Can you feel the love?

It’s in the air. Due to politics? Nope, not on your life! It’s because February, the month of Valentines, has arrived. What a relief to have a little love and maybe a little romance. How “lovely” is it to sit and sew in the winter and use up a bunch of scraps? To me, it feels like cleaning cobwebs…if I ever cleaned, that is. I’d so much rather play with fabric than dust.

The Log Cabin block has been around forever, but I’ve found it’s ten times easier to paper-piece when it’s small, like these cute little 3″ blocks. It keeps the lines of your seams honest! “Love in a Little Log Cabin” has templates to print as well as the usual full directions and tons of colored diagrams to follow. On sale for $3.50 until Valentine’s Day, CLICK HERE for more information.

Aren’t these colors just yummy? I actually hand-quilted mine and won 2nd Place in the Alabama National Fair.

Love in Little Log Cabin cc2108 by LJ Christensen

When I say I hand-quilted, I should have written HAND. It was a red letter day–well, probably more like a month–and it’s just a 24″-square! Whew! I know people enjoy it, but I thought I’d never get finished.

I’m really not the person to give tips on hand-quilting, but I’ll attempt a few.

  1. Use a tiny quilting needle. They have sizes 10-12 for quilting so thin that they pass through the layers easily. Just be aware that they are hard to thread, so have a threader handy.
  2. Use a thimble. Do as I say, not as I do. I just never got the hang of it. But be advised that you may tear up your fingers with pricking if you don’t. I have long nails, which makes it hard, but that’s no excuse because these days, there are special leather thimbles open at the top for the nail. Try some different styles. There’s one style that has elastic over the knuckle to keep the thimble from falling off. I’ve also seen little stick-on pads to protect the fingers.
  3. I’ve heard that you shouldn’t thread more than 18″ at a time because when it’s too long, thread gets tangled. Do as I say, not as I do. “They” also say you can run your thread through beeswax to….lubricate? keep it from tangling? strengthen it? I’m not sure I ever knew exactly why, but some quilters swear by it, so I suppose I should mention it.
  4. You can get different size hoops for lap projects. Check them out.
  5. Ideally, load 8-12 stitches per inch on your needle. Right. Well, do as I….you get it. I did try, but it takes practice. It’s better to be even in the stitches than tiny; of course, tiny AND even is the goal. I have heard of some “big stitch quilting,” which is sounding pretty good to me. I believe it’s done on informal projects with thick thread…like you’re a pioneer woman who only has string to work with?
  6. Bend some rules–now that’s really me talking. Just for fun, I quilted some of this heart with metallic embroidery thread. It doesn’t slip in and out of the fabric too well, but it adds a pretty sparkle. I also added a few glass beads here and there to add more sparkle. They are very tiny, but they’re there!
The white spots are sparkles. Beads on the tiny hearts. By LJ Christensen

7. Final word–don’t kill yourself…the quilting originally HAD to be done because the cotton batting fell apart. However, newer battings don’t have to have so much quilting–do as much as you like. Me? I’ll head back to the quilting machine for the most part and just tackle hand-quilting once in a great while.

Playing with Lincoln Logs–

I did. Did you? How I loved to build and rebuild. Plastic blocks are more versatile, I know, but something about that real wood spoke to me. I relived the experience this week building a “Log Cabin in the Pines.” I have to admit that it grew and grew. I originally designed it as throw, but then I decided to go for a twin bed quilt. However, when I started cutting, I accidentally followed the notes for the double bed size, and ended up making an X-long 108″ double!

I went back and tweaked the pattern so that it’s easy to choose twin, long double, extra-long double or even queen size by changing the borders….and what fun it was to go through my stash and put together lots of different woods and pine greens, meadow, weeds, and even “pebbles” for the path. There is so much variety in fabric colors and patterns these days.

Click here for more info.

Log Cabin in the Pines: Quilt in Multiple Sizes by LJ Christensen

So if this one appeals to you, just click and get it–on sale for only $3.50 this month. Keep watching the blog–I’m building a castle next and have some great Christmas ideas like my “Joy to the World” quilt with music and over-the-door quilt and Santa outfit from a sweatshirt. Oh wait, first comes Thanksgiving, and I have a funny Turkey Platter Pad–hmm, which to feature next?

Speaking of building, the Christensen Creations Sewgocreate Studio is (slowly) coming along. The ceiling is done now and hopefully, painting will start this week. If they don’t get to it soon, I may get crayons out and start coloring the walls, but what I REALLY want is shelves and more shelves. Notice that I already have a great cutting table in there (it actually has 2 more leaves). It’s a genuine “find” from the Abdullah House Thrift Shop–very big and very sturdy! I love recycling! Some family had wonderful dinners around this table.

Christensen Creations Sewgocreate Studio cutting table!

Back to log cabins, though, I’d like to point out another log cabin quilt of a very different kind–I love 3D embellishment, so I made a flag with 3D log cabin blocks. It’s not hard. You simply cut normal log cabin pieces, but make them twice as wide and fold them. The trick is to trim the seam layers underneath because they get bulky. I really didn’t want to quilt over the layers, so instead I tacked it (like tying) with the little asterisk motif. We don’t use our fancy stitches enough! Click here to see the flag:

Closeup of “My County ’tis of Thee” by LJ Christensen

Since I’m on the subject of log cabins, I’ll sign off with a photo from Wetumpka, near the river and the library. A true historical log cabin in the flesh! Go see it if you’re in town, but “Watch Your Step!”

“Watch Your Step” by LJ Christensen (Wetumpka, Alabama)