Saturday, March 5, 2011

Beginning April's log cabin

The February 2011 swap is wrapped up.  Blocks were due the last Saturday of February & while there were stragglers (because mail took a full week longer than it has in the past, but for no reason-at-all & definitely not because of cutbacks at the post office), the swap happened Sunday.  In the olden days (2010) I went to the post office on Monday, but our local post offices have greatly reduced their window hours & under the new schedule, the earliest I can be sure I can get there is Wednesday.  So the envelopes of blocks are all stashed in the big kenya bag I use for outgoing mail & will leave by Wednesday (or sooner, if I can get there sooner).

Time to get to work on the April 2011 block: Log cabin in the springtime.  I have had some questions about the best way to make them (which I take to mean how did I make mine) so here they are:

This is a big block, maybe the biggest we have ever done, but it is straightforward (no real seam matching) & goes quickly. You begin with a 2.5" red square & working around & around (I went clockwise), you will add the rest of the  2.5" strips or planks. For the planks you will need three different fabrics, at least one should have a "nature" theme, either a flower or leaf or vine or something.  As you do not need much of any of these, I refer to them as scrap fabrics.  You will also need a quantity (about 1/2 yard) of a reads-as-solid fabric in either a very light or very dark color.  This does not need to have any pattern, nature-themed or otherwise & muslin or a broadcloth would be ideal.

First:  2.5" red square to 2.5" scrap fabric one square.  You are now done with the red & will not use it again...until you make another block.  Press this seam to the scrap piece (& all future seams away from the center).

Second:  add a 2.5" strip of scrap fabric one to a long edge of the pair you just sewed.  If you want to cut it ahead of time, be my guest (2.5" x 4.5") but it might be easier to start strip piecing at this point.  Whichever way you turn the piece now, this is the direction you will continue turning (if you don't know what I am talking about, don't panic: when you do it you will know it); I turn clockwise & would suggest you do that too.  Add the second plank of scrap fabric one; this is the last time you will use scrap fabric one.

Third: add a 2.5" strip of whatever reads-as-solid you chose.  For this particular swap it should be either light or dark (nothing that could be construed as a medium please, altho' you do not need to limit yourself to white or black).  Press & add another 2.5" strip of same.  At this stage, your block should once again be square.  If you have a rectangle, chances are good you either changed direction when turning OR you added two planks one on top of the other.

Fourth: add a 2.5" strip of the second scrap fabric.  Trim, press, turn & add a second strip of same.  This is the last time you will use scrap fabric two.

Fifth:  add a 2.5" strip of the same reads-as-solid.  Trim, press, turn & add a second strip of same.  You should once again have a square.

Sixth:  add a 2.5" strip of the third scrap fabric. Trim, press, turn & add a second strip of same.  This is the outer row & you will not need this fabric again, nor will you stitch anything more on these sides.

Seventh: add a 2.5" strip of the reads-as-solid.  Trim, press, turn & add a second strip of same.  You should once again have a square & you are done.

Most of the fabric used is the reads-as-solid & again, a muslin would work very well for that, although any r-a-s that is unequivocally a light or a dark would be just fine.  The other fabrics you can hopefully find in your stash (well I couldn't find the red, but that's just me).

Blocks are due here the last Saturday in April, April 30th.  They will be swapped on May 1st & go to the post office no later than Wednesday May 4th.

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