Two Ways to Build a Log Cabin Quilt

Log Cabin (2) finished on bench by Allison Reid

Wahoo! I managed to finish a quilt before the end of the month! This is the second log cabin quilt I’ve made to accompany my latest workshop, Two Ways to Build a Log Cabin (use the Workshop tab at the top of this page to find out more).

Log Cabin (2) finished quilt by Allison Reid

This quilt is made from: a roll of 2½” strips I bought from the Quilt Room; strips from my stash; the background text print was bought from Purple Stitches years ago; and the largest pieces of the backing and also the binding are left overs from extra wide backing fabric I bought from the store for another quilt just last week.

Log Cabin (2) back finished by Allison Reid

The blocks are 10″ square and the quilt measures 48″ square. I achieved my aim of testing my block instructions for the workshop but more than that I feel I also managed to achieve a modern looking quilt using a very traditional block. It makes a good contrast with the first quilt I made for the workshop using red, blue and cream French General fabrics.

To keep with the modern feel, I quilted a spiral about 2″ wide across the whole quilt, starting from a central circle. I drew round a 3½” coaster to create an accurate circle in the middle of the quilt top. Stitching along the drawn line using a walking foot and a regular stitch length was comfortable enough and by lifting the foot and shifting the quilt sandwich every 10 or so stitches I was able to keep the layers flat and the circle smooth.

Log Cabin (2) centre spiral by Allison Reid

Log Cabin (2) close up quilting spiral by Allison ReidI attached a quilting guide arm to my machine foot to help me keep a regular distance between the spiral lines. As the spiral moves out from the centre of the quilt the curves become more gentle and there’s gradually less and less need to stop and lift the foot. I found this video tutorial by Christina Camili helpful (Christina uses freezer paper to mark her centre circle).

In the past I have quilted spirals with a much smaller centre circle – that is trickier to get started – but again the spirals quickly become larger and therefore easier to stitch. I found reducing the stitch length for the first small circle (maybe only 1 or 1½” in diameter) helped to keep the shape smooth (an alternative would be to free motion quilt a small centre circle before switching to the walking foot). Christa Watson gives some good tips on quilting spirals in her book ‘Machine Quilting With Style’.

I’ll enjoy celebrating this first finish of 2020 as I mull over how to quilt the other, more traditional, Log Cabin quilt…

Linking with Alycia, who is busy making blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, for Finished or Not Finished Friday. And linking with Michelle for the Beauties Pageant. Michelle has just finished making her fifth version of baby quilt and asks her readers, ‘What amateur mistakes do you find yourself making, even after having sewn dozens if not hundreds of quilts?!’

My answer has to be stitching units the wrong way round into a block *sigh* 😀


10 thoughts on “Two Ways to Build a Log Cabin Quilt

  1. Hi Allison! Two ways, you say. I’d say your finish is just gorgeous and your fabric choices are beeeee-u-tee-ful. I adore a good spiral, and have only done a tighter version. Next time a quilt calls me to spiral quilt it, I’m going to try your looser version. I think I’ll pin that as well so this old brain can remember who to give credit to! Happy Friday. ~smile~ Roseanne

    • Thank you Roseanne. I’m glad my quilting has given you inspiration. The quilt does feel lovely and soft with the quilting further apart – and it took a lot less time than a tight spiral would take! I’m not sure my shoulders would be up to the task either!


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