Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Yesterday's efforts

Doesn't look much like a bear yet, does it? These are the blocks I finished yesterday - all of the traditional log cabin blocks in this quilt. They are parts of foot pads, bear and bear tummy, and bear and background.

Making these little 3 1/2" finished blocks is really fun, and not difficult at all. The key is having a good seam allowance marker on your machine - one you can feel with your fingers in addition to seeing with your eyes. Even if you have a 1/4" foot it's not enough for complete accuracy. To set up your machine for truly accurate piecing see my tutorial here and here. Quiltville's Bonnie Hunter - the queen of piecing in my book - recommends this also. If you've never tried it before you'll be amazed at the difference it makes.

Piecing log cabin blocks is fun and goes quickly. I know may people "speed piece" them by sewing the blocks onto a long strip and then trimming after stitching. I've found that this isn't all that accurate unless you use an even feed foot. If you don't the blocks tend to get bigger as you add rounds because the feed dogs pull more of the lower fabric into the block than the upper fabric. This results in blocks that are slightly rounded instead of perfectly square. I find that it's just as fast to precut my strips to the desired length, which helps keep the block square and to size. If you have a good work surface it's easy to lay out all your different strips as you are working, cutting them to size as needed. The picture shows the way I organize mine. This also makes it easier to make truly scrappy blocks. Try it - I think you'll like it!

Now back to task - I'd love to finish lots more blocks today!


The Calico Cat said...

3 days late...
(I pieced my log cabins on Monday - I trimmed them to the "real size" for maybe the first time. I still had issues, but I was able to fudge them all together!)

Judy said...

I couldn't agree more! If you sew on the whole strip it always ends up with a little extra each time! I'm making the same block right now, but I really need to pre-cut a bunch of sizes in each color like you suggested!