Artful Log Cabin Quilts

Artful Log Cabins: Line and Grid

From Artful Log Cabin Quilts

By Katie Pasquini Masopust


Class Description:

The log cabin block is so very versatile, we will use that as the basis for creating linear abstract art quilts. Start with a painting or photograph, crop that to a strong personal composition, and overlay a grid. This can be an even grid, an uneven grid, or a curved or random grid. This linear drawing is laid over the inspiration photo or painting to become the map. Then log cabins made up of the colors found in each unit of the grid will be constructed and put together to make the quilt. The emphasis is on composition, variety, color, value, and visual pathways.

Class Length:

This can be a one-day class, with a shorter time for making the blocks, or a two-day class. I find the two-day class is the best.

Class Supply List:

  • Inspiration photos: landscapes, flowers, anything that inspires you
  • Fabrics: full values of the colors found in the inspiration photo
  • Permanent fine-point pen
  • Ruler, pencil, and marking pencils for drawing on the fabric
  • Clear tape
  • Sewing tools, including a darning foot
  • Rotary cutter, mat, and ruler
  • Iron and ironing surface to have by your side (or a wooden iron or other tool to finger press the seams)
  • Scissors, paper, and fabric
  • Sewing machine and thread for piecing
  • Batting, backing, and thread for quilting the surface
  • Shoe boxes to hold fabrics once they are cut into strips (or some other container to organize all of those strips!!)
  • Tracing paper
  • Drawing pencil and drafting ruler (not a rotary ruler; this ruler is for drawing your grid and you will want a 2˝-wide, ¼˝-grid, transparent ruler that is thinner than a rotary ruler)

A note about fabric: You will be making a wall quilt no larger than 24˝´ 36˝. You need lots of choices of fabrics, the more choices the better. You can cut your strips before class if you want. 1¼˝ strips works well, but if you want more variety and a less uniform look you can cut several sizes. I generally cut 1˝,˝, and 1½˝ strips of all of the colors. If you are unsure, you can cut your strips the first morning of class. Bring several uncut colors to use for centers (these can be up to 2˝ wide). All of this depends on your inspiration photo and the grid you choose to lay over it. But don’t stress, just bring lots of fabric! (And then add even more. Most students wish they had more choices once they get started!)

Classroom Preparation:

Provide design wall and ironing space for each student. For the longer class (two days or more), you can offer to enlarge students’ chosen grid sto the quilt size at a cost of approximately 10 dollars.

Class Agenda:

1. Help the students analyze their inspirational photos to see if they will work with the technique.

2. Crop inspirational photos if needed to get a stronger composition and color layout.

3. Demonstrate different kinds of grids.

4. Have students draw at least four different grids for their inspirational photo.

5. Enlarge the grid to the desired size of the quilt.

6. Cut strips of the colors and values found in the quilt.

7. Demonstrate a regular grid block.

8. Demonstrate a wonky grid block.

9. Spend time making blocks (this can be a short time in a one-day class or longer for a two-day class).

10. Demonstrate how to square up the blocks and sew them together.

11. Demonstrate different types of quilting.