With crazy log cabin quilting, the emphasis is on using color like an artist, intuitively, and in the moment. It is almost like painting. You set up your palette of fabrics next to your sewing machine, and you pick colors as you go along. You don't have to plan ahead or know where everything is going to go. Stroke by stroke, you build up your quilt.
If you sew, you probably have a collection of remnants of all sizes. Some of the remnants seem too small to do anything with. You wonder if you should throw them away. You don't have to. You can be like one of our thrifty foremothers, and piece a quilt with them.
Stack up the colors you like. This is your palette. Put away the ones you don't like. If you like the color, it will probably work fine with the others. It doesn't have to "match." I advise you not to try to make your quilt match your wallpaper or bedspread. That could limit your color courage. Let your quilt announce its own one-of-a-kindness by combining your quirky fabric supply with your innate color sense.
You're not sure you have an innate color sense? Oh, yes, you do. You dress yourself everyday. You can pick out a postcard of a painting which you like. Look around your house at the things which combine colors in ways that please you....the shower curtain? A skirt or scarf? The spines on a shelf full of books? A pile of children's games?
I hate the part of quilting where you have to cut out hundreds of perfect shapes. But with crazy log cabin quilting, you only have to cut the square center pieces of your cabins. These squares measure about 5 inches across. Cut a big pile of them. I chose a fabric which I loved which had a good selection of colors in it, to inspire the entire quilt.
A rotary cutter, a self-healing cutting mat, and plastic quilting templates make it easy to measure and cut accurately. All the "logs" will be cut freehand.
You can use any combination of threads you want!
You are ready to begin. Choose a piece of fabric you like to go next to the center square.
Working freehand, cut a rectangle which is a little larger in length than the center square. This is your first log.
Sew the pieces right sides together. It is not necessary to back stitch. I don't use pins. I just line the fabrics up along the edge of the sewing foot and go.
Iron the seams away from the center square.
Press on top of the fabrics, too. Keep your iron hot and close to your work space. You can even keep it right next to your sewing table, and lower the ironing board to sitting level, for easy reach.
Trim the extra fabric on the log so that it is even with the center square.
Add another piece of fabric across the end of the square and the first log. This aqua fabric was from a much loved pair of shorts.
This whimsical floral below will look nice next. You will find yourself slowing down as the number of different patterns and colors accrue. Don't lose your nerve. Keep going. It will probably all blend fine in the end.
Keep going around in a spiral, building your log cabin piece by piece.
If you cut some of the logs slanted, the patterns will start to dance. You can also vary the width of the logs. I like patches made of narrow logs best, like the one at the top of this posting, but I don't always have the patience to work that way.
I am using a template to finish my patch. I just center the template on the center patch, trim the edges with my rotary cutter, and I have a nice square patch which will be easy to piece, as crooked and slanting as all the log patches may be inside.
I don't work steadily on my crazy log cabin quilt. Whenever it is gray outside, or I am stuck for ideas, or I need cheering up, I will nibble on my quilt some more.