Sunday, August 15, 2010

Block #1 - Log Cabin

Good Morning!

I sure hope you all are feeling fit this morning. I am....I got up early to make a few blocks before the kiddos came crawling downstairs demanding to be fed. So the lighting is not so awesome in these shots....but they should get the point across.

*A quick note on fabrics- I am trying not to get too scrappy with this project. Sometimes (most of the time actually) I get carried away and add a million different fabrics and prints. I am going to stick to 7 different ones here. 3 solids which I dyed myself and 3 small prints which I love. I also added a white because I really like how white kinda tidys up a quilt.

**This is not going to be a big quilt. I just want you to master a few blocks in a short amount of time.

***I am going to go quick, so ask questions and I will answer in the comments.

****Your Seams are going to be presses AWAY from the centers.

OK, got it? Good. Let us begin!

Take your scissors and just cut out 6 squarish shapes that are about 2 to 3 inches in size. Don't measure, just cut off a corner to make the squares. Mine aren't perfect, they are somewhat wiggly. I did not cut a white square because I am going to use my white as a softener in the blocks. These squares are going to be the centers of each block.

Now fold your fabric selvage to selvage and cut 2 strips of each fabric. Cut one skinny and one a little more fat. Mine are between 1.25 inches and 2 inches. Once again, don't measure, just cut them. I did use my rotary cutter and my straight edge to make them straight, I just didn't measure. Does that make sense?

Pick which center you want to start with, and sew on the first side from a strip of fabric. Use your 1/4 inch foot so all your seams stay the same width. When you have sewn your seam, just take a pair of scissors and cut the strip.
You can now turn the square and sew on the next side. Mom, my quarter inch foot looks different than yours because mine is the fancy Bernina 820 dual feed foot. I love it. So, now that you are finished with this side, cut the strip again and do the next 2 sides. You don't have to continue with the same fabric you can change them out whenever you want.

I trim and square my blocks each time I have sewn on 4 sides. I press at this point too. See how messy this block is? If I tried to keep on going without trimming and squaring the blocks would begin to puff up in the center and obviously they would all be different sizes, which would be a devil to put a quilt top together with.

See, the block looks much better now, right? Let us add some more sides...
Around we go!

Ok, this one is a big mess....but I wanted the seam to be slanted. I will trim that off...

See, not as messy, but still slanted.
When you press it it looks fine.
Trim it up again. And go add on some more sides. Our goal is a 6 inch block.

See, 6 inches of a kinda wonky log cabin block. Now, go make 6 of them. Don't fret them too much. I think they are super fun to make.

Here are mine. Each one different. The Log Cabin is my favorite quilt block. I guess it is because it is one of the first ones I ever mastered. It has a great history too. Traditionally the centers of the Log Cabin are yellow or red with a dark side and a light side. The center represents the hearth fire of the home and the dark is the bad that happens (locusts eat the crop, the barn burns down, Jasper has an affair with your best friend Sally and they have 3 headed twins) while the light side is the good stuff that happens (bumper crop of tomatoes, find oil on your land, turns out there is a nice diamond mine in the backyard, ya know great stuff). I like to have more light fabric in my blocks. It is the Ying Yang of the quilt world.
Some people even say that you can hide secret messages in log cabin quilts. There are conflicting reports of Log Cabin blocks indicating safe houses along the underground railroad. If you had some black centers for your quilt blocks then you were sympathetic to slaves escaping bondage. Obviously the quilt would have to be hung out where the renegades would see it...but anyway it makes a good story, don't you think?
Have fun making your blocks. Call me if you have questions mom!


Jennifer said...

how much of each fabric total will the quilt take? I am not sure I want to do a whole quilt, but jut in case!

Sudi-Laura said...

Just in case you are wondering...I'm quilting along with you:-) I finished the first blocks in 1 hour ( from picking out the fabs to sewing the blocks). I cannot wait for #2! Thank you for this breath of fresh air!

the Campfollower said...

Hey there Jennifer! Sorry, I just saw this. You will need about a quarter yard from each fabric. My quilt is going to be small....I just want my mom (and you of course) to get comfortable with free piecing technique.

Sudi-Laura, I am so happy you are quilting along with us! Yay! The next block is quicker than the log cabins, don't worry I won't take up all your time! LOL

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