The log cabin quilt block is probably one of the oldest quilt block patterns known. There is evidence of it being used by the Eyptians in the time of the Pharaohs and the pyramids. The log cabin quilt block is very simple to make but hugely versatile and make all sorts of beautiful patterns by changing the colours and the proportions of the logs.
OK, I know the colours that I have used here for this log cabin quilt block are a little garish, but the idea is to show as clearly as possible how the log cabin quilt block is constructed. The basic design is a central square with strips built up around the squar to whatever size you want to make. The central square represents the hearth of the log cabin and is usually red to denote fire and warmth. The strips around the hearth, representing the logs, are traditionally dark one side and light the other side to represent light and dark. As with so much in quilting, though, the possibilities are endless and by changing the light/dark ration and the width of the logs you can create stunning three dimensional effects for your quilt.
Making the log cabin quilt block
I have used 2.1/2″ strips to make this log cabin quilt block. The central square is a 2.1/2″ square. Beneath it sew a 2.1/2″ square in a dark colour and on the right sew a 4.1/2″ by 2.1/2″ strip of the dark fabric. That’s the hearth and first two logs in place. Sew a 4.1/2″ strip of light fabric across the top and a 6.1/2″ strip of light fabric to the left to complete the first round of logs.
The next round of logs is made of a 6.1/2″ strip in dark fabric on the bottom, 8.1/2″ dark strip on the right, 8.1/2″ light strip across the top and 10.1/2″ light strip down the left.
The next round of logs: 10.1/2″ dark across the bottom, 12.1/2″ dark on the right, 12.1/2″ light across the top, 14.1/2″ light on the left. Do you see the pattern starting to emerge in the lengths of the logs?
The last strip (going down the lef hand side) of one round and the first strip (going across the bottom of the log cabin block) are the same length as each other.
The second strip (on the right) and the top strip are the same size as each other, 2″ longer than the strip before. Then the last strip of that round (on the left and first strip of the next round of logs (across the bottom of the block) are the same size as each other again and 2″ longer than the previous (top) strip.
You can keep building up as many rounds of logs for your log cabin quilt block as you wish depending on whether you want to make a cushion, cover, bag or quilt.