I got the log cabin pieced today, vertigo be darned. Actually, it wasn't too bad--just a couple of hairy moments here and there when I turned from my ironing board back to my sewing machine too fast. Anyway, the "Use It or Lose It Challenge" is now officially done and I can go back to finishing up UFOs.
So, my assessment of the Marti Michell log cabin rulers may not be entirely fair as I was also testing out pressing all my seams open instead of to one side. So it's hard to tell what caused what.
Here's what I think I can fairly say:
The rulers didn't speed up the process any.
The rulers didn't add to my accuracy. I think that was for two reasons: (1) because I'd decided to follow the directions in the pattern book exactly as part of the test, and because I didn't want to spend a long time on this, I was cutting 8 layers at once as per the directions, which is always a little dangerous. If I did it again, I'd only do 4 layers, at most. (2) The way you have to hold the rulers to cut the strips into sections is awkward and I never felt confident I was holding them exactly straight and still because of that.
The rulers saved me from having to do math. That's always a bonus.
Michell (among others) is a huge advocate of cutting on the lengthwise grain--IOW, length of fabric, not WOF. I tried it, although I was using fat quarters so I wasn't dealing with bulk of fabric, which I'd think would be tricky. I know logically it should make a difference but, frankly, it really didn't feel like it did in this case. I've made log cabins before and I don't think I had any better or worse results this time because of using the lengthwise grain. I'm not ready to make a judgment call on this one because I've only really done it this once. Jury is still out.
So, my final verdict on the rulers? I'll hang onto them and try them again at a later point. I'm not 100% sold, but I'm also not ready to give up on them.
In terms of pressing seams open? I am so NOT doing that again. I've read several articles lately extolling the wonders of pressing open rather than to one side. I do press my binding seams open since it makes them lay more evenly around the quilt, but I haven't done a whole block that way. I did this entire log cabin open and found it more frustrating than useful.
1.) It takes a heck of a lot longer. A LOT longer.
2.) I suspect my need to finger-press the seams first stretched things just a hair.
3.) It was alot harder to get my seams to match when putting block to block. I like being able to nest seams more.
There are some circumstances in which pressing open is definitely the way to go, but I'm not going to adopt it as my general operating procedure. I just found it annoying and not particularly useful in the long run.
BTW, here's the "behind the scenes" picture with my other lovely, albeit doofussy, assistant.
"Hey, where'd you go?"