Modern Logs QAL Part 2 – Sewing the Blocks

Now it’s time to take our wonky strips and sew them together into improv Log cabin blocks!
Follow along with the Modern Logs quilt pattern on pages 4-7.

Thinking ahead: you can sew scraps together if you need more length for each of the logs. You can also use either side of the fabric to give your blocks more interest and sparkle. The key is that these blocks are wonky and improv so no two blocks will be exactly the same!

The block below is what I call “super improv”.  It has a couple places where I’ve added extra fabric to make the units large enough. I’ve also used both front and back of the low volume Good Vibes fabric.

Video Demo & Chat

As you sew it’s okay to have extra seams or bonus pops of color. Because the improv nature makes it hard to say EXACTLY how much fabric you’ll need, it’s ok to add filler pieces or sew shorter pieces together to get a loner piece. It all just adds to the charm! Notice that I used the same fabric for each round of blocks and all of the front or back, but you can even change that up too.

So now, let’s get to it! I share and indepth chat about making these blocks which you can click play below or watch over on my YouTube channel.

Follow the Modern Logs quilt pattern to sew as many rounds of logs as you need to get them to be slightly larger than the correct unfinished size. I recommend just making a few blocks at a time until you get the hang of it.

Bonus sewing tips:

When you are sewing the logs don’t overthink it! As long as the pattern goes light-dark-light or dark-light-dark it will look good, no matter which colors are in each block. Sew with shorter stitch length and press seams open for nice, flat blocks.

Match up a different light with a different dark for each block you are making for a scrappier look. Try to use different fabrics in each block

Remember to trim your edges even right before you sew it each time. That keeps the edges straight and keeps the chaos under control!

Unlike regular log cabins, you don’t have to sew the blocks in the same order or add strips to the same side of each block. Just remember, the more variety the better. It looks more interesting when the seams aren’t all in the same spot.

Show me your blocks!!

Modern Logs Blocks

Homework: Finish Sewing all of the Full Blocks and Partial Blocks

Make as many as you need according to the size you are making in the quilt pattern. Just remember: if your leftover strip pieces aren’t long enough to finish a round of logs, either save it for a shorter piece on another block, or sew part of another strip to make it long enough. Or fill in the extra with a leftover scrap from another strip.

Modern Logs Partial Blocks

Save YOur Leftover Strips!

For those of you who want to use up the leftovers on the back, set aside your leftover strips, hunks and chunks. We will put them to good use soon!

HELPFUL LINKS

Abstract Garden and Fandangle Fabrics Price Drop – Save $1 per yard!!

It’s a new month, so let’s have a fabric sale!! As our minds turn toward cooler temps and we start thinking about new snuggly projects to sew, I want to make that easier for you! So I’ve reduced the price on all of my Abstract Garden fabrics by the yard, while supplies last. Stock up on these bright, cheerful fabrics for borders, backings and more. And the best part is – there’s no coupon required!

Abstract Garden by Christa Watson for Benartex

How great would these fabrics look as the backing for your Modern Logs quilt?
Get Abstract Garden on sale here for just $9.95 by the yard!!

US Flat Rate Shipping is just $5 per order!

Here’s another deal that’s automatically applied to your order – just pay $5 shipping to the US, no matter how much you buy. International orders are also discounted by $5 and any excess shipping charges will be promptly refunded.

So stock up now on Fandangle fabrics, my other collection that’s currently on sale for less than $10 bucks a yard and be sure to keep in touch to let me know what you are making!!

Fandangle by Christa Watson for Benartex

Click here to get Fandangle fabric by the yard for just $9.95 each!

Don’t forget the Thread and Patterns!

Why you are shopping, be sure to check out my entire sale section for great prices on my books, my Aurifil thread collections, and a few of my patterns on sale. My hope is to inspire you with lots of fun projects to make without breaking the bank!

Aurifil Thread by Christa Watson

Click here to shop my entire sale section – no coupon required!

