Mile-A-Minute Tutorial

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.
Happy quilting!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thank you for posting this, Victoria.
I plan to use the tute.

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