Friday, August 18, 2017

Crazy Log Cabins - Block 8

The Crazy Log Cabin blocks for Twilight Garden can be paper pieced, or if you choose, you can make templates from the diagram on page 15. If you choose to make templates be sure to add a 1/4" seam allowance to your templates before cutting your fabrics.

If you are opting to do the foundation paper piecing method (by far the easiest method), you can follow along with me, as this is the method I have chosen to do.


 For these blocks I have chosen a wide variety of fabrics. Honestly, just about any of the fabrics in the kit will work well for these blocks.  They are very scrappy and I would pick out some lights, darks and mediums, and also some fabrics with pattern, just because they add a lot of visual interest. 
Each block will have a different sequence of fabrics, and, if you want, you can use many more fabrics than I have selected.  I avoided any of the blue fabrics, as I thought that would take away from the tulips, and also avoided the very light cream used in the day lily flowers, for the same reason. I did include some reds, greens, browns, golden tan, and grays.


First a word about foundation paper.  If you have experimented with papers for foundation piecing, you probably have your favorite that you use all the time.  For me, this is the paper from That Patchwork Place.  It is not expensive, and comes in large reams of 100 sheets.  The reason I like this paper is that it tears away easily.  There are several brands of vellum paper on the market that are touted as easy tear, but I find that all vellum is too robust for paper piecing.  For me, the lighter the paper the better. I do like the crispness of vellum, and it makes a sharp fold, but I have never found one that tears away easily.  Vellum always rips out some of my stitches, regardless of how small I make my stitch length.
The paper pictured at left works very well, and runs easily through my computer printer.
Make sure when you are copying foundation patterns that you have your printer set on 100% scale, or "actual size". 
Even with that, some printers are not accurate to size.  Be sure to measure your first copy against the original and only continue copying all your foundations when the copies match the original size perfectly.
A very handy tool to use when paper piecing is the Add-A-Quarter ruler.  It is not required, but will make trimming excess fabrics away very quick.  It comes in a 6" and also a 12" length.  The 6" version is adequate to do these blocks, but the 12" is a more versatile size. Here it is pictured butted up against the fold of the foundation paper.  The 1/4" lip on the bottom of this ruler assures you are trimming to exactly a 1/4" seam allowance.
 You will also need a small rotary cutter, and a small cutting mat to have at your work station.  It also is a time saver if you have a small ironing pad and iron right at your station as well.  Paper piecing requires that you press after each fabric addition, so if you iron is a distance from you work space, you will be traveling a bit.


There are some minor errors in the numbering of the the foundation pattern.  Not a biggy, but you might want to correct these numbers so you don't get confused as to the order you add the fabrics to the block.  Note in the photo, I have crossed out and re-numbered a few spaces on the pattern.  Please make these corrections before you copy your foundations. Newer versions of the pattern may already have these corrections, so double check just to be sure.

A word about cutting out your fabric pieces on the straight of grain. The pattern author stresses that this is very important, and she does provide a block diagram in the pattern with grain lines clearly marked.  If you wish to take the time to cut your pieces out with correct grain direction it will ultimately make the block more stable and less stretchy around the outside edges.  However, I personally do not bother with this.  I find as long as you use reasonable care when handling your pieces and particularly while pressing, you will have no problems assembling these blocks, or sewing them into the quilt. If you are really concerned about stability, you can always leave the foundation on the block until it is securely sewn into the quilt, then remove the paper.


I will not go into great detail about the process of paper piecing, as it is covered extremely well in many books that focus on this technique.  I will tell you a few hints to make your work easier.
First, sit next to a window, or have a light box handy so you can see your fabrics through the foundation paper to get proper alignment.  Second, if you are worried about your fabrics slipping while flipping over the foundation pattern and sewing.  Use a pin to hold the fabric to the foundation.  Just make sure your pin does not cross the sew line you will be sewing on. And Third, reduce the stitch length on your sewing machine so you are sewing about 15 stitches per inch or more.  This will help perforate the paper and make tearing away your pattern much easier.

Begin by placing your 1 and 2 fabrics right sides together and place them on the back of the pattern with the 1 piece wrong side to the paper.  Align them so their common edges overhang the sew line between 1 and 2 by at least 1/4". Pin these in place, flip the pattern so the printed side is up and sew on the line between 1 and 2, beginning your stitching a little before the line starts and continue your stitching a little past the end of the line. Clip threads and remove from the machine. 
With the printed side up, fold the pattern back on the line you just sewed. and trim the seam allowance to no more than  1/4".  The Add-A-Quarter ruler comes in handy for this. With the fabrics on top, flip piece 2 and press.
Add each new piece in numbered order, making sure to align each piece, pin if necessary, sew on the common line between the two fabrics, then fold and trim.  Very quickly you will get the hang of it, and most people really enjoy the process.

The pieces of fabric can be much larger than you actually need.
Just so long as once they are sewn in and flipped into position, they have to completely cover their numbered area on the pattern, plus have at least 1/4" seam allowance all around. 

This is particularly important when you reach the outer edges of the block.  Here, the numbered pieces must cover their numbered area and extend beyond the dotted line along the outside edge of the block.

Once all the fabrics are added, the block will be trimmed on this dotted line and that space along the outside edge is your seam allowance to sew you blocks to the adjacent blocks in the quilt.

You will be making 4 of these blocks, then they will be sewn together in line. Once you have your row of Crazy Log Cabin blocks, they can be sewn onto the bottom of the Day Lily block from last month.

We will then need to sew together chains of 1 1/2" scrappy squares (using lots of fabrics from your kits).  We will need one single chain of 16 squares to go along the top of the Day Lily block, and a double chain of 2 squares wide by 13 squares long, which will be added to a 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" rectangle and sewn onto the left side of the block as in the diagram on page 16 of your pattern.  This is a great way of using up your leftover 1 1/2" squares from the Picnic Block.
We will be making more of these sashing filler strips as we begin assembling the quilt top, so don't worry about cutting out a few extra of all the little squares.  We will also be making one large piano key strip set (scrappy) from lots of 1 1/2" x 5 1/2" strips of all these same fabrics.  So if you have some 1 1/2" strips cut out, cut some 5 1/2" segments as well as your squares.  You will eventually need 39 of these rectangles.

Our block next month is the basket blocks.  Just a warning, there are some rather important corrections for the cutting directions for these blocks.  I might suggest you wait for my article in September, with corrections before cutting, or, make some sample blocks with scrap fabrics so you can make adjustments before cutting your kit fabrics.

Thanks for following along!

Happy Sewing


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