Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Snake River Log Cabin

I was working like a crazy lady trying to get my Snake River Log Cabin quilt finished before quilt retreat. Unfortunately, I was so close, yet so far. I can hardly contain my excitement, because one and a half years of sewing is finished and fabulous!

This quilt comes with a little story. My husband and I decided to go away for a long weekend on our 10 year Anniversary. The destination was chosen, Amish Country Ohio. I could hardly contain my excitement. Four days away from the children to be with my husband. This meant eating a meal without having to cut someone else's up, no evening bath ritual, and all of the other things that kids need you to do for them. Not to mention there were going to be oodles of quilt stores to visit.

I bought a few projects to make for Christmas gifts and for my kids. I walked into Grandma Fannies Quilt Barn, just outside of town. On the intial walk through, I spotted the Snake River Log Cabin sample. It was amazing and I fell in love. With a 1 year old in the house I hadn't been doing much quilting for a few years, so I didn't let myself buy the fabric kit or the book. There were so many projects that I already owned at home that needed completed. This quilt was a queen sized lifetime commitment. So I left it there at the shop.

We decided the following year that we enjoyed our get away so much that it needed to be repeated. Off we went to Berlin for a long weekend. Throughout the year I had started my obsessive quilting habit again, so I had decided if Grandma Fannie's still had the kit for the log cabin, it was coming home with me.

I walked into the store, made several rounds, without seeing the quilt or the kit anywhere. I was starting to get a little anxious. This quilt haunted my dreams. I had to have it. So in desperation, I asked the clerk on duty. She told me she thought it was upstairs with the finished quilts. I raced upstairs to find the sample and a few of the fabric packets. Maybe no one else was ready to undertake this queen sized workhorse.

About a month after our trip, I decided to cut it up and get started. My first moment of concern was when I opened a 3+ yard piece of fabric that needed to be cut into 1 1/2" squares. Oh my! The directions were read and many many small pieces were cut. No strip piecing here.

So I pieced and I pieced and I pieced some more. I had to stop and make a t-shirt quilt for my oldest daughter's graduation present. There were also Christmas presents to be made.

Finally I had all 64 blocks finished for the main section of the quilt. But wait, there was a pieced border to be made. Back to piecing.

Here is the border I was talking about.

The quilt is finished! The quilt is finished!

This is not the greatest photo, but the darks are all chocolate browns, the lights are all cream colors and the small square that travels around the quilt is a lovely burgundy. I do like how you can see right through the quilt.

This quilt took me a lot of time to put together, but careful piecing and cutting left me with a quilt that came together as a finished piece so well, without puckers or any other defects.

I can not wait to get this quilted and on my bed!



Sunday, January 20, 2013

Retreat Weekend

This weekend was retreat weekend! I look forward to this weekend all year. To make things even better, one of my friends was able to go along with me. Now, I am already anticipating next years retreat. What can be better than a weekend spent in a ballroom with sewing machines humming all around you. The variety of projects is so inspiring.

Here is my sewing station, which is empty because this was taken at about 7 this morning, before everyone else was up. Coffee, check. Mini Iron, check. Sewing machine functioning, check. I was able to put one project totally together except for trimming and borders. Another project was prompty started and is half completed.

This is my sewing partner, Diane. I had so much fun with my roomy. See her finished project, isn't it pretty amazing? This was here first retreat, I sure hope she had fun, so she will come back with me next year!

The demonstrations given by the retreat hostess, Kathy, were all focused on scraps. I purchased a Quilt in a Cup, which I hope to get done in the next few weeks. The others were very inspiring, but I try to wait on purchases. I did however stop at The Quilt Patch in Tecumseh, Michigan my FABULOUS local quilt store. My allowance has been spent.

While I did miss my little people and my husband immensely, it was awful fun to sew all weekend with no house cleaning, cooking, bath giving, basketball practice...

It was a fun and productive weekend, but now it is time to get my stuff put back away so I can get back to the normal sewing. The five minutes I can squeeze out between fixing dinner and folding laundry.



Sunday, January 13, 2013

Progress Has Been Made

Snake River Log Cabin, Snake River Log Cabin, Snake River Log Cabin... This has been the focus of the last few weeks in my world. Only 10 more blocks to sew. Only 300 more red and cream inch and a half squares to sew together. I think these are the only thought I have been having for the last little while.

My sewing area has been a disaster of piles, chains and boxes (used to organize the pieces).

Chains on the ironing board.

Chains to my right.

Chains to my left.

Box to my left with yet more chains! Not to mention the life juice, coffee!

Today I was able to put together all of the rows for my quilt and even put two of those rows together! The results are stunning. I can not wait until I get this together. I am starting to remember why I loved this quilt so much that I thought I needed to buy the kit and make it!

Please excuse the crummy picture, but I was too excited not to share. I am hoping to have this put together in time for show and tell at quilt retreat this weekend. We will see if that happens, since it is the end of the semester and grades need to be finished.

Who needs sleep anyway?



Saturday, January 5, 2013

Snake River Log Cabin Blocks

This Christmas Vacation I have kept busy with many things. Before we left on the last day of school, I made a list of the activities I wanted to do with my kids. We had fun making moon sand, popping packing bubbles, sledding, Battle Ship and a multitude of other fun stuff!

I have spent many hours with the sewing machine also. Over a year ago I started working on a Snake River Log Cabin quilt. This last week of vacation has seen my sewing machine, ironing board and staging area covered with various pieces of fabric ready to be assembled.

This is a picture of all 64 finished blocks for the center section of this quilt. It may not look like much and there is still so much left to sew, but I am so excited. After some quick mathematical calculations, these two piles are made up of 2816 pieces and 3008 seams (only I would be geeky enough to figure it out)!!!!!

This quilt has proven to be a challenge, which is good. The time I have invested in this quilt have prevented me from buying so many other projects to work on. I think I may need to invest in more complicated quilt projects like this one.

I can't wait to start assembling this fabulous quilt!



Friday, January 4, 2013

Christmas Gift Made by My Husband

This year for Christmas, I was finally given a handmade gift! My husband has recently started to turn pens and other things on the lathe that he got for Christmas last year. He decided that I needed a nice seam ripper. In secret, he ordered the kits and turned the handle for me. The kids were recruited to help with the decision on what to make the handle out of.

Do you see something wrong with this block? I should not sew after midnight. This block is proof. My goal was to finish 10 of my crazy lady log cabin blocks (really called Snake River Log Cabin) before bed. Well, I got tired and put the last log on the blocks upside down. Some people might have been upset, not me! What a perfect opportunity to use my new seam ripper that was lovingly created for me by my husband!!

This seam ripper, called Jack, cut right through the stitches. There are only four more seams to rip out and this handy tool should make it a breeze. The point is small and pointed enough to slip under the stitches without distorting the fabric. Very important for a complicated block like this. It also was small and pointed enough not to pull threads out of the fabric, causing an unwanted hole.

Previously when ripping pieces off of these blocks, I have just thrown them away and started with a new piece. I was worried that the pieces were pulled out of shape by the stitch ripping and would throw the whole quilt off. No worries about that now.

I love this gift and love that my husband made it for me because he understands my crazy love for this hobby. Anyone interested in an awesome seam ripper?

Now to fix those blocks and try to get them finished before my break is over!

Happy Sewing