The log cabin design is one of my favourite block patterns for quilt making. It consists of narrow strips of either plain or patterned fabric being built up around a central square. This central square is usually a deep red colour to represent the fire in a log cabin, the strips surrounding the square represent the logs of the cabins which were built by early American settlers. These are dark one side and light the other, representing night and day or sunlight and shadows.
For the log cabin pattern to be effective there needs to be a strong differential between the lights and darks. These individual blocks can then be reproduced to create a vast variety of patterns.
For this task I was asked to draw a base layout plan for the Log Cabin, I found one of these online and so didn’t need to draw it out 😊
Then I needed to cut magazine/decorative paper strips 1” wide in lights and darks of ONE colour. I had to then cut these strips to size and glue them onto the base layout
For this task I was asked to repeat Task 1 but instead of using ONE colour I was asked to use contrasting colours
For Task 3 I was asked to replicate my ‘magazine’ log cabin blocks to produce different patterns. I did this by using a photo collage app on my iphone
In Tasks 1,2 & 3 I used one coloured paper for the two lights and one coloured paper for the two darks. For this task I was asked to use a wider range of lights and darks, using my scanned fabrics, to produce three new log cabin blocks.
For the first version I used Autumnal colours, the dark side is made up of browns and reds and the light side is made up of orange, rust and light tan.
For the second version, I was asked to substitute one or two of the colours for a different colour. I just changed one colour. I changed one of the reds for a brown.
On reflection, I don’t think the substitution works very well, I think the brown is too bold a colour and stands out too much. I think the colours on the first version blend together better.
I then went on to make two more examples, experimenting with different colours.
The first is a monochrome example, using pinks.
The second version is using complementary colours.
I think out of these two, the pink version works best
Making the Log Cabin block
Method 1: Piecing without a base
For this task I rotary cut 2” strips of commercial fabric, cutting equal amount of light and dark fabrics, three designs of each. I used the that I used for task 3, printing off a few copies.
I then cut small pieces of each fabric and glued them to the spaces on the paper pattern to help me remember where I was going to sew each strip.
With the right sides together and starting with the centre square, I stitched each strip in place, using my machine. I pressed each seam allowance down with my finger nail and trimming away excess fabric as I went along. When I had finished, I ironed the block on the back and then front and I trimmed up the edges of the block with a ruler and rotary cutter.
Method 2: Press piecing with a base
I had never used this method before, I was wondering before hand if it would be helpful or not, as soon as I begun stitching I decided that it is probably the most useful method of patchwork that I have learnt whilst studying this course!
To begin with I cut a square base fabric using a fairly stiff calico.
I had already cut out my strips of light and dark 2” strips of fabric.
I already made a plan as in the previous task, by sticking small pieces of fabric onto the paper plan
I found the centre of the base fabric by folding and creasing it. I placed my centre square on the centre and tacked it in place, stitching fairly close to the edge with no knot so that this stitching can be easily removed when finished.
I then began adding the strips accordingly, stitching through the strips and the base fabric.
This method was by far less fiddly than Method 1 and had a much neater finish. However, I should point out that by using this method to make a quilt there would be an extra layer of fabric to quilt through. I did think this method would be useful for making cushion covers.
I didn’t actually do the xtra task but I did put the photos together to see what it would like if I had done it.