If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that I absolutely love log cabin quilts. The way the strips of fabric go together keeps my interest. In the same way that I like to use variegated yarn while knitting, I like to use multiple colors throughout in a block, choosing what goes where as I go along. That way, each block is an adventure.
I’ve made three “traditional” log cabin quilts: one in batiks, one in 1930s prints, and one in reproduction prints. While none of them are very large, they were all labors of love.
Now, I’m embarking on a new path: a Liberated Log Cabin, inspired by Gwen Marston’s book, Liberated Quiltmaking II. Gwen’s book opens up new vistas of quilting that use rulers only as a straight edge – a chance to freely piece shapes, colors, and wedges into modern art masterpieces. I really enjoy looking at these types of Bohemian quilts, and this book offers a ton of eye candy.
My daughters thought so too. They encouraged me to try making a quilt similar to the Liberated Log Cabin for Amber, a vibrantly-colored piece that Gwen made for her sister. She started with colorful four patches, framed them in solid red, and then used really bright brights and black-and-white fabrics to round out her log cabin blocks. Although Gwen doesn’t specify the block size, I’m thinking each one is around 12 inches square, so that’s what I am aiming for.
Here’s a closer look at what I have made over the past week. I am enjoying these wonky blocks, and my kids just go ga-ga for them! Later on I’ll square up each to be the same size and put them together:
One problem: this project is literally a pain in the neck. Unfortunately, last winter, I had a terribly flare up of neck and upper shoulder pain, and had to limit my activity, as well as go to physical therapy. Only recently has my neck been improving after a year of pain and a lot of ergonomic alterations to my daily life. But last night, after completing another block, I felt that familiar pain shoot through my neck once again. If you think about it, it makes sense: the motions of ironing and clipping and then trimming and squaring each successive piece of fabric in each block can be really aggravating the muscles and tendons. I remember that this happened last winter, when I was making that log cabin for my friend M.N.
SO: beware the siren call of log cabin blocks. They can hurt! I’m going to slow this project down to a snail’s pace – one block every few days to make sure I don’t injure myself.