Susan Beal’s Modern Log Cabin Quilting Book Tour – Susan’s Favorite Fabrics

Today we welcome Susan Beal, stopping by on her blog tour for Modern Log Cabin Quilting: 25 Simple Quilts and Patchwork Projects (her fifth craft book!). However you define the “modern” sewist/crafter/quilter, I think we all have in common a love for the simplicity and flexibility of the traditional Log Cabin block. Like myself, and probably every other modern quilter I know, Susan was drawn into quilting thanks to Log Cabin, especially the interpretations of it by the women of Gee’s Bend. And now Susan has created a beautiful book that brings together historical background on the block, great general instructions for assembling (and stashing scraps for) Log Cabin blocks, and 25 patterns for quilts and smaller projects that use every variation of Log Cabin imaginable.

I encourage you to peruse the other stops along the blog tour to get a closer look at the projects and read others’ reviews. Susan also has a thorough and impressive book blog with event and resource listings, errata, etc. We’re keeping it fabric-related today … I asked Susan to list her favorite fabrics in a few different categories. This was a lot of fun — I might make it a regular feature around these parts!

1. Five Favorite Fabrics in Your Stash Now

It’s so hard to narrow this down, so I’m going with a crafty theme. LOVE these five.

- Scissors print (Wonderland by MoMo for Moda). This is the blue and acid green versions – I really love this one, I also have it in a great red and the pink. I’ve used the red most (it’s the center square in my Color Story Pillow, and it was my intentional fabric in my Denyse Schmidt improvisational blocks when I took her workshop). Thinking about getting the black too but not sure… the scissors are just so good it’s hard to pass up.

- Small-scale button card print with white and black backgrounds (not sure of the [Japanese] manufacturer, but I bought both colorways from This and That from Japan within the last year). Love this one too. I haven’t cut it yet. I just look at it.

- Larger-scale button card print with pink, blue, and yellow buttons on off-white background (bought this years ago… can’t remember where and the selvage is blank! it’s a home dec weight if that helps). I made a block of my Anniversary Quilt with this one. Love the total simplicity, button silhouettes, and strangely specific number details.

- Largest-scale red-background button print (Suzuko Koseki for Yuwa) I just got at Cool Cottons. So beautiful. I absolutely love how some of these exquisite, detailed cards have missing buttons, as if someone used a few for an extra-special project, and then set them right back down.

- Colorful measuring tape print (Building Blocks by American Jane Patterns/Sandy Klop for Moda). I used this in the Color Story Pillow too. I really like the color mix and how simple and graphic it is!

(Bonus measuring tape print: the tan and white one which is a home dec weight – I don’t know the manufacturer, and the scrap I am clinging to doesn’t have a selvage left, but I bought it at Michael Levine in Los Angeles about six years ago. I made my first log cabin pillow backs with this – the Recycled Cords pillows!)

2. Five Fabrics on Your Wish List

- Tammis Keefe cotton/linen prints – I just read this mini-review of the collection over at Bolt Neighborhood and really want to get some of these beautiful things. Amazing that the whole line benefits cancer research.

- Kind of cheating, but I wish I could still track down more of some of my favorites from Flea Market Fancy (Denyse Schmidt for Free Spirit). I bought some at the time (not enough!) and then bought a fat quarter set of the whole Katie Jump Rope line, which was more like it. I finally learned my lesson for real and bought actual yardage of the Hope Valley prints I loved most (I made Pearl an Easter dress with the orange flowers, I’ve saved the dark brown flowers for making myself a new dress now that I’m not pregnant, and I mixed two – the gray flowers and the gray tiny diamonds – into the blocks in the Clouds in the Sky Duvet Cover) but I still dream about magically time-traveling and buying whatever I want from the Flea Market Fancy line.

- Love the Kokka Folklore cotton/hemp print you previewed a couple months ago from JapanKawaiiYa – my favorite is the orange colorway!

- I’ve always wanted to buy some of the big, beautiful Marimekko Melooni print and frame it.

-And speaking of Marimekko, the new Crate & Barrel floral tablecloth is awesome. I want one for my dining room table and one to cut up and sew with!

3. Five Fabrics You Could Consume by the Bolt

- Kona Cotton in Snow (Robert Kaufman) – I use this tons in my quilting, I really appreciate how serene it is next to virtually any color or pattern. This is the background fabric for the Modern Crosses quilt on the cover, and it paired so beautifully with 60 vivid prints from my stash for the assorted crosses.

- Heath in Chocolate (Alexander Henry) – just love this print and the dark brown is amazing. (I also love the pink colorway!) Pink Chalk Fabrics has it right now.

- I love a good woodgrain fabric and my all-time favorite is from a few seasons back, Lush by Erin Michael (Moda) in the dark brown colorway. I would totally love to have a whole bolt of this! I sewed a great pair of pants for my daughter in a 12m size, I can’t wait for my baby son to grow into them so I can have them back in my life, and I have been hanging on to the rest of what I bought then, after a little piecing here and there.

- I would also love a whole bolt of this gorgeous lightweight Pendleton wool plaid in brown, tan and orange that I bought several yards of in 2009 at the Woolen Mill Store. I used a lot of it in the Winter Woolens Quilt but I’d also like to sew myself and my daughter Pearl an endless supply of snappy jackets and A-line skirts as well, and some nice button-up shirts for my husband Andrew and my son Everett.

- And I love Pearl Bracelet by Lizzy House (Andover) and would be so happy to have a bolt of the blue and white one, in equal parts because it’s beautiful, my daughter’s name is Pearl, and it’s just such a good print in a gorgeous color. I would gladly settle for the orange which is a very close second favorite, and I have heard that she’s doing some new colorways coming up too so I can’t wait to see those!

4. Five Most Recent Acquisitions

I actually have eight fabrics to answer this one with – I was so lucky that Gina at Bolt Fabric Boutique asked me to choose some favorites to mix into a fat quarter pack last month to celebrate the book coming out, and I got to walk around the store freaking out about all the awesome prints and slowly narrowing it down to eight in very spring-y orange, pink, and brown color families.

I picked out the Heath print in two colorways, Lizzy House’s Castle Peeps (the orange pennants), Urban Chiks’ Dream On (the green-background larger floral), and the amazing Tammis Keefe alligators. I cut up one set into log cabin block pennants for my book events (and just decorating my house!) and I’m saving the other one for a quilt or something else special.

Thanks so much, Susan! (And great pointer to the Marimekko tablecloth — it’s even on sale!)

You totally want a copy of the book, don’t you now? Susan has several links to shops carrying the book right here.

all images in this post courtesy Susan Beal


  1. duff says:

    Thank you so much–Righteous interview! I am a junkie for the Tammis Keefe line also.
    I just adore the fat quarter set so off to Bolt I go!!

  2. Monique says:

    I have the book Gee’s Bend: The women and their quilts… fascinating book.

    Love the pearl bracelet fabric.

  3. jenny says:

    Agree – this would be a great on-going feature! Love seeing her fabric choices.

  4. susan b. says:

    Thanks so much, Kim!! This was really fun and now I’ve got all this pretty fabric out… hmm ;)

  5. Diane says:

    Great interview! I just go my Modern Log Cabin Quilting book in the mail today. I didn’t think that I would ever get it and now have the clear the decks to get started on a new project. I am thinking Modern Crosses in the new DS quilts line.

    • susan b. says:

      oh! love that idea for a Modern Crosses, Diane!! if you get started and want to post any photos to the book flickr pool I would LOVE to see them…

  6. Clair says:

    What a lovely idea for bunting! Now i know what to do with all those log cabin blocks I haven’t made into anything yet.