The Log Cabin Quilt
The Log Cabin Quilt Block is
probably one of the most well known block designs. It is also
one of the most addictive!
There are several ways to sew
this block. What is essential, however, is contrast. One
half of the block must be done in light colors, and the other half
in dark colors.
You can make each log a
different fabric, or you can make some of them the same. I
have made a lot of Log Cabin Quilts, and I love them all, but my
personal preference is to make all the light colored blocks out of
the same fabric, and use just one color for each round with the
darker color, as pictured in the block above.
A Log Cabin block starts with a
center square. Traditionally, this square was red. Then
logs (strips of fabric all the same width) are placed around the
For this block, we are going to
be moving in a counter clockwise direction.
Once you get started, it is
easy to keep building your block. The trick is to get the
first few logs put on correctly.
cabin quilts are usually done by chain piecing the the units on long
strips of fabric and then cutting them apart. However, we are going to make just one block so that you
can learn the fundamentals of the block.
In the first picture you can
see the first two blocks sewn together. The center block is
the red. It is a square, cut at
1 1/2 x 1 1/2 inches.
The size of the center block
determines the width of all the strips. Every strip you
add will now be 1 1/2 inches wide.
I will show you how the length
of these strips progresses, but when making a Log Cabin Quilt, it is
easier to just oversized the strips, and then cut them to size after
each log is attached.
The second illustration is
important. Notice in the picture above that the seam of
the fabric on top is turned up. You do
not want to have to be fighting a seam turning up on your bottom
fabric. You can avoid this by always putting the last block
you have sewn on the top with the seam up.
On the the second round, for
length you need the length of the first two squares sewn together (1 1/2
+ 1 1/2 inches minus the seam allowance of 1/2 inch) or use a
2 1/2 inch plus length of fabric.
After you have sewn
these two pieces together, take your rotary cutter, and
cut the unit so that it is the same size as the unit underneath it.
Always press away from the
counter clockwise, you attach your next strip. Notice again that
the seam is pressed up.
Also notice that you put the
last strip that was sewn on the top- and it will be horizontal.
You can always tell the last strip you have
attached, because it will not have any seams.
After joining the first two
squares, (the second square being light as in the 2nd picture),
you will add another light . Then you will continue around the
block adding two darks, two lights, two darks, two lights....until
you reach the desired size of your block.
When you have added your first four blocks to
the center square, you will have a perfect square. You just
keep going, 4 blocks at a time, until your square is the desired
at the large picture and be sure you understand how to add the
This is one block I make where
I "throw out
When I am strip piecing, I may be doing 16
blocks at a time. Each unit is on one long strip of fabric. I
don't worry so much about accuracy when I cut them off the strip
with my rotary cutter.
I know that when I attach the
blocks to the next strip, I can sew following the line of the
strips., which will be straight. Fabric is fluid, and if the blocks are not quite
straight, it isn't going to matter.
block finishes at 7 1/2 inches. Look at the picture and you
can see that it is a 7-patch block.
As far as the length of the
blocks, here is how it goes:
After the center block (1 1/2 x
1 1/2 inches) you will be adding 12 logs.
Here are the sizes, so you
can see how the length progresses when you are using a 1 1/2 -
You can make the Log Cabin
Block with strips of any size, and go around the center block as
many times as you want.
The wider the strip, the
faster the construction. The narrower the strip, the more
authentic the look of an older quilt.
I prefer the Log Cabin Block done in rich
earth tones, but I've seen them in every color of the rainbow!
Have fun with this block.