A couple of weeks ago I was working on scrappy heart blocks for a charity bee that I am part of. I was buried deep in my 1″ scrap bucket (Strips and pieces that I can make at least a 1″ square with. But in no case no larger than 1-7/8″ wide. Once they reach 2″, they go in the 2″ scrap bucket.) I used almost 200 pieces in these blocks, and other than the fact that there were scraps everywhere, on every flat surface and strewn all over the floor, when I put them back in the bucket you couldn’t even tell that I used any. The bucket has been overflowing for a while and I really couldn’t fit another scrap in it. I love how pretty these hearts turned out to be, but they honestly didn’t make a dent.
So, I decided right then and there that I needed to make a quilt with those scraps. Since it was mostly full of strips, I decided to make a scrappy log cabin. This is only a small portion of the strips that I started with. My first thought was to use this as a leader-ender project. But once I started, I couldn’t stop!
As I started forming the blocks, rather than squaring up the block with each round, I would let the fabric decide how the block would be shaped since I wanted as little waste as possible. Some strips were cut straight across, whereas others were cut at an angle. And if they were cut at an angle, I just left it there. I did trim them to create a straight line I could sew another strip to, but I didn’t trim to 90 degree angles. So not only were my blocks scrappy, but they were turning out to be very wonky as well. This is what they looked like after just 2 rounds.
The plan is to stop when they reach approximately 11-12″, and then even them up with a solid color to be 13 1/2″ square. I have 23 blocks started above but will need 35 blocks at 13″ sq each to make a twin size quilt.
So what are you working on?
Continue to read below if you want more detailed instructions in how I’m doing this.
For each block, I started with a 2″ square and various lengths of strips.
Start with 2″ sq center and various length of strips to go around.
Also, since this method required a lot of trimming and ironing, I have a smaller cutting mat, ruler, and rotary cutter right beside my sewing machine, and the iron is just behind me. All I have to do is rotate my office chair and roll about 6″ to reach the iron. This saves me a lot of time because I’m not getting up every 10 seconds to walk to my normal cutting station.
Cutting mat, ruler, and rotary cutter right beside my machine
Start by sewing the shortest strip to the 2″ square and trim off both ends to create straight edges. Press the seam towards the strip just sewn on (always)
Sew on the next strip. Press the seam towards the strip just sewn on. Here you only need to trim the one edge where the next strip will go.
Sew on the next strip. Press the seam towards the strip just sewn on. Again, trim just the edge where the next strip will be sewn on
Sew on 4th strip. You can see we have circled the 2″ square doing first one edge, then the next, then the next, then the next. I went in a counter-clockwise direction here, but you are welcome to go in a clockwise direction (see the 23 blocks above. I sewed those in a clockwise direction). Whatever works for you. What makes this a log cabin is that you continue to circle the middle square in this manner rather than sewing strips to opposite sides or jumping around to whatever side suits your fancy at that moment
Before we sew on anther strip to start the 2nd go-around, we need to trim all edges to be straight. You can see that I did not bother to trim the strips all to equal widths. I could do that and create a square log cabin block, but when I trim them this way, leaving any angles that were already part of the strip, this is what creates a wonky block.
In the example below, it’s time to sew on another strip and start another trip around the block again. I have another piece of fabric that is cut at an angle. Depending on which way I decide to sew this on, I can create wonkiness on another corner. In this instance, I think I like the one on the left best but that really is a personal preference. Sewing it on the other way would not be wrong, just different.
Tune in next week for an update on how this is coming along.