One of the best things about Studio 180 Design tools is that they can do so many things! Each tool makes some of quilting’s most fundamental units and blocks using the enclosed instructions. But there are also Technique Sheets, which allow you to make units that don’t come with the tool instructions. We’ve been busy updating our Technique Sheets to be purchased as digital downloads right from our website, or you can purchase laminated sheets from your local quilt shop or our website.
Two of our newest Technique Sheets focus on one of the most traditional quilt blocks: Log Cabin. We have techniques for both traditional log cabin and curved log cabin that can be made with your Tucker Trimmer III. These blocks have never been easier to make than with our new method. By strip piecing each round of logs and then trimming them down you will be able to make every block quickly, easily, and accurately. And once you try this method it will be hard to just make one!
Log cabin blocks are traditionally made with light and dark fabrics. This allows you to make all kinds of patterns when several blocks are put together. Best of all, you can make these blocks scrappy! Dive into your scrap bins and choose fabrics that are the same color and value and see what you can come up with. Or you can make more planned out blocks with a single light and a single dark fabric.
Let’s take a look at how this technique works. We’ll start with the traditional log cabin. First, from the charts on the sheet choose the following: how large you would like your blocks to be, how many rounds you would like in the finished block and the size of both your center square and the logs. Both the traditional log cabin and the curved log cabin charts offer lots of size options.
For the traditional method, start by sewing your center squares to either the first light or dark value log, then press towards the log. You will cut these units apart, and then add the second light or dark value log. Repeat the process of pressing and trimming the units apart and then add the first dark or light value log, press, cut apart, and add the dark or light value log. Repeat the process of pressing and trimming.
Once all four logs are added it’s time to use the Tucker Trimmer III to trim the block down to size. Because you will be able to use both the Common Diagonal and a Size Diagonal to trim your block down, you will get perfect results on every round. You will repeat the process, using the charts from the Technique Sheet to determine what size to trim your block after each round, until you reach your desired size.
The curved log cabin process is the same, but instead of using the same size logs for both light and dark, the dark value logs are usually wider than the light value logs. You start this process using the wide log, and your center square should be similar in value to your narrow logs. This creates a beautiful optical illusion that looks like a circle.
Once you’ve made some blocks, try playing with the layout. The quilts you create can lean towards the traditional or more modern depending on what fabrics you use and how you arrange your blocks. We’ve got some examples for you here, for both traditional and curved log cabin.
If you like to make log cabin blocks, we hope you’ll give this new method a try using the Tucker Trimmer III and the new Technique Sheets. And please feel free to share your creations! We love to see what you create with our tools.