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Thread: What quilting design for a log cabin quilt?

  1. #1
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    What quilting design for a log cabin quilt?

    I've been trying out various free motion quilting designs and straight line (with walking foot) designs for log cabin quilts on a scrappy log cabin quilt intended for a homeless family. I have not found a design that I like and can do well with fmq on a Singer 301 (small harp). I'm in the beginning stages of learning feathers, not accomplished yet. I've also looked in books, articles, and on the internet.

    Now I have a church fundraising log cabin queen/king size to quilt - on a DSM, and in sections. It's blues and yellows, just beautiful. But what design to use? The logs are 2.5 unfinished or 2 inches finished. The blocks are 14 inches square, unfinished. I'm sewing them together in what might be called lights and shadows, with blue areas meeting in the middle of each group of four blocks.

    What designs have you used or tried that enhances the fabric in a log cabin quilt without detracting from it, and that could be done on a small harp domestic machine? I also have the option of SITD with decorative stitches, did that on a second scrappy homeless quilt, and it looked pretty good.

    Thanks!
    Cricket

  2. #2
    Super Member quilterella's Avatar
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    They say use curves for straight line patterns...which I have done with the log cabins. I have also done 1/4" on either side of a seam, every two or three logs and I would have to say that is my favorite method for log cabins. It is a little more time consuming but seems to make everything POP...
    Quilting is my PASSION not my pass time.
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  3. #3
    Member dgbrandt's Avatar
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    I have done Baptist fans and like the look.
    Deb

  4. #4
    Power Poster gabeway's Avatar
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    I agree with the 1/4 inch on each side. It looks sharp. Stitch in the ditch is more subtle with leaf or other design on border.
    Wayne & Gabriele, the married quilters.

  5. #5
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    I have a log cabin that was part of my mother's stuff when we emptied her home. It is stitched along each seam line. It is not anything she made but is really pretty. Hand quilted.

  6. #6
    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
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    Baptist fan was often used traditionally for the log cabin quilts. Google images on that.
    Or you could do straight lines through the diagonals of the corners of each log, giving the finished quilt a grid look.

    Jan in VA
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  7. #7
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    Make sure you use curves. It is just plain ugly to have straight lines crossing all those narrow pieces of fabric.

  8. #8
    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
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    Whoa; considering that I had just posted before you that she might consider a grid pattern of straight lines, I feel your comment might be considered a bit harsh......"just plain ugly"? Really? Not your preference perhaps, but that's whats makes the art of quilting so wonderful; it's art and there are no quilt police! Beauty IS in the eye of the beholder after all.

    Jan in VA
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  9. #9
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    I guess it just depends on what you like. I think straight diagonal lines could look pretty nice. What kind of thread are you using? Do you want your fmq to shine? or blend in? Echo quilting a log cabin could be a lot of work. How much time do you want to put into it? Lots of large loops all over might also be a fun look. And would be quick. Are you doing quilt as you go? Tying might also be an option.....
    Anyway, kudos for you.....you are extra special to be contributing your work that way.

  10. #10
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    yeah...."just plain ugly" doesn't fit any of the work I've ever seen here!!! beauty really is a matter of opinion.
    Last edited by mindless; 01-11-2013 at 03:37 PM.

  11. #11
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    Thanks, everyone for the comments and please keep them coming.

    Yes, I had heard curved lines should be used for the quilting but hadn't yet found a design that I liked and could do well. I've even tried drawing designs on that Glad Press and Seal stuff - I think that is what it is called. Have you tried that? It works pretty well.

    To answer Mindless's questions, I'm using a Sulky 40 weight variegated quilting thread that is blue and yellow called Butter and Sky, I think. I will test to be sure, but I think I'm using a dark blue Bottom Line 60 weight thread in the bobbin; the back is solid dark blue. I welcome any comments. If that doesn't work, my next thing to try will be a smoke Monofilament Polyester. What is your favorite brand? I have a Bernina that should handle that well.

    I want the stitching to be noticed, but as an element in the quilt, not as the primary point of interest. In other words, I want the fabrics, blues and yellows, to be the stars of the show. I want to put as little time in it as I can in order to make it nice, and as much time as it takes. I should deliver it in two or three weeks, if that gives you a better idea. I've tried large loops and also curves with loops, stars, flowers, or hearts, and I did like that look. It's also quick, as you mentioned. I would prefer to do a QAYG but will probably not be able to do that since the back is 108 " wide and four yards long and I don't want to cut it. So I plan 6 rows across (14 inch blocks) and 8 rows down, and plan to quilt the center two rows, then the right two after joining them and then the left two. I may add borders later. I guess it is a very modified QAYG! LOL

    Tying really isn't an option. People at my church have seen many of the quilts I've made for homeless families and the quilting on them and expect to see some nice quilting now. Funny thing is that on a homeless quilt, I just go right at the quilting and it always comes out fine and now, with this quilt which will get such scrutiny, I'm cautious. It will be displayed on the wall of the community room for about a month while tickets are being sold. I want it to look good, as good as possible. Did you ever feel that way?

    I thought about Baptist fans but it seems to me it would be very labor and time intensive and require a good deal of precision. The same thing applies to the orange peel design. Am I right about that? What is your experience with those designs?

    I will try the 1/4 stitching on each side of the seam on my test quilt. Thank you for that suggestion.

    One look I had considered, and tried out on QAYG log cabin blocks, is a SITD with a decorative stitch, such as a feather stitch. I liked the look of it with the variegated thread. It's fun to do one block at a time but will take a huge amount of time for a quilt that big. I used a Pfaff for that. With the built in walking foot, it's up to that challenge.

