How to make an American Civil War mini quilt using English Paper Piecing: 3: ‘Lincoln’s Logs’

Now that I’ve finished the patchwork top of my American Civil war quilt, I can put together the layers, and do the quilting.

With big quilts, this stage can be difficult, as you need a lot of space to spread out the fabrics. My quilt is only 22 by 27 inches, so it’s not a problem! I did mine on the floor in my conservatory!

I put the backing fabric down first, wrong side up, then spread out the wadding (100% cotton heirloom wadding), then the ironed quilt top. Making sure there were no creases in the three layers, I put pins in every four inches or so over the top of the quilt to hold it all together. Then, with sewing cotton I made a grid of long tacking stitches over the whole of the quilt, with about three inches between rows, starting in the centre and working out to the edges.

Civil War reproduction quilt Lincoln's Logs

As my quilt is small, I put the binding on at this point. If you make big quilts, you’d probably think I’m daft to do this, but I find that it works! The layers don’t shift much with a small quilt, so I can get away with it.

This is the back of the quilt – gorgeous fabric, isn’t it?

Civil War reproduction quilt Lincoln's Logs

I put a few extra pins in to keep the layers together, and started quilting  – by hand, with polyester thread. I didn’t use a pattern for this one – I just echoed the edges of the pattern pieces.

Civil War reproduction quilt Lincoln's Logs

When all the quilting was done, I washed the quilt, and hung it up to dry in the conservatory, so that it started to have that old-fashioned crinkly look.

Civil War reproduction quilt Lincoln's Logs

This is the finished quilt – it measures 21 by 25 inches. It has ended up looking quite different from the way I thought it would. And very different from the example in Carol Hopkins’ book. But I like mine, with more red in it than the example that I started out wanting to copy.

Civil War reproduction quilt Lincoln's Logs

This is the one in Carol Hopkins’ book:

Lincoln's Logs patchwork quilt

As usual, I’m not totally happy with my stitching – I wish I could get my stitches smaller and more even, but it’s quite a bit better than my previous quilt, so I’m getting there slowly!

Civil War reproduction quilt Lincoln's Logs

This shows the back and front of the quilt:

Civil War reproduction quilt Lincoln's Logs

I use my little quilts as mats around the house, and as covers for side tables – anything that looks a bit bare, really! And as soon as I’ve finished one, I want to start another one….!

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How to make an American Civil War mini quilt using English Paper Piecing: 2: ‘Lincoln’s Logs’

This is how far I’ve got with the American Civil war mini quilt that I’m making using the English paper piecing method. I’ve sorted out the fabrics for each block now:

Civil War reproduction quilt Lincoln's Logs

Once I’ve cut out the pattern pieces, based on the measured papers that I made before, I can arrange them on the reverse of the fabric from the charm pack pieces.

Civil War reproduction quilt Lincoln's Logs

I use a tiny bit of glue from a special glue pen to hold the paper in place on the fabric while I cut it out. These glue pens are wonderful – they are from the Sue Daley range, made specially for patchwork. The glue is pink in the stick, but when it dries, it dries clear. So you can see where you’re putting it, but it doesn’t mark the fabric permanently pink. You can get refills easily, too. It helps to keep it in the fridge till you’re ready to use it, as if it is at room temperature, it’s a bit soft, and you end up using more than you need to.

Civil War reproduction quilt Lincoln's Logs

As my quilt is only little, I cut all my pieces out with scissors. If I had hundreds to do, I’d use a rotary blade and a cutting mat. I make my seam allowances about a centimetre, rather than the recommended quarter of an inch, as it makes it easier to get accurate folds on the seams, as I’ve got more to get hold of.

Civil War reproduction quilt Lincoln's Logs

I put a line of glue on the paper, then fold the fabric over and press it in place. The glue dries really fast. I just fold each side over (not mitreing corners or anything) going round the shape until all four are done.

Civil War reproduction quilt Lincoln's Logs

This is one block, ready to be stitched together by hand.

Civil War reproduction quilt Lincoln's Logs

Here’s the twelve blocks, once I’d stitched them all together. I use polyester thread, in a neutral tone, and just oversew the pieces together.

Civil War reproduction quilt Lincoln's Logs

The sashing pieces (joining strips) are made in the same way – by glueing the fabric over long strips – except that I made these intentionally longer than they needed to be, to give me ‘wiggle room’ when stitching them to the other blocks.

This is the layout:

Civil War reproduction quilt Lincoln's Logs

Each long strip is pinned in place,  and then oversewn to the main part, right sides together.

Civil War reproduction quilt Lincoln's Logs

It’s tempting at this point to remove all the papers from the back, but it helps to have the main area still quite stiff with the papers in, while I’m adding the wide borders.

Civil War reproduction quilt Lincoln's Logs

The long border pieces are added first, then the short ones. I didn’t mount these wide borders on paper first – I just turned a narrow seam allowance and pressed it in place, then oversewed the edge to the edge of the dark brown strip.

Civil War reproduction quilt Lincoln's Logs

This is the bit I look forward to! Taking out the papers! Suddenly, the quilt goes from being lots of stiff little bits of fabric, to one soft and flexible quilt top, that has become something different in the process.

Unlike a quilt made by machine, the seam allowances aren’t pressed over to one side – they are left open like this. Later, the whole quilt top will be pressed before being layered with the wadding and backing.

