Log Cabin--Good Enough for Horseshoes

I got the log cabin pieced today, vertigo be darned. Actually, it wasn't too bad--just a couple of hairy moments here and there when I turned from my ironing board back to my sewing machine too fast. Anyway, the "Use It or Lose It Challenge" is now officially done and I can go back to finishing up UFOs.

Here 'tis, with the help of my lovely assistant daughter. Still not keen on the final results due to value issues I already discussed, but it's not bad. It'll make a nice lap quilt for someone, or baby quilt.

So, my assessment of the Marti Michell log cabin rulers may not be entirely fair as I was also testing out pressing all my seams open instead of to one side. So it's hard to tell what caused what.

Here's what I think I can fairly say:

The rulers didn't speed up the process any.

The rulers didn't add to my accuracy. I think that was for two reasons:  (1) because I'd decided to follow the directions in the pattern book exactly as part of the test, and because I didn't want to spend a long time on this, I was cutting 8 layers at once as per the directions, which is always a little dangerous. If I did it again, I'd only do 4 layers, at most. (2) The way you have to hold the rulers to cut the strips into sections is awkward and I never felt confident I was holding them exactly straight and still because of that.

The rulers saved me from having to do math. That's always a bonus.

Michell (among others) is a huge advocate of cutting on the lengthwise grain--IOW, length of fabric, not WOF. I tried it, although I was using fat quarters so I wasn't dealing with bulk of fabric, which I'd think would be tricky. I know logically it should make a difference but, frankly, it really didn't feel like it did in this case. I've made log cabins before and I don't think I had any better or worse results this time because of using the lengthwise grain. I'm not ready to make a judgment call on this one because I've only really done it this once. Jury is still out.

So, my final verdict on the rulers? I'll hang onto them and try them again at a later point. I'm not 100% sold, but I'm also not ready to give up on them.

In terms of pressing seams open? I am so NOT doing that again. I've read several articles lately extolling the wonders of pressing open rather than to one side. I do press my binding seams open since it makes them lay more evenly around the quilt, but I haven't done a whole block that way. I did this entire log cabin open and found it more frustrating than useful.
1.) It takes a heck of a lot longer. A LOT longer.
2.) I suspect my need to finger-press the seams first stretched things just a hair.
3.) It was alot harder to get my seams to match when putting block to block. I like being able to nest seams more.

There are some circumstances in which pressing open is definitely the way to go, but I'm not going to adopt it as my general operating procedure. I just found it annoying and not particularly useful in the long run.

BTW, here's the "behind the scenes" picture with my other lovely, albeit doofussy, assistant.

"Hey, where'd you go?"

...and a new project begun!

In the interest of "the process pledge," I thought it was time for another post about a project in process rather than just pics of a finish. So here 'tis--the very early stages.

I've mentioned the UFO Challenge that I'm co-facilitating in my guild a few times over the last few months. The other challenge I'm co-facilitating is our "Use It or Lose It Challenge." Participants list three items (or books) they've had on their shelves for a year or more and have never used. We are to use each item for its originally-intended purpose before the end of the challenge, or any items we haven't used will go in our guild silent auction. We don't actually have to create a finished product--we just have to show proof that we've used the tool in some way. (Yep--this was another idea of mine because I inherited a boatload of stuff from my Mom that I knew I needed motivation to try out or it'll still be sitting on my shelves 10 years from now. Not a surprise that several women in my guild were happy to join me in the challenge--apparently buying things and not *ahem* using them right away is a common ailment.)

I only have one item to go, so since the deadline is coming up (November), I decided I should take advantage of the break in action between one UFO and the next and, well, create another UFO for myself. So tonight I pulled out my last tool on my list and started to play.

My final tool is Marti Michell's Log Cabin rulers and the accompanying book. I inherited these from Mom. I think she'd only bought them about 6 months before she passed away. She and I had talked about these rulers a lot--we're both huge fans of log cabin quilts. The first quilt Mom made me when I was a kid was a log cabin, in fact, and I still have it today.

That being said, I'm not waxing particularly sentimental about these rulers. If they work for me, I'll be jazzed. If not, I'll be willing to put them in the silent auction.

I was just going to make a single block to test the rulers, and decided that might actually take almost as long as just having at it. I chose the first pattern in her book--not so much that I needed a pattern but just to have the fabric quantities and instructions for cutting easily laid out in front of me. The fabrics I have laid out are all from my stash: fat quarters and one strip. (The red on the top will eventually just be the little center square--it's a little dominating in this picture.) It'll make up to be about 54" square. If it turns out at all nice, I have a someone in mind who might enjoy a cuddle quilt. Meanwhile, a great way to use up 17 fat quarters!

I may get some sewing time in this weekend so I'll try to remember to post more pics as I go. It's fun to do a project that I'm not emotionally invested in--if it turns out, it turns out. Otherwise, I've just created space in my fat quarter drawer for the future!