Log Cabin Family of Blocks: Part 2

By Judith on May 21, 2019
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Welcome back to my Log Cabin Blocks series (part 1 available here).

Log Cabin Family of Blocks


In part 1 we looked at a range of Log Cabin blocks, from Traditional to Wonky!


In part 2, we are going to look at the 2nd category in this family of blocks.

(All sample blocks are made using fabrics from ‘Handmade’ by Makower)


Part 2: Courthouse Steps


Courthouse Steps Variations


1.  Traditional:

Similar to the traditional Log Cabin Block, ‘steps’ are added in rounds to the centre square, this time attaching to two opposite edges first before adding steps to the remaining 2 edges.  The ‘steps’ are the same width.


Courthouse Steps Construction


Here is one of my traditional Courthouse Steps Quilts, this time starting with a background square (I’ve marked the block to make it easier for you to identify).



‘Garden Steps’ featured in British Patchwork & Quilting Magazine


I love how the secondary pattern from the Courthouse Steps blocks dominates in this design!

You can find a traditional Courthouse Steps block tutorial here.


2. Colour Rounds:

As with the Log Cabin Colour Rounds variation, the same fabric is used in each round, but sticking with the same traditional Courthouse Steps construction.


Courthouse Steps Blocks


3. Cornerstones:

By adding squares (cornerstones) to the ends of the ‘steps’ you will add an Irish Chain secondary pattern to your quilt.


Courthouse Steps Blocks


Photo source: http://serial-quilter.blogspot.com


4. Rectangle

You can change the starting shape of a Courthouse Steps Block to any 4 sided shape (like Log Cabin) but not a triangle.


Courthouse Steps Blocks


As I mentioned in my last post, there are lots more great Courthouse steps variations available.  Like this ‘sliced’ Courthouse Steps:


Courthouse Steps Blocks


In this version, you make two blocks in two fabrics, one positive, one negative.


Slice them in half diagonally, switch them over and sew back together!


Courthouse Steps Blocks


Now the point of doing this lies in the secondary patterns you can achieve from Sliced Courthouse Steps.


Photo source https://mypatchwork.wordpress.com


Aren’t they cool!

A video tutorial of Sliced Courthouse Steps is available here.


You can find more inspiring Courthouse Steps examples on my Pinterest board here.


And I’ll leave you with a picture of a Courthouse Steps block I’m currently working on, using vintage sheets.



I hope you’ll come back soon for part 3 of our Log Cabin Family series.


Happy sewing!


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Log Cabin Family of Blocks: Part 1

By Judith on May 20, 2019
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Last week in classes I taught a short lesson on the Log Cabin Family of blocks!


Log Cabin Family of Blocks


I’m going to take you through the 3 main categories in a series of posts, with a mystery post to finish the series!


Part 1: Log Cabin

Part 2: Courthouse Steps

Part 3: Pineapple

Part 4: Watch this space!


I demonstrated a few variations within each category, but there are many more than what I can show you here (follow the Pinterest links for lots more inspiration!).


(All the sample blocks have been made using Handmade by Makower)


Part 1: Log Cabin


Log Cabin Variations


1 Traditional:

The standard log cabin block starts with a square centre (traditionally this would have been red) adding ‘logs’ around the centre square (either clockwise or anti-clockwise) in rounds.  All the logs are the same width.

Log Cabin Construction

The traditional log cabin block was the first block I learned, and made a little quilt for my young daughter using chopped up clothes and linens!


Shannon's Log Cabin Quilt


You can find a tutorial on how to make a 12″ traditional block here.


2 Colour Rounds:


This variation of Log Cabin follows exactly the same construction as the traditional version, but keeping the fabric choice of each round the same.


Log Cabin Colour Rounds


Just a change of fabric placement dramatically changes the look of this block.  Here’s another similar example, the back of quilt I made several years ago.


Brit Bee Log Cabin Quilt (Back)


3 Wonky:


If you enjoy a little ‘improv’ piecing then how about a Wonky Log Cabin!


Wonky Log Cabin


Again the logs are added in rounds, but this time, the sides are sliced at irregular angles before adding the next log.



While strips are useful to start with here, the width of the finished logs will be varied.  No two blocks will be the same!


