April 4, 2023: SOJ – a change of plans!; Donation quilt; Earthly Delights

Greetings dear readers! Spring comes slowly in northern New England, but I now have occasional days when I can sit outside on the deck in the sun, with a thin jacket on, and appliqué as I soak in the warmth 😊. Heavenly! On the other hand, we had a dusting of snow in the wee hours Saturday….

“Spirit of Japan #7: Treasure Trove” was inspired by the Tomie Nagano exhibit I saw at the NEQM in late December. Over the last 3 months, I’ve pieced 120 log cabin blocks using mostly a combination of Japanese “taupe” style fabrics and “authentic” Japanese indigos, remnants of Japanese garments, etc. Here are the last 8 blocks, done since my last post:

Here’s what it looked like with 100 blocks, arranged in the “sunshine and shadows” variation:

The plan was to add the last 20 blocks to the bottom, keeping this S&S arrangement. However, after adding the blocks, I started playing and ended up with this:

I’m sorry that the color in both photos is not accurate. I like the combination of the “barn raising” LC arrangement in the center and the “sunshine and shadows” arrangement in the 4 corners because it seems more dynamic and less static than just the S&S variation. Would love to hear what you think! A remaining question is whether this is OK as a rectangle or whether I should strongly consider making it a symmetrical square by adding one more block width to each side, making it a 12 block x 12 block square (72 inches square) instead of 10 blocks across and 12 down rectangle (60 inches X 72 inches). Feel free to weigh in if you have any thoughts on that too! Another issue is whether it needs a border. If I add more blocks to make it a square, I don’t think it needs a border. I’m not sure about the rectangular version.

Borders – certainly not in vogue with modern quilters. I looked at the 44 winning quilts from Quilt Con – only one had a true, clearly defined border! 4 others had visible borders which were incorporated into the overall design. 39 had no borders. I happen to like borders a lot and think they frequently enhance a quilt’s appearance, though I definitely don’t think every quilt needs one.
Meanwhile, even if I do decide to add more blocks, I’m taking a break and have taken the blocks off the design wall by rows:

Quite the stack!!😊

I am taking advantage of the open design wall to work on a donation lap quilt. I have been making half square triangles using 5 inch charm squares of reproduction and “Kansas Troubles” style fabric accumulated over several years. Lots of different designs can be made from HST’s and I finally decided on zig zags:

This photo shows the colors much better:

Just starting to sew these small (finish 4 inches) blocks into groups of 4; hope to have the center all sewed together in a few days – 48 inches square – and then will add a border.

I’m continuing to look for signs of spring. The river was exceedingly low last fall after a drought, but after all the snow and rain this winter is running high again:

The bog which had been dry is full of water again:

And weeping willows are showing their pale limey-green yellow early color:

It’s National Poetry Month and for my book group, I’m reading a biography of Edna St. Vincent Millay:

Parts of the book are a bit of a slog, but overall I’m glad I’m reading it because it’s an interesting look at a female artist who in many ways personified the “jazz age” of the 1920’s. I also did not know much about her poetry and have now happily become acquainted with several of her best classics.

Wishing you all happy stitching!

Be kind, be grateful, and cherish each day, Gladi

48 thoughts on “April 4, 2023: SOJ – a change of plans!; Donation quilt; Earthly Delights

  1. Sharon Messmore April 4, 2023 / 6:25 pm


    To me the ‘barn raising’ design is much more exciting and interesting. Hope you go with that design.

    Sixty by seventy two is a perfect size for a twin coverlet. I find square quilts awkward to use, but I have a few twin beds to cover.

    Congratulations on completion of the piecing portion of this gorgeous quilt. Yet another one for you. You are an inspiration to your followers!!

    Sincerely, Sharon M

    • gladiporsche April 5, 2023 / 8:44 pm

      Thank you Sharon for commenting! All along I have wanted this quilt to be functional as a quilt for a twin bed – I have 2 in the house – but willing to change plans if needed. A rectangle is certainly better for that purpose. Thanks for reminding me and I’m leaning in that direction.

  2. Lynwicky April 4, 2023 / 7:39 pm

    Definitely agree with the barn raising version. More interesting by far. I like the current size right now too. And i am going to vote for no border but that may be a touch of my modern side and love of the utilitarian style.

    • gladiporsche April 5, 2023 / 8:49 pm

      Thank you Lyn for confirming my instincts! I don’t think I’ll make any final decisions until I put it back up on the design wall, but pretty sure I want to be done – no more blocks or border.

  3. Mrs. Plum April 4, 2023 / 7:57 pm

    Those log cabin blocks are stunning! My younger granddaughter and I like the barn raising arrangement, while my husband and older granddaughter liked the original version. In my opinion, sans border is the way to go.

    • gladiporsche April 5, 2023 / 8:51 pm

      Thank you Mrs. Plum, for reading and commenting – and getting your family members’ opinions as well! At this time I agree with you 🙂.

