I am so excited to be part of Daisy Janie’s Bee Block Blog Hop celebrating her new line of organic fabric called “New Leaf”:
Jan has asked me to make a block with the luscious new fabrics and walk you through how I do it. I’ve really been enjoying making wonky log cabin blocks (like my new linen pillows), so my process started with me laying all the fabrics out and figuring out what I wanted to do. One of the fabrics is “festoon”, an edge to edge print that doesn’t repeat, so I wanted to fussy cut a motif from that and use that for the square “hearth” that starts the log cabin. And then, I lay the fabrics out in different orders according to their value.
Value is (in simple terms) the relative lightness or darkness of a color, irregardless of the hue. Sometimes, especially with multicolor fabrics, this can be quite difficult to do. A quick way to check is to take a photo of your fabrics laid out in the order you think is correct, and then convert it to black and white: any out of order fabrics will pop right out at you. I had several different possibilities: making a log cabin with a fussy cut light color in the center or dark in the center, or….put the “hearth” in the corner and work my way out from their. I was quite torn, I loved all these layouts, but then I thought Jan’s intention behind this line:
turning over a new leaf — think renewal, refresh, growth, change in direction, a clean page, a clean slate…
and my decision was easy…I chose a layout that will really emphasize the lightest value yellow fabric, it’s the third one down in this picture.
To start: I fussy cut a 3″ square centering that cute flower. I then cut 2.5″ strips from all the fabrics, laying them in the order I’m going to use them. Note: we’re all making 12″ blocks, so Jan can sew them together into a quilt when they’re done. If I were doing a normally pieced log cabin, I’d need narrower strips to fit all these colors in a 12″ block…but because I’m making a wonky cabin, I need extra width to trim at a whim!
Next, to see how it would look I lay out the strips, starting at the lower left, with each successive round covering up some of the round before. (This is what it would look like if I were piecing traditionally).
Do I love the color layout?? YES! Hooray! Onward!
I started by stitching a log (#2) to the hearth (#1) (using a 14″ seam), trimming it to the same width as the hearth, then stitching another log down the right side (#3). After pressing the seams (I always press towards the newest log) I trimmed the purple logs to make the final shape after this round just a wee bit wonky. Now if you were doing a traditional log cabin, you would continue surrounding the hearth. But this version keeps the hearth in the corner, so I repeat adding a log to the top, and then down the right side (#4 & 5 in the figure below). This time, I then trimmed the logs a bit more severely, so there’s quite an angle going on.
I continued on in the same manner. A hit about wonky piecing: you’ll want to have the log begin and end a bit beyond the block you’re building. In the figure below, you can see that not is there lots of extra on the left hand side (because that’s the size of the original strip) but there’s a bit on the right hand too. If I had started sewing the orange strip onto the block matching the right hand edges, I would not have been able to trim that log at the slanting right angle that I wanted. (There’s always a seam ripper, if you flip your latest log over and see that there isn’t enough to trim at the angle you want…not that this ever happened to me 😉 )
Here’s a look at the block at the penultimate round, with numbers to show you the order in which the logs were sewn. I kept an eye on the size of the block at each round, so I could have enough of each color by the time I got to 12″.
Once the block was complete, I had to square it up (I’ve got a 12.5″ square ruler that works great for this!) My main concern was to make sure none of my fussy cut hearth flower got cut off.
I lined up the 1/4″ marks on both side on the outside edge of the flower, this way, when it gets sewn to sashing with an 1/4″ seam, the petals will remain intact, hooray!
Here’s my block, all squared up. I am most pleased with the gradation of the value from dark to light! Hmm…I wonder if the fabric designer was careful to make sure that she had a variety of values when she designed this line? 😉
Here’s a black and white version of the block, so you can see:
Yup, this was exactly the feel I was going for. I thought I’d take my block out for a little spin, I live in Southern California, so our navel oranges are just about ready to pick!
I love this block, and there are lots more fun ones to see. Here’s the whole schedule:
New Leaf Bee Block Blog Hop Schedule
- Mon, 1/14 – Becky Moyer, My Fabric Obsession
- Tues, 1/15 – Lynn Harris, The Little Red Hen
- Wed, 1/16 – Candy Glendening, Candied Fabrics me!
- Thurs, 1/17 – Holly DeGroot, Bijou Lovely
- Fri, 1/18 – Melanie Thornton, Melanie Dramatic
- Mon, 1/21 – Emily Cier, Carolina Patchworks
- Tues, 1/22 – Rachael Gander, Imagine Gnats
- Wed, 1/23 – Maureen Cracknell, Maureen Cracknell Handmade
- Thurs, 1/24 – Leanne, She Can Quilt
- Fri, 1/25 – Cindy Wiens, Live a Colorful Life
- Mon 1/28 – Cheryl Arkison, Dining Room Empire
- Tues, 1/29 – Jacquie Gering, Tallgrass Prairie Studio
- Wed, 1/30 – Shanna Bailey, Fiber of All Sorts
- Thurs, 1/31 – Katy Jones, Monkey Do
Jan is also giving away a set of fat quarters of New Leaf to folks who collect a letter from each post and unscramble a word that it spells, details on how this works are here.
My secret letter is: N!
Edit: The giveaway is closed!