Log Cabin Swap Quilt – finally finished!

I have so many new quilts I hope to make, but I’m also trying valiantly to finish old projects this year.  My Log Cabin Swap Quilt is one that has waited a couple of years for quilting.  

Ultimately I decided to finish it with simple straight line quilting.  It seems to be my go-to preference for finishing quilts.  When I first finish the quilt tops I’m really attached to them, and I worry I’ll ruin them when quilting.  My piecing skills are much better than my quilting skills, though I am improving and want to keep getting better.  After the quilt top has hung around for a while, I don’t feel intimidated anymore and it’s easier to finish them.  I need to work on shortening the wait time, though.

Every once in a while I back a quilt in flannel because my kids love it.  I hope my kids will snuggle with and love this one as the seasons change and it begins to cool down.  The log cabin swap quilts were the final swap I participated in for a modern quilting group that disbanded a while ago.  I’m excited to see this one in use.  It reminds me of the amazing women I met there.

None of us know what’s ahead right now.  I keep thinking that I want home to be a cozy, safe place, no matter what happens in the world.  Hopefully this log cabin swap quilt will contribute!

As I type this, I know that many are fleeing homes because of storms and fires.  Wherever you are, and wherever home is, I hope you are safe and feeling hope.  We had a conversation at the dinner table a few days ago, and asked our kids what they’ve learned in the past six months.  Their answer: gratitude.  I hope we all find something to be grateful for today, and every day.  It’s a great way to cope with hard times.

Halo Quilt Top

A few months ago I noticed an Instagram post about a sew along for the Jen Kingwell Halo Quilt.  I started one – back in 2016 at a quilt retreat!  After a little digging, I pulled out my blocks… all two of them.  I thought one or two blocks a week would give me a finished Halo quilt top.

I turns out that the chaos of so many scraps was a little too much for me.  Sometimes I can handle messes in my sewing room, but this one made me tense.  So I plowed ahead and finished the blocks in a month.  The only rules I had for myself were a fussy cut center square and attention to value.  Beyond that, I simply pulled fabric, cut and sewed.  

I have a word of advice if you’re thinking about making this quilt.  Buy the acrylic templatesJen Kingwell is the designer of the pattern, and the templates do two things:  improve accuracy, and speed up the cutting process.  I didn’t have the templates, so I made my own from plastic and hand cut every piece of fabric in this quilt.  After I’d finished about half of my blocks, I was really regretting my decision.  But here we are, in 2020, and I had no idea how long it would take to get templates shipped so I kept going.  It all worked out.

Most of the time I love the process of making really scrappy quilts, like my January quilt.  Though I did not enjoy the process of making this quilt top as much, I realize it had a lot to do with the pandemic and instability of life at the time.  Still, it was good to keep sewing even though it felt complicated.  And now I have a finished halo quilt top to show for my efforts, rather than a box of pieces and a couple of blocks.

Next comes the quilting.  It’s tempting to hand quilt this like so many others have done, but I am so slow with hand quilting.  I also have a long list of hand sewing projects in various stages.  I’m leaning toward machine quilting this one just so it doesn’t take forever to finish.

Either way, I have a finished Halo quilt top!  Hooray!

Something to Mend

I needed something to mend.  Big things are broken in our lives, in our world, that we can’t control.  Still, I needed the feeling of restoring something, making the broken beautiful.  Recently I purchased a vintage floral crown from a favorite shop that was closing.  I was drawn to the blue velvet and satin leaves.

Many of the leaves had pulled away from their wires, so I began by gluing each leaf back onto the wire.  (My binding clips were very helpful in this process, by the way!)  I bought some vintage millinery flowers at the same time, and added them to the crown.

We all have something to mend.  Probably in our textiles, but mending is bigger than that.  We need it in our relationships, in our thoughts, in the way we treat people at the store.  We all see the holes.  None of us can mend the world alone, but we can all find something to mend in our own lives.  Restoring this crown reminded me that mending heals me, too.  I love the crown; I love how I felt after fixing it, even more.  

Fixing my crown reminded me of an old quote, wise words from a very good man:

“This year, mend a quarrel.  Seek out a forgotten friend.  Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust.  Write a letter.  Give a soft answer.  Encourage youth.  Manifest your loyalty in word and deed.  Keep a promise.  Forgo a grudge.  Forgive an enemy.  Apologize.  Try to understand.  Examine your demands on others.  Think first of someone else.  Be kind.  Be gentle.  Laugh a little more.  Express your gratitude.  Welcome a stranger.  Gladden the heart of a child.  Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth.  Speak your love and then speak it again.”  – Howard W. Hunter


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