Log Cabin Quilt of Valor

I loaded this quilt prior to our trip, and thought I could get a row or two done before we left. I was given the top and batting meant for a Quilt of Valor, but they didn’t have a backing large enough. Well, I knew I had a lot of fabric, and welcomed the opportunity to not only contribute to Quilts of Valor, but also make a bit of headway on my Stashbuster totals. The traditional log cabin pattern in vintage look fabrics looks warm and cozy.

One thing I like to do is check the borders to be sure they are put on properly and determine if I will have to manipulate them to get them flat. I fold the bottom up to the top of the longarm rail, placing the seam in a straight line. Then look at the fold to be sure it is a straight line. If it bows up in the middle, there is too much fabric in the borders. This one is perfectly straight.

Next is to choose the color and type of thread. I pulled out some polyester Glide threads and some cotton Masterpiece threads to audition colors.

The homespun look of the fabrics and the log cabin design will just look better with cotton thread, without a sheen. So, I pulled additional spools to audition in just cotton, including a variegated that I rarely get to use.

I decided on the variegated, with a solid color in the bobbin. I wound several bobbins, and threaded the machine, then stitched the edges across the top and part way down both sides. I put the pantograph on the table, set the first partial row and stitched that. Then I came back to do the first full pass. While stitching, I noticed the thread jumping around as I was stitching, but when I stopped, the stitches looked fine on the top. But, I knew something was wrong, so I looked at the back. Oh, crap on a cracker.

The top tension was totally off. How did this happen? The top and side stay-stitching looked great, but the pantograph rows are a mess.

Why did I not stop much sooner, as soon as I noticed that thread jumping? But, no, I finished the bloody row.

All that had to come out. I got a stool, sat down at the machine and started ripping.

I quickly realized it would go faster from the back. So, I moved to the other side and got to work.

What took 10 minutes to put in took two hours to take out. But, it got done.

Now, to start over. I’ll put a practice scrap on the side and do some curved stitching on it to be sure the thread is behaving before I start again. I hope to get a few rows done this week, but with company in town, I doubt much headway will be made.

What are you sewing this week?


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29 thoughts on “Log Cabin Quilt of Valor

  1. Oh how I dislike it when I don’t respond to my own “gut instinct” and stop quilting to settle the problem. I finished one of my first quilts long ago with out checking the back to see how the stitching looked. I found tucks, eyelashes and horribly big difference in stitch length. So I unstitched the whole thing and tried again. It is still on my favorites list mostly because I spent so much time with this little bugaboo.

    I am working on my version of the Harrisonburg quilt from the Virginia Quilt Museum and Pat Sloan. I had to purchase some addition fabric to finish one of my color ways and to complete the border. Off to Shipshewana and one of my favorite shops. Hoping to finish a stash buster challenge too. Most blocks finished and then need to arrange and sew the rows and columns. Anxious to get something finished!

  2. Debbie Miller Meyer

    Why is it that even though something looks amiss we continue on? I’ve done the same thing so many times. It never corrects itself and I end up performing the “Froggy Stitch”. (Rip it, Rip it) which takes forever!!! I love the log cabin design. It was my very first attempt at quilting! I love how many different designs you can make from a log cabin block. Your QOV is gorgeous, Carole!!

  3. Rheanna

    Ugh, what a pain. I am so sorry that happened to the back. The quilt is lovely and I know it will look even better once you are done. I have been putting off binding a few quilts so I will be working on those for the next few weeks. I enjoy binding but have had so much inspiration to sew that I just kept putting it off.

  4. Nancy @ Grace and Peace Quilting

    Stunning quilt! It looks like it was an easy rip from the back, as frustrating as ripping is.

  5. Been there and done that! Grr. I’ve learned the hard way to always start with that scrap piece and then use my phone to take a photo from underneath after it starts sewing on the actual quilt. A few moments of precaution saves hours of unpicking. It is a gorgeous quilt and will be a beautiful QOV.

  6. I’m working on a baby boy courthouse design quilt for a new Mom. Despite quilting for 16 years I’ve never made a Log Cabin or a Courthouse. How on earth does a long arm machine manage to turn out respectable stitches on top, and horrible stitches underneath?’ I’m asking because my longarm does exactly the same thing to me every once in a while and it frustrates me trying to find the answer!

  7. what a mess to unpick – sorry that happened – not being a long armer I’m not sure how you have to do that – take it off one roller so you can fold it over to reach the back to take out the stitches? However you do it I’m sure it is a pain in the butt to do.

  8. Linda

    I can imagine the frustration you must have felt with that quilting. Reminds me that “No good deed goes unpunished” – lol!

  9. Oh Carole- how frustrating! That situation with the quilting was what I had on my frame and I haven’t used it since. A year later, I figure I missed a guide while threading or something silly like that. Have a scrappy quilt laying on the machine in hopes I get brave enough to just try again.
    I hope you are feeling better and your visit goes nicely. Don’t over do as C19 does sap your energy and take a while to recover.

  10. Carole – I totally feel for you with the ripping out. I always ask myself that same question…why didn’t I stop earlier. It makes me crazy when I do a sample and it is perfect…but then go on to rows that look like yours. Oh well, I guess I need to be grateful that it doesn’t happen very often!

