Sunday, January 3, 2010

February Wonky Log Blocks

Since my month is quicky approaching, I have been scrambling to come up with a block that I thought everyone could make successfully. Though I really wanted curves (sigh...), I figured that might scare many people, and would be harder. I have an eclectic collection of brown and aqua/turquoise prints to use on this quilt, so this is what I have come up with. The making of this block is way easier than the making of these instructions!! Here are the instructions - I should have the fabric into the mail within a week or so.

Although this may not be the final layout which I select, it gives you an idea of what this modified wonky log cabin block might look like made up as a quilt with 24 blocks. To make it easier, I have written a tutorial for this block so you don't have to make the same mistake I made first time around. Also, if you follow the tutorial, it will better ensure that all the blocks are similar. I assume that all seams are 0.25".

Below is a sketch of this block. Use this sketch more for color and piece numbers than for exact log shapes. It yields a finished block that is 14-1/2" square. It is made from 9 different blues (ranging from aqua to turquoise), 7 different brown prints, and "bits" of brown and orange. I have tried to send enough different prints. If you have browns or aquas that look good, please feel free to use them. I want this quilt to have a definite scrappy look.

This is a wonky log block which has "bits" (1-2" pieces) placed into the outer 2 rows (rows 6 to 13) in the brown and blue logs, intended to give a confetti look. The sketch below shows them in the 11B, 6A, 9C and 12B locations, but they could be in the other 4 possible positions in logs 10, 12, 8, or 7 instead. I prefer to keep the number of bits to just 2 of each color (4 total per block, at your choice of position). Orange bits go in the brown logs, and brown bits go in the aqua logs.

Here is the block tutorial...

1. Start with the center block (1). It is cut a 4-1/2" square. Feel free to use something you have or cameo cut a print that you have it you feel it is better than what I send. It is a brown print. 2. "Wonk" the block very slightly. I caution you not to over-wonky the blocks or this tutorial will yield a finished block that is not the desired size. Taking off 0.25" to 0.5" on only one or two sides of the square (as shown below) is sufficient.

3. Next we sew on the first row of logs. They are cut 2.5" to 2.75" wide. Note that the logs in this row should not have any of the "bits" added into the row. I have indicated what size I chose to cut these strips for the block I made, but as long as they are between 2.25 and 3" you should be fine. If you use a smaller width strip here, use a wider strip on another row.
4. Shown below with the next 2 logs added. The block is pressed and ends rotary trimmed after each log is added.
5. Add log #5 of 1st row, press and trim ends. Note that this block is wonky shaped right now.
6. Now, I trim the block to approximately a 8" square. This forces the edges to become slightly wonky. You will need to be careful trimming this to maintain a square block, even if it is slightly different from 8".
7. Next I lay out the next row of logs and bits that go in these logs. My bits are cut 2" and will result in a 1.5" finished bit width. There's nothing scientific about the width - choose anywhere between 1" to 2" for a finished width bit. Also note that the width of the logs for this 2nd row of logs should be not wider than 2-1/2", or else the next row will get trimmed too much.
8. First I sew the bits into the log rows to create a single strip to add onto the block.

9. Then the logs are sewn on one at a time. Log 6 is added first, pressed and ends rotary trimmed. Log 7 is sewn next, pressed and then trimmed. Then the same for logs 7 and 8. The following picture shows the 2nd row of logs added, but the block is not trimmed yet.
10. Now I "wonky" trim the block slightly. I took off 0.375" to 0.5" diagonal cuts off of only 2 sides, as shown below. I found better results to "wonky" cut off of different sides than I had cut from initially. This may have just been my dumb-blind luck too!
11. Lay out the last (3rd) row of logs and the bits. As shown, please take care in placing the aqua pieces in the upper left corner so that the stair-stepping is shown. My logs in this row are 2.5" to 3" wide.
12. Sew bits into the logs and then add the logs to the block. They are sewn on #10 first, then #11, then #12, and #13, pressing and trimming ends after each seam.

13. Below is the finished block with all logs rows sewn on. It has not yet been trimmed to the desired 14-1/2" square. It is about 16" right now.
14. Trim the block to 14-1/2" square carefully. Since it is not the size of a standard template, it takes a bit more care. You may find a paper template/guide helpful, but I did it on my rotary cutting mat just by being careful. This is the step where a little bit of "wonky" trimming is done. It should look kind of like the next picture. My block and logs are not excessively wonky, as I prefer the subtle wonky look. Note...If you prefer to send me the block before it is trimmed to 14.5", that is fine. I have templates of all sizes and can easily cut this to 14.5".
15. Here's a peek at the backside. I don't care if you choose to press seams open or to one side, so long as the block is flat and smooth on the backside. Good pressing makes the machine quilting look so much better.
16. Have Fun!!...lots of it :-)
17. If you are making two of these, as most people agreed to, they are to be the same geometry(as opposed to mirror images, etc.)
18. scraps...shouldn't be much, toss them.
After you receive your fabrics, please confirm that you have (at a minimum) fabrics of the following lengths/sizes. I have also sent a few additional pieces for you to select from. Remember that you will need to verify you have each of these for BOTH blocks you are making, and hopefully there is enough variety so that each block does have fabric repeats. Feel free to use from your own stash too if you want. I'd love to have a little bit of each of you in my quilt!
Log Lengths (approximate minimum which I should have provided) and colors:
#2 - 5.5" aqua
#3 - 7.25" aqua
#4 - 7.25" brown
#5 - 9" brown
#6 - 9.5" aqua
#7 - 11" aqua
#8A - 9.5" brown
#8B - 2.25" aqua
#9A - 3.5" aqua
#9BD - 9.5" brown
#10 - 13" aqua
#11 - 14.5" aqua
#12AC - 10.5" brown
#12D - 5.5" aqua
#13A - 7.25" aqua
#13B - 11" brown
If you have any questions, please email me.


  1. Thanks, Margaret. This is great! I've been dying to do some wonky log cabin blocks. I can't wait to get started. Thanks for being so on the ball and ahead of the game with this, and all the details are great. I'm really excited to get started on something new and fun after being engrossed in Christmas gift projects for so long. I really appreciate having the extra time for our first month, too.

  2. I got your fabric today and I am looking forward to digging in and sewing!

  3. I got your fabric and I have to admit that i was a bit intimidated by the tutorial but i took it step by step and voila! one block! i am going to start the second now and am so glad that you posted this wonderful tutorial it is always nice to learn something new!