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 Free Pattern : A Traditional Log Cabin Block

The traditional Log Cabin block is easy to make and amazingly versatile. This pattern has been made for as long as 200 years and is a favorite of both traditional and art quilters. The block looks like this when it's complete:

How big do I make this block?

Make this block any size you like. Assign a measurement size to each unit of the block. Picture an 8x8 grid over the block. If you assign 1" (finished measurement) to each unit of the grid, the block would be 8x8" finished. If you assign 1-1/2" (finished) to each unit of the grid, the block would be 12x12" finished.

Instructions - How does one create make it?

Traditional Log Cabin blocks start with a red or orange center square, representing the hearth of the cabin. The sides of the block are generally light/dark, but can be anything that will give you sufficient contrast - warm/cool, complementary colors (red/green, orange/blue), etc. Of course, you can make your Log Cabin any way you wish ... just remember that the diagonal line formed by the contrasting sides will be important to your final design.

Let's say our log cabin is based on a 1" finished grid. That means that the center square will be 2" finished, or 2-1/2" x 2-1/2" cut. The "logs" will be 1" finished, or 1-1/2" x 1-1/2" cut. Take a center square, and stitch it on to a strip of your first color -- in our example, the first color is a light beige -- right sides together, using a 1/4" seam allowance. Then cut flush above and below the center square. Open out and press the seam allowance towards the "log".

Do the same with the second log, being careful to position the center square/log unit properly:

Continue to add logs as shown above until your block is complete. NOTE: Our block has three "rounds" or three logs on each side of the center. You may add more or less logs to suit your design.

What can I do with this quilt block?

Log Cabin blocks have a diagonal line across the center. This makes arranging lots of fun!

Traditional "Barn Raising" Set:

If you add a few "all light" blocks and rearrange the rest, you can have a star in the center:

Star Log Cabin:

Log Cabin Variations

You don't have to add your "logs' in rounds ... you can add them side-side-top-bottom, which will give you a Courthouse Steps block, or add them all to just two sides, a Chevron Log Cabin:

Courthouse StepsChevron

You can mix-and-match Courthouse Steps and Chevron blocks with the traditional Log Cabin blocks!

Something to think about ...

If you make your light logs skinny and your dark logs thick, you'll get curves in your log cabins.

Log Cabin Tulip

Curved Log Cabin, Barn Raising Set

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