Modern Logs QAL Part 1: Cutting the Fat Quarters

Let’s dive in and cut out our Modern Logs fat quarters, shall we? I’m using Good Vibes fat quarters, but you can use anything with good contrast between light and dark. In case you missed it, click here for last week’s post on prepping your fabric and choosing colors.

Good Vibes Fat Quarters

Click here to grab Good Vibes fat quarters from my online shop.

Follow along in the Modern Logs quilt pattern on page 3 for the numbers and sizes of wonky strips to cut.

Fat Quarter Cutting Tips

Layer fabrics to cut them out faster! If you are cutting 4 layers at a time, cut each stack differently so no more than 4 strips are the same. Then when you are ready to sew, remember that each strip has a top and bottom, front and back so you’ll have more variety of angles and color intensity when you sew.

Next week when we start to sew the blocks we are doing what I call  “structured improv.” This means you want your strips to have straight edges, even though the angles themselves are wonky. Cut the wonky strips using a rotary cutter and ruler. This allows the blocks to lie flat when sewn, even if all the pieces are different shapes and sizes.

You can see above why it’s easiest to work with fat quarters and a long ruler for straight clean cuts.

After cutting, stack the same fabrics together.  Im going to use the front and back of the lights in this quilt to create more depth and sparkle. The number of strips you get per fat quarter will vary. You can cut a few strips to start, or go crazy and cut up the entire piece.

Don’t forget to cut the block centers. Each side will be straight but these may be more square in shape or more rectangular. The choice is up to you!

Once my strips and centers are all cut and sorted into lights and darks, I like to stack them up next to my machine so they are ready to sew. Warning: this will get a little messy as you sew! So give yourself plenty of room to spread out and work.

Do you see the Charming Chevrons quilt in progress on my design wall??
It’s made from Good Vibes precut squares.

Thinking ahead: it’s ok to cut some of your wider strips in half along the length if you need more pieces to go around the logs. Now it’s your turn – show me your wonky strips!! Share pics of your progress and feel free to ask questions in my ChristaQuilts Facebook Group.

HELPFUL LINKS

Bling Quilt Along Part 5 – Binding to Finish and Ta-Da It’s Done!!

Have you been enjoying following along to make Bling? Scroll to the end for links to the entire quilt along. This week we will be binding our Bling to finish it up!

Bling Quilts with Geo Pop

Roundup of binding tutorials

Because I pretty much bind my quilts all the same way (either by hand or machine), I have a LOT of binding tutorials that I’ve shared over the years. So here are 3 for you to try – use whichever method you like best!

Bonus Binding Tips

When I first began my binding adventures, I cut my strips 2 1/4″ wide. However, that meant that if I attached my binding with 1/4″ seams, it would be bigger on the back than the front. So over the last couple of years, I’ve started cutting my strips 2″ wide and that gives me a more even finish on both sides.

To avoid ending up with a seam in the corner, I will roughly “walk” my binding around the quilt and if any seams fall in the corners, I will adjust the whole binding by and inch or two before I start sewing. If worse comes to worse and I STILL get a seam on the corner, I’ll simply cut off part of the binding and sew a new seam to move it!

Homework

Finish quilting and binding your version of Bling and share it in my ChristaQuilts Facebook Group. I can’t wait to see your fabulous finish!

Bling Quilt Pattern by Christa Watson

QUILT ALONG LINKS

Bling Quilts White or Black

Bling Finished Stats

  • Finished size: 67″ x 83″
  • Designed using Electric Quilt 8 software
  • Pieced and quilted by Christa Watson on my Bernina 770QE
  • Fabric collection: Geo Pop by Christa Watson for Benartex
  • Pattern: Bling  by Christa Watson
  • Batting used: Hobbs Cotton/Wool
  • Thread used: Aurifil 50 weight cotton in black/white variegated and bright pink
  • Quilting designs: wavy grid (white) and straight line grid (black)
  • Completed: May of 2019

Modern Logs Quilt Along Schedule and Supply List

Modern Logs has been one of my most requested quilt alongs ever and I’m so excited for it to begin! To get you ready, I’m sharing the full supply list and schedule today; then next week I’ll include a bonus post on choosing fabrics. The QAL will kick off on Wednesday, September 2nd.

