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Tutorial: Wonky Scrappy Log Cabin Quilt Block

Sandy Quilt Block Drive

I’m thrilled with the response so far to the Sandy Quilt Block Drive. All of the volunteers are amazing. Thank you!!

Please read this tutorial carefully. There are instructions for both block makers and team leaders. Block makers will send the over-sized (UN-trimmed) blocks AND a 5″ square (unfinished) label to their team leaders.

For Block Makers: Wonky Scrappy Log Cabin Tutorial

This is an easy, FUN and addictive block to put together.

Requirements: You’ll need a wide assortment of 100% cotton, scrappy strips in different sizes ranging from 0.75″ to 2″. For each pair of blocks that you make, you’ll also need three (3) 2″ strips by width of fabric (i.e. 40″) of a dark solid for the outer border. This can be black, dark grey, brown, navy, etc. The darker colour helps the inside colours really pop. I strongly suggest that your dark, outer fabric be pre-washed, just in case it runs!

Gather your supplies and set up your work area so that you’re comfortable:

gather-supplies

A sleeping side-kick is optional:

side-kick

Start with two small scraps, approximately 1.5″. Stitch them right sides together. Stitching these blocks is a great opportunity to use up almost empty bobbins and thread spools too. I emptied four bobbins working on two blocks.

two-blocks

Once stitched, set the seam and press towards one of the blocks. If needed square up one side and add another piece. It doesn’t have to be an exact length, as you’ll trim the edge before adding another piece.

three-blocks

Trim the next side, and add another strip. You’re always adding a new strip on the side that has three fabrics on the edge. Press seams towards each new strip that you add.

block-progress

If you have a really skinny piece and want more of it to show, you can off-set it a little when you attach the next strip.

off-set

Making progress:

block-progress

Continue adding strips until your blocks are approximately 10.5″ to 11.5″.

blocks-done

For the final row, add a 2″ dark border on each side. You’ll trim-as-you-go to the required length the 2″ by width of fabric strips that I mentioned in the requirements above. You’ll probably only get three sides of a block completed with one strip length (that’s why I indicated above to cut 3 strips to make two blocks, 3 strips will cover 9 sides, you need 8 for two blocks).

block-1

block-2

Your blocks should finish at approximately 13″ to 14.5″. Don’t trim your blocks! You’ll be sending these over-sized blocks to your team leaders who will do the trimming. The WONKY part of the pattern comes from the trimming of the black fabric.


For Block Makers: 5″ Square Label

You’ll be sending one 5″ square (unfinished size) label to your team leader. If you’ve signed up more than once and received more than one team leader, please make a label for each team that you’ve been assigned to.

The ONLY requirement for your label is that it be 5″ square, includes your name and location and an optional message of hope. Your label can be just a solid piece of fabric. You can embroider your information with a simple backstitch or use a fabric-safe, permanent marker to write your info. If writing your details, it’s most helpful to starch the fabric a few times to make it stiffer and easier to write on.

Below are some ideas for making your label. (I’ve received so many emails about this!) These are ideas only, you be creative and do what you like as long as what you send to your team leader is 5″ square.

label-fabrics

The above photo shows the fabric requirements for two different labels: on the right is Sidebar and on the left Snowball.

Sidebar Label: white centre fabric is 3.5″ x 5″, both outer fabrics are 1.5″ x 5″. Attach the outer fabrics to the white centre, pressing towards the outer fabrics.

Snowball Label: white centre fabric is 5″ square, four small contrasting fabrics are each 1.5″ square. With the small squares, draw a diagonal line from one corner to the other. Position on top of the white fabric, right sides together. Be sure to get the drawn line in the correct location. Stitch directly ON the drawn line. Set your seams, then trim the corner 1/4″ away from sewn line. Press towards the small square.

snowball-label

Completed labels (yes, my snowball label is a little smaller, I cut the white incorrectly and don’t have time to redo it right now).

labels

Below are some additional label ideas made during the Robin Rowers project I participated in with quilting friends around the world. The top two I created, the bottom left was done by Anita and the bottom right by Vivian.

more-labels


For Team Leaders: Trimming the Blocks

Block Makers The instructions below are for team leaders only. Please DO NOT trim your blocks.

The blocks you receive will be over-sized and need to be trimmed to 12.5″ square before you assemble them into the quilt tops. It’s up to you if you want to decide on the quilt layout before trimming or trim all the blocks then decide on the layout. I trimmed mine first.

You’ll need a 12.5″ square ruler. Lay the ruler on top of the block at a slight angle so that the dark fabric on the edge extends on all four sides of the ruler. The more available dark fabric you have, the more wonky of an angle you can make. Make sure you have a good 1/2″ in the corners of the dark fabric still available on your block. Remember, you’ll need 1/4″ of the dark fabric for seam allowance.

