It has been years and years since I've made a log cabin quilt. Back when I sewed at home at our kitchen table, it seemed almost impossible to get into a good rhythm to make a log cabin quilt. There is a lot more stop and start sewing and pressing and cutting when making log cabins. And to not have space or room to really spread out and leave it out, made it feel troublesome. But, the time as come! I made one of my favorite quilts to date!
I decided to use someone else's pattern to make this quilt. I did not want to do any quilt math myself for this project. I wanted to dive in, start cutting and just sew sew sew. I chose the Picnic in the Park quilt pattern by Annabel Wrigley. It creates this generous 81" square throw and is bold and easy to understand. But let's back up. Let's chat fabric!
In the summer of 2023, myself and my husband and son, all traveled to Europe. One of our best friends got married in the UK and we decided to make a big trip out of it. One of our main cities we stopped in was London. And of course, I had to go to Liberty London! I've loved Liberty prints for such a long time but I rarely purchased them or knew how I'd want to use them. But I love their Tana lawn and all the small dainty florals. Wow, the store is gorgeous and multiple stories. I browsed their art, clothing, home goods and found my way to the fabric section. I knew I couldn't go completely nuts because I had to be able to pack it back home and also, it's not the cheapest fabric. Well, I just walked in circles a couple times and then started picking fabrics that jumped out at me. I landed with 12 prints and 7 solids.
The solids are so soft and saturated, I hadn't ever seen Liberty solids before but I am in love!
After we returned from our trip, I knew I wanted to make a quilt using each fabric I purchased. And I knew I wanted it to feel like a classic vintage type of quilt, especially while using brighter more modern prints. It took me a bit but then the log cabin idea came to me and I jumped into it. I knew I would need to pull more fabric from my personal stash to get the look I was hoping for. Here is my first pull that I made before I started cutting. I did end up adding more blues into the final pull but didn't rephotograph it as I was part way through the quilt top by then.
The fabric is all from my personal stash, collected over the years. It's a mix of Tula Pink, Ruby Star Society, Cloud 9, Heather Ross, Kaffe Fasset, Allison Glass and Robert Kaufman.
The pattern provides the cut information to work block by block. You pick one single color to be the center point of each log cabin block and I chose Kona Acid Lime. Then from there, you have four other fabrics that alternate in pairs - one half is made from two fabrics and the other half by the other two. It's a very versatile and freeing pattern to make. I did not preplan any part of this quilt besides what fabrics I was choosing in the general pull.
I decided I would essentially try and make two similar colored/complimentary pairs within each block. Ex: A red solid and then a red print for one half, and then a light purple and a deeper purple for the other side. It's not an exact science but I did make sure whatever pairs I was creating related to each other in some visual/color way.
At this point, the quilt is in a 5 x 5 grid. The finished size is a 6 x 6 grid of blocks. I just threw these quilt blocks up to get the general idea and this is when I decided I needed to add a few more blue fabrics into the mix. I went back into my stash and found several more blues and then finished making the final 11 blocks needed. Then I played with the layout to make sure the blocks were orientated correctly and I tried to make some of the "diamonds" that form to look like red or blue or yellow or purple. But again, I just did what I thought looked best and let it be.
Because this quilt is rather large, it was a little difficult to get a full flat shot but we got some really fun movement filled photos!
It took me a few weeks to decide on what I wanted to back this quilt in. I knew I was making this to live on our couch full time in our living room. I didn't want just a solid or a busy print and the I realized, is it really a TCJ quilt if I don't have some tiny hit of gingham or plaid?! I did some research and found some gorgeous Merchant + Mills linens locally in Portland. It's a really beautiful high quality linen that is 90" wide so no seam! I chose this gorgeous warmer orange/pink/gold plaid and I am so happy with it!
Emily of So Sunny Quilts and I discussed what pantograph to do on this quilt. The top is probably 2/3 lawn fabric (it can snag or pull easily so unpicking is not ideal) and with the backing being linen, we wanted a pantograph that didn't pull too many repeat stitches (no big backstitching or stitching clusters). Also, we wanted to keep the hand of the quilt so soft and drape-able so we went with bamboo batting. We ended up going for Vibrations, a pantograph I haven't used yet. It has some slight curves but nothing too round and also nothing too sharp. I wanted all over texture without it feeling directional or too obvious it's the opposite of sharp visuals. Log cabins are so obviously angular that I wanted something softer to the final look.
I also chose one of my classic favorite bindings - a black and white stripe. I didn't want a solid fabric as I thought it may take away from the quilt top in general. And I am so happy with how this turned out.
I love the tiny pops of Acid Lime in each block and the quilting adds a lovely soft texture. I, again, of course, took wayyyyyy too many photos.
I still haven't washed this quilt yet but it is at home. I snapped some photos of it in our living room and it feels like the jewel of our house. I typically try and buy the main big things in our house - furniture, chairs, etc - in neutral or deep tones. I like having a solid base and then adding lots of colors through decor. Pillows, art, candles, books, etc. I am super happy with how our living room is shaping up. I want to make a few new piller covers but so far, I love it!
This is such a special memory quilt from our Europe trip. And I can't wait to wash this soon and see all the lovely crinkles.