For a limited time, I’m offering Modern Logs Quilt kits in all 3 sizes including the pattern!

Click here to get the Modern Logs Quilt Kit while supplies last.

Modern Logs: Scrappy Improv Front and Back

As part of the quilt along, I’ll include bonus tips and tricks on how to make a pieced backing if you so desire. But I’ll include a tutorial on sewing a regular back if that’s your preference too. For my Throw size, I paired up a couple yards of the Good Vibes Gumballs print with my leftover strips plus a few other pieces from my scrap stash.

Pieced Quilt Backing

I love using up lots of leftover scraps on the back. It’s a unique piece of art every time!

Modern Logs is the perfect pattern to learn a little bit of improv piecing, but in a structured way. I continued that theme by using up as many scraps as I could on the back. Although it’s a bit of improv, there’s a method to my madness that keeps everything under control.

Modern Logs Pattern and Materials List

Modern Logs Quilt Pattern

Click the image above to enlarge for details.

This quilt is really easy to chose fabrics for. All you need is an equal number of lights and darks. You can select fat quarters as shown in the pattern above (10 of each light/dark for crib, 20 each light/dark for throw and 30 each light/dark for queen). Or you can use leftover precut strips and other scraps. Pretty much any cut of fabric will work, and no two quilts will end up looking exactly the same.

Good Vibes fat quartersClick here to view all Good Vibes fabrics.

I’m using Good Vibes fat quarters for my quilt shown above, and I’ll be using duplicates so that I have enough fabric for the larger size. But this pattern is extremely flexible in which fabrics you choose (more about color selections next week).

Other Recommended Supplies

  • Sewing machine in good working order. We will do an easy free-motion quilting design, so make sure you have a free-motion foot to fit your machine. Of course I love my BERNINA 770 QE with its wider throat space and lots of bells and whistles.

BERNINA 770QE

Click here to see all the features I love on my BERNINA 770QE

  • Brand new sewing needles. Always, clean, de-lint and oil your machine before starting a new project, and change the needle. My favorite needles are Superior Titanium Coated needles, size 80/12. I use these for both piecing and quilting:

Superior Threads Needles

  • Quality thread for both piecing and quilting. My preference is Aurifil 50 weight 100% cotton. This pairs well with my favorite needles above. And if you piece and quilt with quality cotton thread, your quilt will NOT get stiff when you quilt it. I’m using my Piece and Quilt Collection Colors for the entire quilt:

Piece and Quilt Aurifil thread by Christa Watson

Click here to view my favorite threads and supplies.

  • Acrylic rulers: 6″- 8″ wide by  24″ long ruler, and 12 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ square ruler. These rulers will really come in handy. I use the long ruler for cutting an entire length of a fat quarter. The square rulers are for squaring up your blocks so they are all a consistent size.

Modern Logs Quilt Along Schedule

The links below will go live as each part is posted. Bookmark this page and refer back to the schedule anytime in the future to work on this quilt at your own pace. So gather your supplies and get ready to sew!

Modern Logs by Christa Watson

Get your Modern Logs Pattern and Supplies below:

Modern Logs Quilt Detail

Bonus Help!

For any questions, sharing your progress, and bonus help and support of your fellow makers, be sure to join my ChristaQuilts Group on Facebook. You can also share your makes on social media using #modernlogsquilt.

Want to get notified each time the quilt along step is posted? Enter your email address in the sidebar to automatically follow my blog. This can be found either to the right of your screen on a computer or laptop. Or scroll allllll the way down to the bottom of this page to see it on your mobile device.

I can’t wait to see what YOU create!!!

It’s Mid August – Let’s Have a Fabric Sale!

Well, in a normal year, these would be called the “Dog Days” of summer, which are named so because of the star Sirius which is was the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major (which means “large dog”). But in THIS pandemic, it’s hard to know what day you are on, let alone which month, LOL!! So to break up the monotony, let’s have sale!!

