Modern Logs QAL Part 3 – Sewing the Quilt Top

Did you have fun sewing your Modern Logs improv blocks from last week? If you are still working on your blocks, that’s totally ok! Take as much time as you need to make this quilt; these helpful hints will stay here on my blog indefinitely and you can scroll to the end of the post for links to all of the previous QAL posts.

Modern Logs Quilt Top

Click here to get the pattern, fabric, or optional kit to make Modern Logs (while supplies last).

This week we are working on sewing the blocks together to complete the quilt top. In my image above, you can see how some light fabrics touch and some dark fabrics touch and that’s totally ok!! You won’t have an even number of blocks that end on a light or dark fabric and the more random it looks, the better! Just remember, you can rotate the blocks and lay them out however you like.

Sew the rows

Due to the offset nature of the design, the blocks will be joined together into vertical rows rather than horizontal rows. Notice that every row has a partial block added to it either on the top or the bottom of the row. Be sure to turn it the right way when sewing the blocks together.

Modern Logs Crib Size layout

I made 20 blocks for the crib size layout shown above. Then I decided I wanted to make the bigger throw size. That’s the beauty about this design – you can always make more blocks at any time!

I spent a lot of time arranging the blocks on my design wall until I was happy with their placement. Take a picture with your camera phone to help you stay organized.

Modern Logs Quilt in Progress

This quilt goes together super fast fast and easy because you don’t have to pin the individual blocks. As long as they are the same size everything will fit together nicely because there are no seams to match in each row!!

Just remember to use accurate 1/4 seams allowances, lower your stitch length, and press seams open to keep everything nice and flat:

Sewing in progress

When joining the rows, be sure to sew them in opposite directions so that everything stays nice and flat. Refer to the Modern Logs quilt pattern on pages 8-9 for size layout and quilt top assembly diagrams.

Modern Logs by Christa Watson

It’s a lot easier to handle the bulk of the quilt if you press your blocks after each pair sewn. Then press each of the finished rows, then pairs of rows etc. In general I like to press my work after each seem is sewn as part of the process.

Once the entire quilt top is finished, take a “victory lap!” Sew around the edges of the quilt to keep them from stretching out of shape and to secure the edge seams from splitting open.

Modern Logs by Christa Watson

Before you know it you’ll have a finished quilt top!! Next week we will prep the backing. You can either purchase all new fabric, or use up the leftovers with some yardage chunks depending on the size you are making. The choice is up to you but it’s easier (and more fun) than you think!

HELPFUL LINKS

Modern Logs Partial Blocks

Virtual Classes for October’s PIQF

I’m really excited to be teaching three classes for Pacific International Quilt Festival Online, coming up Oct. 14 to 17. Registration is open and I’d love to have you join me!

Here are brief descriptions. You’ll find more complete information at the links below.

1. Free Motion Improv, Thursday evening 10/15, 4–7 PST

Example of my Free Motion Improv

Liberate yourself from traditional quilting symmetry by mashing up your favorite motifs in a seemingly random way. Combine basic shapes with transitional designs and free-motion fillers to add amazing texture to the negative spaces in your quilts, or create your own unique work of improvisational art. Note: Students should be comfortable with basic free-motion quilting.

Cost: $80, includes $25 kit fee, kit includes your choice of one of my machine quilting books.

Click here for Christa Watson: Free Motion Improv, Price Includes $25 Class Kit (Half Day WS, Thurs, 10/15/20, 4-PST)

2. Free Motion Quilting Designs with Lines, Friday afternoon 10/16, 12–3 PST

Example of my Free Motion Quilting Designs with Lines

Embrace the “hand-sketched” look when you learn to quilt modern geometric fillers that require little to no marking of the quilt. Go beyond the straight line when you learn how to create irregular linear motifs that look great on both traditional and contemporary quilts. Note: Students should be comfortable with basic free-motion quilting.

Cost: $80, includes $25 kit fee, kit includes your choice of one of my machine quilting books.

Click here for Christa Watson: Free Motion Quilting Designs with Lines, Price Includes $25 Class Kit (Half Day WS, Fri, 10/16/20, 12-3pm PST)

Machine Quilting Books by Christa Watson
The kits for these classes include your choice of one of my books.

3. Improv Piecing: Modern Logs, Saturday 10/17, 9–3 PST

Modern Logs is made with improvisational piecing: easy and fun!