Step 1: I’ve decided on my angle, now I’ll cut the right side and the top at the same time before I move my ruler. If you’re left handed you’ll probably cut the left side and the top first.

angle-ruler

Step 2: Rotate the block so that the cut edges you just made are on the left and bottom sides. Place your ruler so that the left/bottom edges are aligned with the cut edges you did in Step 1. Cut the right and top sides to finish the 12.5″ square.

angle-ruler-2

My first trimmed block, it’s now 12.5″ unfinished ready to be sewn into the top:

angle-1

My second trimmed block is below. You’ll notice that the wonky isn’t as well defined as the first block, as I didn’t have as much black fabric to work with:

angle-2

Both blocks work just fine, you’ll want to vary the degrees of wonky for your blocks. I found it much easier to trim the blocks first, then decide on the quilt layout. It meant I wasn’t stressing out trying to decide how each block should be cut ahead of time. You do what works best for you.

Here’s my two blocks sewn together … now we can see the lovely wonky!

two-wonky-blocks

Tips:

  • I found it most helpful to give the blocks a spray with Best Press (or other fabric starch) and a REALLY good press before trimming.
  • If you have blocks that are smaller than 12.5″ already, you’ll have to add additional dark fabric to two sides before cutting. You’ll need them to be 12.5″.
  • If you have blocks where the dark fabric is too narrow, you could unpick them or just trim to 12.5″ and piece them next to another block with more black. The design will still work.
  • Similar to the above tip, if you can’t get a full 1/2″ of dark on a side, you’ll just have more bulk in the seam to deal with. It still works, it just makes that corner a little more fragile.

Team Leaders: Don’t forget to include your OWN label on the back too. You decide how you want to incorporate the labels into the quilt backing.


To volunteer to make blocks or assemble the quilts, go here: Sandy Quilt Block Drive

Sandy Quilt Block Drive

Posted: November 9th, 2012

Topics: Charity Quilting, Free Projects, My Quilting Journey

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35 Responses to “Tutorial: Wonky Scrappy Log Cabin Quilt Block”

  1. I have a number of 9 patch squares that I would gladly donate to this cause. Someone could even add more strips to them if necessary. Would you like me to send them to you? Carol

  2. Leo says:

    I read your newsletter today, and I hope you won’t mind if I say I can’t help at the moment. I did make some blocks for Jennifer (she asked last week) and now I need to be selfish for a few days to get my Ba thesis ready to be printed, bound and hand it in.
    I hope you will get “better” responses from others – Enjyo your weekend.

  3. evelyn says:

    I have signed up for the blocks…if the blocks are to be 12.5 …then making them to 14.5 would mean that the outside border would be cut off when they are squared up.They probably should not be bigger than 13″…what do you think? This is a great cause and very happy to help.

  4. Mishka says:

    Follow the tutorial and make them oversized please. They need to be trimmed wonky by the team leaders. They need that extra black border.

    Thanks!

  5. Cheryl McLaughlin says:

    I am correct that each strip needs to be a straight one? not a scrap that might start out at 3/4 in on one end then become 1 inch at the other?
    wonky means different things to different people ;-) — I have bags and bags of scraps that are in strips but the strips aren’t necessarily “straight” ones. Let me know as soon as you can, please? I want to get started today.

  6. Nonnie says:

    I did a DONATION BLOCK request from my podcast a couple of years ago… got a great response. Posting pictures of a quilt made with the blocks so people could see how they were going to be used …. improved the response I got.

    Maybe if you posted a picture it would help every one know and see how the blocks would be assembles.

    Nonnie

  7. Nonnie says:

    WOULD YOU ACCEPT UFO finished but not quilted… a non internet friend asked me that question.

    Nonnie
    .
    .

  8. Would love to help with the blocks drive… I will be slow but sure as I am healing from neck and shoulder surgeries.

    If you assign me a team leader .. please let them know I will do my best under those circumstances.

    Looking forward to making some snazzy blocks to lift some spirits ….

  9. Thanks for coordinating this! Great idea!!!

  10. [...] also looking for scrappy log cabins.  I’ve included their button, or you can click here:  http://quiltinggallery.com/2012/11/09/tutorial-wonky-scrappy-log-cabin/  Let’s see how many blocks and quilts we can make!  Thanks for joining in this worthy [...]

  11. I signed up to make blocks. If by chance you need additional people to be Team Leaders let me know. I could be available for that as well.

  12. Melanie Keen says:

    I’ll happily make some blocks :)

  13. Nordzie says:

    Hi Michele,
    one question…what kind of label that required and do you have any example? Can you show me one, please!