This can be a really fun block to make if you like a little more ‘freedom’ in your piecing.  Just keep adding rounds until your block is a little bigger than you need, then square it off to the required size.



Here’s an example of a Wonky Log Cabin Quilt I made for Quilt Now Magazine several years ago.


Wonky Log Cabin Quilt (Quilt Now October17)


4 Curved:

To achieve a curved effect in a Log Cabin block, the background logs must be thinner than the coloured logs.


Curved Log Cabin


The curved effect becomes more obvious when you put 4 blocks together to create a ‘circle’:


Log Cabin Circles 006 (2)


The bigger the difference between the widths of the background and coloured logs, the greater the curve!


There are lots more variations of Log Cabin, like the Quarter Log Cabin (adding logs to the same two adjacent sides each round, rather than to all four sides) ….


Quarter Log Cabin cushion Tutorial

(Quarter Log Cabin Cushion tutorial available here.)


….. or how about starting your Log Cabin block with a different shape!!


Log Cabin Variations


These are definitely on my Quilts Bucket List!


And as if that’s not enough, check out my Log Cabin Pinterest board for lots more inspiration from around the Quilty Web!


Come back soon for part 2 of The Log Cabin Family of Blocks!



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Patchwork in the Peaks 14: Part 2

By Judith on September 26, 2018
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I promised to check in again and tell you about my makes at Patchwork in the Peaks (though they pale into insignificance compared to the fabulous makes of my fellow sewers).


Not fully understanding the brief of the weekend, I arrived with no personal projects to work on! Doh!


However, Elita has a very healthy ‘scraps stack’ which she generously makes available to all at Peaks.


So with that in mind, I rustled up a sizeable ‘Quilt As You Go’ pouch.


QAYG Pouch (Peaks14)


I always find that other people’s scraps are much more interesting than my own, so it was fun rustling through the scrap boxes for this project.


QAYG Pouch (Peaks14)
Thank you to Margie for donating the yellow tassel!


One of the ‘games’ we played at the weekend was a ‘Roll the Dice Fat Quarter swap’.


It’s much too long winded for me to try and explain how it works, but the essence of the game is that you bring 3 fat quarters to the table and after much hilarity, competitive threats (of the lighthearted kind of course!!) and fast hand action, you end up with 3 different fat quarters!


QAYG Pouch (Peaks14)


One such fat quarter is the glorious yellow that I used for the lining of my pouch!


Aaaahhhhh! Sunshine in a pouch!


Following my Denim Applique Bag workshop, there was a nice little pile of offcuts and discarded denim bits.


Denim Pouch (Peaks14)


So in keeping with the denim/upcycling theme, I made another zippy pouch (a girl can never have too many pouches, right?!).


Denim Pouch (Peaks14)


A little ‘Aurifil’ decorative stitching and feature tabs, loops and labels add the perfect finishing touches.


Denim Pouch (Peaks14)


Another of my ‘fat quarter swaps’ made it as the perfect pouch lining!


Denim Pouch (Peaks14)


On Saturday evening we shared our ‘Secret Sister’ gifts (surprise, anonymous gifts left for each person throughout the weekend) and then Gina presented the ‘Mystery Make’.


This is a fun, quick make in keeping with the theme of the weekend. Several little jeans legs were made available with a finished sample of the cutest wee fabric bucket!  So we set to it and in no time at all, a family of re-purposed fabric buckets appeared! (see pics in previous post)


Repurposed Denim thread catcher (Peaks 14)


Despite the flowers being upside down (!!) I’m going to use mine as a purposeful little thread catcher.


And last but not least, another rummage in the scraps box and my heart started to flutter as I discovered some adorable vintage vibe browns!


Vintage Brown Log Cabins (Peaks 14)


Now I appreciate brown is not a universally loved fabric colour, and there are some browns I just can’t do.


But on my bucket list of makes is a vintage brown quilt (I have a secret hoard of brown vintage fabrics in my loft!). So I grasped the nettle and started making log cabin blocks, with no other plan in mind than to enjoy the browns and worry about a design much later!


Vintage Brown Log Cabins (Peaks 14)


So considering I arrived at Peaks with no fabric or sewing equipment, I did pretty well don’t you think?


Thanks for tuning in!


Happy sewing!


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