Put a modern spin on a classic block while you learn to create improvisationally pieced Log Cabin blocks. Choose two sets of fabrics that have good contrast, such as lights and darks. You’ll need 10 fat quarters of assorted lights and 10 fat quarters of assorted darks to make the 48″ x 54″ quilt. Pattern is included in the kit fee, and the pattern includes additional sizes. Suitable for all skill levels.

Click here for Christa Watson: Improv Piecing: Modern Logs, Price Includes $12 Class Kit (Full Day WS, Sat, 10/17/20, 9am-3pm PST)

Make plans to join me for virtual classes during PIQF Oct. 14 to 17. I’d love to “meet” you!

Modern Logs Quilt Top
Modern Logs made in my Good Vibes fabrics for Benartex. Available on my website, shop.christaquilts.com

Click here to shop for Good Vibes fabrics to make your own Modern Logs quilt!

Good Vibes Fat Quarters
Good Vibes by Christa Watson for Benartex

Click here to buy the Modern Logs paper pattern (not necessary if you’ll be in the class, because the pattern is included in the class fee).

Click here to buy the Modern Logs pattern instantly as a downloadable pdf.

Modern Logs by Christa Watson for Christa Quilts

Maybe you’d like to see a bit of how I machine quilt on my home sewing machine?

Check out this short video on my YouTube channel. It’s not exactly the same thing I’ll be teaching in the classes, but you’ll get an idea of my style!

I can’t wait to meet you and create some amazing things together!

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

Modern Logs Quilt Detail

Facebook Live Chats are Back: Tuesdays at 3 PM PST

To go along with the Modern Logs Quilt Along that just recently started, I’m hosting a weekly Facebook Live chat for the duration of the Quilt Along. This will allow me to share some bonus tips and tricks along with a chance for you to ask any questions you have while making this quilt!

Click here to get the Good Vibes fat quarters above

Bonus Tips and Tricks on YouTube

In case you missed it, I posted the first Modern Logs Q&A over on my YouTube channel. You can enjoy last week’s chat by clicking the play button below. Then join me live in my Facebook group for the next chat!

 

I’ve found that many people have questions around improvisational piecing and of course the whole quilting process. I’m excited to answer your questions about this quilt during the entire process, and I think you’ll feel confident about your skills by the end of the QAL! 

Click here to get the Modern Logs Quilt Pattern – paper version
Click here to get the Modern Logs Quilt Pattern – PDF version

Although the quilt along has just begun,  it’s not too late to follow along. Feel free to work at your own pace and access all steps of the quilt along indefinitely.

Modern Logs by Christa Watson

Click here to get the optional Modern Logs Kit

One of the things people like best about my FREE quilt alongs is the help I offer on machine quilting so that you can finish the quilt yourself.

It is the best feeling to make a quilt from the first stitch to the last! I really enjoy sharing the things I’ve learned about quilting on a home sewing machine so that you can be successful at it, too.

 If you already have questions for me, please leave them here in the comments and I’ll answer them live on the air tomorrow, September 8 at 3 pm Pacific/6 Eastern in the Christa Quilts Group on FB. I can hardly wait!

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

Good Vibes Quilts in the Wild – Quilts Made from by My Friends

It’s been exciting to see Good Vibes turning up in other people’s projects! One of the best parts of fabric design is discovering what others make with my prints from Benartex. I’m happy to feature several of those projects today.

Propeller by Sherry Shish of Powered by Quilting

Sherry Shish of Powered by Quilting  used the Slippin’ Slide print in all four colors for her propellers, nicely accented by the Gumballs prints in the corners. I like the secondary design formed by the Gumballs at the center—it’s another propeller!

Sherry took full advantage of the low-volume prints in Good Vibes and I could not love her background fabrics more. What a great soft look she achieved by using Circuit Board, Good Vibrations and Interconnected.

Click here to get Sherry’s Propeller pattern.

Groovy Chutes by Charisma Horton

Charisma Horton took full advantage of the Gumballs’ medium scale and graphic quality when she made her 80″ x 90″ Groovy Chutes quilt. This modern design shows off the saturated colors of Good Vibes beautifully! And didn’t she find the perfect spot for photography?

Click here to get Charisma’s Groovy Chutes pattern.

