Frequent Quiltmaker contributor Scott Flanagan designed Sodalite Cabins for Quiltmaker’s January/February 2018 issue, and graciously offered to share some tips for picking fabrics and using a die cutter to make his large 100” x 100” bed quilt with our readers.
It is wonderful to be joining you all today! The January/February 2018 issue of Quiltmaker features one of my all time favorite patterns, Sodalite Cabins. It combines my love of sampler-style quilts, star blocks and the traditional log cabin into one striking quilt. I have been getting a lot of comments and questions about this quilt as well as requests for tips and tricks for making it. So, I thought I would share that information with all of you!
The quilt is designed to be scrappy in nature so you can use a LOT of different fabrics. For my quilt I purchased 13 half-yard cuts of blues, 13 half-yard cuts of creams, 3/4 yard for the inner border, and 3 yards for the outer border and binding.
There is a LOT of cutting involved in this quilt and I wanted to speed it up as much as possible. My favorite AccuQuilt die is the Log Cabin. It cuts everything you need to the perfect size. I could be biased as it was designed by my friend and boss Leslie Main, but it really made cutting the log cabins a breeze. I also used the 2-1/2” (2” finished square die) and 2” Finished Half Square Triangle Die to help speed up the cutting on the Star blocks.
Let’s tackle the Log Cabin blocks first. There are 52 blue/cream Log Cabin blocks and 12 all-cream blocks. I tried using just a cream square instead of the all-cream blocks, but with all the other piecing in the quilt those blocks looked very stark without any seam lines. If you want to leave those blocks solid though, you will need 12 8-1/2” x 8-1/2” squares.
If you are going to use the GO! and Log Cabin die, start out by cutting 52 6-1/2” x 10-1/2” blue rectangles and 76 6-1/2” x 10-1/2” cream rectangles. You will want the 10-1/2” to be cut on the length of fabric to ensure accuracy when rolling through the GO!. You will only be using the first 8 logs of the die. Lay up to 6 layers of fabric on the die and start cutting! In no time you will have all your Log Cabin patches cut out. Follow Step 2 instructions on page 24 for sewing the Block W’s and X’s; they should measure 8-1/2” x 8-1/2”.
Next is the 8 small 8” finished Star Blocks. For these blocks you need 2 shades of blue for each Star. For die cutting the Large Star points you need 4 2-1/2” x 4-1/2” rectangles, and for the small points you need 4 blue 2-1/2” x 2-1/2” Half Square Triangles. Follow Step 2 instructions on page 24 for sewing Block Y’s; they should measure 8-1/2” x 8-1/2”.
On to the 4 Medium 16” Star Blocks! Again make each star different: every star in the sky is different and it will add texture and visual interest to the project. For each star you will need 3 shade of blue. Make sure to lay out your choices before cutting. You want to make sure there is good contrast in each round. Follow Step 2 instructions on page 24 for sewing 4 Section 1’s and assembling into Block Z. The Block Z’s should measure 16-1/2” x 16-1/2”.
Now to tackle the Large Central Star. For this star you will need 7 shades of blue from light to dark. When I made my sample I actually started with this star first as I wanted to make sure I could use my favorite blues in it. Then with what was left I made all the other star blocks.
The Instructions on Page 24 will walk you through making all the different combinations of triangle-squares you need to make for Units 7–16. Watch when you go to make Sections 2 and 3 that you make them mirror images of each other. It is easy to sew on autopilot and get the triangles turned the wrong direction.
Once you have all the blocks created go to your design wall (or floor, or bed) and lay out the whole quilt. Take a digital picture and walk away for a few minutes. Then come back and look at the picture and see if anything looks out of place. I quite often find a block that is turned wrong in the picture before I see it when looking at the actual quilt. The picture will also help you to see if you need to move any blocks around because all of one blue ends up in one corner.
You are now ready to assemble your top, add borders, quilt and bind it!! And in the matter of a couple paragraphs, your quilt is done! OK, so maybe not that fast, but one can always wish.
I have attached coloring book-type pages for the Log Cabin and Star blocks (click here to download!). You can color the blocks as you want your quilt to look and also use them to help keep track of what fabric you want where!
If you have any additional questions, or want to send me a picture of your completed quilt, find me on Facebook at 4th and Main Designs.