  4. barbvedder April 4, 2023 / 8:17 pm

    Your log cabin blocks are just stunning. There are so many ways to set LC blocks so I look forward to seeing what you decide.
    Nice comfort quilt!
    I hope spring flowers come your way soon.

    • gladiporsche April 5, 2023 / 8:52 pm

      Thanks Barb! We have some crocuses in our yard!!

  5. 107sophie April 4, 2023 / 8:44 pm

    the combination of S&S and BR is absolutely vibrant! I know many quilters are not partial to square quilts but I love them. While quilts are wonderful bed covers they are also art – so nothing wrong with a square quilt. I am also a border lover and for the same reason that the perfect mat really shows off a piece pf art, I think a border often helps us really ‘SEE’ the art of the quilt within its sides. Try out some borders on your design wall – and listen to the quilt!

    • gladiporsche April 5, 2023 / 9:02 pm

      Thank you Sophie! I totally agree with you about listening to what the quilt is telling me it needs. Sometimes I agree completely and sometimes I argue vehemently!😊. The latter can especially happen if my interest in a project is waning; in that case, taking a break and reassessing later can be very helpful. Sometimes what I need – e.g. to be done! – is more important than what the quilt needs!🙂

      • 107sophie April 6, 2023 / 1:31 am

        absolutely — it’s only fair to “have it your way” at times!

  6. Suzi Calderwood April 4, 2023 / 9:07 pm

    I like your second layout the best. I feel it should not have boarders so add the two rows. One of the few scrap quilts I like.

    • Pat in WNY April 4, 2023 / 10:05 pm

      I think you also have to consider whether you want to highlight the lighter or darker fabrics when you decide on your setting. The sunshine and shadow arrangement seems to highlight the lighter range, the second arrangement appears much darker to my eyes. There is a special soft quality about these fabrics that is so lovely. However you decide to complete the setting you will have a winner.

      • gladiporsche April 5, 2023 / 9:09 pm

        Thanks Pat! I have definitely been considering where the lights and darks are located and how that affects the overall appearance. I could reverse everything. Also am thinking about how the edges at the top and bottom are light and the side edges are dark and how that would affect the values of any border pieces I would add – so much to consider!

    • gladiporsche April 5, 2023 / 9:05 pm

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting Suzi! I think I need to take some time to make this decision as adding the extra rows requires making another 24 blocks- for now I need a break!

    • gladiporsche April 5, 2023 / 9:10 pm

      (See response below!)

  7. Laurie Mosley April 4, 2023 / 9:59 pm

    I would go with your new log cabin arrangement and leave it a rectangle. And I like it better without a border. Love the colors and fabrics.

    • gladiporsche April 5, 2023 / 9:12 pm

      Thanks Laurie for reading and commenting! Right now I’m leaning toward exactly what you’re suggesting, but will take a bit more time before final decision.

  8. Eleanor Laferriere April 4, 2023 / 10:33 pm

    I love the barn raising version. Your quilt is stunning. I read a long time ago that borders do not go on log cabin quilts——-maybe it is a Rhode Island thing!

    • gladiporsche April 5, 2023 / 9:15 pm

      Thank you Eleanor! You are exactly right that most log cabins don’t have or need borders, but I’ve seen a few with incredible borders – especially made by Japanese quilters. A LOT of work, though, and that wouldn’t be in keeping with the Tomie Nagano quilts which were my original inspiration. I think this is an important point for me.

  9. Cindy April 4, 2023 / 11:00 pm

    What a fantastic surprise when I scrolled past the Sunshine and Shadows photo! I love the Barn Raising combination setting! It doesn’t need to be square to my eye and I like log cabin quilts without borders. At first it almost looked square and I thought it could use more length to be more obviously rectangular. But it’s quite beautiful as is. And your photos are full of spring colors! It’s pretty brown in my woods.

    • gladiporsche April 5, 2023 / 9:16 pm

      Thank you so much Cindy! I really appreciate that you like it the way it is right now, without any further changes!

  10. Lynn J in Wis April 4, 2023 / 11:23 pm

    I love your log cabin blocks. They are sensational to say the least. I vote for the S & S arrangement as you have it in the picture. I think it highlights your blocks better. They are the star to me.

    • gladiporsche April 5, 2023 / 9:52 pm

      Thank you Lynn for reading and commenting! Such a hard choice for me! All along I loved the S&S variation and then at the end found the combination with the BR in the center even more compelling!

  11. Carol in Texas April 5, 2023 / 12:31 am

    Gladi, the new arrangement is much more dynamic……I like it a lot. I think I might put a thin dark border around it, just to clean up the edges. I like it as it is, without the extra blocks. It looks complete to me.

    • gladiporsche April 5, 2023 / 9:54 pm

      Thank you so much Carol!! I will definitely consider your suggestion of a simple, thin dark border; I think that would be better than just a dark binding.

  12. Gayle in Tennessee April 5, 2023 / 12:40 am

    Love the barn raising/sunshine and shadows layout best. Rectangle without borders. Beautiful!

    • gladiporsche April 5, 2023 / 9:55 pm

      Thank you so much Gayle! Right now I’m inclined to agree with you completely!

