Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Beginning Quilting Tutorial--Log Cabin Style

Quilting to me is the epitome of frugality.  I'm not a Fabric Snob, and let me just say, there are NO Quilt Police! No one is going to look at your creation that you made with your own hands and tell you that "this is wrong, or you didn't match that, etc. etc."
If they do, let them go, you don't need that kind of negativity in your life!
 So, to get started, you've got a pile of scraps. Maybe someone gave them to you, maybe you saved them from some crafty project, maybe they are clothes that you no longer wear.  Whatever the reason, this is where we begin.  I find it easiest to work with small squares and strips.  I cut my scraps into usable sizes.  I think of them like building blocks, or Legos. You are just going to take a small piece and sew it together to make a bigger piece, and so on, and so on.
 Begin by finding a strip, and a handful of squares. Lay the strip face up, and the squares on top, facing down.  Line them up in front of your needle and stitch, using the edge of the presser foot as a guide.  We aren't going to be really persnickety about a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  This is scrappy quilting!
 Butt the next square up against the edge of the last one. In our example, lay the floral up against the bottom edge of the red. aligning that right raw edge. Stitch down the strip.
Continue on until you have stitched all your squares down to the strip.  Remove the units from the machine.
 "Finger press" them to one side.  And cut in between each set using a rotary cutter or scissors. 
 Any of these blocks can be made with just scissors.  Our ancestors didn't have cool tools like we have now, but they made some gorgeous quilts!
 Lay your next strip out and lay your units from the previous set face down on top of the strip, aligning the raw edge on the right.  If you have some bump-outs from previous seams, just trim those off.  Eye-balling is fine.  Accuracy is not an issue here.
 Stitch, repeat.  Laying each unit onto the strip as before. 
 Remove the piece from the machine and at the ironing board, press the piece with the seam going towards the strip you just stitched. 
 Cut this strip apart between each "unit."
 If you happen to have a angled piece that needs squared up, fit the triangle in, making sure your triangle is BIGGER than the chunk that needs filling to allow for a seam allowance.
 Lay it face down, matching the raw edge.  Leave a "dog-ear" on each end of the seam.
 Run your stitching line in the "valley" where the two pieces meet.
 Fold the triangle back and press, finger press or press with an iron.
 As you build your blocks, feel free to trim and straighten each building block as you go.
 Again, with rotary cutter, ruler and mat or with scissors.
If you want to create a diagonal corner to create interest, lay your triangle piece on top and scoot it to the right to allow for a seam. 
 Cut off the triangle section of your block and remove.
 Lay your new triangle piece on top, right sides together and make sure you allow for those dog ears on each end.
 Stitch as before, fold back, press and trim off the dog ears.
 Continue in this manner, adding strips, and making your block larger and larger until you are satisfied with the size.  I'm cutting mine here at 6x6" square. Lay your ruler, or your square template if using scissors.  Cut to size.
 When using your rotary cutter, cut two sides and then turn the piece, and cut the other two sides.
 Be sure to carefully line up the cut edge when moving your ruler.
 Voila! Your finished block!
 I piece these when I'm bored or when I just have a few minutes to sew.  They are stacked in a drawer in bundles of ten.  I safety pin them together to help me count. 
 You can piece these together side by side or add solid colored squares.  The possibilities at this point are endless.
Thanks for reading.  I'll be posting what to do with these in an upcoming tutorial.  Keep building those blocks and we'll create something useful and beautiful!
MaryLu at Able Farm!
If you have any questions, post a comment here and I'll answer as quickly as possible! Thanks!


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