Gridwork Fabric & Fluevog Shoes

My Gridwork fabric line on display at International quilt market, fall 2019. 
Quilt Market was cancelled this year for both fall and spring.
I can’t wait until next year when it (hopefully) picks up again!!

From now through the end of the month, use code GRIDWORK to save 20% off my entire Gridwork line over at Shop.ChristaQuilts.com. You MUST enter the code at checkout to get the discount, so be sure to click the + and make sure it gets applied before you finalize payment.

This bold, bright, colorful collection came out earlier this year and is a perfect complement to my previous collections. Now that I’ve got 6 fabric lines under my belt, it sure has been fun to watch others mix and match fabrics among my various groups.

Gridwork by Christa Watson for Benartex

Gridwork includes a total of 27 prints in 3 pretty colorways of Amethyst, Breeze and Citron.

The sale applies to EVERYTHING in my Gridwork category: fabric by the yard, fat quarters, kits, and precuts too. So stock up on your faves and make the most of this crazy time!!

Click here to view my entire Gridwork line. Use code GRIDWORK at checkout for 20% off!

Gridwork Fabric by Christa Watson

Gridwork in Amethyst by Christa Watson for Benartex

Gridwork in Amethyst

Gridwork Breeze by Christa Watson for Benartex

Gridwork in Breeze

Gridwork Citron by Christa Watson for Benartex

Gridwork in Citron

Bling Quilt Along Part 4: Machine Quilting Option 2: Wavy Grid

This week I’m super excited to give you additional options for machine quilting your Bling quilt. I quilted both of my versions with two different walking foot quilting designs. Last week, I shared my basting tutorial along with option 1; and I wanted to add one more plug for pressing your seams open:

When you press your seams open, not only will the quilt lie flat and make it much easier to quilt, but you wan’t get any “shadowing” of the seams, which is when a darker fabric shows up under a lighter fabric seam. The darker fabric always goes to the darker side, and the lighter fabric always goes to the lighter side.

But here’s a bonus tip when working with lighter background fabrics such as in this version of Bling: be sure to clip off any excess darker threads underneath so you don’t see them from the front of the quilt. If this does happen, you can always use a needle or tiny crochet hook to grab any pesky threads that show underneath the quilt top.

Machine Quilting Wavy Grid

To recap both both machine quilting options mentioned in the Bling quilt pattern, check out this short video below which shows me quilting wavy lines on the white version and a straight-line grid on the black version:

Check out more fun tutorials on my YouTube channel.

The basic idea for either quilting plan is to “divide and conquer” – quilt one pass of lines in both directions all the way across the quilt. Then quilt additional passes across the quilt until you like the density. You can do this with straight lines, or irregular wavy lines. I’ve even used a decorative stitch on my sewing machine using the same process!

Choosing Thread

For the white version of Bling, I went with a more subtle thread than the hot pink I chose for the black version. I like to take a picture of the thread I’m using on the quilt so I can document it to know which one I used. This black/white/gray thread is included in my Variegated Thread Collection from Aurifil. 

I prefer to quilt with 50 weight, 100% cotton thread from Aurifil.

1st pass across the quilt

So let me break it down for you a little bit in photos. In the first pass across the quilt, you can barely see any quilting. I’m quilting an organic wavy line “near” the ditch rather than “in” the ditch and it really blends in. The lines are really widely spaced apart, in between each of the block rows.

Click the image above to enlarge. Can you spot the quilting lines?

To quilt wavy lines, my machine is set up for regular straight line stitching, but I gently move the quilt from side to side to form the organic looking wavy lines.

2nd pass across the quilt

The next quilting pass is roughly through the center of the blocks. I use the seam lines as a guide for where to quilt. The wavy lines are fast and easy to quilt because you can eyeball where you are going and the lines don’t have to be perfectly spaced.

It helps to have a large work surface and a drop in table to hold the weight of the quilt.

