LOG CABIN QUILTS ARE AWESOME

Have you discovered how much fun log cabin quilts can be? I was not a fan of them, and it took me a long time to become one. Once I discovered how much fun they could be, I got hooked on making log cabin quilts. There are just so many ways to set them. The color combos are endless. Scrappy or planned, log cabin quilts are awesome.

Sometimes it is hard to see in our heads what we can do with certain blocks or how the final project will look. I thought I would show a few log cabin quilts of mine just to give you some new ideas.

First Log Cabin blocks

Log Cabin table runner
This was my very first try at log cabin blocks in 1989. The strips were super narrow as in 1″ to 1.5″ wide. I used scraps of blue, and brown for the dark strips. Red for the center blocks. Unbleached muslin for the light strips. I was not impressed. Too much cutting and sewing for a really small project. I put it away to be forgotten. In 1999 I hand quilted it in straight lines in the center of each strip. Finished size 12″ x 36″. Sold.

My next try at a log cabin quilt

The only quilt magazine I could find while living in Germany was “Quilt”. Many of the articles and patterns had to do with log cabin blocks in various settings. I still was not really confident in exploring various quilt blocks. Looking at that magazine made me feel like I was really missing something in the quilt world.

So I thought I would try another log cabin quilt with larger pieces this time. Same color scheme as the first one since that is what fabric I had to work with.

LOG CABIN QUILTS ARE AWESOME
Center blocks are 3.5″ square and the strips are 2″. Pieced in 1989. I still was not pleased with it. This one got put away too until 1999 when it was machine quilted in a stipple design. Size was 36″ square. Donated it to a local charity for their auction.

Third try at a log cabin quilt

Once we returned to the US, fabric was readily available. Somehow, lots a fabric ended up at my home and I really started getting confident in just doing what I liked for quilts.

I learned how to really use the rotary cutter and assembly line piecing. Making more quilts also meant there were more scraps in a bin.

I thought there had to be something really great to log cabin quilts – there were all kinds of photos of them in quilt magazines. Folks in the local quilt guild also seemed to make them routinely. Obviously, something was wrong with me that I didn’t like them.

LOG CABIN QUILTS ARE AWESOME - scrappy log cabin quilt.
I pieced this quilt 1992 – 1994. My notes don’t say what size the pieces were, but I was still not happy with log cabin blocks. I just couldn’t see what people saw in them. There was just too much cutting and sewing for a very unsatisfactory end product. This one was machine quilted by BE in 1994 and given as a Christmas gift to a relative.

The ah-HA moment of discovery

So somewhere about this time, a lady at the guild allowed me to borrow one of the first “Quilt in a Day” https://www.quiltinaday.com/ log cabin books from her. At this point, I had that “ah-ha” moment that said, “oh, I can do this now”. I was obviously making this pattern tons harder than it should have been.

Anyone who reads this blog for long realizes that I tend to take the directions or ideas and use them to come up with a system that works for me. The one thing I have stuck with since that first “Quilt in a Day” log cabin book is sticking with 2.5″ wide strips for these blocks.

I find the 2.5″ wide strips are just easy to work with and the amount of strips or “logs” around the center can be adjusted easily for whatever size I want to make.

Color-wise, log cabin blocks really are awesome. Color combos can be anything that appeals based on the project, my mood, or the recipient of the finished quilt.

I keep several bins of already cut 2.5″ wide strips so that now when I want to make a log cabin block or quilt I already have a starting point. I have experimented with the center square though: 2.5″, 3″, 4″, 6″, and 8″.

A plastic bin of already cut 2.5" strips for quilts.
A plastic bin of already cut 2.5″ strips. They are just random colors but remain nice and flat until I am ready to use them in log cabin quilts.

The last 10 years of making log cabin quilts

So I really started just having fun with log cabin blocks and quilts. They are fun to make and now go together easy. The logs can be adjusted size wise if needed, but I generally have stayed with 2.5″ wide.

Amish colored doll quilt.
Amish colors and a rectangle center mean one block equals a simple doll quilt.
Red, white, and blue log cabin doll quilt.
Red, white, and blue log cabin doll quilt. Easily machine quilted on the sewing machine.
Sunshine and Maine Blueberries log cabin quilt
Sunshine and Maine Blueberries made 2010-2012. You can see it at my old blog: https://indianaquilter40.blogspot.com/2010/04/sunshine-and-maine-blueberries.html
Lettuce Be Berry Christmas Quilt (another log cabin quilt)
Lettuce Be Berry Christmas Quilt – see : https://indianaquilter40.com/lettuce-be-berry-christmas-quilt/

Conclusion

Is there a pattern that you want to do, or maybe think as a quilter you should be doing?? My advice is simply to keep trying until you either decide the pattern and design is really not for you. Or keep trying until you figure our a system, style, or size that works for you.

It took me years to figure out how to do log cabins quilts easily and that suited me. Don’t give up the first time around. Look at magazines and books, get on-line and watch tutorials, talk to other quilters. That pattern that is frustrating you might be easier than you think.

Happy Stitching.

Clip art of girl with sewing machine and quilt.

PLEASE NOTE: 
ALL PHOTOS AND WRITTEN CONTENT ARE THE PROPERTY OF INDIANAQUILTER40 UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Author: IndianaQuilter40

Made first quilt by myself in mid teens. Addicted to quilting. Love using simple quilt patterns and giving them a twist so they are my own....Live in central Indiana. Raised in Montana. Have traveled and worked all over US and in Germany. Certified medical coder, HIM manager, and medical record auditor. Married for 30+ years to a wonderful guy who likes my quilts. We have grown children and starting on grand-kids.

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