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Thread: What is important to know, for Log Cabin

  1. #1
    Senior Member susansomethings's Avatar
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    What is important to know, for Log Cabin

    I have read & heard it said Log Cabin is an easy quilt to make. But I have also heard that some people have problems with it being crooked . I am wanting to make a Log Cabin...but I really want it to be stright and neat. What I am looking for is important tips that will help it come out really nice. Whats your best do's or dont's...I just thought it would be eaiser to ask then to search...all you ladies are so great in what you do..all info will be greatly appriciated.

  2. #2
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    1. Get Judy Martin's log cabin book and follow her instructions.

    That's the end of my list!

  3. #3
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    i agree with dunster---the Judy Martin Log cabin book is a great resource & will guide you along a very successful path.
    cutting straight, sewing straight & pressing correctly are the keys to nice straight even blocks whether it's log cabin, 9-patch or any other blocks...
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  4. #4
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    If you're worried about keeping the strips straight you might piece them onto a foundation base. I did one on an old sheet that I cut into 10" squares. Worked very well.

  5. #5
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dunster View Post
    1. Get Judy Martin's log cabin book and follow her instructions.

    That's the end of my list!
    I could not agree more! They are well worth the investment... either that or paper piece the whole thing.Lots of paper to take out and its easier to just follow the Judy Martins methods.
    One more tip ... starch all your fabrics prior to cutting. It is well worth the effort. When in doubt starch!
    Last edited by Lori S; 11-02-2012 at 01:22 PM.

  6. #6
    Super Member Crqltr's Avatar
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    Plus starch!

  7. #7
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    I think it really depends a lot on the individual person. I love making log cabin blocks and have never had a problem with them being crooked. I do not prewash my fabric before cutting it into strips (using the June Tailor Shape Cut mat). I do not use a foundation. I do chain-type production sewing using strips; I never pre-cut my log cabin blocks. The blocks always come out really nice and I have no problems sewing them together. If someone is getting a crooked block, then the easiest solution is to make the last strips a little wider, then cut the block down to correct size. (I have never had to do this.)

    I tried the Judy Martin log cabin book and started a quilt using her methods. It just about drove me crazy. There is a ***lot*** of work involved in cutting all those logs! Went back to my strip piecing method and am much happier.

  8. #8
    Senior Member stillclock's Avatar
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    i just made a queen sized one. i didn't paper piece, nor starch. what i did do was take it one strip at a time, and i divided my blocks into four groups. this ensured some degree of randomness to each block and kept me from feeling overwhelmed by the number of blocks i had to complete. i posted pictures in the picture forum if you want to see mine.

    one tip i have for you is to lay out your finished blocks and take a picture of them before piecing the rows together. it was MUCH easier for me to see placement errors in the photos than on the floor.

    i used the directions from the fons and porter complete guide. it was simple, clear and the final results are awesome (or at least i think so....)

    enjoy

    aileen

  9. #9
    Super Member 117becca's Avatar
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    I just bought a Judy Martin book and it is wonderful - There are 3 different patterns in there I can't wait to do!

    The key - accuracy!!! She is very thorough even w/ which direction to press the seams.

    I also have to 2nd the taking a picture of your layout. I'm working on this quilt and I'm not seeing what I'm wanting to - but in a picture, I can see. Yeah for me!
    my name is becca and i'm a quilt-a-holic :-)

  10. #10
    Senior Member luana's Avatar
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    I love this new Creative Grids log cabin ruler. It comes in two sizes. You square up after each round of "logs" so your block never gets wonky.

  11. #11
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    Cutting strips straight, I block after each step keeps it straight so you aren't trying to block a whole quilt
    Brother (XL-3500i, CV3550, SQ-9050, Dreamweaver XE6200D), Juki MO-2000QVP, Handiquilter Avante

  12. #12
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    I made enough blocks for two full size log cabins at once. You couldn't sew a straight quarter inch seam on that machine to save your life. I didn't precut the strips and used a sort of chain method. They came out on the crooked side so I slapped that big ol' 12 1/2 inch ruler and trimmed them all up nice and square. Unless I point it out to you, you can't tell the blocks were crooked at all.

  13. #13
    Super Member Gramie bj's Avatar
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    I use the Elenor Burns, Quilt in a day, book. This is a strip method and works great. I always pre wash and starch before cutting. I can't make a top in a day, but I can get a queen top done in 3 days using this method. Best part?
    she gives you the yardage amount for each size and all the borders if you want.

  14. #14
    Senior Member stillclock's Avatar
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    thought of something!

    be gentle with your pressing. if your seam is straight, finger press + dry iron on medium should be plenty. steam and movement could really mess you up.

    i think i need to make another one. we should race

    aileen

  15. #15
    Super Member Just Me...'s Avatar
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    I think the key (if you don't want to purchase anything extra like the book or ruler, etc.) is to just insure your 1/4" seam is accurate. I do all of my cutting in advance, because I usually do scrappy. If Judy Martin's book is intimidating, try Eleanor Burns' book.
    http://www.appalachianquilts.blogspot.com
    http://www.quiltweb.net

  16. #16
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    I treated myself to this ruler and Love, Love, Love it!! It's so simple to use and my latest log cabin was something to be proud of. I think I paid about $15 for it (incl. shipping). So worth it.
    Quote Originally Posted by luana View Post
    I love this new Creative Grids log cabin ruler. It comes in two sizes. You square up after each round of "logs" so your block never gets wonky.

