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Cutting fabric for Log Cabin block

Cutting fabric for Log Cabin block

Old 05-12-2014, 07:28 AM
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Default Cutting fabric for Log Cabin block

Is there a right or wrong way to cut the logs? Do you cut on the cross grain
or length of the grain.'Thanks.
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Old 05-12-2014, 07:48 AM
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When I did it, I cut them crosswise. My log cabin blocks didn't turn out well though because I wasn't careful to cut the logs on the straight of grain, which was just plain dumb. Just a word of caution!
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Old 05-12-2014, 07:54 AM
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I always cut on the crossgrain on the width of fabric.
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Old 05-12-2014, 07:56 AM
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I enjoy making log cabin blocks with strips a la the fast Eleanor Burns way, and these I cut the usual way (width of fabric). I never have a problem with these blocks; they come out fine for me. I make pretty straight-forward log cabin quilts, though.

Some quilters, such as Judy Martin (who has published a couple of books of fabulous-but-complex log cabin quilts), strive for complete accuracy. They cut strips length of fabric (parallel to selvedge) and then cut the logs to exact measurements before starting to sew. The lengthwise fabric grain is more stable than the crosswise fabric grain, so you get less stretching when sewing along the lengthwise grain. I tried this method exactly once, and discovered I do not have the patience to cut all those strips to size. Ended up going back to the fast method.

It's really a matter of personal choice. Since I have been happy with the accuracy I get from crosswise cuts, that is all I do. For a complex log cabin quilt, I might cut on the lengthwise grain but I would still never cut all the logs to size before sewing; I just don't have the patience for that!
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Old 05-12-2014, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Prism99 View Post
I enjoy making log cabin blocks with strips a la the fast Eleanor Burns way, and these I cut the usual way (width of fabric). I never have a problem with these blocks; they come out fine for me. I make pretty straight-forward log cabin quilts, though.

Some quilters, such as Judy Martin (who has published a couple of books of fabulous-but-complex log cabin quilts), strive for complete accuracy. They cut strips length of fabric (parallel to selvedge) and then cut the logs to exact measurements before starting to sew. The lengthwise fabric grain is more stable than the crosswise fabric grain, so you get less stretching when sewing along the lengthwise grain. I tried this method exactly once, and discovered I do not have the patience to cut all those strips to size. Ended up going back to the fast method.

It's really a matter of personal choice. Since I have been happy with the accuracy I get from crosswise cuts, that is all I do. For a complex log cabin quilt, I might cut on the lengthwise grain but I would still never cut all the logs to size before sewing; I just don't have the patience for that!
I've always done it the way Prism does.
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Old 05-12-2014, 08:49 AM
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I do it the Judy Martin way when I can - starch fabric, cut along length of fabric, cut logs to correct length. If I'm working from scraps, I don't always cut along the length of fabric and don't always starch, but I ALWAYS cut the logs to the correct length before sewing them. I find this is faster in the long run because I don't have to stop and trim every log after it is sewn. (Think about it - you will have to cut it to the correct length at some point, so why not at the beginning?) If your logs are cut at the correct length you will not wind up with wonky blocks, which is the big advantage of doing it that way.
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Old 05-12-2014, 09:36 AM
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I agree with dunster. That's what gets the best results for me. And once you've cut everything, you just sit and sew and sew and sew....
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Old 05-12-2014, 09:38 AM
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I always try to cut log cabin patches and practically every other rectangle for that matter on the lengthwise grain--less stretch than you get with cross grain strips and lots of stability.

I so much prefer lengthwise strips, I blogged about this in May of 2013.
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Old 05-12-2014, 09:56 AM
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If I think about cutting the logs, it is true that they need to be cut one way or the other (before you sew, or after you sew). However, I find that the *sewing* goes much faster using strips. Others may well be more adept, but I find that I lose a lot of time picking up two log pieces and matching them exactly before sewing. I enjoy picking up just one piece and adding it to the strip already lined up on my sewing machine.

Also, for me it is much more enjoyable to cut apart finished sewn pieces than to cut raw fabric. The one time I tried the Judy Martin way, I made several cutting mistakes on the logs and had to re-cut some stacks down. When cutting after the pieces are already sewn to a strip, I don't make that kind of mistake.

As I said, though, I have not made a really complex log cabin quilt; I've always stuck to the plain vanilla versions. I do think pre-cutting has more value when making a Judy Martin type of log cabin quilt that has a *lot* of narrow pieces of different sizes. I simply have not found it necessary for the type of log cabin quilt I make; the degree of accuracy I get is fine for them. Plus, I get more pleasure out of the Eleanor Burns method. Other quilters may get more pleasure out of the Judy Martin method. It probably depends a lot on personality and what an individual quilter is looking to get out of the process.

The only thing I would deeply caution against is cutting log cabin pieces on the bias!!!
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Old 05-12-2014, 11:00 AM
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I too cut my logs the way dunster does-to size to begin with. Gives me nice precise blocks start to finish, lengthwise if cutting from yardage, if using scraps I cut whichever way I need to for the size log✳
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