June BOM – Scrap Happy Log Cabin

Written by AHQ

3 June 2013

Scraps, scraps and more scraps.  
That is what you need for this block.  No cutting instructions, no need to worry about matching threads, no quarter inch seam.  Just grab  a container of scraps (in my case try and choose which one to grab!) and a pair of scissors and head to the sewing machine.

We are going to make some Scrap Happy Log Cabins

Now traditionally Log Cabin Blocks are made with nice neat strips all cut to the precise width and length required. But we are not going to do that.
Often Log Cabins have a red centre, meant to depict the centre of the home of the hearth of the home.  Also half is piece from light fabric and half from dark fabric. But we are not going to do that either.   That requires far too much accuracy in piecing and cutting – and who has time for that?

So we are making Scrap Happy Log Cabins

Log cabins are simple – you start with a small piece in the middle, add another small piece and stitch them together.  

You can use different colours in the one block or keep it simple and use one colour.  
Mind you, the only reason I chose one colour is because my bins of colours are too big to have too many around at one time!

This is a really good time to use up those reels and bobbins with not much left on them, but too much to throw away!

So, let’s get started.  Find a scrap you want to put in the centre of your blocks.  I find it much more enjoyable to work on a few of these blocks at a time so that you can chain piece.  Hmmmm, if you don’t know what chain piecing is check out this tutorial.

Choose a centre piece, don’t be too fussy about it and find some pieces around the same size or maybe a strippy bit.  My centre pieces were all around 2″ and ROUGHLY square.  Feed them through your sewing machine so that you end up with pieces like this. Please iron after every seam.  Your block will sit better at the end.

 Next rotate the block and add a strip – I see I missed a photo stage – next I sewed on the blue and white with the gold stars and then rotated the block again and added the green strip.  Always turn your blocks in the same direction to add your strips, i.e. clockwise or anticlockwise.  It doesn’t matter which 

Now, I like to work with strips when the blocks are little but you can use shorter pieces if you want.  If you have a piece that is more like a square than a strip, grab your scissors (NOT YOUR ROTARY CUTTER) and just quickly cut a strip off.  These are scraps and square corners and seam allowances are not important for this block.

 Snip off the bits that are untidy like the extra bit of blue and white – see above and below.

 Next the pearly cream fabric – trim off the untidy bits each stage and clip your threads.  Makes for a much tidier block.  And don’t forget to press each step too please.

 Keep going – nearly there..
Now here is an important point.  PLEASE if you turn your block over and find one of the seams has not been stitched the way it is supposed to 

PLEASE fix it now.  it really does make a difference to the end result.

 Keep adding strips til your blocks is around 9 inches square.
Here is the finished block.  Well, it is almost finished.  All that is left is to give a good press on BOTH SIDES, front and back and then TRIM it with a rotary cutter and a ruler to 8 1/2 inches square.  

I would REALLY appreciate it if you could send your blocks neatly pressed and trimmed to the required 8 1/2 inch square.  Having said that however – IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A ROTARY CUTTER – please do not try to trim your blocks as there is no way you will be able to be accurate.

So after trimming 

You blocks will be nice and square and I think interesting.

Hmmm as you can see I still have plenty of strips leftover for more blocks!

So what do the quilts look like?

Well here is one I made a couple of years ago and sold as part of an on-line auction for the QLD floods and it is now living in Michegan.  I made these blocks a bit bigger than they needed to be any cut them on an angle.  I love the way the quilt turned out but OH THOSE BIAS EDGES.  Not sure I will do that again.

This one went to quilts for keeps and some people said it was too busy.  This is the best photo I have of it unfortunately but it is all novelty scraps and it for a child.  I would have loved this as a kid – so many little bits and pieces to find! Loads of fun to sew.

This is another nice one I found on line.  Again the blocks were cut askew – we are not doing that please but it does look great.

An finally one with lots of neutral space – a very restful looking quilt I think.

1.  There is no need to overlock the edges of your blocks before you send them in please
2. always remove the selvedge before piecing your blocks.  Selvedges are woven at a different tension to the rest of the fabric and shrink at a different rate in the wash.  If you are joining two pieces of fabric for the backing always make sure that you remove selvedges for this as well please.  I have learned this lesson the hard way.
3.  Do not tear your strips for blocks etc.  Tearing can pull threads, distorte the weave and the line will not always be straight.  Please just cut your fabric and if you go to buy fabric and the shop assistant goes to tear it you are right within your rights to ask them to cut it please not tear it.  If they argue just politely tell them you need the whole amount and the torn bit will not be any good to you.  They rarely argue much.

Once you have completed your blocks please send them to the following address

Aussie Hero Quilts
PO Box 248
Cherrybrook, NSW, 2126

Till next time…………….keep spreading the word and happy stitching!

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  1. Janine C

    Goody, I love these happy scrappy blocks – no measuring, not colour or seam restrictions. I really like the sample one with 'lots of neutral space' because the scrappy blocks show up better. A really scrappy quilt would look wonderful with black around each block. This will be an exciting BOM.

  2. Janine C

    Jan-Maree, I also love your kids quilt … not too busy for kids at all.

  3. Sue Niven

    OOOOH something I can get my teeth into! Love it! As for scraps, I have a laundry bag full! All the left overs from the laundry bag makings have gone into it and it is full! I will be getting onto it tonight! This is the best block for me!

  4. Mistea

    Cool block.Nice examples of quilts. Can't wait to see the blocks.
    You might want to edit the instructions so the size is consistent.

  5. Carole

    I agree with you on that one Janine!..
    And I love the one with the neutral colours as well…heck, I like them all really.


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