Friday, May 3, 2013

Mystery Quilt, Step#5

Darlene’s Mystery Quilt Step #5

Printable instructions here.

This month we have a border made from 48 blocks. Log cabin blocks, which are one of my very favorite blocks. The blocks are 5” finished, 5 1/2” before sewn in, all strips are 1 1/2”. I prefer to chain stitch my log cabin blocks, but if you prefer to do them another way, do whatever works for you.

Pressing with log cabin blocks is the preference of the quilter. Some people prefer to press each step, some prefer not to press anything until the block is complete. If you prefer not to press, make sure that each segment is opened fully when you lay it in place on the strip that you’re stitching it onto. Whether you press or not, make sure that all of the seam allowances are pressed or finger pressed away from the red centre or towards the centre. Either way works, but just stay consistent with whichever direction you choose.

For the centre of the blocks, I used red, which is the traditional colour for a log cabin centre. So to create the scrappy look, I chose several of my reds for the centre squares.   So, these instructions will be for 4 reds. From each red, cut one strip, 1 1/2” x 20”.

For the lights, again, you should have several for a good variety, I used 12-15 different lights. You need a minimum of 15 - 1 1/2” strips. To make more variety in the placements of the lights for each block, you can cut some of the strips into halves.

For the darks, I used again around 12-15 different darks. You will need a minimum of 18 - 1 1/2” strips. Again, you could cut some of them into halves.


Using the red strips that you cut for the block centres, pair them with an equal amount of light strips and stitch down the length of each pair. Do not press. 

Counter cut these strip sets into 48 - 1 1/2” segments.

Open one of the centre segments that you just cut and place it right side down onto a light strip ( right side up ). Use the picture here for placement. When you've reached the end of the light strip, start with another, preferably from a different fabric for more variety. Depending on the length of your light strips, you may have to do this several times until you've stitched on all of the segments. 

Stitch in place, then continue chain stitching the remainder of the centre sections onto light strips, making sure to butt the next segments flush up against the previous one that you stitched on. This creates less cutting for you later. ( It doesn't show up in the picture here, but there is a light strip under this that this unit it being stitched to)

At this point, you have to cut again. You can cut with your rotary cutter or your scissors, whichever you prefer. If you’ve chained stitched your centre sections close enough together in the previous step, you should only have to make one cut between the segments here.  (Again, it doesn't show up well, but off to the right side you can just barely see the bottom light strip that you're cutting the same size as the red and light section)

Now you’ve completed the first and second light logs, from here we move onto the first of the dark logs. Choose one of the dark strips, position the centre/light segments onto the dark strip using the picture here for placement. The last log that was stitched on is always positioned along the top, (the picture here shows this log just starting under the feed dogs) Stitch in place, again, being sure to butt the segments flush against one another. This isn't a great picture, but I added it to show you see the first centre segment just behind the presser foot, and then the next one butted flush against it. Continue with all of the segments, again using as many dark strips that are needed.

Cut, seperating the blocks.

Repeat the stitching again, with another dark log for each block. Again, the last log stitched on, in this case it would be the first dark log, is always positioned along the top of the segment as you it place the segment onto the next strip. 

Cut, seperating the blocks.

At this point, you’ve completed one set of logs all around (two lights and two darks). 

Move onto the next set of logs, starting again, with light logs making this the third light log stitched on.

Cut, and repeat with light again, this makes 4 light logs stitched on. 
Repeat the cutting process and then move on to the next dark logs (3 dark logs stitched on) Cut. 

Repeat with another dark log (4 dark longs stitched on).This completes the blocks. Press. I apologize for this next picture. I didn't realize that I missed the finished block until after I had them all sewn into the quilt.

Arrange your blocks around the quilt with 12 blocks on either side of the quilt, and 12 on each end. 

Stitch each of the 12 blocks into 4 long borders. Stitch one border onto either side of the quilt, press the seam allowance towards the border. Repeat, stitching the remaining two borders onto the top and bottom of the quilt. Press towards the border. 

Step 5, complete. The quilt at this point should measure 60 1/2” x 70 1/2”.


  1. Darlene, it's just beautiful!! Perhaps when I settle back into my home for the summer/fall, I might be able to clear up the 'list' and give this a try! I know everyone who is making this is having a ball!

  2. I LOVE log cabin blocks! So when I start on this quilt, maybe I'll start with this step first and set them aside. It would be a great way to start it off. Thanks, Darlene!

  3. Wow these are gorgeous, what a lovely quilt this is going to be!

  4. this step is so beautiful !! I love log-cabin !! it's perfect to finish my top !! many thanks Darlène !!

  5. I love log cabin blocks so this will be a fun addition ,just finished April's round so ready to start right in . Thanks Darlene

  6. That looks awesome! Can't wait to get started! It's going to be SO hard to wait until JULY for Step 6 (I know, I know - patience is a virtue.) Just curious... how many more steps will there be?

  7. The log cabin blocks are perfect for the next borders...gorgeous! Thanks for another great addition!

  8. Great to see! I love this border.

  9. Love this! The log cabin blocks are the perfect addition!

  10. This is my favorite row from the center! I have never made a log cabin quilt but I have made the blocks. Thank you for the extra time Darlene. Life has become busy for me. My grandkids are moving away and my life has seemed to stall. June first they go and I will have alot of time to sew, I am sure with some tears.

  11. I love this quilt and seeing this border just makes it more so. Pat yourself on the back, you are doing a wonderful job and thank you so much for sharing with us.

  12. Just started piecing my log cabin blocks and I wat to say that this is the easiest method ever! I can't believe how quickly it's going. I have a bin full of 1 1/2" strips which I'm using as well. I knew they' come in handy for something!

    I L-O-V-E scrappy!

  13. Have my logs all done and have them attached to the quilt , I just love making this quilt. Gail