Log Cabin Variation – Scrappy Half Log Cabin or Quarter Log Cabin Quilt Block Tutorial
Hello Dear Friends and Readers, and welcome. At the risk of being boring, I thought it would be good to talk about Log Cabin Quilts and blocks. It has been on my mind for some time. This has to be the most popular quilt block ever. Googling Log Cabin Quilts will bring up a multitude of articles and images. There is a reason for that, it is simply one of the most diverse and adaptable and created quilt blocks ever. And lets not forget, fabulous for scrap strips!
Of course, one can think of the most traditional quilts, where the exact piecing of the log is important in order to get accurate blocks, and the contrasting of light and dark on two adjacent sides creates some of the more traditional designs like ”Barn Raising” and “Dark and Light” and “Straight Furrows” and “Folded Log Cabin” which is stitched to a fabric foundation base. Or a much more complex design like a “Pineapple Log Cabin”. But when you think about it, these designs are just the tip of the iceberg so to speak…..
This simplistic block is really amazing and the multitude of patterns is astonishing to say the least and has been adapted to so many new designs. Some other more modern examples, being Curved Log Cabin quilts or Log Cabin Quits for example with stars or some other motif as their centre instead of the traditional red square with represented the hearth or a yellow centre square for the window. Some other examples are, Diamond, Curvy, Heart, and even Feather or Tulip. And that is without even talking about how much the choice of fabric colours will impact the design. Here is one I made as a Curved Log Cabin Lessons in Log Cabin Blocks where the width of the strip varies to create a different effect.
And then of course there is the Courthouse Steps version of a Log Cabin quilt where the strips are placed alternately to each side with the light and dark strips opposing rather than progressing around the centre square concentrically. Again, the designs are beautiful and varied and of course lend themselves beautifully to scraps. Baby Steps Quilt Block & Tutorial a very simple Courthouse Steps quilt made quickly with larger strips.
Speaking of scraps, the amazing thing is that even the most basic or ugly scraps, actually look fabulous in these blocks. somehow they come to life.
Half Log Cabin Quarter Log Cabin Blocks
Which leads me to todays topic which is the title of this post being Log Cabin Variations Half Log Cabin or Quarter Log Cabin. These being a somewhat more unusual versions of of Log Cabin quilt blocks.
There seems to be some contention about the Half and Quarter Log Cabin Blocks as to the correct description. I believe it depends on how you look at it. Looking at one block you may think that because the “centre” or beginning square sits at the corner, it has the appearance of a quarter, however, thinking about it, in fact the strips are on two sides of that ”centre” or beginning square which means that half the square has strips on it. So take your pick.
The quilters of Gees Bend really took this design to the next level making amazingly modern pieces with wonky strips and bold colours which really challenged traditional quilt designs with a wonderfully improvisational expressionistic style. I believe they called them Half Log Cabin Blocks.
If you have a stash of strips you are good to go. This is also good for using those odd lengths that need to find a home. I have a couple of little boxes of these that I have been saving for such a project.
Please bear in mind that the strip widths and lengths and numbers of strips and size of block can be varied to suit your style. Today I will use 2” strip widths as the example.
All seams based on 1/4”
All fabrics have been washed and lightly pressed before commencing. I have outlined some of the reasons for that in the link of Lessons in Log Cabin Blocks
Tip for the Half Log Cabin Blocks
Make sure to decide placement of light and dark and follow through for all your blocks ie right or left or up or down. My example you will see that the light strips are at the top, if the red square is at the base, and the dark strips are on the right of the red square.
Block size 10½” x 10½”
Requirements – Making a Half Log Cabin Block
One starting square – I’m going for traditional red, but you choose according to your fabrics. One of 3” x 3” red square.
All strips are 2” widths in light and dark. I will list the lengths for each.
Light strips – one each of 3”, 4½”, 6”, 7½, 9”
Dark strips – one each of 4½”, 6”, 7½”, 9”, 10½”
Making the Half Log Cabin Block
Beginning with the 3” square, put the 3” light strip right side down on one side of the red square. Sew 1/4” from the edge. Fold back and finger press.
With the red square at the base and the light strip at the top, now place the 4½” dark strip right side down on the right of the red square.
Sew a 1/4” seam fold back and finger press. Now sew the 4½” light strip on to the light strip side, fold back and finger press, and continue in the same way alternating the strips with lights on one side and darks on the other side until all the strips are used.
Now sew the 4½” light strip on to the light strip side, fold back and finger press, and continue in the same way alternating the strips with lights on one side and darks on the other side until all the strips are used.
When adding the longer strips, pin or make sure to position the left hand near the presser foot supporting the strip while you sew, to prevent any bowing of the sides of the block.
It is easier to make two blocks at a time chain piecing them through.
This is less confusing than a full log cabin block because we are only working with two sides and light and dark.
That is the block. Once you get in the swing of it, they are quite quick .
Post Script – Layer Cake Directions
Once of my FB ladies asked if this pattern would be suitable for a “Layer Cake”? Absolutely yes is the answer!
For the present directions, you would need to use the layer cake and then separately cut 1 of 10 ½” x 2” strip for each block from yardage or scrap strips…
You could change the starting square to 2 ½” x 2 ½’ and then you would need to adjust all the strip lengths to ½” shorter. This would make the final strip 10”.
Now you can have fun in deciding how to set them. Lots of possibilities.
I will be back soon to show you more blocks. To see how they came together here is the link to the quilt top.
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© Susan Stuklis 2022