I love to sew, mainly quilts and bags. I am 62, married to Fred and have one son, Matthew who is 24. I enjoy embroidery and applique and prefer to machine piece and quilt my projects. I love my vintage Singer sewing machines especially my Featherweight 222K. I've recently started collecting Miniature Sewing Machines, three Essex and one Singer 20 and a Vulcan Countess. My love of sewing I believe comes from my Grandmother - I still have the drawings she made for me to embroider on tea towels many many years ago!

Sunday, 13 February 2011




This weeks block was fun and very easy.  I can't believe that I have NEVER made a log cabin block before!!!   and I have NEVER made a courthouse steps block either!!!

My fabric choices for the log cabin actually look better off camera.  I had no trouble with this block!  I did find that it needed a true 1/4" seam, not a scant one.  My block came out at 8 1/2" square with no trimming required.

I was so taken with Spiral's courthouse steps version of this block, that I made one too!!!   Thank you Jeanne!  I love the courthouse steps block!!


Well not too much to say here.  The block went together very well.  As I said above, a TRUE  1/4" seam allowance is required, NOT a scant 1/4".   Well, that's how it went for me anyway!!

Now, my general quilting tip for today.......

You know how you change your blade on your rotary cutter???  I always change mine as soon as it starts missing threads.  Well, I changed the blade on my cutter only a day or two ago and yet today it was groaning through the fabric!   I decided to take the cutter apart again and give it a good clean.... inside the blade area was a heap of lint!  Once I cleaned it and replaced all the bits, it cuts like a dream again!!  Now, keep in mind this was a NEW blade just a matter of perhaps 48 hours ago!! (yes, I did clean the whole darn thing when I replaced the blade!)     Then it hit me... I am using the 10" squares of 19th Century fabrics which I collected last year and DID NOT WASH!  The way I see it is that this fabric will have much more lint and fluff in it than fabrics I have washed prior to cutting.   So, it makes sense to me that I will need to clean the rotary cutter more frequently during this project.

So, if you are having trouble with your rotary cutter not playing nicely, take it apart and give it a really good clean!!!

Now I can go and make some more of those delicious Hot Cross Bun blocks!!

Happy Sewing!!


  1. The colours in your blocks look great. I just LOVE log cabin design but I have never done a courthouse steps one.
    Thanks for reminding me to clean my rotary cutter more often.

  2. Beautiful blocks Helen and beautiful fabrics !

  3. Just took mine apart and had a clean out!! Your blocks look great; your fabrics are lovely.

  4. Put the hot cross bun down!
    Ypu know that they're fattening & it's weeks until Easter xx

  5. I like your fabrics/colors on both blocks! I was glad to get an easy block this week.
    I just changed the blade in my cutter too, but it's still missing threads. I'm so afraid of handling the blades, I didn't check for lint. I'll have to take it apart and turn it over and check. Thanks for the tip. :)

  6. As usual, a great tip. And your log cabin block looks great. I like all the log cabin versions.

  7. Pretty blocks! In about 4 yes I have made 118 log cabin blocks. I took a strip piecing class and then a BOM from a shop owner who calls herself the "log cabin queen." to top it all off - whenever I show DH a book and ask him which patterns he likes, it's always some log cabin type block!

  8. Really love the choise of fabrics in both of your blocks. They are fun to make. I too find that cleaning my rotary cutter helps a lot. Thanks for the tips.

  9. Log Cabin is one of my favorites. There is no problem with color. Nearly everything matches.
    Now I want to know what is 1/4" seam and 1/4" scant. I read this all the time and never really know what they are talking about.
    I love your Civil War patches. I probably should give them a try.
    Oh, one more thing. My husband told me when changing the blade on the rotary cutter turn the blade over and get a bit more life from it. Old carpenters trick I think

  10. Looking great! I promptly cleaned out my rotary cutter - yuk! Thank you for the reminder!

  11. OMG! can't believe this is your first Log Cabin :-) Great colours. Thanks for the rotary cutter hints.

  12. Oh that reminds me to change my blade... so now I'll clean it too! Thanks :)

  13. I have replied to Blue Ridge Mountains.....

    Well, I have always called a true 1/4" seam one that I sew with my absolutely exact 1/4" - I am fortunate that my walking foot works perfectly for this. If I sew with this needle position, and if I put three 1 1/2" strips together, I will end up with a piece measuring 3 1/2" with the middle fabric measuring an exact 1" and the outside two measuring 1 1/4". Now if I have a quilt pattern which requires a "scant" 1/4" seam, I am able to move my needle a thread or two to the right which results in a seam which is just a tad under 1/4". I usually do a test block first for blocks which have lots of piecing. If I find that my points are cut off or that the unit does not measure what it should, then I play with my 1/4" seam.

    I was so surprised to find so much lint and fluff inside my rotary cutter so soon after cleaning it and changing the blade. It can only be that my fabrics have not been washed. I usually wash everything before cutting, but as these were 10" squares I didn't bother. I will try your hubby's hint, as it makes sense as there are two sides to the cutting edge. I keep my old blades and use them for cutting wadding (batting) or polar fleece - these products blunt your blade anyway so might as well use up the old ones.

  14. Thanks for the comments on my blocks Helen. I like both of yours as well. I think I may make the courthouse steps but do it at 12" and add a star as the center. If you make the log cabin with thinner logs make sure to post a photo.
    I agree about the lint in the blades and the unwashed fabric. I cut leftover batting into 3" squares and use them to wipe the lint from my blades.
    When I write my patterns I always say to use a scant 1/4" seam because you have to allow for the fold as you press a seam open. This small increment is minor when it is only 1 seam but in quilting we have so many seams even in a small block and they add up!

  15. Your blocks look great! Love the color contrast.