  13. Nann April 5, 2023 / 1:12 am

    I like the second layout for all the reasons you give. The arrangement looks so much more complex. I like the rectangle, too. HSTs are fun to play with! Spring is gradually springing–I saw skunk cabbage on my Sunday afternoon walk.

    • gladiporsche April 5, 2023 / 9:56 pm

      Thank you Nann for reading and adding your opinion! Much appreciated!

  14. Janet O. April 5, 2023 / 3:29 am

    I love the log cabin blocks in those beautiful fabrics. The second photo is such an interesting block arrangement–it gets my vote. I used to work hard to NOT make square quilts, but then someone said that they liked square quilts for their queen bedf, because they didn’t have to wonder which way to place it on the bed. 🙂
    I often lean toward borders, but this quilt really doesn’t need one, IMHO, if the size meets your purpose.
    Your donation quilt has a warm, cozy feel to it.
    I appreciated seeing spring begin in your area, as we are still buried in snow, with more storms coming.

    • gladiporsche April 5, 2023 / 11:26 pm

      Thank you Janet for weighing in with your well considered opinion! We routinely have square quilts on our king size bed, but they are very large! And we still always seem to arrange them with the label at the bottom 😊. I think this quilt wants to be for a twin size bed, not a wall, so am inclined – for now – to go with the rectangle.

  15. Jenny G April 5, 2023 / 4:20 am

    I loved the barn raising version. Much more appealing my eyes. I liked the rectangular version, but would also like the square version. I vote no border. I just don’t think it needs it.

    • gladiporsche April 5, 2023 / 11:27 pm

      Thank you Jenny. It looks like you are right with the majority- rectangle, no borders. That matches my current leanings.

  16. Kelley Secrest April 5, 2023 / 10:24 am

    Good morning Gladi, I love the new log cabin arrangement including number of blocks. Your borders are always fabulous and this quilt will look stunning with or without the addition of a border. Glad spring is coming your way. Wishing you a lovely week!

    • gladiporsche April 5, 2023 / 11:36 pm

      Thank you for commenting Kelley! I looked back at the Tomie Nagano quilts and none of them have borders. Since her exhibit was the inspiration for this quilt, I’m really thinking “no border” is the way to go. Still have to make the final decision about square vs. rectangle 😊.

  17. Joan Herrick April 5, 2023 / 12:22 pm

    Love the BR version of your LC. Another row of blocks on the sides would add an overall symmetry and would provide the added benefit of working down the stash piles, thus creating more space for future purchases :=).

    • gladiporsche April 5, 2023 / 11:38 pm

      Thank you Joan! Hope you are thriving and still making quilts! Good points about the symmetry and the chance to use up more fabric!😊

  18. marissthequilter April 5, 2023 / 4:26 pm

    Whatever you decide, it will be a spectacular quilt. It’s probably a good idea to have taken it off the design wall to lie fallow for a while. I think the quilt will ‘tell’ you what final form it would like to take

    • gladiporsche April 5, 2023 / 11:42 pm

      Thank you Mariss! I completely agree that a bit of a break will help me sort out the remaining issues. As I mentioned to another commenter, I like to “listen” to what my quilts tell me they need, but sometimes I argue with them!😊

  19. jean April 5, 2023 / 6:43 pm

    It is your quilt, so your choice. I however, would prefer a square quilt, since the wear on the binding would be more evenly distributed. Borders too are your choice. I do not recall many log cabin quilts with borders traditionally. Love what you are doing!

    • gladiporsche April 5, 2023 / 11:45 pm

      Thank you Jean for commenting! It’s a tough decision about the size/shape, but I seem to be slowly coming to the conclusion that either no border or a very plain, narrow border is the way to go.

  20. Robin April 5, 2023 / 10:27 pm

    I think my favorite block of your most recently made one is the fifth picture with the lovely stripe between the two reddish strips. This whole quilt is so nice. Would love to see it in person. Your outdoor pictures are stunning. We are recuperating from a late big snow storm and have yet to see new spring growth. So nice to see it in your part of the world. I’m a fan of borders, it frames the quilt.

    • gladiporsche April 5, 2023 / 11:49 pm

      Thanks Robin for weighing in with your opinion! I am giddy with anticipation of the coming spring changes and sending you wishes that those changes start coming soon for you too! I absolutely love borders too, but am thinking not for this quilt.

  21. Li April 6, 2023 / 6:23 pm

    The fabrics in this top are beyond wonderful.

    I go out of my way to avoid square quilts.

  22. Marie April 7, 2023 / 9:00 pm

    Your reworked version of this Log Cabin is beautiful – a lovely ode to both patterns – and I vote to keep it rectangular, without a border (full disclosure: I tend to avoid square quilts).

  23. Cynthia @ wabi sabi quilts April 10, 2023 / 8:48 pm

    I really like your second setting for your log cabin. It’s so fun to consider different layouts with log cabin blocks. I don’t think it needs a border at all. Lovely early spring photos with those hints of chartreuse coming through!

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