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Thread: Squaring Log Cabin Blocks

  1. #1
    Member sarahbelle's Avatar
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    I'm working on my trying to finish the first quilt that i started. Its a Liberty Log Cabin. I have a question about squaring the blocks. Is it better to do it after adding each 'leg'? Or wait until all of the pieces are attached and then square it?

    My thinking: if I square it after each leg, then i'll only be cutting a little off each one; if i wait to do it until the end, then it is possible that all of my blocks will have an outside piece that is thinner than the other pieces.

    Any hints?

  2. #2
    Super Member no1jan's Avatar
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    Good question as I have the same problem!

  3. #3
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    I squared each of my blocks as I went along when I did my Log cabin wall hanging. I was afraid of having to trim too much if I waited to the end. Plus if each block is squared it shouldn't need much when put together.

  4. #4
    Super Member brushandthimble's Avatar
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    I use a square and keep each round straight, but still wait until my block is done to square off. I think all my log cabins have been scrappy and yes I have one or two that have a skinny edge. Being scrappy it does not matter and I don't know if anyone other than a quilter would even notice.

  5. #5
    LUV2QLT's Avatar
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    I've only done one small log cabin project - and I did it by paper-piecing - so it was all true & squared up when I did the final outside trim.

  6. #6
    quiltluvr's Avatar
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    You could cut the last pieces a bit larger then trim down as the last thing.

  7. #7
    reach for the stars 2's Avatar
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    I square as I go along, but have done it at the end. Cutting and sewing 1/4" seam very important.

  8. #8
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    I don't square up at all. I just "block" the blocks as they are finished (if they need it, which they usually don't). I wouldn't dream of cutting off fabric to square up a block.

    Sharon Schamber has some videos on Youtube that show how to "true" blocks with spray starch and an iron.

  9. #9
    Super Member Moonpi's Avatar
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    If you don't square as you go along, any unevenness in seams gets magnified with each added round. Something that could be trimmed and squared to be unnoticable becomes a mistake that your eye will always be drawn to.
    If you only want to square your blocks in the end, I would at least measure them halfway through to see how accurate the measuring and sewing was, and then decide whether adjustments need to be made. Some layouts (barn raising) are great for hiding mistakes, so there are other options. Log cabins are one of the most forgiving quilts, great for beginners and oldtimers alike.

  10. #10
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    I square as I go. It seems to work best for me.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Linda B's Avatar
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    This is exactly why the Log Cabin quilt to be done in my near future will be paper pieced. I've practiced a few that way and they come out very nicely.

  12. #12
    Senior Member gail-r's Avatar
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    If you keep your seams at a scant quarter and watch your pressing you will be fine. I have found that I had to be careful with the pressing, it is easy to get seam pleats in those little suckers. Most of the time you will be small rather than big, if you do have a block that is to big, just take the last seam in a bit, but if you are a little small, then wet your block and stretch it to size and pin it down to dry. I agree, check Sharon Schamber's video's. have you seen the Shade Cascade log quilt? It is a free pattern on the Blank Quilting website. Very pretty, I'm putting together a serger class for it.

  13. #13
    Super Member dakotamaid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quiltluvr
    You could cut the last pieces a bit larger then trim down as the last thing.
    I like this idea! :thumbup:

  14. #14
    Power Poster ann clare's Avatar
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    I make the blocks first and then square up.

  15. #15
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    If I squared after each round, I would have run screaming from the building. I square the block but I am careful in the sewing/pressing process so I have little fluctuation.

  16. #16
    Google Goddess craftybear's Avatar
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    wow, awesome thread, thanks everyone for your comments we learn from each other

  17. #17
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    One of the earliest quilts I made is my husband's log cabin. I made it on my old machine and it just isn't possible to get a nice quarter inch seam or even a very straight quarter inch seam on that machine. So, when I got all the blocks done I discovered they were crooked as all get out. So, I slapped that big ol' square ruler on them and made them square. Some of the blocks have outside logs that are really skinny on one end and fat on the other. Unless I point it out to you you can't tell. I actually have to look pretty hard to find the worst ones. One of the pieces of wrong side out fabric completely disappeared too. I can find the other piece because it's a block center.

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