Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Book Review - Log Cabin Quilt ebook by Fons & Porter

Eric Woolf, the Online Media Coordinator for Fons & Porter, asked me to write a review for their latest eBook, Build Your Best Log Cabin - Free Log Cabin Quilt Patterns You can access it here for free.
The book was 24 pages long and focused on three log cabin designs, the Traditional, Courthouse Steps, and the Chevron.Each pattern type came with beautiful photos, basic instructions, and a really nice cutting chart to accommodate a variety of finished quilt sizes.

A very important yet often overlooked detail in pattern instructions, finished size proportions, were provided for both the finished quilt as well as the finished block. Each project was also labelled with a project rating of either easy, intermediate or challenging. To finish up the details, each project also provided a list of material requirements to complete the suggested color layout.

I've sewn log cabin quilts in the past. My first one was a traditional block created to insulate a drafty door in an ancient building we lived in while stationed in Germany. The second one was the courthouse steps pattern which I gave to my father years ago. So to test the instructions in this book, I chose this time the Chevron Log Cabin.
There was a pattern for a doll size quilt to represent the chevron pattern, but I focused instead on the sample picture provided and tested the size chart. For my blocks, I chose the smallest size, 4 1/2 inches, with a strip width of only 1". Silly me, I thought that if the blocks were smaller and narrower, the project would go faster. Wrong. If anything, working with such tiny pieces of fabric made the process longer. There is no room for error in a tiny block. One tip I did pick up on was in the margins of the book. Their quick tip was to line a pizza box with a piece of batting to hold the strips without them sliding around. I tried that using a flat plastic box I had on hand and it worked!

The chevron block I made consisted of 8 strip sets, a total of 17 pieces per 4 1/2" block. I cut out the pieces exactly as instructed per the size chart. Here is where I would add a suggestion in the book. While the size chart depicts the width, the quilter should cut the strips a a 1/2" longer than the required length. So many variables are present that the book cannot account for to ensure accurate quilting. Besides sewing an accurate 1/4" seam using accurately cut strips of fabric, other variables would be the tension of either the top thread or the bobbin thread, whether a sewing machine needs a tune up, or in my case stopping and starting in the middle of sewing a block to answer a phone call or tend to a sickly daughter can also play a significant role in the finished results. As you can see, by the time I got to the end of each row, there wasn't quite enough fabric to stretch to the end. The technique I normally would use is to use a piece a little longer than needed then have a little extra to block and trim at each strip for more successful results.

I can fix this for the most part through blocking or resewing, and although it isn't quite done yet, I wanted to show you the chevron blocks so far. My plans are to turn this into a pillow cover.

The last section of the book included instructions on how to add piping to the binding and how to create binding with no lumps. I enjoyed this book and found it to be a well written primer for a very popular and versatile pattern.

1 comment:

  1. Very lovely! The colors you used are so pleasing, serene and vibrant all at the same time.:)