For the Love of Log Cabins

Do you have a favorite pieced patchwork pattern? I do and it’s no secret. I love a Log Cabin quilt. Let me count the ways.

  1. They are relatively easy from a technical perspective and one of the patterns recommended for beginners.
  2. You can strip quilt a decent sized log cabin in a day.
  3. They are oh so flexible, which lends itself to creativity.

Need a quick mini-quilt like a table topper? My Mini BOM is made from 1.5″ strips and can be made in a day. Do you want a LARGE block? Use 2.5″ strips to make a 15″ block. You can even make a lap or baby quilt out of one extra large Long Cabin (LC) block! Need a quilt wider or longer? Add a row of blocks. Have lots of scrap fabric? A scrap LC is easily assembled. Obsessed with a color or fabric family? Perfect for a LC. Want a two color quilt? A three color quilt? A five color quilt! All the colors of the rainbow? LC can deliver.

LC was one of the first patterns that I learned. If you are a new quilter, or simply want a fabulous resource, I highly recommend the Eleanor Burns Quilt in a Day book. This is a full color, step by step approach to strip quilting a LC block. It also includes charts with yardage for lap, twin, queen and king sized quilts. And Eleanor also has videos!

The book also contains many LC layouts. The blocks can arranged into a mind-boggling number of arrangements/designs. They can look ethnic or early American; cozy and delicate; feminine or masculine; or thoroughly modern and bold depending on your fabric and layout. Sometimes it takes me longer to figure out the arrangement I want than what fabrics to use!

Now that I have EQ8 design software, I can add my fabrics, my strip width and block size and go through many permutations in several hours. Cheating? Hmmm, perhaps a bit.

LC tips: Like everything else, practice improves your LC!

  1. Use spray starch, either on the fabrics before cutting or on the blocks themselves.
  2. Square up your blocks after each full round (4 strips) of the blocks.
  3. A consistent seam width is important and I use a 1/4″ quilting foot with a guide.
  4. Make sure your center block (regardless of whether you chose a small or larger center block) is straight! It is the foundation of the whole block. If I find a wonky center in my first block rounds, I bin it as it will throw the whole block off. (Been there and done that!)
  5. Jelly rolls make a quick LC super quick! Use the 2.5″ strips in one solid (either light or dark) and your favorite batik or batik strip collection for the contrast strips.
  6. LC can also be CURVED! A curved LC uses narrower strips for the solid in a thinner strip width and gives you even more options for customizing your design. 1.5″ jelly roll strips can be used to make a curved log cabin.
Laying out a modern batik log cabin for a baby quilt. 4″ center.

Here are some of my favorite LC creations through the years. And I haven’t tired of making them yet!

A masculine log cabin in green black and white for a friend.
Mini Log Cabin with two fabrics.
For a friend; a southwest inspired LC with two different types of squares.
A purple LC with the lightest and darkest strips in the 2nd round instead of the 3rd.
Layout for my brother and SIL’s log cabin in her favorite blue.
Another purple LC with a diagonal lay out.
Black and White with a touch of lime LC with a star center.
Curved log cabin using skinny jelly roll strips for the white. Missouri Star Quilts has a good video on how to make this curvy LC.

Happy quilting!



  1. Eleanor Burns’ Log Cabin book was the one I used to make my first one too. Since I didn’t finish it in a day, I called it my quilt in a month πŸ™‚
    It was a king sized quilt that I hand quilted and it’s still on our bed.

    Liked by 1 person

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