Quilting, Tutorials

Traditional And Modern Log Cabin Quilt Blocks

Traditional Log Cabin Block

Traditional log cabin quilt blocks are made of dark and light strips of fabric that are sewn around a small square in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction. These blocks are very simple but so versatile. They create different quilt layouts and effects depending on the color, contrast, and placement.

Courthouse Steps Block

Courthouse steps block is a variations of the traditional log cabin block, created by sewing strips in pairs instead of a circular motion. To make this block, sew 2 strips to opposite sides of a center square, then add 2 strips to the remaining sides; continue adding stripes in the same order.

Quarter Log Cabin Block

Quarter log cabin is another common variation of the traditional log cabin block. It’s created by adding strips to only 2 sides of a center square instead of all the way around. So, you basically work from corner to corner rather than from the center out.

Contemporary Log Cabin Blocks

The concept of creating modern blocks is the same as for the traditional log cabin block & its variations, but instead of using a square for the center, you can use all kinds of other shapes – Diamonds, hexagons, triangles, rectangles, pentagons and even improvised shapes. Here are just a few modern block ideas:

  • Rhombus Log Cabin Block (diamond shape) – Sew strips around a diamond in the same manner as for the traditional log cabin block or courthouse steps block.
  • Hexagon Log Cabin Block – Sew strips around a hexagon in the same manner as for the traditional log cabin block or courthouse steps block.

NOTE: The traditional layout for hexagons requires using partial seams (marked red in the diagram below). For the courthouse steps layout, add 3 strips to opposite sides instead of 2.

  • Triangle Log Cabin Block – Sew strips around a triangle in the same manner as for the traditional log cabin block or build your block by adding strips to 1 or 2 sides.

I love incorporating log cabin designs into my quilting patterns. Here is an example of hexagon shaped log cabin block that creates a bear muzzle in my Cuddles The Hexi Bear Rug Pattern.