    Another look I considered, and have tried on a medium size scrappy log cabin, is a stitch where I free motion quilt curves about an inch long, waving from one side of each seam to the other. That looks good and is quick and easy. It also have the advantage of reinforcing the seams, which never hurts even though my seams are all intact and uniform. I wish I had a machine that did a nice Serpentine stitch, but I don't.

    I welcome all ideas, suggestions, and comments. Thanks!
    Last edited by cricket_iscute; 01-11-2013 at 05:56 PM.

  12. #12
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    have you wandered through this site? http://www.daystyledesigns.com/365project.htm
    maybe you could modify one of them to fit your project. It sounds awesome by the way.....will we get to see pics?
    Last edited by mindless; 01-11-2013 at 07:42 PM.

  13. #13
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    Good idea on the Day designs. I did look before but will look again. Thank you.

    Sure, I'll post pics later - have to figure out how.

  14. #14
    Super Member hcarpanini's Avatar
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    Go onto Pinterest and in the search type in log cabin quilts. You will get some good ideas there.

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    May I suggest looking up log cabin quilts on this board and maybe you will see something you like and then add your own little twist. I feel for you, as I often take a long time deciding how I want to quilt something. It will come to you and I am going to watch this thread to get knowledge and suggestions. Can someone post a pic of a baptist fan? Would love to know what that looks like.
    Create something beautiful from scraps.

  16. #16
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    I like the look of about 1/8" away from seam on each side...if and when I get better with fmq I will also be trying more curvy patterns...I also must agree with Jan in Va, it is all a matter of preference...and I have had to eat a lil crow several times myself...as in crazy quilting...my local quilt group was starting a lesson on those, I made the remark that I wasn't too fond of them, kinda too gaudy for me, at least the ones made from velvets and satins...one of the gals brought in squares she was working on, and they were so lovely...right then and there I "ate my crow" and signed up for those classes...lol..
    Regards all,
    K
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  17. #17
    Super Member kiffie2413's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jan in VA View Post
    Whoa; considering that I had just posted before you that she might consider a grid pattern of straight lines, I feel your comment might be considered a bit harsh......"just plain ugly"? Really? Not your preference perhaps, but that's whats makes the art of quilting so wonderful; it's art and there are no quilt police! Beauty IS in the eye of the beholder after all.

    Jan in VA
    Agreed
    Regards,
    Kif
    Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest~Mark Twain

  18. #18
    Super Member katier825's Avatar
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    I love to browse thru this site for ideas. They have some block specific patterns that may inspire you. Look for Log Cabin or for Triangle blocks that you can use on each side of log cabin. Some of them are pretty intricate, but you might be inspired by some of the design elements and draw up your own pattern.

    http://stitchhappy.com/Stitch%20Happ...8b&keyword=log

  19. #19
    Super Member coopah's Avatar
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    Different strokes for different folks...yes! I grew up in a quilting environment (including local Amish) and until I joined discussions on this Board (which I dearly love to learn from), I'd never seen a log cabin done with curved quilting stitches. It's not like I lived solely in the sticks, either, so if you like the straight type stitching and feel good with that...go for it. On the other hand, if you like the curved...go with that. We are here to learn and explore and support. Let us see a photo when finished. Please? Thanks!! Enjoy the process.

  20. #20
    Junior Member time2quilt's Avatar
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    I hand quilted, but one of the most beautiful quilts I've made was a purple and white (bride's request) log cabin for a wedding gift and I quilted it with circles. It was gorgeous. Sorry I don't have a picture to share.
    Tough times don't last, tough people do.

  21. #21
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    Jan, I am so sorry. When I started my post yours had not shown up yet. I was called to the phone and submitted the reply 20 or so minutes after I started it. The outcome is I did indeed seem to be replying to you directly and way too harshly. To say that straight lines across narrow strips are unattractive TO ME would have done just fine. I do believe that I got my info in a class taught by Linda Tayler but she probably did not use the "U" word.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jan in VA View Post
    Whoa; considering that I had just posted before you that she might consider a grid pattern of straight lines, I feel your comment might be considered a bit harsh......"just plain ugly"? Really? Not your preference perhaps, but that's whats makes the art of quilting so wonderful; it's art and there are no quilt police! Beauty IS in the eye of the beholder after all.

    Jan in VA

  22. #22
    Super Member ccthomas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hcarpanini View Post
    Go onto Pinterest and in the search type in log cabin quilts. You will get some good ideas there.
    Great tip; Pinterest is awesome.
    Carol

  23. #23
    Member Velawyn's Avatar
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    since you are using a 301, (i have one also) i would think in a 2" pattern as it may be easier to control the fabric. when you look at the logs in your block, you will have a better idea of what might work. for instance, curves might be a huge challenge in a 2" strip, but waves might not be. a small feather would allow you to play with feathers. or you might consider a running leaf or heart design. that will give you practice moving the quilt in curves without locking you in to the detail of a feather. i like to look at the fabrics in the block and see if there is a pattern i can simplify and repeat in the actual quilting. the biggest thing it to keep it simple. i hope you have fun with it and would love to see a pic of your end result. Happy Quilting!

  24. #24
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    When i have done a quilt with lots of color I use verigated thread with colors of fabric as close as possible.Or I will use verigated thread that will stand out.Dependinding on design in quilt I will go around charectors and pieces to accent them then finish with the s squiggle pattern that most people have on their machine stitches.Please excause spelling.Have fun with your quilts and dont worry about what others think.These are your creations for you to enjoy doing and giving.
    peanutbrittle

  25. #25
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    I definitely don't think straight line quilting is "just plain ugly." I like the look of the straight lines with the straight lines of the log cabin blocks. I would either stitch in the ditch or stitch just inside the seamlines. I think that blends the seamlines and the quilt lines and looks very nice.

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