Civil War reproduction quilt Lincoln's Logs

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How to make an American Civil War mini quilt using English Paper Piecing: 1: ‘Lincoln’s Logs’

Apart from doing loads of embroidery all the time, I am starting to make little quilts. I don’t make large ones, as I don’t have the space, but I thought I’d do a few blog posts about how to make an American Civil War quilt using English paper piecing, as that’s the method I like to use. Even then, I adapt it to suit the way I like to make them!

This is the first book that I bought with quilt designs in that really ‘spoke’ to me – it’s by Carol Hopkins, who designs some lovely quilt patterns:

Civil War reproduction quilt Lincoln's Logs

She uses the faded, small-scale prints in soft hues that I love. This is the quilt that I want to make:

Civil War reproduction quilt Lincoln's Logs

It’s quite simple, and doesn’t have any triangles in it!! The first quilt I made had loads, and I kept getting the seam allowances wrong, and cutting off the tips of the triangles as I stitched the seams  😦  That’s when I decided that machine piecing maybe wasn’t for me, and English paper piecing might be more accurate.

I’ve chosen some gorgeous fabrics in shades of red, cream and brown,  from a range called Chateau Rouge by Moda Fabrics.

Civil War reproduction quilt Lincoln's Logs

I bought a charm pack (a pack of about forty 5 x 5 inch squares, in many toning shades), and two separate yards of fabric – one for the wide border, and one for the backing.

Carol Hopkins’ book describes how to make her quilts in the traditional way, using a sewing machine. I take designs from books like hers, and adapt them for English paper piecing by working out the sizes of the block pieces, and drawing them out on dressmaker’s pattern paper, like this:

Civil War reproduction quilt Lincoln's Logs

I’ve sorted the fabrics from the charm pack into toning pairs, so that each block will have very obvious differences between the L-shaped pieces, and the ‘background’ surrounding them.

Civil War reproduction quilt Lincoln's Logs

The next job is to cut everything out!

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This is my Christmas haul….some fantastic embroidery books!

Every year at Christmas, I give the ‘Christmas Elf’ (also known as a ‘husband’) some ideas of what I’d like for Christmas. This system is foolproof – this way, I always get things that I love (and so does he – there’s a female Christmas Elf who collects ideas of what he’d like, too!).

This year, I had a bumper crop of gorgeous books:

Embroidery and patchwork books

This first one is one that I knew had to be on my Christmas list as soon as I saw it first advertised, back around September.

Passion for Needlework

It’s the new Inspirations book ‘A Passion for Needlework 2: Factoria VII’. This features twelve designs from a variety of designers who also create designs for the Australian ‘Inspirations’ magazine. The book is the second in what is now looking to be a series of volumes, fortunately – this is stitching eye candy at its best. The book is very well produced, the photography is wonderful, and I’m tempted to start on one or two projects right away! This is one of my favourites from the book, which I am itching to stitch:

Embroidered etui set

And these gorgeous little stumpwork pots are calling to be stitched too:

Stumpwork floral pots

One thing that I wasn’t very keen on with this book was the settings that the photography had been done in – a converted bacon factory in Australia, which is now a home, but it’s been decorated in the, admittedly, popular ‘industrial’ decorating style. But I hate that! The actual embroidery, in many of the images, seems a bit ‘lost’. Like this one:

Passion for Needlework

I don’t like to have to play ‘hunt the embroidery’ when I’m looking at a picture in an embroidery book……

This next book has been on my Amazon wishlist for a couple of years, but never got beyond that:

Stumpwork embroidery book

I think that’s because although the embroidery is great, I’m not personally very keen to stitch things all in white, so the cover was putting me off. But on Pinterest a few weeks ago I saw an image taken from one of the projects inside the book, and then I ‘upgraded’ the book from ‘maybe one day’ to ‘yes, now!!’

It’s got some gorgeous stumpwork projects in it – really creative stuff. This complements Jane Nicholas’s style very well (Jane is Australian, and has a lovely neat stumpwork embroidery style, doing mainly botanical studies). I’m looking forward to trying some of these projects, too. This is my favourite so far:

Stumpwork embroidery book

The book has a long section at the beginning covering all sorts of ‘how to’s’ – very good detail.

Stumpwork padding

I also received a couple of patchwork books, as I have a huge interest in making American Civil War-style mini quilts at the moment, using reproduction fabrics from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Patchwork

This book is by two really good quilt designers – Jo Morton and Kim Diehl. They both showcase designs based on the same blocks throughout this book, showing how a designer can be influenced in very different ways, when using the same basic elements as another designer.

This is my favourite design from this book. It’s one of Jo’s:

Jo Morton quilt

The other quilting book is a very new one:

Patchwork and quilting book

This book uses a novel idea – the author took one ‘layer cake’ of fabrics (that is, a pack of 40 co-ordinating fabrics, each ten inches square), to see how many projects she could make out of it (plus the backing fabric).

These are all quick little projects, so I want to get a few of these done soon, such as this one:

Patchwork mug mat

I’m hoping to share more of my attempts at patchwork and quilting on this blog during 2019.

Finally, I also got the latest Johanna Basford colouring book ‘World of Flowers’. If you haven’t seen this, you’re from another planet! I want to work on this one on the right hand side first:

World of Flowers

So, as long as I get some spare time (Ha!! What’s that?!), I should have some good things to be working on during the coming year  🙂

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