Exploring Quilting Basics

Exploring Quilting Basics: the Log Cabin Quilt Block

Hi friends!

Today in the Exploring the Basics series, Tammy and I are writing about the Log Cabin Quilt Block!

Top US quilting blog and shop, Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs, shares about the Log Cabin quilt block!

The log cabin is one of my favorite quilt blocks! I love how versatile it is; it can look super traditional, a little more contemporary or modern! There are so many ways to design the block and then so many ways to make it all come together!

Traditional Log Cabin Quilt Block 

Traditionally a log cabin block starts with a center square that might be red. That center square was to represent the hearth, or the heart, of the home. For many homes, the hearth- or as we might called it, the kitchen!- is the heart of any home. Where family members all come together to share a meal, share their days and support one another.

Top US quilting blog and shop, Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs, shares about the Log Cabin quilt block!

When I recorded my 3 Log Cabin classes for Quilting Daily, this was the “traditional” log cabin quilt that I made. I used fun new fabrics so maybe it feels a little more contemporary than traditional but…

Top US quilting blog and shop, Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs, shares about the Log Cabin quilt block!

A basic log cabin block has lighter colors on one side, darker colors on the other and each go from a lighter version to a darker one.

Top US quilting blog and shop, Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs, shares about the Log Cabin quilt block!

Variations

Block variations

There are so many variations of the basic log cabin block.

One common variations is the courthouse steps version:

Top US quilting blog and shop, Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs, shares about the Log Cabin variations !

Another is the quarter log version:

Top US quilting blog and shop, Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs, shares about the Log Cabin variations !

You can change up the block by changing the size of the center square.

Top US quilting blog and shop, Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs, shares about the Log Cabin variations !

You can a pieced block to the center of the block.

Top US quilting blog and shop, Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs, shares about the Log Cabin variations !

Or vary the size of the logs.

Top US quilting blog and shop, Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs, shares about the Log Cabin variations !

Soooo many options!

Color variations

You can also vary the colorations. In this courthouse steps version I used the 2 complimentary color ways and placed them dark to light on each side of the block.

Top US quilting blog and shop, Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs, shares about the Log Cabin variations !

Or… alternate the colors in the logs with a neutral color.

Top US quilting blog and shop, Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs, shares about the Log Cabin variations !

I could keep going….

Setting Variations

You can also vary the setting. A couple of common setting are the barn raising setting.

Top US quilting blog and shop, Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs, shares about Log Cabin quilts!

How about a diagonal set?

Top US quilting blog and shop, Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs, shares about Log Cabin quilts!

Try a zigzag!

Top US quilting blog and shop, Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs, shares about Log Cabin quilts!

Rotate 4 blocks so they look like squares on point.

Top US quilting blog and shop, Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs, shares about Log Cabin quilts!

How about pinwheels?

Top US quilting blog and shop, Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs, shares about Log Cabin quilts!

And these are just a few different ideas; there are a lot more!

My Log Cabin Quilts

At one point I created a few quilts that were takes on the log cabin- 2 of them ended up in my class on Craftsy – 3 blocks, 30 Quilts!

Huey Louie – named after one of my daughter’s cats!

Top US quilting blog and shop, Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs, shares about Log Cabin quilts!
Huey Louie

Daisy Mae– named after her other cat!

Top US quilting blog and shop, Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs, shares about Log Cabin quilts!
Daisy Mae 

Tiger Lily – named after my cat! This one is my most popular jelly roll quilt pattern and it is a take on the quarter log cabin block.

Top US quilting blog and shop, Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs, shares about Log Cabin quilts!

How about my quilt Breakout? I think we can say this a modern version of the log cabin quilt block!

Top US quilting blog and shop, Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs, shares about the Log Cabin quilt block!

Recently, I was part of a block challenge on Instagram. We were to all reimagine the log cabin block. I chose to keep is fairly simple; I had a block I have been wanting to use and so that’s what I did! My “variation” is that the logs on one side are different widths than the other side and my “light” side is all one color but different fabrics.

Top US quilting blog and shop, Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs, shares about the Log Cabin quilt block!

I love the quilt; it is a variation of the barn raising setting. I really wanted to show off the slightly curvy feel of the blocks so I modified how I put them together. One of these days I will make it into a pattern!

Top US quilting blog and shop, Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs, shares about the Log Cabin quilt block!

And maybe I will name it after my pretty white cat Luna!

She seemed to think the quilt was hers…

Top US quilting blog and shop, Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs, shares about the Log Cabin quilt block!

Sewing the block

Sewing a log cabin is fairly straight forward but can be challenging due to the number of seams! Maintaining a consistent ¼” seam is so important for this block!

Top US quilting blog and shop, Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs, shares about the Log Cabin variations !

Need tips for a good ¼” seam? Click here for my blog post on achieving that perfect seam!

There are some designers who do a paper piecing version of the block; great for those who want a little assist in keeping their blocks accurate!

So… tell me, do you like log cabin quilts? Have you made one? Or maybe more? Do you prefer to piece them traditionally or would you prefer paper piecing one?

Top US quilting blog and shop, Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs, shares about the Log Cabin quilt block!

Now, head on over to Tammy’s post to check out her thoughts about Log Cabin quilt blocks and see what great ideas she ha for you! Click here for her post.

Next week in the A Quilter’s Alphabet series, Tammy and I are on to the second letter S post! See you back here then!

happy quilting!

Kate

2 thoughts on “Exploring Quilting Basics: the Log Cabin Quilt Block”

  1. What a great post. It’s hard to pick a favorite block but I’d have to say that the log cabin is probably my favorite due to its versatility, plus it is just so classic. I loved seeing all your variations. I also love the cat names.

    1. Fran,
      The cat names are kind of fun! I really think I might name my next 2 patterns after my current feline friends! Lark and Luna deserve their own patterns!

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