  11. Ripping out quilting stitches is the worst! Have done it a few times myself so I understand the pain. Enjoy your visitors this week. Always a newday to start again.

  12. Diann@ Little Penguin Quilts

    Oh, that sounds frustrating, especially when you’re doing this for a QOV, and will be giving it away. I’m glad it was made well to begin with, though. It’s going to be beautiful in the end!

  13. Tammie

    I had a similar thing happen a couple of weeks ago. My stitch length jumped from 2.6 to 1.1. I noticed the machine stitching faster, but it sometimes does that on red fabric because of the photo ye on my stitch regulator. Stitched about a foot before I stopped. The stitches were so small I had to pick them out with tweezers, and I was using a new thread, which was shredding so bad it was a nightmare. Took me almost an hour to pick out 12” of stitching! I haven’t gone back to it yet. I’m only on the second pass..🙄. Dreading it happening again.

  14. Oh my!!! I’ve added a new phrase to my repetoire….”crap on a cracker” fits so many situations!!! LOL! I’m actually skinning a quilt today. I’m working on a wedding quilt for my nephew; doing circular feathered wreaths. The quilting is gorgeous on top and I just didn’t think to periodically check the back which, when I did check, is full of eyelashes. How in the world can the top look so good and the bottom so bad? Anyway, it’s such a pain to pick out all those feathers I’m tempted to scrap the quilt and start again. I will probably keep this one for next winter to pick out all those stitches while I watch tv….at least it’s only half quilted—queen size. Sigh!

  15. I’m so glad you checked before you started the next row, though! Hopefully the tension setting is easy to dial in and you’ll make a lot more progress as soon as you are feeling better and able to do this again post covid.

  16. Niki N

    What a pain! Sorry that happened. The quilt is stunning and will be great after your quilting

    I have enough fabric to make another of the hot air balloon wall hanging. I have a queen size quilt top dinner, need to make the quilt sandwich. The floor is the only place large enough to tape it down. I am procrastinating. O struggle so much getting a sandwich smooth on both sides. And my replaced knees do NOT like me crawling around on the floor.

    Enjoy your visitors, glad you are feeling better.

  17. Sharon Gratz

    Carole, While I’m really sorry this happened to you, I’m encouraged to know that I’m not the only one. Thank you for sharing. No sewing for me. Our daughter took us with her to the OBX to spend Mother’s Day with her and her daughter. Next is on to Indiana to be with our other daughters and their families. I hope to be able to catch up with numbers on our return.

  18. Sue Hoover

    You may be lamenting that you didn’t stop the quilting as soon as you noticed the thread jumping and instead quilted one whole row. Could’ve been worse — you could’ve ignored the jumping thread and quilted the whole durn quilt! YIKES! Sorry you lost a couple of hours but certainly could’ve been worse.

    I’m trying to play catch up on all my monthly groups and QALs. I definitely need to make an appointment at my LQS to quilt my Oh My Strippy Stars. The top is completed and I need to make progress on the next step! I’m looking forward to trying my hand at your suggested quilting — especially since I’m a newbie on the long-arm.

  19. Mary

    Curses!!! I bet you were really mad at that damn machine!!
    But soon it will be looking as lovely as all your quilts do.
    Hope the knees are feeling better and you are recovering from the Covid knock down. :))

  20. A Sisterhood of “crap on a cracker!” I have an extension bar for my knee that lifts the presser foot so I don’t have to reach behind. I was quilting and ran out of bobbin thread almost immediately – huh? Yep, I was leaning on the lifter and causing a right mess. It’s really bad when I’m playing “chicken” with the bobbin thread anyway. This is a really lovely quilt! Thanks for taking this on.

  21. Julie

    When that happens I have to step away & have a little talk with my machine about meeting expectations. After we work out our differences we can start over. I love your little thread keeper, it looks like a little bird nest. I’m intrigued by your square test on the long arm. I wonder if that would work hanging a flimsy on a clothes line?

  22. What a treat to get a perfectly square quilt! At least your bad stitches were easy to pull out. I had to rip out a whole border this week and it had perfect tension. Now I have tendonitis in my right hand. I won’t be doing much this week, except packing.

  23. Karrin Hurd

    Beautiful quilt. Last week the same thing happened to me, I had quilted 1 pass across 80 inches by about 7. Looked fine on the top, until I got to the end and it looked sort of loose. I felt on the bottom and it was an even bigger mess than yours. Took probably 4 hours to pick out. I feel your pain! Finally practiced on a test strip and it seems to be fine now. I can try again tomorrow.

  24. That’s a beautiful quilt. One of the fabrics in the photo is one my mom bought, purchased in the late 70’s I think! I still have a little bit of it in my stash! I am sorry about the ripping, what a huge frustration. Hoping you are feeling better this week, and you are able to enjoy your company. I am putting quilt tops together this week, searching for appropriate borders using the stash on hand, and cutting 3 shirts for DH, to sew next week.

  25. Sherry

    Just wanted you to know that Bronwyn Hayes of RedBrolly passed away in 2022 with Leukemia. She was actively fighting this disease when she closed RedBrolly. Great loss :((

  26. There’s not a machine quilter around who hasn’t done the exact same thing. At least with that stitch, it wasn’t onerous, just time consuming! I know the final project will be wonderful and worth it.

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