Sunday, November 1, 2015

Slowly Stitching a Log Cabin

A few months ago while reading a few of my favorite blogs I came across the Slow Stitching Sundays post and thought to myself this is a site I could add a post after all I do quite a bit of hand stitching and often times I'm slower than I'd like to admit, so why not. Last Sunday I posted my first Slow Stitching Sunday post linking up here on

For this week I once again have my hand embroidery progress on the Holly King piece but first I want to tell you about my other project I have been stitching on since early morning. The first quilt I ever pieced started back in January 1991, this Log Cabin quilt garnered many memories while piecing it together, many bittersweet, I suppose it's the reason I have put off completing the quilt until now.  
just a glimpse of the twin size log cabin quilt hand pieced 
Originally it started on a cool crisp October morning in 1989 when my dear friend Sandy and I were shopping for fabrics for my quilt at our local So-Fro fabrics. We spent a few hours lugging bolts back and forth while I decided which colors, prints, etc I favored. After I had made my choice and was replacing bolts I didn't want, I turned around only to see most of my chosen fabrics were gone, my son being helpful soul he is had put back some of the bolts too. Yikes! It didn't take long to find my chosen fabrics again, then it was off to the cutting table.
last block I quilted the white thread is where I left off
Along with the fabrics I chose for the Log Cabin quilt I found a sweet panel to make a patchwork pillow with a strip of little patchwork hearts which I would later decide to use in the center of alternating log cabin blocks, I remembered reading traditional log cabin quilts used a red fabric in the center to represent the heart of the home so I decided to use those hearts as my block centers, but not for all the blocks. I was all set to trace templates, add seam stitching lines and grab my trusty scissors and begin cutting all my pieces for the quilt.
hand quilted block
I was midway through tracing the patterns onto the fabric when on December 29th 1989 I slipped on a small patch of ice and fractured my left humerus in 3 places, needless to say with a plaster cast from shoulder to fingertips for several months it would be a very long time before I would continue on with the log cabin quilt. After the final cast was removed (there were many), a few set backs to the recovery it took me nearly a year to trace and cut all the pieces for the quilt, which is only twin size, In January of 1991 I sewed the first pieces to the first block together.  
back side of quilt 
If I didn't mention it before I am a self taught quilt maker, I love traditional quilt patterns and while planning the log cabin I had many other patterns I wanted to make and eventually I would. I have made most of my quilts by hand, and have always hand quilted my quilts or used the tied method. Last year I ventured into a basic quilt making class mainly because most new quilt publications have instructions for cutting methods I had no clue how to do, I needed to learn how to use all those rulers, grids and the Rotary cutter. I will admit while I loved learning to use the rulers and cutting strips etc. I didn't care for all the stress of piecing the quilt together by machine. There was no actual pleasure in it for me, aside from the fact it worked up quickly, to me I felt no joy, no calm that I feel when I hand piece.  

I do admire people who make machine pieced quilts, my late friend Sandy would put out 20 to 30 quilts while I completed one. I think for me hand sewing, hand embroidery, hand quilting brings me a state of peace and calm. Every thing in my life slows down when I have needle and thread in hand, and I can breathe. 

For some inexplainable reason I am determined to finish the quilt this year, I have learned much from making this quilt, I can spot just about every imperfection, crooked line, wobbly stitches etc. but I wouldn't change a thing about it.  I always said I'd know when it was time to close the chapter on this UFO and the time has come.

Here are a few fun facts about me and my quilts:

Almost every one of my quilts have green fabric in them somewhere.
When I am shopping for fabric I am always drawn to greens first.
Green has never been of a particular interest to me not even as a favorite color.
I have made 3 Irish Chain, 4 Nine Patch, 7 Four patch, 2 Double Wedding Rings, with green as the dominate color.

And now a look at the progress of the Holly King hand embroidery piece I will be working on this evening.

There are only a few more Holly Leaves to stitch, then on to the longer green leaves and the face. I am looking forward to completing the hand embroidery for this piece I am quite pleased with how it looks so far.


  1. Hand work is relaxing, isn't it! :) Love your quilt and embroidery as well and this was a nice, interesting background post to read :) Enjoy your stitching.

  2. Love to hear your history on making quilts. I have hand quilted most of my quilts also. I feel as long as your having fun and making a quilt brings you pleasure it really doesn't matter how you do it! Enjoy your stitiches

  3. Every quilt has a story and it was fun to read your story!

  4. Beautiful Hand quilting, and your embroidery looks perfect.
    Have a great week.

  5. What a fun post. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Reading your post about this quilt was interesting.

    I also enjoy hand stitching. The sewing machine ties me up in knots, always has.

    So, this means you sew all of your quilt pieces to make blocks by hand too right? That is so encouraging as I started my first quit in 2012, before my dear husband came ill, I worked on it a little his last few months, and haven't touched it since. It is just a quilt of blocks with paisley patterned materials and plain colors, which I planned to embellish. Whether or not I'll actually pick this up again and complete it only time will tell.

    Happy stitching and Happy November ~ FlowerLady

    1. Lorraine, Yes I sew all of my quilt pieces together to make each block, I think someday you will pick it up again to finish when the time is right. I guess for me my time is right because now I am ready to complete this one.

  7. Thank you all for your lovely comments.

  8. What a lovely story of your log cabin quilt - little boys can be so helpful can't they, haha! I'm just working on hand quilting my first full size hand pieced quilt that I started 7 years ago. I'm really glad to see I've improved a lot since I started - it's full of flaws, but I still love it - like you it's all the good memories it fills me with that makes me smile :)

  9. the hand of the maker.... so important.
    Couldn't find your email, but wanted to say thank you for the cool comment on my rock wall sketch. I think it would be fun to hear the story you made up... hint hint. LeeAnna at not afraid of color

  10. Thanks for joining us!
    Enjoy finishing your wonderful quilt!

  11. me again, I LOVED your story about the gate. I would like to try a collaboration with you where I try to illustrate one of your short stories. Want to play? LeeAnna at
    leeannaquilts at gmail dot com