Friday, June 19, 2015

Wonky Log Cabin Tutorial

So how do you make those wonky blocks used for the fish rows?  We made ours with improvisational piecing, but if you want a more specific tutorial, Judy followed this one by Quilt Dad. The best thing is that you don't have to measure, you can sew and trim as you go.  It helps to have a few tools handy - a cutting mat near your machine, a ruler and rotary cutter for trimming, and a wooden "iron" or finger press - whatever you choose to call it.  Once you've assembled these tools and cut some strips (I used 1.5" strips), you're ready to start.
My center fish block was wonky to start with, a slight slant on the left and a strong slant on the bottom.  You may prefer just a slight angle on each side.  I added the logs starting on the bottom and working clockwise around the block; you can start on any side and go in either direction, as long as you are consistent all the way around.  After adding the bottom log, I trimmed it at an angle to give a "squarer" shape to the block, then added the next side and did the same.
Continue adding logs and trimming to complete the round.  I tended to create opposites as I trimmed; if the end of the previous piece was wide, I trimmed the next one at that end to be narrower.
The angle doesn't have to be large, and be aware of not trimming too close so you still have room for your 1/4" seam allowance.
I used the wooden finger iron to press each seam before sewing on the next log.
In the Quilt Dad tutorial, he adds all the logs for a round and then trims them wonky; I trimmed each as I went around the block.  Either way will work.
Continue with the second round the same way.
Stitch, press, trim.
I had a little slip in trimming the piece on the left, but that will be inside the seam allowance.
Round 3 has been added.  You can see that even though the logs are angled, it is becoming more rectangular over all.
Round 4 is added.  I came up a little short on the overall dimensions (the block needs to be squared up at 9.5"), so I added another strip of the round 4 fabric at the bottom.
Using a 9.5" square ruler, position it on the block to square it up.  You can see that this adds the wonky angles on the last round.
And there you have a finished block!  Four 9.5" blocks stitched together make your row, and you could choose to make it horizontal or vertical.

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