  17. #17
    Vat
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    In my opinion, the best way to make a Log Cabin it to paper piece it. I have done them several ways but the best was PP. Might take a little longer but well worth it.

  18. #18
    Super Member Dodie's Avatar
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    I also have strip pieced many log cabin quilts and found accurate cutting and piecing quarter inch seams really help but the biggest of all is the pressing be very careful and lightly press don't iron or they will get out of shape

  19. #19
    Senior Member GramMER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by susansomethings View Post
    I have read & heard it said Log Cabin is an easy quilt to make. But I have also heard that some people have problems with it being crooked . I am wanting to make a Log Cabin...but I really want it to be stright and neat. What I am looking for is important tips that will help it come out really nice. Whats your best do's or dont's...I just thought it would be eaiser to ask then to search...all you ladies are so great in what you do..all info will be greatly appriciated.
    When I first started quilting many years ago, one of my first quilts was a Log Cabin. Actually I got carried away cutting the strips and had way more than necessary to make one, but it is probably a good thing. That was during the days before roller cutters and hard plastic rulers. I used a wooden yardstick, a pencil and a pair of scissors to make my strips. You probably could finish telling the story from here, but my pencil became dull over the course of a few cuttings and then the pencil lines I used to cut my strips grew wider and my strips grew more and more uneven and... I eventually got enough good, standard sized blocks to make a queen sized quilt, but I had to cull out so many other strips because they were of ever growing widhts. Cutting on a pencil line is not an exact science anyway and a pencil line that grew wider as the pencil become duller was a nightmare! As most of you know, yardsticks can warp and become curved too. I had gone to a lot of trouble to find a good straight one, but my kids probably played with it and so it was useless too.

    I say all that to say that one finished block has to be the same size as every other finished block for a Log Cabin to look nice. I finally made mine match all the seams and finished it and even hand quilted it, but it was a nightmare to make all the corrections.
    GramMER to eighteen, plus two great-granddaughters and four adopted greats soon we hope!

  20. #20
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    Thank you susansomethings for asking that question. I've wanted to try a log pattern but have also heard it is so difficult to keep it straight. The suggestions from all have been very helpful. I like helpful tools and the ruler looks intriguing but also confusing...is it difficult/confusing to use?

  21. #21
    Junior Member krisgray's Avatar
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    So true! The steam + "ironing" will bow your logs.

    Quote Originally Posted by stillclock View Post
    thought of something!

    be gentle with your pressing. if your seam is straight, finger press + dry iron on medium should be plenty. steam and movement could really mess you up.

    i think i need to make another one. we should race

    aileen
    And there seems to be two camps on log cabins: those that want precision (Judy Martin, Marti Michell) and those that use the quick strip piecing method (Eleanor Burns, Mary Ellen Hopkins). For small blocks I like the precision for 12" blocks I like the strip piecing.

    Another way to keep the logs straight is to cut your strips length of fabric rather than width of fabric b/c there is less stretch. Just square up after each round of logs and you will be okay.

  22. #22
    Member crazythread's Avatar
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    I have taught several new quilters the log cabin pattern. the most important thing to do is check your measurements and square up your log block after each row is completed . By row I mean....Start with your center square sew on two light logs and two dark logs. At this point I measure to make sure my 1/4 inch is working and the block is square. I do the same after the next four logs are sewn on etc etc.....hope this helps
    Jean
    from Middle River, Md USA

  23. #23
    Junior Member scarlet14's Avatar
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    made my FIRST quilt -- king size log cabin with Eleanor Burns log cabin book---really like her books---second was Winning Hand queen size for camper---had a couple problems and called the 800 number in the books and got a lot of help---think she and her staff are the greatest, when I visit my sister in SanDiego area I always try and go to her store in San Marcos---great people there and very helpful

  24. #24
    Junior Member bhanes's Avatar
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    I Love Eleanor Burns Log Cabin Book

    Quote Originally Posted by susansomethings View Post
    I have read & heard it said Log Cabin is an easy quilt to make. But I have also heard that some people have problems with it being crooked . I am wanting to make a Log Cabin...but I really want it to be stright and neat. What I am looking for is important tips that will help it come out really nice. Whats your best do's or dont's...I just thought it would be eaiser to ask then to search...all you ladies are so great in what you do..all info will be greatly appriciated.

    I used Eleanor Burns method of strip piecing and really loved it. It went together so easily.

  25. #25
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    Wish there were a "Like" button on these posts... I can sure sympathize with the "old days"!

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