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Design a Log Cabin quilt pattern that starts with a picture

by Neva Joy Baird
(Haughton, La )

A Log Cabin quilt block design with 3 rounds of logs<br><br>Click on each thumbnail below for a larger image<br><br>

A Log Cabin quilt block design with 3 rounds of logs

Click on each thumbnail below for a larger image

Joy writes...

Hi Julie,

My name is Joy Baird and I am trying to make a memory quilt with pictures of my granddaughter from ages 1 month to 12 months.

My pictures are printed on 6.25 x 6.25 leaving 1/4 inch for sewing.

I don't know how long to cut the strips for this pattern.

The quilt will be a king size quilt and I would like to know how to get the sizes of the strips I need.

I like a 2 inch wide strip.

Thank you so much for your help.

Oh, I am trying to make a Log Cabin quilt.

Thanks again.

Julie replies...

Hi Joy!

In order to help you, I need some more information.
  1. What are the measurements of the king size quilt that you need to make. Since you're making the quilt yourself, you get to choose what will best fit your bed.

    Check out this page on the website if you need help figuring out what will work best for you...

    "Quilt Sizes on Patterns are Not Consistent".

    ...there's a link to a "Worksheet for Calculating Quilt Sizes" to help you do this towards the bottom of the page.

  2. Are the pictures on 6-1/4" squares now? What I'm trying to determine is the finished size of the squares, i.e. cut size minus 1/2" equals finished size. That means if the squares are already cut, the finished size is 6-1/4" - 1/2" = 5-3/4" square. If the blocks aren't cut already, and you can cut them 6-1/2" square, that'd be great. I just need to know either way to properly design this Log Cabin quilt.

  3. For the strip you like working with 2" finished strips or 2" cut strips? 2" cut strips finish at 1-1/2" wide.

  4. I am assuming that the block you want to make looks like the image at the top of this page. If so, how many 'rounds' of strips would you like? The picture has a center square and 3 rounds of logs.

  5. Do you want solid borders on your quilt or will the log cabin blocks go all the way to the edge. If you want solid borders, how wide do you want them?
With answers to those questions,
I should be able to provide an estimate of how much fabric you'll need and the cutting instructions to get you started.

In the meantime, you might want to take a look at this page, "Log Cabin Quilt Designs" for some ideas on how to lay out the blocks. You'll find all sorts of ideas there!

Just let me know.


Julie Baird


Thanks for your responses in the Comments section below, Joy!

I'll show you where I started design-wise. This is before I heard back from you because, hey!, I just love to mess around with quilt designs! :D

I began with 1" wide finished strips with three rounds of logs are the baby pictures. (That was the block shown at the top of this page and then added another version of this Log Cabin block with 5 rounds of 1" finished logs around a 1-3/4" center square to make the blocks equal in size. The blocks are 11-3/4" finished.

The resulting quilt is 8 blocks across by 8 blocks down. With a quarter inch finished binding it measures 95" square.

Here is my first attempt.

Log Cabin quilt pattern - Design 1

And my second with a slightly different placement for the baby pictures.

Log Cabin quilt pattern - Design 2

Now using the information you provided with 2" finished strips and three rounds the block now finishes at 17-3/4". You can see the difference in the blocks below. The baby pictures are less prominent in the larger blocks. The blocks are shown to scale.

Log Cabin quilt pattern - Block variation 1Log Cabin quilt pattern - Block variation 2

The resulting designs are now 6 by 6 blocks and 107" finished (including that 1/4" binding).

The first design.

Log Cabin quilt pattern - Design 3

And the second. An asymmetrical design.

Log Cabin quilt pattern - Design 4

With the larger blocks there are fewer design options. If I was to pursue this design any further, I'd probably remove the picture(s) from either the top or top two row(s). I wouldn't want the baby pictures to be hidden either under the pillows or in a pillow tuck.

My rough estimate is that for a quilt this big you'll need between 13-14 yards of fabric for the quilt top. As we get closer to the final design I'll do the real calculations.

Do any of these Log Cabin quilt pattern designs appeal to you?

Let me know, again in the Comments section below. :D



Comments for Design a Log Cabin quilt pattern that starts with a picture

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Another option
by: Julie Baird, Editor

OK. So thinking on this over the weekend, I'm thinking about changing up the block a bit to a Courthouse Steps.

You can see the design page for it here. Then scroll down to "Courthouse Steps Quilt: Color Variation #1".

I'm suggesting this for a couple of reasons:
  1. Once the blocks are stitched there won't be a lot of seams to match. That'll make it easier.

  2. If you're using a bunch of prints and solids, we'll be able to use all of that...maybe even some of the baby's clothes cut up (if that's something you're interested in) to add to the squares.
Sometimes I AM slow to grasp the situation. (My bad!) Do you currently have any quilting rulers? If so, what sizes? Do you have a rotary cutter and mat? I am assuming that you will be stitching this on your sewing machine. Do you have a quarter inch foot for it?

I've been pondering how to write this over the weekend. I am so worried that it is going to sound wrong in black and white print on a computer screen. Know that if you were one of my quilting students in a beginning quilting class, I would give you this same advice...

...If this is your very first quilt, don't do it. Please start on something smaller and work your way up.

From my own experience, I had many, many, many (until I threw them out to stamp out my quilt-guilt) quilt projects that I'd started with the best of intentions, that I just never got around to finishing. If you're a beginning quilter, the sheer size of this project will be daunting. You will hit a point where it seems like it will NEVER end.

Then once it is pieced, then there's the quilting. This is a HUGE quilt to quilt on your home sewing machine. If you click over to my Beginning Machine Quilting page and then scroll down to the section "Your Attitude is So Important", those sentiments are taken directly from my teaching handout, one that I've used for years.

The bottom line is that I want you to be successful. So successful, in fact, that you are bit by the quilting-bug and want to do another. Immediately. And love it!

Don't get me wrong. I am more than willing to re-draft the design for you, but I just want you to know what you're getting into.

Let me know what you think and we'll move forward!



log cabin blocks
by: Joy

I like what you did with the pictures in the center. Although I just found out that a real log cabin quilt has lights on one side and dark on the other side, but my quilt will just have prints and solids all around the picture. I need something simple as I'm not good at quilter. Thank you so much for taking the time to help me with this.

Now we're cooking with gas!
by: Julie Baird, Editor

Hi Joy!

I'm going to add my responses into the page above so that there's more room for the pictures that I'll be showing you. Please look above!

~ Julie B

size of picture
by: Neva Joy Baird

The pictures have been printed on fabric as a 6 1/4 x 6 1/4. So when I sew the strips on the finished center will be a 6 x 6 center. Thank you

info you need
by: Neva Joy Baird

The pictures are cut at 6 1/4 by 6 1/4. I like 2 inch finished strips. Yes the image you have will work just fine. As for as how many rounds I need, I am not sure. I will have 12 blocks with the pictures starting with my granddaughter at 1 month on to 12 months. I guess to make it look right there would need to be 4 rows of pictures with 3 rows across. I can have a border and as far as how wide I don't care just as long as I can get the pictures in the quilt. The king size I think is width 90-100 length 90-104. I thank you so much. I knew at this and your help is appreciated very much.

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