Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Log Cabin Christmas

How do patterns begin? In this case, the idea was planted decades ago when I was a child and became entranced by the "Little House on the Prairie" books. If you didn't read the books, you may remember the television program. The very first book in the series was Little House in the Big Woods, a story of Christmas in a log cabin.

I tried to capture the essence of the story in this little quilt. The cabin is snuggled in the trees, and framed by traditional log cabin blocks. The red squares that represents a warm hearth are slightly off center to add interest to the layout.

Perfect log cabin blocks

Unfortunately, I'm not one of those quilters whose 1/4" seams are absolutely perfect every single time. It's hard for me to get log cabin blocks to finish with perfect dimensions. If the stitching is just a couple of threads too wide or too narrow, the block can come out all wonky. I'm pretty fussy about my sewing, so I sometimes cheat just a little to make things right.

Instead of cutting each strip to the exact measurements of the pattern, I fudge a bit and cut each one just 1/8" wider and longer. Then, I can trim each strip back to the exact size after sewing it onto the block. The extra effort is well worth it, and when you work assembly line style, it goes fast.

It's much easier to trim each patch back than as I go than it is to make everything fit when the patches are slightly crooked or a touch too small.
Playing with detail and telling a story

I love to have fun with my quilts, and it's adding in those little details and finishing touches that I enjoy the most.

Even with the big wreath and the red door, the house didn't look as warm and welcoming as I wanted. It needed a sign that happy children lived here, so I got to play in the snow and build a snowman. I gave him a hat and a scarf, twigs for arms, coal for his eyes, and a carrot nose. I played happily for one entire morning, and I didn't even get cold.

I played with the snowy white background, too. My free motion quilting is far from perfect, but it's so much fun.

 If you look closely, you might see a few snowflakes and some smoke from the chimney mixed in with the simple loops in the quilting.

The snow has landed in drifts, but someone has shoveled the walk.

I'm so glad this quilt is finished! It's already a full week into December, and I haven't yet begun work on my gift list or started my Christmas baking. I plan to get that first batch of cookies in the oven after lunch. It will be a start.

Not Panicking!!