Dropping In by Sarah Vanderburgh of Sew Joy Creations

Dropping In by Sew Joy Creations

Sarah Vandenburgh of Sew Joy Creations designed this delightful quilt called Dropping In and ask if I’d offer kits for it. Of course I said yes and she’s also currently offering a quilt along for it.

Quilt Along in Progress!

Below is Sarah’s dropping in quilt in progress. Click here to join the quilt along fun!!

These are just a few of the fun projects I’ve seen online but I’m always on the lookout for more! If you make something with my fabrics, please let me know! You can use #goodvibesfabric on social media, or post pics in my ChristaQuilts Group on Facebook. I love to see them all!

Click here to shop my Good Vibes fabrics, bundles, precuts and kits.

Good Vibes by Christa Watson for Benartex

Building our Pool Part 2: We have a Huge Hole in the Ground!

My “other” hobby besides quilting is swimming and generally being outdoors. I love the Las Vegas heat, but I also like to stay cool, so earlier this summer we decided to get a pool in our backyard! (Click here to read part 1 if you missed it the first time around). So far we have a giant hole in the ground and it is HUGE!! So let me tell you more about that…

Excavation Begins!

Before they were able to start digging the hole for our backyard pool, they excavators had to first remove everything that was there to begin with. In order to get those tractors into the yard from our super skinny side yard, we had to have the gas meter removed because it stuck out too far.

The gas company came out and removed the meter for us which meant no hot water for 2 weeks while the excavators dug the hole!! But we are so excited about this project that we didn’t care. We had some very accommodating neighbors and family members that let us use their shower, and we ate out a lot so we didn’t have to do any dishes.

It took 3 days to completely destroy and level our backyard, including jackhammering the entire concrete patio that was there to begin with. It was fascinating to watch them work and I got a great view from my bedroom window on the second floor of our home.

Once the backyard was clear, the digging began!! It took a total of 8 days to dig a huge giant hole in the ground!! Here are some progress pics:

Pool Lines Drawn and Stakes placed

Digging Begins!
Expanding the Hole
Framing the Walls

My Daughter in the deep end (6′ Deep)

The Hole is Done!!

Plumbing and Steel Framing

While this was all going on, we got to choose our tile and flooring colors. I want a very neutral backdrop that will contrast with the pretty teal/blue water color that I want. My inspiration for for the “decking” areas surrounding the pool was a friend’s decking that she recently completed. It’s a very pretty gray/tan travertine tile and I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it:

Just like choosing fabric colors, we took the samples outside to see what they’d look like in real daylight. The square below is the travertine tile that will be the outside flooring. The rectangle tiles will be along the water line and the raised wall along the back of our pool. I was deciding between the gray and the tan, and I decided to go with the tan because it seems to blend better.

For the “plaster” which is on the sides and bottom of the pool, we chose to go with a pebbletec finish which is very durable and can give the water a lot of color. We chose the deep blue/gray color (circled below) which will produce a very pretty deep blue/teal water color. Thanks to youtube and internet research, I was able to look at a LOT of example pools with different finishes!!

We also finalized the landscape plan which will be very simple: colorful vines and bushes along the back wall and a couple of tall bushes behind the spa. Not shown is the patio cover that will be replaced along the back of the house, giving us plenty of shade The yard will be mostly pool and decking, but it will give us plenty of room to relax and enjoy!

Now we are in a holding pattern, waiting for the rest of the equipment to arrive. Next, they will pour the concrete – called shotcrete – and then finish it all up hopefully by the end of next month. I can’t wait!!

Modern Logs Quilt Along Fabric Prep and Color Options

Modern Logs Quilt Along officially kicks off next week on September 2nd, but today I want to take a minute and discuss fabric selection so you’ll be ready to roll when we begin. In a nutshell, you want to use fat quarters that have good contrast between lights and darks. I’m using Good Vibes fat quarters shown below, but nearly anything you can think of will work!

Click here to get Good Vibes fat quarters while supplies last.

Remember you can use the front or back of your fabric if you need more contrast! I do this all the time. You can turn darker fabrics over to the “wrong” side for a more muted look, and you can use the back side of your low volume prints to make them a shade or two lighter. Take a look at a couple of these in-progress Modern Logs blocks below:

Notice how I’ve used BOTH the front and back of the low-volume prints in the block above. Every other fabric is light/dark but look at that light green. That’s actually the back of that print. The other low volume prints in this block are showing the front side of the fabric. Like I said, you can use either side, but this gives the block a little more variety and sparkle.

