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August 5, 2010 / Mary Ann

How to Build a Log Cabin (Quilt)

The Log Cabin block is a very traditional block, it can be used in many settings (I’ll post settings in a different post, for now we’ll concentrate on the basic block). The center block is traditionally red to symbolize the heart or hearth (red/fire) of the home. But of course, there are no color rules for YOUR quilt.
(I’m writing this for a group I’m in on Ravelry. I’ve never done this before, it’s a lot of work making sure you get measurements right!)

Note: I’m referring to each piece other than the starting squares as “logs”

For a 12.5″ square block you will need:
Light fabrics (I used only one light fabric, you can use one or 5 different fabrics for each section), cut as follows:
1 piece, 2.5 inch square
2 logs, 2.5 x 6.5 inches
2 logs, 2.5 x 10.5 inches

Dark fabrics (I used 1 red and 5 different pink fabrics, you can use all one fabric or you can use different fabrics). The main thing in your fabric selection is to have good contrast between the dark and the light fabrics).
Cut the dark fabrics as follows:
1 piece, 2.5 inch square
2 logs, 2.5 x 4.5 inches
2 logs, 2.5 x 8.5 inches
1 logs, 2.5 x 12.5 inches

This is a good square to check your 1/4″ seam, you want the block to be nice and square, so you will want to measure after every seam.

Start by seaming the light 2.5″ square to the dark 2.5″ square. Press the seam toward the dark square. The piece should measure 2.5 x 4.5

Next you will add a dark piece, 2.5 x 4.5. Press each new seam toward the last log added, in other words you are always pressing the seam toward the outside of the block.


After you add this piece, it should measure 4.5 x 4.5.
You will start to notice that you are adding each piece or “log” in a clockwise manner. Each time you add a log you will notice that the previous piece is at the top of your work. Before you add each new piece lay the block in front of you so that you can see the light square and the dark square side by side as in my first photo.

Continue to add logs, now you will add the 2nd dark 2.5 x 4.5 log.

Block should now measure 4.5 x 6.5

Now you will add a light 2.5 x 6.5 log

Block should now measure 6.5 x 6.5. Don’t forget to lay the block down with the light square in the center to the left of the dark square, this will help orient the block before adding logs each time!
Now add the 2nd light 2.5 x 6.5 log

Block should now measure 6.5 x 8.5
Add a dark 2.5 x 8.5 log and then the 2nd dark 2.5 x 8.5 log. Ha! We’re speeding up, I’ve added these 2 dark logs in the following photo.

The block should now measure 8.5 x 10.5

Next add a light 2.5 x 10.5 log and the 2nd light 2.5 x 10.5 log

The block should now measure 10.5 x 12.5

Now add the last log, this is the 2.5 x 12.5 log.

The block should measure 12.5 inches square.

If you find any mistakes with my measurements, PLEASE let me know ASAP!!!
If you have any questions, ask ASAP!

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2 Comments

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  1. RecycleCindy / Jan 20 2011 2:29 pm

    What a wonderful log cabin tutorial. I love the step-by-step pictures. I just might have to try this sometime. I’ve bookmarked it in hopes of trying it soon.

    • Mary Ann / Jan 20 2011 11:18 pm

      thanks for visiting, I haven’t been here myself for months! This tutorial was actually written for the August entry in the Trash to Treasures Quilt group. I think the group went to sleep right after I posted this!!!

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