Sunday, September 27, 2009

Quilt Along | 6. Wonky Bento Box-Style Block

Hello, friends!

I apologize that it's taken longer than expected to post this fourth and final block for the quilt-along. I really didn't know what to call this block, but it seems to me like a wonky version of the popular bento box block. I'm sure that many of you perceptive folks have already figured out that it's just four smaller quarter log cabin squares arranged in a "round-the-block"-type manner.

Let's get started, shall we? I'm sure you could have guessed by now that we always start with a square:

Add your first round of logs:

And, after those are sewn, pressed, and trimmed, add another round:

Don't forget to give your block some personality (aka "wonk" : ) by trimming at interesting angles:

Continue with a fourth round ...

... and a fifth:

This is likely a good time to trim up and see how you're faring. First, I trimmed up the sides:

Then, I didn't really like the point forming at the top right of the block ...

... so I trimmed the block again to even it out:

I used a 6.5" square cutting ruler to check my progress:

Looks like one more wide border will do it:

Cool. Now I can use my ruler to square up the block:

Ta-da! A nice & neat, trimmed-up 6.5" block:

Now make three more 6.5" blocks:

Arrange them in a way that's pleasing to your eye:

Sew two pairs of blocks together, and be sure to press the seams in opposing directions. For example, in the picture below, the seam that joins the top two blocks is pressed to the right, while the one joining the bottom two is pressed to the left:

Here's a picture of the back of the blocks at this point (just because I think y'all enjoyed seeing the block backs in previous posts):

Finally, join the block pairs together to get your 12.5" block:

And there you have it!

This block takes just a little bit longer to make than the others, but I think that extra work is rewarded by the more complex look that it achieves. I am in love with its final effect and think that an entire quilt made from these blocks would be stunning.

Edited to add: Looking for a shortcut? You can always make a couple of larger wonky log cabin blocks, cut them into quarters, and rearrange them to achieve the same effect. Your block would have to be 13" square to yield four 6.5" quarter blocks. My only advice here is to make sure you start with a pretty large starting (center) square, so that it's not lost when cut up. Oh, and you also need to be careful to keep that center square fairly centered in the block.

I had intended to include this tip but forgot when writing the post. Thanks, Tami, for suggesting the idea in your comment and reminded me to come back and amend the tutorial!

So that's it! You're now armed with the information you need to make four different variations of the wonky log cabin block. Now the decisions are yours: how many blocks your quilt will be, and which style(s) you'll use. Most importantly, HAVE FUN!! I really can't wait to see what you come up with!

Don't forget to post your pictures to the Flickr pool. I'll check back in a few days with some reminders of wonderful resources for basting, quilting, and binding your quilt.


  1. Thanks for taking the time to do this demonstration. It really takes the scariness out of complex looking quilts!

  2. LOVE this block! but i don't know if my ocdishness(lol!) can handle a wonky block-i can't even do random scrappy lol!

  3. This one is most definitely my favorite. Love the soft colors, and that it's just "wonky" enough to add interest, but not so much as to set off my internal alarms. (OCD, indeed!) Thanks for sharing.

  4. I love these... I am so bad. I made 4 blocks then stalled out. I am trying to get my Christmas presents done. I am definitely going to make more blocks today.

  5. this block is so very wonderful!!! i think i love this one most of all.

  6. Is there some reason why you couldn't just make 4 blocks that are full wonky blocks but larger (to allow for seam allowances) then cut those in quarters and mix up the pieces? I'd think that might be a little quicker? Can you think of something that would make that a less desirable way to do it?

  7. Thanks for all of your great tutorials! I just need to find time to get sewing!!!

  8. you and all your great ideas.. how am i ever supposed to get anything done??

  9. Thanks John - you make it look so easy!!

  10. Okay John, you're taking lots of notes and pictures for your first book right?! LOL! You're a natural talent and I think it's something you should consider.Looks great!

  11. This is my favorite one! Great demos, thanks for all the work you've put into showing us.

  12. Hi Dad! I think it's very cool that there are a few guys on the planet who quilt! I'll be checkin in on your blog from time to time to see what you're up to!

  13. Looks fantastic! I love the wonkyness of the block and the colors/patterns remind me of a picnic. Thanks for the tutorial!

  14. Ok - I like it! But you pretty please tell me the name of the dots you used, and the solid background fabric (red and then a blue) with the little flowers? pretty please!

  15. i ADORE this block! i have a problem with making log cabins wonky. they just seem to want to stay "normal". i will try your tute and see if that doesnt help. thanks for the great tute john

  16. I absolutely loved the Wonky Bento Box. I have been searching all over for a quilt design that would fit my nine year old daughter for christmas and this is for sure it! Thank you very much and your work is amazing.

  17. hello,

    you maak wonderful quilts.
    i love all the colors.and the beutiful patern!!!!

    greatings from the nederlands,conny

  18. thanks so much for the tutorial. this is the perfect way to handle different colorways of a collection you hate to break up. somehow the wonkiness pulls it together...don't know why!

  19. Glad I found you. I am learning quilting in a classroom and my mind keeps going to non-traditional. This has light up the creative juices. Thank you!! Dayle

  20. Very interesting. I'm entering a swap of these blocks.

  21. Just found this pattern and I absolutely love it!! I am going to use it for a block swap this month!