Wednesday, May 21, 2014

UFO Exchange--Part 2: Log Cabin Blocks

Our guild's UFO Exchange came to a close on Monday where participants revealed their finished tops/projects at our monthly meeting show and tell.  And while mine are not yet quilted/bound, I will share my journey of incorporating my own fabrics and design style to complete the finished tops that are ready for quilting.  

Table runner pattern, log cabin blocks and extra yardage
Since I had brought in multiple UFOs from my studio, I was able to select more than one UFO turned in by the other participating members.  After the first round, most of the UFO's had been claimed, so I was a little skeptical as to whether any of the remaining projects would appeal to me.  But then I noticed a small cardboard box that was still sealed shut...so I opened it up and saw four pretty log cabin blocks that were meticulously pieced by a fellow guild member, Suzanne D, using asian-inspired fabrics with metallic gold highlights, along with additional yardage and a pattern to make a patchwork table runner.  I brought them home and admired them and then my usual procrastination set in.  

Fast forward to April, and while my brain was buzzing with loads of ideas and inspirations for each of the projects, I had yet to actually do any sewing!  It would be rather embarrassing for me, as the UFO Exchange organizer to not have anything to reveal!  So I figured the log cabins would be a quick and easy project and at least I'd have something to show with my fellow participants.  The table runner pattern had the blocks lined up in 1 row, creating a 1x4 design.  Instead, I went with a 2x2 block layout forming a square and moved the 4 blocks around to mock up how the fabrics/colors would create different patterns. 
2x2 layout options A (left side) and B (right side)
I really liked the cream colored cross formed in layout A, but found the outer border distracting and I was worried about matching up all the seams to make it appear as one large border.  Having that same fabric in the center for Layout B just seemed very busy and I lost the strong, clean lines I liked in layout A.  I kept going back and forth and wasn't thrilled with either layout.  

Finished quilt top, pin basted and ready for quilting
And then I realized it was that one outer fabric with the large circles and flower bouquets that I found distracting.  Before I cut them off entirely, I simply folded them back for a quick mock up of the new layout and eureka!:  that was the magic solution to my design dilemma.  I hate ripping out seams, so I pulled out my rotary cutter and just sliced off those outer strips!  

Now that I had the block layout puzzle sorted out, I still had to figure out borders.  There was extra yardage included with some feathers with metallic highlights that would make for a really pretty border frame, but it blurred with the blue block strips.  So I went to my stash and auditioned several different gold, green and teal fabrics to create a contrasting inner border.  There was a green leafy print with gold metallic accents that was perfect and I had just enough to create my binding strips and a thin flange for my spinning borders.  And while this isn't my current style of fabric or design, I really love it and found a way to make the fabrics and blocks truly pop!
Feather/fern motif inspired by Angela Walters

And while I have not yet started to quilt, I've sketched up some FMQ feather/fern motifs inspired by the feathery border fabrics.  I've got my center cross motifs all sketched up with this beautiful feather/fern design from Angela Walters, and I'm still doodling different mock ups for the log cabin blocks and surrounding spinning borders.  Stay tuned for a future post once its quilted and bound! 

Many thanks to my fellow quilter Suzanne D for her meticulous piecing of the four log cabin blocks and extra yardage to create a fantastic wall hanging/table topper! 

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