May 18, 2015

Improv Log Cabin workshop

I'll be teaching an improv workshop at my local quilt guild, Piecemakers (Galesburg, IL), on August 22.  The workshop is designed for quilters who are new to improvisational quilting, but those with experience are most welcome also; we'll focus on versions of the Log Cabin block.  Most of the time will be taken up with experimenting with different making a variety of blocks, but I thought people might like to have directions for a small project they could make with as few as four 6" blocks.  So I made several tablerunners, illustrating different fabric, setting, and quilting choices.  In the chartreuse one (below left), I used all solids, with a background of one color related to (but not in) the blocks, quilted with a 1" grid, and bound with a contrasting fabric.  In the blue one, I used print fabrics, a narrower blue/orange color scheme, I framed each block to set them off from the background, quilted in an overall free-motion design, and bound with fabric close in color to the background.  (Double-click on photo for a closer view.)

Then I made a third runner with larger blocks and no background.  I love this color scheme of green and gray, (a combination I saw in a quilt by Erin Wilson in a show in NYC last fall--can't find a photo on the web).  This one I quilted with straight lines, and did a faced binding (so no binding shows on the front):

Then I thought I'd try one more using a combination of patterned and solid fabric, blocks sewn together, but with a frame and border.  This one I don't like very much, so I didn't bother to continue with quilting it.  Maybe I'll do a giveaway of it at the workshop, if a few people are interested.

I look forward to the workshop, and seeing what everyone comes up with--should be a lot of fun!  For more inspiration from photos of improvised log cabin quilts, try a google image search. If you're interested in signing up for the workshop, you'll find more information here.


  1. How wonderful Penny!! Have a wonderful time and I wish you and your students wild success (and fun!!)

  2. I really like the gray/green one. And I love the richness of the solid fabrics. Looking forward to taking the class, Penny!

  3. On your 4th runner, I really like the idea of the frame and border together, although that avocado green is not appealing to me. I especially like the 2nd runner, with the blue background that seems to pick up colors from a piece in each of the four blocks. It would bring a lot of energy into whatever room it's in!

  4. I really like the last one - it has a collage feel to it and looks less like a quilt.