The low volume orange print on the outside of the block above is also used in the partial block below, but now I’m using the “wrong” side instead of the “right side.” All of these fabrics will look great together, no matter which side of the fabric you use!

Not only do these examples show good contrast, this gives more depth and interest to the quilt. So instead of 10 light fabrics, I actually have 20 in this quilt! After all, you paid for both sides of the fabric, so you might as well use it, right??

Other Fabric Examples

Check out this gorgeous version of Modern Logs that Laina Lindsey made and shared in my Facebook group. She pulled together fat quarters from my Fandangle and Geo Pop fabric lines. Although these two are brighter and bolder than Good Vibes, with fewer “light” prints, it still totally works because of the CONTRAST.

Laina Lindsey's Modern Logs Quilt Top

So you really can pull together any fabrics you like! It’s all in how you combine them. Try lights versus darks, solids versus prints, or any other combos where you can get great contrast and you’ll have a fabulous looking quilt. And remember, color value is relative. One fabric might be a light, medium, or dark depending on the fabrics that are next to it.

Modern Logs Black White Yellow Red

Check out this fabulous version that my mom made for my aunt, shown above. She wanted a more subdued color scheme so she went with black/white prints with pops of red and yellow. Don’t you just love it?? Again, it’s all about the contrast.

But you don’t have to overthink it. When you gather your fabrics, just put them into piles of lights and darks and you’ll be good to go. If there’s some crossover with the two piles, that’s totally ok!!

Fabric Prep

I recommend working with fat quarters to make Modern Logs because it’s much easier to cut wonky strips from them. However, you can use yardage or scraps, or even precut strips. Just cut them into fat quarter length pieces (approximately 18″ – 22″ long.) We will do a deeper dive into that when we start cutting up the fabric next week.

Good Vibes Fat Quarters

I also like to prewash and starch my fabrics ahead of time, because these blocks will definitely have some  bias edges. (Another reason to work with fat quarters – they are super easy to starch!)

I recommend washing smaller cuts of fabric using a small garment mesh bag to keep them from getting tangled. The fat quarters might shrink up a little after washing, but as long as you have at least 16″ x 19″ of usable fabric per fat quarter, you’ll still be ok.

Here’s a video tutorial I created showing how I starch my fat quarters. I spray one side of the fabric and let it rest for a few seconds, then flip it over and iron from the opposite side. Then I repeat so that I’ve starched both sides and ironed both sides:

I hope you are inspired to gather your supplies and join me for the quilt along next week. I can’t wait!!

Other Helpful Links

Modern Logs by Christa Watson

 

 

Machine Quilting Tutorial: How to Quilt Wavy Lines on Puzzle Box, My Free Quilt Pattern

Have you downloaded my free quilt pattern yet? If not, click here to grab your copy of Puzzle Box, made from 2 strip rolls of my Good Vibes Fabric.

Free Quilt Pattern

When making this quilt, I used the back side of the low volume strips to create more contrast between the blocks. But you can use either side, depending on what you prefer. After all, you paid for both sides of the fabric, so you might as well use it!

Good Vibes Fabric

Click here to get the Good Vibes strip rolls.

And now I have even more more fun, free content to share with you. I took videos while quilting this quilt and I’ve put them together into this 8 minute long YouTube video tutorial. Just click the image below to view:

Press play above to see how I quilted “walking foot” wavy lines on Puzzle Box.

I love quilting wavy lines and It’s one of my go-to designs when I’m in a hurry. You can quilt the lines all in one direction like I did on Puzzle Box above; or you can quilt them in both directions to quilt a wavy line grid like I did for my Bling Quilt shown below:

I love seeing how many different ways I can quilt a wavy line! Here’s a closeup of the wavy lines quilting in one direction on Puzzle Box.

I used the yellow thread from my Piece and Quilt Collection – Colors to Quilt this quilt.

Piece and Quilt Aurifil thread by Christa Watson

Click here to get my Aurifil Thread collection.

Puzzle Box Quilt Made from Good Vibes

Puzzle Box by Christa Watson, 64″ x 80″
Finished July, 2020