Sunday, July 17, 2016

Mile-A-Minute Tutorial For Civil War Log Cabins

My photos were all pulled from my files and may not exactly follow the text description.

Mile-A-Minute Log Cabin Blocks

Cut 16 Red 2½" squares for your "Chimneys".

Select a Light strip and place it FACE UP on your machine bed. I used 1½" strips for the one I'm working on right now, but I've also used 2½" strips, 2" strips, and the random scrappy width strips like in this one below.

Drop a chimney FACE DOWN onto the light strip that you had placed FACE UP on your machine bed. Sew forward over that first chimney, and then stop, then grab another chimney and place it also on top of the light strip beside the first one. Continue sewing your regular ¼" seam in this fashion until all 16 of your little Chimneys are sewn onto the one light strip.
If you have placed the chimneys carefully, butting them up against the previous one, then you should be able to get all 16 onto one light width-of-fabric strip.

Now take a second light strip and place it FACE UP onto the machine bed. Clip the very first one of the chimneys that you had sewn, cutting it free of the first light strip, leaving the rest of them still joined together in the chain. This chain ensures an orderly progression and also prevents a stray block from getting lost.

Finger press the dark chimney upwards (to the dark), then turn it over and place it FACE DOWN onto your second light strip with the RED side against the light strip and the RED chimney going first as it feeds through the machine. Sew each of the 16 in this manner, adding a new light strip as necessary. As you work, sometimes you are trimming a "start" or "stop" color change edge even with the block.

When all 16 have a second light strip sewn onto them, select and do a dark strip, always leading with the little RED chimney going into the machine first to keep you oriented.

Do a second dark strip to all 16. Your block will be small but square now.

Look carefully at it, noticing the outermost edges. Of the four edges of the block, one edge will have zero seams, two edges will have one seam, but ONLY ONE edge will have TWO SEAMS that are perpendicular to the edge. 
In the block below, for example, the brown edge has the two seams on it, so it will get flipped over and placed FACE DOWN onto the waiting blue strip that is already FACE UP on the machine bed.

This Two-Seam edge will ALWAYS be where to join the next strip AND the new strip must ALWAYS MATCH the color of the strip that is on that Two Seam edge.
So if the Double-Seam edge has a light strip, then you must use a light strip. If the Double-Seam edge has a dark strip, then you must use a dark strip. Knowing this little rule will keep you from panicking if you are called away and come back feeling lost.

Continue making rounds in this manner, just adding strips as you need them. The further that you go, the bigger the block gets and as it grows, you will need more strips per round.

One block is 12 rounds; 6 lights, and 6 darks. When you count the rounds on any block, count the Chimney as Zero, 1 Light, 2 light, 3 dark, 4 dark, 5 light, 6 light, etc.

We don't count any colors in traditional Log Cabin blocks, but rather, they are just Lights and Darks. Throw out all your mediums to use in a different quilt. Use those mediums in a string quilt, but not in a log cabin. You need good contrast for a traditional Log Cabin to work as a pattern.
I do use a pop of cheddar often, which might be considered a medium, so perhaps I break this rule. I refrain from using red right beside the red chimney, but that's probably just being anally retentive.

Most of all have fun with it! 
You can make your runs of log cabin blocks in any number, but the reason that I prefer 16-block runs is that the 2½" Red Chimney takes up that first light strip very nicely when using a width of fabric strip. There is very little waste.
As always, my guidelines are open to adaptations and creative changes as you develop your own criteria for your design.

 Linking up to Love Laugh Quilt. Link.
 Also to Main Crush Mondays. Link.
And to Em's Scrapbag. Link.
And to Design Wall Monday. Link.  
And, of course, to Log Cabin Lunacy! Link. 

Happy quilting!


Cathy said...

Nice tutorial. Thanks! Anally retentive? You?

gayle said...

I've been making my log cabins this way since I first saw you doing them in a previous post. Thanks for the tutorial!

Janet O. said...

I have made mini log cabin blocks and I have made a round of log cabin blocks for a round on a medallion quilt, but I have never made a large log cabin quilt. I want to--and I love how much I learned here. I need to pin this tutorial for when I gather my courage and find the time. Thanks, Vic!

Nann said...

Good tutorial, Vic -- I appreciate the helpful reminder that the next strip goes on the two-seam side. I've only made one complete log cabin quilt and that was when I lived in Fargo. That was 18 years ago -- high time to make another one!

AnnieO said...

Very clear tutorial and looks like a lot of fun to sew Logs this way!

Bonnie said...

Nice job! I recently watched MSQ's video on Courthouse Steps and have the urge to make one of those... not happening until I finish a few quilts though!

em's scrapbag said...

I love log cabin blocks. Good job on the tutorial. Would you mind if I shared it?

Joanie said...

Good job!! thank you for all the info.

Wendy Caton Reed said...

Fun, fun, fun! And, I wanted to let you know that I have nominated you for “One Lovely Blog Award”. You can read about it on my blog, but I wanted you to know that you don’t have to do anything. You are already and inspiration!

julieQ said...

Awesome tutorial, and one I will definitely use!! Your quilt is so very pretty!

Louise said...

I really like this tutorial. It's clear and easy to follow. Thanks for sharing!

Caryl W said...

What a fun way to make log cabin blocks...AND thanks for sharing this tutorial.

Podunk Pretties said...

I found your blog via Em's blog. Love this quick and easy way of making log cabins, thanks for sharing.

Julierose said...

I love this method--it is the one I have always used...your quilt came out beautifully hugs, Julierose

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