Sunday, June 09, 2013

 There are quite a few different ways to sew LC blocks; foundation piecing over paper or cloth, chain piecing the units together onto a new strip, trimming after every round, making the last round oversize and trimming at the end.  I've made lots of Log Cabin quilts, and I've used all those methods.  My blocks always ended up too small and definitely not a square.  The only thing I hadn't tried was cutting each individual log to the correct size.  I thought, if I can get so wonky and out of shape with extra material, I'll really be in trouble if I only have 'enough' for each bit.  Look at this post on Fabric Therapy to see Log Cabin pieces arranged neatly, ready to be sewn.  I wondered if I could make myself be that organised...

Before I started making my Log Cabin blocks in earnest I did a little experiment. I cut all the exact pieces I would need for one block, and I pieced another one in the same fabrics by sewing the strip on and trimming it level with the edge of the rest of the block.

 I worked out all the measurements on a big sheet of graph paper, and kept it handy so I wouldn't get lost.


At the end I measured both blocks and was very surprised to find that the precut pieces had built into a Perfect 8.75" block, while the sew and trim one was wonky and too small. I thought I'd been extra careful, but it wasn't enough.  It just got away from me at the end.
 In the past I've always thought that it's too much trouble to precut everything, but constantly trimming and fudging and compensating is also hard work.  The precut pieces were much more enjoyable to sew, who would have guessed it!  For the first time ever, I'm going to precut all the pieces for my quilt, and be careful sewing them together, and I just might end up with blocks all the same size.

There was retail therapy during the week, a quick trip to the Jamestown patchwork shop.

 My DS has requested a quilt of grey, black and a touch of green, and knowing how much he dislikes printed fabric these Shadowplay fabrics will be just the thing to start with.  I think he would like batiks, so I'll be looking for anything suitable on our next trip to the city.  It's great to be able to shop with a mission in mind.

 Mereth and I always admire the batiks, and then reject them because we don't have a batik stash.  This time I made a desicion; on every trip to a patchwork shop I'm going to buy one piece of batik.  Over time they will mount up and become a stash, and it will have happened without any effort on my part.  These are the ones that came home with me on that trip; that wasn't hard at all!
I also bought these Westalee rulers to make Kaleidoscope blocks.  I had a couple of acrylic ruler for this shape at some stage, but I gave one to a friend, and the other is Lost.  I'll probably find it tomorrow, now that I"ve bought this set.
 However, the block that I whipped up in five minutes was darn near perfect, and so easy,  so I don't think I'm going to regret this at all.  I just may make the quilt for DS out of this pattern, it would be stunning in batiks and near- solids.
The Westalee rulers are an Australian success story, they won the Viewers Choice Grand Finale on  the ABC's New Inventors Show on July 2008.

It's a public holiday today, and there's been no time for sewing with the family here this weekend,  We're about to leave for the beach, with four dogs.  I hope Dolly doesn't find anything to roll in today....



6 comments:

Patti 11:53 PM  

I used to make log cabin blocks the same way - years and years ago before I really became a quilter. And I sewed them on batting foundations so they were "pre-quilted". I followed the directions in some women's magazine. This was in the early '80's. The blocks always turned out a bit lop sided and wonky, no matter how careful I was. I made at least a dozen quilts of different sizes using this method, and it was a bear to get all the blocks to fit together well. Eventually, like you, I tried piecing a block by pre-cutting the strips to size. What an amazing difference! I've done it that way ever since. Too bad it took me so long to learn.

I don't have a batik stash either - gave away the few I had about 10 years ago. Now I've fallen in love with Edyta Sitar's quilts (of Laundry Basket Quilts) and the way she pairs batiks with reproduction prints. Like you I've decided I need to start of stash of batiks. I figured I'll buy a few fat quarters each month. The catch, of course, is that I have no where to put them!

Chookyblue...... 2:58 AM  

I do like your bottom block.........

love my westalee rulers...........I only have 2 the long one and a 6 in square.....I love them......I have had them for years now since they were on the New Inventors....(great show too)....the girls who come and sew with me love them......
.I haven't brought any of the rulers you have.....no one has really mentioned them online......pretty happy to hear your feedback........i've never seen anyone using them so that doesn't help.......

virtualquilter 4:00 AM  

I prefer cutting to size ... there are carpenters in my family history and learned (the hard way) that the rule of measuring twice and cutting once really does save a lot of time and effort.

Sandy 10:40 AM  

I had to laugh at your log cabin blurb as that's exactly what I've been doing and with the same wonky results! I am now ready to try (gasp) pre-cutting my logs to size. I've heard of organizing the logs in an old silverware tray. Have you tried that?

I'm also intrigued by some of those "fancy" rulers and may have to stick my feet into that water as well. I love your resulting block.

regan 10:45 AM  

I love your experiment! I think I should try that! I've never cut them so size before.....I have been trimming each piece after. This should be interesting! :o)

Sue SA 2:39 PM  

Thanks for the log cabin tips, will certainly be pre cutting, but might be tempted to partially cheat my dislike of cutting and start with a jelly roll!

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