A Sewer’s New Year’s Resolution – or, Out with the Old and In with the New
At the beginning of every year, I always feel like I need to finish a project I had started or to make something out of a special fabric I had purchased some time ago. I always think that if I do that – I’m good for the rest of the year to buy new fabric, books, and tools. (And who doesn’t want some guilt-free shopping?)
Last year I had taken my fabrics and divided into plastic containers according to their color. I ended up making two additional trips to the store to get more containers. Where did all this fabric come from? After looking at my stash, this year I decided to cut down on green fabrics. I went through the 2 large containers of green fabrics and came up with a plan. Anything over 1 yard, I would fold nice and keep, anything ½ yd to 1 yd I would cut into fat quarter to use later (when I buy one of those new fat quarter patterns), and anything less than ½ yd I cut into 1 ½” strips to be used in a Log Cabin quilt.
Hancock Fabrics has a new group of rulers from Marti Michell. One of the rulers is called a Log Cabin Ruler, which was perfect for my project to use up my green fabrics. On her ruler you could choose to have the strips cut 2 ½” or 1 ½” wide, and the rulers work well for both right and left handed sewers. Since I was making a scrappy quilt I decided to use the smaller size. I really liked using the ruler because you could get very accurate strips and than turn the strip and cut to the exact length for each ‘log’ you would need.
There aren’t a lot of instructions posted yet for these rulers, because they are so new. So here’s what I was able to discover through trial and error.
- With this ruler you are able to start cutting the longest logs first until you got the number you needed.
- You keep working your way down in size on the logs until you get down to cutting the center pieces.
- When you go to sew your logs together they should match up exactly or you aren’t sewing an accurate ¼” seam allowance. (If this happens, stop and adjust your seam allowance before you sew anymore together.)
It really helped me to have the ¼” quilter’s foot for my sewing machine. This method worked so great!!! Well, on Jan. 1st, I started my mission. I kept sewing and sewing and before I knew it I had enough blocks for 6 queen size comforters – 720 blocks!
My finished block will end up to be 7” wide. Each quilt will be 10 blocks across and 12 blocks down.
It’s a lot of quilts, and that’s just from the overrun of green I had in my stash! How many quilt-tops do you think your stash might make?
Go to Marti’s website to see quilts featured in her new book Log Cabin ABC’s Quilts
Tips on sewing your logs together to make the block:
- The log cabin block is a block that traditional is light on one half and dark on the other half (with the block being cut in half on the diagonal). I started with a dark and ended with a dark.
- Decide on the size of your block. Mine was letter “g” (7 ½”) using Marti’s ruler.
- You will cut only one of that letter. All the other letters you will cut 2 of – one of dark and one of light.
- Example: Dark Center “a”. Light “a”. Light “b”. Dark “b”, Dark “c”. Light “c” Light “d” Dark “d”, Dark “e”, Light “e”, Light “f” Dark “f” Dark “g’
- There are so many different ways you can put these blocks together to get different looks. This picture shows my favorite way. Lay your blocks out and see what design is your favorite. [find link to log cabin layouts?]
- If you are having a hard time trying to figure out a block layout – Hancock Fabric’s has a CD you can buy called Quilt Wizard. It is a CD that has 200 traditional blocks (Log Cabin is one of them) and gives you the ability to choose 3,000 different fabrics to color in your blocks. It shows you lots of different Log Cabin block layouts, letting you see the whole quilt without taking up your living room floor to lay out the quilt.
- Several quilting books recommend cutting fabric 2 ½” wide for your binding. The width of the Log Cabin Ruler is 2 ½” – perfect for cutting your binding!
- The ruler shows other designs you can make with the ruler – such as Court House Steps.
I have taught the Log Cabin quilt so many times and one challenge I find that people have is they don’t add the logs (fabric strips) in the right places. This is what I have found helpful.
- Sew the first two “a” pieces together. Dark “a” is the first log and the light “a” is the second log.
- After sewing, lay them out flat, facing up. When you sew the block always keep the last ‘log‘ that you attached closet to you – than, you will always add the next log to the right of the block.
- This will keep you turning your block clockwise each time you add a log.
- Below are some graphics to show what I mean.
I am out the door to see what new fabrics are out there just waiting for me!
What have you done to clean up some of your stash? Share your ideas!
Sheila Reinke, Heart of Sewing