  14. Kai Michaels says:

    I need to send the blocks and someone else will add the batting and backing, right? I also have a question about what kind of label is required and would like you to post an example, plz. As long as I need only to piece the block together and not add the batting & quilting then Iʻll be glad to commit to six blocks.

  15. isabell says:

    Me too, I will be more than happy to send some blocks. x

  16. Beverly says:

    I have signed up to make 4 blocks, but where do I mail them to?

  17. Nancy Keuler says:

    I will make 10 blocks.

  18. Donna Loyacano says:

    Hi, I signed up to be a Team Leader but I can do blocks as well. Please let me know what I can do to help.

  19. [...] joined in with Christa and Michelle to sew some wonky log cabing blocks for the victims of Hurricane Sandy.  so I am going to check [...]

  20. Sara G. says:

    I am relatively new to quilting (and sewing for that matter). This has been a great way for me to learn a new skill. I should be done with my blocks tonight.

  21. [...] Not being able to resist the little puppy’s plea I continued to read.  As I got further into the article I learned of a quilt block drive being organized by the Quilting Gallery.  The little voice, we talked about above, started whispering in my ear.  The whisper grew in intensity until it was impossible to ignore.  I moved my cursor over to the link taking me to Info and registration.  I clicked my left mouse button.  Up popped a new window providing details of the Sandy Quilt Block Drive.  Listed were options to register as a Block Maker as well as a Team Leader.  The quilt block they are using is the Wonky Scrappy Log Cabin.  A link to the block tutorial can be found here. [...]

  22. evelyn says:

    Do we finish the edge of the quilt label?

  23. Kathy Howard says:

    This is a great project for children. It is best to have straight sewn seams, but if the seam allowance varies (my do) it isn’t a big deal. They can have a good time picking out the scraps they want to use. If your children are too young to sew, they can still choose fabric and it will keep them busy while you sew. You probably will need to trim edges and press for them.

    I have zip lock bags with scraps that go from 1 inch to 4+ inches so this was easy, except that I had to fight myself not be so matchy on colors. I did put similar colors together when I had the right size strip. For the first few rounds I was able to find strips that were close to the right length, then I went with some longer strips. Sometimes I picked two or three strips the same width and then chose another size. I think I like to put light and dark in the center.

  24. Zdenka says:

    I would like to help,but the shiping from Croatia to USA is to expencive

  25. Anna says:

    Almost signed up today, but really need to finish a quilt by Thanksgiving. So if this is still going on when that is finished, I will happily sign up.

  26. Sheila Gramm says:

    Making wonky blocks would be a great beginner project for 4-H or youth group kids—- just an idea :)

  27. Ria de Boer says:

    We are a small group of quilters (10) and Monday we have a meeting and go to work!!!! We did it for Canadians who lost everything in forest fires and now for our “neighbors!!!

  28. Mary says:

    Just to clarify on the dark borders for the blocks: your instructions say to cut three 2″ dark strips, yet the finished block shows dark/black strips sewn to all four sides of the block. Did I miss something?

  29. Debra says:

    It is 3 2 inch width of fabric strips which will give you enough to border a couple of blocks with the fabric.

  30. Kathy Howard says:

    I haven’t signed up to send more blocks yet, but I have some more almost finished. Then I’ll figure out how many more I have border fabric for.

    I already had my scraps sorted by width, but if I was going to do it again, I would sort by length. It has been a good way to use my odd width pieces. I had trimmed and sorted pieces from 1 inch wide.

    These are addicting! It is so freeing to just sew, sew, and sew.

  31. Jamee says:

    I am a leader and have most of my blocks in hand. I am soo excited! This is gonna be one beautiful quilt! Michele, were you going to post a tutorial for us leaders???

  32. Debbie says:

    I am late on this… do you still need block makers? I do not have the skills yet to be a team leader.

  33. Mishka says:

    Hi everyone,
    I’m answering the comments as they come in, but not always posting here.

    You can sign up to be a block maker… currently I need more team leaders, but the numbers change daily. I assign block makers to teams as soon as the registrations come in. It just might be a couple of days before you get your team leader info. This is a long-term ongoing initiative.

    http://quiltinggallery.com/quilters-fun/sandy-quilt-block-drive/

    Cheers,
    Michele

  34. [...] Her son and daughter-in-law are expecting their first baby this coming spring.  I used the scrappy wonky log cabin block, trimming the blocks to 10.5 in square.  The finished quilt measures 33 in X 44 in.  It [...]

  35. [...] scrappy log cabin squares are 11 in square (10.5 in plus the seam allowances).  I have 10 squares finished.  I’ll [...]

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