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Monday, June 10, 2013

Giant Log Cabin Quilt Tutorial

Last week, I made Ring Around the Rosy, my first Giant Log Cabin quilt, and it was so fast, I turned right around and made another one!  This time though, I took pictures along the way so I could share the method with you.

I love quilts with lots of fabric variety, but that means that I have lots of fabric leftover sometimes.  That was certainly the case here.  You'll probably recognize these fabrics as the same that were in wild thing's birthday quilt, Sailing at Sunset.  They were already cut and just sitting in my fabric cabinet, but I left them there until after giving wild thing his quilt, so I wouldn't spoil the surprise.  Now that he has his quilt, this fabric was fair game!



I've seen Giant Log Cabin quilts before, but this is a little different, in that I'm using different fabrics to make up each "log strip" rather than one continuous fabric.  For me, this means that I get to use a much wider variety of fabric, and the look is more random, which I love.

Start by cutting a single square, any size you want.  For this quilt, I cut my square at 6.5 inches, but for Ring Around the Rosy I was using fat eighths, so I used a 9 inch square.  Cut the rest of your fabrics at a uniform width and arrange by color for easy grabbing.



In both of my Giant Log Cabin Quilts, I used 4.5 inch strips.  Fat eighths work great here because you can just cut them in half lengthwise!    The strips can be varying lengths.  Keep in mind that this log cabin design is really just a piecing method, and if you choose shorter pieces, as I did here, it won't look as much like a traditional log cabin block.  That's okay by me!  I happen to love the look either way- sometimes you just have to use what you've got in your stash!

Begin piecing your strips around your center square in a spiral, log cabin style.



When you sew a piece that is longer than your block, just trim it off- simple!



When you get to a side that is longer than any single strip, just quickly grab and piece a few together.  Just take a look at the fabrics they will be against, and try to choose contrasting ones.  Don't stress too much about it, the quilt will look great as long as there's some variety!



Keep on sewing around and around, and watch your quilt top form in minutes!  Now, inevitably you'll piece a few strips together and they won't quite be long enough.  Oops!


No big deal!  Just add another piece and keep on going!  Sew to each side until you reach your desired quilt size.  Just be sure that you have equal strips all around the center square, or it won't be centered.

There are lots of variations so you can make it your own!  Here are a few-

*start with a rectangle instead of a square if you want a rectangular quilt
*vary the width of the strips- this would be a cool use for a jelly roll!
*vary the width of the strips from layer to layer
*vary the size of the center square, or make the center square a pieced block
*vary the fabrics, but make each layer with fabrics in the same color family
*purposely add strips unequally around the center for a modern, off-centered square

This quilt is so speedy and so forgiving, it's easy to adapt to whatever fabric you happen to have on hand!  This is a fun, no-stress quilt!

Have quilty fun!


22 comments:

  1. Very cool! Thanks for sharing! I love how it's one big spiral. You could do some interesting color effects with that too I bet, like a gradation out from the center. And your last variation (off-centered square) sounds really neat too. Inspiring stuff!

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  2. Thanks for sharing this Kelly! Love the way this one looks! And i like all the variations you list... i may need to try the rectangle one!

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  3. Really cool idea Kelly! We make baby quilts for our local hospital in our Guild - this would be a wonderful pattern to use :*) Thanks for sharing!

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  4. Great tutorial, love the scrappy look and the no-stress feeling:)

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  5. super tutorial and love your buttons at the top!

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  6. love this tutorial! such an easy way to have fun and not stress! that's the best kind of quilting! i'd like to try this with smaller strips and make a pillow! thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks Ashley! you could so easily do that with this method! have fun with it, and I'd love to see it when you decide to do it!

      -Kelly

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  7. One of these days I am going to create one of these fun guys! Thanks for the reminder;)

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  8. That's a good tutorial Kelly, thanks for doing all the math! And good photos too :)
    I will be cutting out a quilt from Hawaiian prints and I was thinking if I have a lot of leftovers, your pattern would be a fun way to use them up. Maybe with some solids added in ??

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  9. What a wonderful idea. Perfect for using up scraps. As I will be moving soon I wanted to make presents for my sewing friends before i go, this project will be perfect for lap quilts. Thanks Kelly.

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    1. I am so glad you like it Jennifer! It really would be great for that purpose! I'm sure your friends would be thrilled to receive them. Thanks so much for your comment and for visiting!

      :) Kelly
      ps- you're a no-reply blogger, so I'm responding here!

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  10. What a wonderful idea! I'm new to quilting and this looks like a fabulous project for me to practice my basics skills. Thanks so much for sharing! (PS- You might consider adding a "pin it" button. It's how I've been keeping track of my quilting ideas. I've noticed that a lot of people do that.)

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    1. Thank you so much! I'm so glad you like it. It is a quick and easy project! I will certainly look into the pin-it button. I've noticed them around as well!

      :) Kelly

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  11. Our church youth group has been searching for some service projects and some fund raisers. This looks simple enough to either do lap quilts for the nursing home, or a large quilt for auction. The about of cutting, pressing and working together can involve almost everyone. Thanks for the idea

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  12. This could be done as a quilt as you go project, could it not? Same principle as quilt as you go placemats? Has anyone ever tried it? Thanks for sharing.

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  13. Thanks for sharing.....I'm in the process of making one for my hubby ☺

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  14. I love your tutorials! I just made my first giant log cabin quilt top and it was fun and easy (a very good thing for me). I have also made several of your easy peasy chevron quilts. Thanks so much!

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  15. how do u nest the seams and is pressing needed with every strip pieced or does one keep sewing round and round and press the seams when the entire top is done?

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  16. how do u nest the seams and is pressing needed with every strip pieced or does one keep sewing round and round and press the seams when the entire top is done?

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  17. Wondering how am i going to quilt this !? Alot of stop starting in the seams.

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    1. I quilted with concentric squares, but you could do a giant spiral, or a spiral square, and then it would be one continuous line. Good luck!

      :) Kelly

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Thanks so much for your comment and for visiting! If you don't hear back from me, you should check to see if you're a no-reply blogger!

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