm starting thread, I am making something. These are left over triangles trimmed from my prior quilt project. I save them in a plastic bag and then when I start my next project, there are plenty of bits to start and end my thread with and in that process I am making more blocks to use another time.

See! Look at all those bonus pieces that got made while doing something I was going to do anyway!  Start and end your projects with a leader and an ender, get in that habit and you will be sooooo happy!

Chain piecing is the simple act of starting the next piece in your machine without clipping the threads. It saves you money in thread purchases, it saves you time and effort because you are stitching the same pieces together over and over.

TIP: You can see the blue line that I drew across the little squares to create the geese.  My tip to you is this: when you are stitching on the right side of the geese, as shown above...stitch just one thread width to the right of your line.  As you switch to the other side, to stitch on the left, you need to stitch one thread to the left of your line.  This allows you to turn the fabric and have a perfect geese.

TIP: In the instructional video, she has you cutting away excess fabric with scissors. You should have a rotary cutter, a mat and a small ruler. I like things neat and this lets you cut a perfect 1/4 inch seam allowance. Just my personal preference, you may use scissors if you wish.

TIP: Pressing is important to accurate piecing. Finger press open your seams to make sure they are fully open before you apply your iron.  When ironing, press rather than scrubbing.  Pressing will give you the proper finish without distorting your piece.

Once you have your geese made, lay out your little block next to your machine, make sure you like how it looks and then you are ready to stitch it together.  

TIP: To get perfect points, you need to see the intersection of those points, so stitch with the geese on the top.  Stitch a thread or two toward the outside of the seam and you will have a perfect point. See example below:

TIP: If you are pinning to match up your seams, I recommend very very fine pins. Once you use them, you will never go back to the thick bulky pins. 
Clover Quilting Pin (Fine)

My star blocks are done! There is not enough room on my little design wall to spread them out in the quilt lay out but this lets me see them at a distance as well as to photograph them and see how they show in a photo. This will help me with the lay out. I can see what is popping out, what looks good next to the other, etc.

TIP: Okay, sashing the blocks together. DON'T FREAK OUT! I confess, my OCD kicked in and I did freak, just a little.  The end pieces do not match up like you think they should.  Watch the video, she tells you that the pieces are oversized, they won't match up and you will be trimming the piece down. Take your time and look at the layout of the pattern. Relax and roll with it. Do it just like she shows you and you'll be fine. I am not trimming mine until I have all the other components of the quilt assembled.  You will have funky edges.

It will trim up pretty, don't worry. The above photo is a more accurate representation of the color. I took the one below outside in the sun and it's kind of blown out a bit, but you get the idea.

So if you haven't started yet, don't worry, you can start anytime you want.  All the info, pattern, videos are on the McCall's website here:  

Sunday, June 12, 2016

McCall's Peace Cottage Quilt Along! I'm In!

It's Summer Time and I love a good quilt-along! McCall's is hosting the Peace Cottage by designer Lynn Lister. And I'm all in for this one! I'll post my progress here on the blog each week and I invite you to quilt along with me!  

This pattern was originally published in 2013 in a 3 part series. If you don't have your old issues never fear! You can go right to their website and get a copy of the pattern in a PDF download here: Peace Cottage Quilt Pattern by Lynn Lister

Now this quilt can be made in any colorway you wish, if you love the one pictured above, McCall's has a kit already prepared for you and you can make your quilt to look exactly as shown.  You can purchase that quilt kit here: Peace Cottage Quilt Along Kit

McCall's has recorded 12 video tutorials to walk you through the process of constructing this quilt. They are free and are posted at the bottom of the page here:  Each week a new video will be released to take you through the next step in the process. The videos will be up for a limited time, so take advantage of them. They run from now through August 26th, with a new release each week.

Here is the introduction video...

Lynn's quilt has been made in a few other colorways to give you some ideas. Here are some of her quilts...

Above is the one that originally caught my eye in the magazine.  

This is Marie Moore from Canada and her two different colorways, she is featured in McCall's article on their website. So there are lots of options. Don't you love her "winter" colorway!

I have sorted through bins, clearing out old fabrics to make room for new and plan to use them up in this quilt. It will have some surprises and some pops of interest in the scrappy bits and I think that will be just fun. It's going to be an eclectic variety.

I'll be pulling some more greens and blues but I think I have the rest sorted for now. As we go along I may add or subtract fabrics.

So I invite you! Come Quilt Along with McCall's and let's build our Peace Cottage quilts together! Feel free to post your fabric selection in the comments section below, I would love to see your choices!