easier than i thought

Don’t get too excited—this does not represent a dive into quilting. More a dip of the proverbial toe. And while the water feels just fine, I’m not sure I’m ready for a swim just yet. Perhaps a bit more time to digest lunch is required.

log cabin (by mintyfreshflavor)

A friend is organizing a surprise group quilt as a gift for another friend’s upcoming 30th birthday. No rules, no color suggestions—just the request for an 8.5 x 8.5 inch square. Based on the emails that have gone around, it seems both crafty and non-crafty folks were asked to participate, which means that there’s no expectation of a professionally pieced quilt.

So what better time to play with the medium than now, right?

I bought this fabric last July, with no project in mind. I put it away and, while I never truly forgot about it, it was far enough from my mind that I was shocked to retrieve it Thursday night and realize how much pink was in there! Thanks to Purl, I had 6 fabrics that coordinated nicely with no input from me—and the sunshiney color palette was exactly what I wanted for my friend.

In a spurt of creative energy at midnight on Wednesday, I started researching rotary cutters and mats, picking Ashley‘s brain for guidance on sizes of each (45mm seems appropriate for a rotary cutter; get a mat as big as you can support and afford). But it was all pricey and would take time to get here—and the truth is, I have a ton of sewing supplies. I’ve taken a few classes, one a private with my seamstress. I decided I could manage it myself this time, and think about getting better stuff for the future.

The first thing I did Thursday night was try to get even strips that went with the grain (or against it, whatever), by getting the selvedges aligned and trimming the rough edges. Man, were these pieces NOT rectangles to begin with! Does that matter in quilting? I mean, I knew I needed an even strip, but would it have mattered if it had been at a slight angle to the grain? Anyway, I got it all aligned, cutting away the excess, and then I cut my 1.5-in strips.

log cabin (by mintyfreshflavor)

They weren’t as perfect as if I’d had a rotary cutter, to be sure, but they were pretty darn close enough. And then I just started sewing! It was fast—the most time consuming part was getting up to iron after each new segment was added. I probably could have figured out a better setup if I’d tried, but the sewing was still done in half an hour as it was.

if i'm doing it all wrong (by mintyfreshflavor)

I pressed all my seams open, but some got folded over when I ran them through anyway. Eh, it’s fine. I’m pretty happy with the final result–I somewhat randomly picked the arrangement of fabrics (no careful plotting beforehand—look at me! flying by the seat of my pants!). And as I thought might happen, my square isn’t exactly 8.5 x 8.5; it’s a bit more like 8.4 x 8.4. Close enough!

Will I be quilting anytime soon? Still undecided. But I’m certainly not afraid of the log cabin any more. And my fear of cutting is even greatly reduced—I did an excellent job getting even strips with just my Ginghers; think what I could do with precision equipment!

I’ll leave you with a more in-focus shot of the finished product—my very first pieced creation ever!

log cabin (by mintyfreshflavor)

34 Responses to easier than i thought

  1. naomi says:

    Oooh, that looks great! (I need to find a place where I can set up my sewing machine….not that I have time to get sucked into sewing.)

  2. Phoebe says:

    It’s so pretty, I love the colors. I haven’t been quilting very long, but so far, log cabin blocks are my favorite, especially for baby quilts.

  3. Mom2Schnauzers says:

    You are such an inspiration! I’ve had quilting in my head for years (seriously!)…You just made it “not so scary!” Thx 4 sharing!

  4. Stacey says:

    Oh it is gorgeous – the fabrics are about perfect. Lovely job for your friend – such a toughtful gift! Nice job – and really, imagine what precision tools can do!:) Wowza!

  5. Nell says:

    I love how the colors came out! It’s so pretty and Springy. And you did much better on your first try than most of us. My first quilt was (is) decidedly unsquare!

  6. Veronique says:

    I love those yellows and pink together! Purl scores yet again :)
    Your first try is looking pretty fabulous, I must say. By the way, you don’t need to be absolutely with the grain when you’re cutting. In fact, some people prefer it a little bit off! Oh, and a rotary cutter will change your life the way a swift and ball winder does.

  7. kelp! says:

    I love the addition of the red fabric, it really brings out the little pops of red in the flowers! You did an excellent job, and don’t worry about the precision tools – I can barely cut a straight line, and I own a rotary cutter and a big cutting mat.

  8. Ashley says:

    So with Veronique on the “it will change your life” tip. Get that rotary cutter, girl–and don’t forget the acrylic ruler to go with it.

  9. Jody says:

    I think you did a great job! I think this will definitely whet you appetite for more sewing and quilting. I predict seeing more fabric goodness on here soon!

  10. Mom says:

    It looks great, and so bright and sunny. I think I need to replace my sewing machine, that I threw into the dumpster before moving, if I want to do more quilting. Hand quilting takes forever, though rewarding, it’s just too slow :)

  11. Annie says:

    I love your spring colors! I quilted when I was a kid, I have a sewing machine and a rotary cutter. I think I just like gear, for you see no sewing on my blog! I think it would be fun to take a class though.

  12. Heather says:

    My daughter just saw this post and said “that’s pretty will you make me one, too?’…so I might be taking the plunge very soon. Thanks Minty!

  13. Jacey says:

    I love the colors-gorgeous composition! The cutting straight is what intimidates me, but it’s good to know you can do it without a rotary in a pinch.

  14. DonnaC says:

    I love the color choice – makes me want to go to my machine right now and make some log cabin squares too! Try next time ironing all the seams to one side. It actually makes it stronger. Ironing open is for dressmaking, but I found that in most machine piecing it is best to one side. Later when you quilt, quilt on the side with no extra same fabric. Just my .02! :)

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