A couple years ago I figured out that my birthday falls on the 100th day of the year in most years, and I decided that it would be fun to make a 100 day quilt between New Year’s Day and my birthday. The first quilt resulting from this project was Resonance, and this log cabin inspired improv quilt is my project for 2020.
In the last year, I have been doing a lot of foundation paper piecing, which I love, but the process is tedious. For my 100 day project, I wanted to do something more freeform, and do a project that would use my scraps and stash. I had collected a lot of lovely blue prints over the years, but lately I have done work mostly using solids, so I saw this as an opportunity to use all these fabrics that I have curated over time. I started mulling this project over in November, and I was delighted that, in December, Pantone named Classic Blue the color of the year.
The construction of the quilt top is mostly block based, with each section being loosely based on a log cabin block. The blocks all vary in size, and the shape of each is somewhat wonky. I created an average of a block a day for almost two-thirds of the project. While the block designs grew organically, I did use rulers along the way. This was especially necessary to incorporate 1/8″ wide slivers into the design. Most of the blocks feature at least one of these slivers.
Once the majority of the blocks were sewn, they all went up on the design wall to determine how they would best fit together. For me, this is the most challenging part of improv. Blocks are added to or trimmed to help them align with the surrounding blocks. Occasionally a new block is constructed. There are also a few inevitable partial seams to finish the construction of the top, but ultimately the top came together and laid relatively flat.
The back of the quilt was pieced using scraps from the construction of the quilt top, including one block that didn’t end up fitting into the design. I also came across a quilt top that I had made in a workshop and decided to include it in the quilt back as well.
The quilting technique was a first for me. I have done lots of straight line quilting, ruler work, and organic free motion, but I have never done organic “straight line” quilting. I decided to give this style a try because I thought it would accent the organic feel of the improv design. The grid that is formed has lines that are between 1/4″ and 1″ apart. It is quilted on the longarm, and all of the lines were quilted in one direction prior to removing the quilt from the frame, rotating it 90 degrees, and reloading it to quilt the perpendicular lines.
The majority of the quilting is done in Light Turquoise Aurifil (5006), with Magenta Aurifil (2535) and Dark Cobalt Aurifil (2740) as accent colors. All of the quilting was done with 50wt thread. The Light Turquoise and Magenta are go-to colors for my quilting. It is amazing how well these two colors can meld with a wide range of colors.
Scrappy binding is a big favorite of mine, and a lot of the lighter binding came from the leftovers of previous quilts. I mixed in some freshly made navy binding, and placed the pieces around the quilt so that the binding would roughly coordinate with the adjoining value in the quilt top.
I am absolutely in love with this quilt, and I adore the concept of the 100 Day Project. It is wonderful to have a project come together, almost by magic. This process helps me to remember that even a few minutes a day can lead to big things.
Title: 100 Day Improv Log Cabin
Size: 84″x 91″
Techniques: Improvisational Piecing
Quilting: Organic “straight line” quilting on an A-1 longarm
Fabric: Fabrics from my stash, mostly blue and white prints
Batting: Hobbs 80/20 Cotton/Poly blend
Thread: Quilted with 50wt Aurifil in three colors
Binding: Scrappy bias binding, machine stitched to the front, hand finished on the back