Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The versatile Log Cabin Block and a FINISH!!!

As of 8 a.m. this morning, this quilt is on it's way!!  It is a gift for my youngest sister's 60th birthday.  In an effort to disperse some of my backlog of quilts, I started "gifting for 60th's" several years ago.  This one completes that goal -- all siblings gifted!! 
It began life as a teaching sample using log cabin blocks and an idea first shared with me by my very creative teaching mentor, Mary Ellen Hopkins.  She pointed out that basic log cabin blocks are two triangles of color.  Therefore any quilt block could be the setting for a group of log cabin blocks. 
 
I taught a beginning quilt making series called It's Okay To Sit on My Quilt (based on Mary Ellen's ground breaking book) for about 20 years.  This project was one of my challenges to my students -- pick any block in the book and interpret it using log cabin blocks. 
 
Do you recognize this block?

It's Martha Washington's Star -- if I add lines to create an 8 by 8 grid of half-square triangles and squares rather than the obvious 4 by 4 grid, I can see how to get that pinwheel at the center.  Now I make each "square" a log cabin block.
 
Some will be the traditional two-color blocks for the HST's and some will be all one color for the plain squares.   Can you see the individual log cabin blocks?  This is my layout guide from EQ and I'll work up a PDF for you to download with some basic info if you'd like to try it yourself.

It makes no difference what size the blocks are or how many logs are around the center or what size the center is or what size strips you use to build the blocks.  They just need to be log cabin blocks.  Obviously, the size of the log cabin blocks matters in terms of the finished size of the top.  Mine were 6" blocks so the top was 48" before borders.  But they could have just as easily been 12" blocks if I wanted a larger quilt. 
 
This is a close-up of one of the "points" of my star -- made of 4 log cabin blocks -- the upper right one uses only the red print, the lower left one uses an assortment of white-on-white prints, and the remaining two are half red and half whites.
This is a center section -- 4 blocks again -- can you decipher the combination?
I do advise stitching the log cabin blocks made with just one fabric where no one can see you working -- they already think we are a bit crazy to cut fabric up and sew it back together, but when you only use one print, that might be too much for them.  I have tried just using a plain square instead of going to the trouble of making a log cabin block, but it just doesn't look right.
 
Now with Marti Michell's terrific Log Cabin Rulers in my arsenal, I'm thinking I'll revisit this idea! 
If you haven't tried these tools, they have improved the accuracy of that block for me more than I expected.  The uniformity and consistency is remarkable.  I was a skeptic but it only took one small quilt to win me over.  There are four rulers at this point, each working with two strip sizes (ranging from 1/2" finished to 2" finished strips) and making multiple block sizes.  I own all of them and use them frequently -- the cutting takes a bit longer but the time saved during the piecing process is ample compensation!
 
If you can't find the rulers in your local shop, I sell them on my website and you might want to visit the cutting demo video on Marti's website.
 
So bring on the next UFQ!!  This reduces the pile of quilt tops to only 37!!
 
Mary Huey
 
 
 


11 comments:

  1. Wow! That looks amazing and I love the idea of using the log cabins to make those blocks.

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  2. What a stunning quilt! Love the colors... and the color of the floor!

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    1. Thanks, Christine -- the floor needs painted this summer -- hope I can find that paint color again!!

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  3. A fantastic log cabin star quilt!

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    1. Thanks, Anita -- I hope my sister likes it as much as everyone else!

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  4. This this was a GREAT post! The quilt is stunning! BTW, I'm 60 today; can I be adopted into your family?!?

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    1. (-: -- thanks for the offer, Diane -- but my sister quota is full.

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  5. great quilt. I love using log cabin blocks as the basis for other blocks. I've done a quilt similar to yours. I'll have to dig it out of the tops box and get it quilted xx

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    1. Thanks, Gina -- yes, you do have to quilt it so you can enjoy your own version!!

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  6. Clicked your link from Val's :) Thank you for the very clear explanation! I chuckled when you said to sew the same fabric pieces where no one can see, I'm going to be smiling about that one for awhile :) The quilt is beautiful and your siblings are very lucky :) Going to watch that video now!

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    1. So what did you think of the video, Judy? Thanks for visiting my blog!!

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