The wavy lines are actually must faster, and it’s my go-to design when I’m in a hurry! In fact, by quilting wavy lines “near” the ditch, instead of “in” the ditch, it’s a great choice when your ditches (seams) don’t line up perfectly.

Quilt in both directions

To keep the wavy grid as evenly spaced as possible, you will want to quilt in both directions – horizontally and vertically with each pass. Just rotate the quilt in the direction you need to go!

Now the yummy quilted texture is starting to appear!!
Just remember, the more lines you quilt, the less your imperfections will show!

use the seamlines as a guide

Here’s a really good example where you can see how I lined up the wavy lines with the pieced seams in both directions. The block design is a little off center so the lines aren’t all evenly spaced, but that’s hardly noticeable. This allows me to avoid marking because much easier to eyeball the wavy lines rather than straight ones.

Keep Quilting more lines!

By the time I’m finished, my lines will be quilted about 3/4″ to 1″ apart in both directions. This is completely a personal preference and it’s up to you how dense you’d like to quilt. Just remember, if you are using natural fiber materials (ie cotton fabric, cotton thread, cotton batting), the quilt will NOT get stiff the more you quilt it. And the more you love it, use it and wash it, the softer it will become!

I eventually lost track of how many passes I quilted, but I kept going until I liked the results!

Additional QAl resources for Bling

New Paper Patterns are Here and Sneak Peek Quilt Along News!

I’m happy to finally announce that my 2 newest patterns – Modern Logs and Charming Chevrons, (both made from Good Vibes) are now available in print! Due to the virus, shipping delays at the printer caused these to come a little later than expected, but they were worth the wait!Modern Logs Quilt

But now for the best news! I’ll be doing quilt alongs for both coming up this fall. First we will kick off the Modern Logs quilt along in September.

To make Modern Logs exactly as shown above, all you need is the quilt pattern plus 2 Good Vibes fat quarter bundles. The patter includes a total of 3 sizes and it’s super easy to scale up or down as needed.Charming Chevrons

For the lap size Charming Chevrons shown above, all you need is the quilt pattern plus 4 Good Vibes charm packs (5″ squares).

For the twin size shown below, pick up a copy of my Charming Chevrons quilt pattern, plus  2 layer cakes (10″ squares) of Good Vibes.

Charming Chevrons

My Charming Chevrons quilt along will begin in October (once Modern Logs ends), allowing you to finish these fun and fabulous quilts just in time for the holidays! Stay tuned for schedules and more info to follow. In the meantime, stock up on your quilt along supplies below:

Get the Quilt Patterns

Charming Chevrons Modern Logs by Christa Watson

Get the Fabric

Good Vibes fat quarters

Good Vibes Charm Squares

Good Vibes Layer Cake

 

Bling Quilt Along Part 3: Machine Quilting Option 1 – Random Crosshatch Quilting

And now we get to my favorite part of making a quilt – machine quilting! Because I made two versions of Bling, and quilted them with 2 different walking foot quilting designs, I’m excited to share both options with you over the next 2 weeks. And the best part is, you can use these tips and tricks on ANY quilt you wish to make.

Bling Quilt

For the version of Bling with the Black background, I used my walking foot/dual feed to quilt straight-“ish” lines in a crosshatch pattern following the design of the blocks.

Choose Your Thread Color

Because I wanted the thread to stand out on this vibrant colorful quilt, I chose a bright pink from my Piece and Quilt Collection – Colors from Aurifil Thread.

Piece and Quilt Colors by Christa Watson

I chose the bright pink which is the first column, third row down in the image above.
Click here to get this thread box for just $99 while supplies last.

But, before you dive into quilting your quilt, first you need to baste it. I use the same method to baste ALL of my quilts: spraying 505 adhesive on the wrong side of the quilt top and backing outdoors or in a well-ventilated area.

Prepping the Quilt

Bling quilt in progress

Then, I assemble the quilt layers together on my design wall indoors. You can also use a table if you don’t have a design wall.

