Log cabin quilt blocks are traditionally sewn with a light side and a dark side, and the two sides are divided diagonally. Now, some log cabins are different... like Courthouse Steps, which has four diagonal divisions that radiate outwards from a center square. And there are other variations of the design -- explore log cabin quilts and you'll immediately see just how variable the quilt blocks and quilt settings can be.
When I make small or miniature log cabins, I usually prefer to sew paper pieced quilt blocks, because the end results are always very accurate. But when blocks are larger, paper piecing slows me down -- all of that fabric flip-flopping around is a distraction.
This 14" quilt block was made using retro fabrics from a jelly roll -- a collection of 2-1/2" precut coordinated strips. Jelly rolls are perfect for log cabin quilt blocks, but it doesn't take a bunch more time to rotary cut your own fabric. The pattern includes tips for a couple of sewing methods, along with yardages and cutting for 30 quilt blocks, plus examples of log cabin variations.
I've heard a few quilters comment that they aren't huge fans of the no-waste Flying Geese method, and I have to admit, neither was I... at first. But after making a quilt filled with geese, and ending up with loads of unused triangles, it's my technique of choice for all but the scrappiest of scrap quilts.
The no-waste flying geese method might seem confusing at first, but I encourage you to give it a try, because it's really very simple, and (in my opinion) results in patchwork that's more accurate than the other quick piecing method we often use for geese.
My Sixteen-Patch in a Square quilt block finishes at 12" x 12".
The block's center is a patchwork unit that can be assembled either piece by piece or with strip piecing methods -- both are described in the pattern. Corner squares surround the patchwork to give the block an on-point appearance.
The block works nicely with sashing, either with or without cornerstones. If blocks are sewn next to each other, without sashing, altering the corner triangles in adjacent blocks will create more visual interest.
When you receive fabric gifts from your quilting friends, the yardage will probably be made from 100-percent cotton, but fabric gifts from family and friends who aren't into quilting might be cotton polyester-blends or fabrics woven from other fibers. You might even find a box full of unknown fabrics at an estate sale or flea market, and decide it's important to rescue the content for future quilters (umm... that's important, right?).
Even if you love an unknown fabric, it's helpful to know the fabric's content so that you can care for your quilts properly.
One solution... perform a quick burn test to help identify fabrics.
This 6" framed pinwheel block was used in a past Quilting Forum event. The block is assembled in a yummy combo of raspberry and chocolate. You'll use four fabrics for each quilt block: two pinks and two tans or browns. The placement of the four fabrics within the blocks is up to you. If going scrappy isn't your thing, simply use fewer fabrics.
The instructions for this color-combo are on page 4 of the pattern, but the event has ended, so create your own unique theme if pinks and browns aren't a favorite.
Blocks by Michelle
Blocks by Michelle
At first glance, it appears that at least two different quilt blocks were used in this quilt pattern. But actually, it's one quilt block sewn in a couple of different colorways. Yes, there's lots of patchwork here, but the good news... it isn't difficult patchwork.
I've included pressing instructions, but don't expect all of the patches to butt up against each other when blocks are connected. There will most likely be variations. One helpful match-up method -- stick a straight pin directly through the 'slots' in matched seams, especially those that don't butt against each other nicely. Don't remove the pins until your sewing machine's needle is near the seam.
The quilt finishes at about 57" x 71". Sew borders to the quilt to easily increase its size.
© Janet Wickell
Carrie Nation is another patchwork layout that's sometimes referred to as either a link or a chain because of its ability to create a continuous flow of color along either diagonal.
See the larger squares that move on an angle from the top left to the lower right? They don't 'pop' quite as much as the small, darker squares along the other diagonal. Both pathways would be visible in a quilt, but the larger squares would create a bit more of a secondary pattern. Consider that characteristic when selecting fabrics and play with the flow when it's time to arrange the quilt blocks.
© Janet Wickell
Scour vintage quilt publications, quilting encyclopedias and quilting books in general and I guarantee you'll find loads of variations of this quilt block, some (but not all) carrying the name California. The diagonal flow of this type of quilt block offers all sorts of opportunities to create a unique quilt layout. Turn the blocks this way and that to form pathways with the darker sections or add an alternate block (or two) to the mix -- it's your choice.
This version of the Road to California quilt block finishes at 9-inches square, and the pattern includes links to similar blocks of different sizes.
Hand marbling is the art of floating paints on top of a thick solution, called size, manipulating those paints into patterns, then transferring the pattern to an object by placing the object on top of the paints. You can marble anything that fits in your tray, from paper to tennis shoes, but we'll focus on making original cotton quilting fabrics. When you're finished, you'll have a stack of one-of-a-kind prints. Read through the marbling tutorial, then flip through the marbling photo gallery for more pictures that will help you understand the process a bit better.
Photo © Janet Wickell
Clustered Stars is a quilt block that's assembled by sewing contrasting star blocks into groups of four. My fabrics are quite orderly, but the design is effective as a scrap quilt, too, when you select a group of fabrics that contrast with each other.
You'll find two block sizes in the pattern. The 6-inch version is the last small quilt block for the Backwards Medallion Sampler quilt, but don't hesitate to use it for any other quilting project -- the block's small scale (each star finishes at 3" square) would be perfect for baby quilts. Ditto for the 12-inch block -- incorporate it into a quilt of your own design.