Oh my goodness – this month has flown by! I’m finally sharing the monthly prompt for a quick service idea you can throw into your sewing mix!
Thank you so much for the service you’re already providing! I’ve received your emails seen you tag things you’ve made on Instagram and it’s warmed my heart! Please keep sharing using the #SewGoodness hashtag so others can join the cause!
New to Sew Goodness and want to know what’s going on? Check out this page for a brief introduction as well as links back to the prompts and charities from past months.
This month I wanted to do something simple and fun and a quick finish without any special supplies. I’ve been thinking it would be great to put out a Quilt Block challenge to be made into quilts for a good cause, because many hands make light work (or in other words – many blocks make fast quilts!)
As I was discussing with friends what would be a fun block, they reminded of the quick and super fun to make, scrappy, wonky log cabin blocks!
You may remember my red blocks I made last year. They were a blast to make. There’s no serious measuring or math, so they come together really quickly. AND they’re perfect for using up all of those scraps that accumulate!
So here’s the cause this month: Make a monochromatic (meaning one color) scrappy log cabin block measuring 12 1/2″ x 12 1/2″. Feel free to make them any color you like, just stick to one color per block. And feel free to make more than one, if you like!
When you’re done, email me for a mailing address (email@example.com). I’d like to see how many blocks we can collect by the end of April!
Are you interested in sewing blocks together or quilting one of the quilts? Please email me (or leave a comment on this post) and I will get in touch with you!
There are many methods out there for similar blocks. If you’re looking for a simple way to piece these blocks, my friend Emily of Simple Girl Simple Life came up with this easy to follow tutorial and generously allowed me to share it here.
Here is Emily’s method for making a Wonky Log Cabin Block:
I am well aware that I am not inventing anything new here, as there are a million tutorials out there for Wonky Log Cabin Blocks. I’m just going to share my method for getting down and dirty with your scraps. I’m also aware that my blocks are not “true” log cabin style blocks. I’m going for a loose interpretation, but the general idea is the same.
First off, I organize my scraps by color
I keep them in these clear plastic shoe boxes from Wal-Mart ($1). This make it easy for me to see what I actually have, besides making my shelves look pretty. These bins contain my string-like scraps — long skinny pieces I’ve saved from the trash can.
I lay my scraps in the bin nice and flat so I don’t have to iron them when I use them. (No reason to add extra work.) Once a color bin is overflowing it’s time to tackle the scraps!
So here’s where things get down and dirty…
Step one is to DUMP the bin on the floor!
The dump method makes it easier to see what you have while sewing and sorting.
Once you’ve dumped your scraps it’s time to do a quick sort. Pull out scraps and sort them into equal lengths. But if you spend more than 5 minutes doing this, you are taking too long! You don’t need to sort the whole bin, just enough to get you started.
Pull out the smallest scraps first.
Mine are about 1.5″ wide by 2″ long, but just use whatever you have.
These will be the start of your blocks.
The idea is to make multiple blocks at a time while using the size of the scrap to determine it’s placement on each block. By doing this you can think less with minimal trimming!! (Who doesn’t want less work?!)
After pulling out all the tiny scraps, lay them out on your design board and try to match up similar sized pieces. (The picture above shows my matched pieces before they are sewn.)
Once you have done that, chain piece them into pairs fast and furiously. These are now your block centers.
Then it’s time to iron.
(Iron open or to one side, it doesn’t matter.)
Next, lay your newly ironed pairs out on your design board, dig thru your scraps for more small scraps, add them to each pair, and sew like the wind! Remember, you are trying not to trim so find similar sized pieces.
This picture shows how I’ve matched up scraps as I’ve added on. Sometimes I’ll combine my initial pairs together (like the block in the upper right corner) and sometimes I’ll add a new scraps, always letting the size dictate it’s placement.
Once you are done sewing on a new scrap to your blocks, take them back to the ironing board, iron, find a scrap that is the right size, sew, and REPEAT. Over and Over and Over…
I can’t stress enough that chain piecing will be your best friend!
The goal is to mix up the placement of lights and darks in your block to create more depth and dimension in the quilt. If you put scraps that are too close in value together it will create less dimension. But again, the idea is not to think too hard. That’s why making multiple blocks at a time is so helpful. If a scrap doesn’t work for one block it will likely work in another.
And, because my fabric is all over the floor I can sort and find the length I need easily for each block without much effort.
Once the blocks get to a certain point I will need to start cutting strips to length. But I use my scissors. Again, fast and furious (down and dirty) is the name of the game. No need for a rotary cutter at this point.
You can see on the back of my block that not everything is perfectly trimmed. I’m totally ok with that because it’s so minimal. And no one looks at the back.
Let me stress again, that the only trimming I’ve done at this point is cutting off super long ends with scissors. The rest of the scrap is used as is. That is how it becomes wonky!
Once you get into a rhythm you can bust out blocks pretty quickly and tear thru your scraps fast.
Chain piece, chain, piece, chain piece…
Find a scrap, sew, iron, repeat! Easy as that!
Once your block is BIG, square it up to 12.5″. If your block isn’t wonky enough, this is when you can add some extra tilt.
Up close your blocks might be a bit crazy, but once you step back and look at the whole picture (as I like to call it… using the “Galloping Horse” Method) you’ll enjoy great dimension in your quilt.
Okay, so to sum up again:
Pull out your scraps and make a 12 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ improv log cabin block (or two, or three, or four…) and send them to me by the end of April. (Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for mailing address.)
You can always pin this image to help you find the tutorial again later, if that’s easier for you.
Leave a comment or message me if you’re interested in helping to sew blocks together or possibly quilt one of them.
Remember, these monthly prompts are just ideas for those who are looking for a cause that’s the right fit for them that month.
If you’ve already got a charitable sewing project in the works, just keep going! Don’t feel like you need to start a new one.
I’m so inspired by so many of you. Next month we are going to focus on one of the most popular suggestions: Days for Girls. Helping out with Days for Girls has been something I’ve wanted to get involved with for a long time. I’m so excited to learn more of how to do that myself!