Bling quilt in progressBasting in process on my design wall.
I can’t wait to share more about the quilting of this version of Bling next week!

The “magic” part of my spray-basting method is ironing the basted quilt on both sides – front and back to squish it all together and set the glue.

Iron the basted quilt to set the glue

Get the Bling kit – in white or black – while supplies last!

Click the image below to watch a super speedy basting video from my Infrastructure quilt.

Once you have basted your quilt and are ready to begin machine quilting, be sure to clean and oil your machine and put in a fresh needle.

I really like the Superior brand Titanium needs in size 80/12 to go along with my 50 weight cotton Aurifil thread.

Click here to get some of my favorite notions and thread.

 

 

 

Make a Quilting Plan

In all of my quilt patterns, I like to include quilting suggestions and a quilting plan. It’s very easy to “divide” and conquer the straight line quilting by first quilting in the ditch between each of the blocks in both directions. This will create a grid that’s equal to the size of the quilt blocks. This will anchor or stabilize your quilt for additional quilting.

Bling Quilting Plan

One of the quilting plans included in the Bling quilt pattern.

Once you have anchored your quilt, you can quilt lines randomly across the quilt in both directions. You can quilt as light or as dense as you would like.

At first I thought I would quilt my quilt more densely, but once I quilted a few passes in both directions, I was happy with how it looked so I stopped. That’s the beauty of “divide and conquer” when it comes to quilting. You can stop whenever it feels finished!

Bling machine quilting detail

Here’s a bonus tip: if you want your lines to stay straight, but you don’t have seam lines to follow, use a piece of painter’s tape as your guide.

YouTube Quilting Videos

I have a super short video below where you can see how I used the tape while quilting this version of Bling, plus a sneak peek of how I quilted the white version, too:

If you would like to quilt your quilt more densely, continue quilting lines in both directions, one pass at a time until you like how it looks. You can see a densely quilted version of random crosshatch on my Color Weave quilt.

View the youtube video play list below. It’s a series of shorter videos strung together while quilting my Color Weave quilt. (Click here to get the Color Weave quilt pattern):

Now I can’t wait to see how you quilt yours! Keep sharing your makes with me on instagram #blingquilt and in my ChristaQuilts Facebook group.

Bling Machine Quilting Detail

Quilt Along Links

Bling Quilt Along Part 2: Sewing the Quilt Top

How are your Bling quilt blocks coming along? Be sure to see the end of this post for links to the introductory post and QAL schedule if you are just getting started!

Bling Blocks

I love a stack of freshly pressed blocks!!

If you are following along and arranging the blocks as shown on the pattern cover, you’ll want to sew your sets of bling blocks into 4’s like my pics below.

Geo Pop Bling

Geo Pop Bling blocks with Op Squares white background

At this point, don’t worry where each fabric goes. I think it’s more fun to let the blocks be random than trying to overthink it too much.

Geo Pop BlingGeo Pop Bling blocks with Tiny Hex Black background

In the Bling quilt pattern, I’ve given 4 more layout ideas for you to explore if you wish. There are plenty more iterations you can try depending on how much you rotate each block!

Bling Alternate layouts

Sewing “Homework”

Your homework this week is to finish your blocks and sew them into larger groupings of 2’s or 4’s, then sew those into rows. If you get that far and are feeling gung ho – go ahead and finish up your “flimsy” (aka unquilted top).

Bling Quilt Top in Progress

In the versions above and below, I’ve sewn my blocks into random groups of four according to the orientation on the front pattern cover. I’m using my design wall to lay out the larger blocks into a pleasing arrangement.

Black Bling Blocks

Bonus Tips!

I try to speed things up as efficiently as I can. I’ll chain piece by sewing pairs of blocks together without clipping threads in between, and I give myself plenty of room to work. I’ll also take a pic of my final layout with my phone so I can refer to it as I sew each row.

Bling Blocks in progress

I’m enjoying see the progress of those who share on instagram (#blingquilt) and in my ChristaQuilts facebook group!

Helpful Links