The log cabin tunnels quilt pattern uses a block that I’ve tried to give a three dimensional look. There are several ways of creating depth in a quilt block – one of them is through colour placement and another is through changing the size of the parts of the block. I’ve used both these methods for the log cabin tunnels quilt and I’m hoping that it looks as if you’re entering a tunnel in each block.
The quilt measures 49″ square and I have used fourteen different fabrics! The good news is that you don’t need very much of any one fabric. I’ve used 1/8 yard each of purple, the darkest three blues and the darkest two browns, 1/4 yard each of the next blue and two browns, and 1/2 yard each of the last two blue and brown fabrics and the white. As usual you can buy these fabrics at a 10% discount in this week’s special offer.
Cutting requirements for the log cabin tunnels quilt
Purple fabric: sixteen 2.1/2″ squares.
Blue fabrics: 1.1/2″ by 2.1/2″, 1.1/2″ by 3.1/2″, 2″ by 4.1/2″, 2″ by 6″, s.1/2″ by 7.1/2″, 2.1/2″ by 9.1/2″. The smallest rectangle at the beginning of the list is the darkest blue and the largest rectangle at the end of the list is the lightest blue. You’ll need sixteen of each of these rectangles – one for each block.
Brown fabrics: 1.1/2″ by 3.1/2″, 1.1/2″ by 4.1/2″, 2″ by 6″, 2″ by 7.1/2″, 2.1/2″ by 9.1/2″, 2.1/2″ by 11.1/2″. These are again listed from darkest to lightest colour and you will need sixteen of each rectangle.
White fabric: twelve rectangles 1.1/2″ by 11.1/2″, five strips 1.1/2″ by 47.1/2″, two strips 1.1/2″ by 49.1/2″.
Making the log cabin tunnels quilt block
The idea of a log cabin quilt block is that you have a central square (the hearth of the log cabin) and this is surrounded by strips of fabric (the logs of the cabin). In this particular version I have placed the square in the top left hand corner of the block and then built up the logs on two sides only. The logs beneath the square are in six different shades of blue, starting with the darkest blue, which is the smallest log, and running through the shades until the last strip is the lightest and the widest. The logs on the right hand side of the square are six different shades of brown, again starting with the darkest brown first (on the edge of the square) and running through to the lightest brown which is on the edge of the quilt block.
In addition to using different shades of the two colours for the logs, I have also varied the width of the logs in order to give the illusion of depth. The first two rounds of logs are 1″ wide finished size, the second two rounds are 1.1/2″ wide finished size and the final two rounds use strips that are 2″ wide finished size.
I am counting one strip beneath the square and one strip on the right hand side of the square as one round of logs. The square should be the darkest fabric of all. The first round of logs is shown in the top left of the photo – the darkest (and smallest) blue strip sewn to the bottom of the purple square and the smallest and darkest brown strip sewn to the right hand edge of the square.
The second round of logs is now sewn on – the next longest and next lightest of the blue and brown fabrics sewn to the lower and right hand edges of the block. Always sew the blue bottom strip first and then the brown strip on the right.
The third and fourth rounds are shown in the right hand photo.
Continue adding the strips of blue and brown fabric to make the fifth and sixth rounds of logs.
Very often I finger press the seams as I build up a quilt block, but in the case of the log cabin quilt block I always press at each stage with the iron. The seam allowances should be pressed away from the square, so that in the photo you can see all the blue seam allowances pressed towards the bottom and all the brown seam allowances pressed to the left away from the square.
Make sixteen of these log cabin tunnels quilt blocks. Before you sew these blocks together you need to trim them – see my comments at the end of the pattern.
Assembling the log cabin tunnels quilt
I’ve used 1.1/2″ strips of white fabric for the sashing between the blocks. You need to arrange the blocks in four rows of four. In each row you will have four blocks and three sashing strips, so that there is no sashing at either end of the row.
The design of the quilt is achieved by rotating the blocks across each row. I think that it’s easiest if I tell you the placement of the purple square in each block so that you can see how to rotate the blocks.
In the first row, working from left to right, the purple square is placed top right for the first block, then bottom left, then top left and finally bottom right for the fourth block.
In the second row the purple squares are placed bottom left, bottom left, top left and top left.
In the third row the purple squares are placed bottom right, bottom right, top right, top right.
I’ve shown the blocks side by side in order to fit them into the photo, but you will need to sew sashing strips between them.
Finally the fourth row has the purple squares on the top left, bottom right, top right and bottom left.
In order to sew the rows together, use 47.1/2″ lengths of white sashing, in the same way that you joined the blocks together. You’ll need five strips of sashing so that you have one strip between each row as well as one strip at the top and bottom of the log cabin tunnels quilt.
Finally sew a 49.1/2″ length of sashing to each side of the quilt.
Now this is probably the right place for my confession. I did not carry out one vital step because I was in a hurry and because I was stupid enough to think that I could get away with it: I didn’t trim the blocks before I sewed them all together. If you look at the quilt photo at the top you’ll see that the sashing strips don’t match up down the quilt. This is quite simply because the blocks have not been trimmed so that they are all exactly the same size. That’s why I’ve included a digital image – so that you can see how the log cabin tunnels quilt would have looked if I had been more careful.
Once you have completed the quilt top, you can layer, quilt and bind it. Full details of these steps can be found in the beginner quilting section.
Here’s the video:
Last week I told you that I was going to the theatre in Birmingham. It was a lovely day and an unexpected bonus was an exhibition at the Birmingham Library of micro sculptures placed either within the eye of a needle or on a pin head. Quite extraordinary. You can read about it here.
Post Script: I was asked what the log cabin quilt would look like without sashing, so here is a digital image without sashing.