Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The Log Cabin

Although there are many beautiful quilt patterns, nothing pleases me more than a log cabin quilt. There is something that always draws me back to this beautiful design. Recently I was the guest in a home where not one, but two beautiful log cabin quilts were displayed in the guest room. They were stunning in a comfortable and folksy way. Americans have long considered that this pattern is purely American, but research shows that this design goes back to old England and even before to ancient Egypt. In the early 19th Century, many tombs in Egypt were opened and thousands of small animal mummies were found --- wrapped in strips of linen with the Log Cabin design pattern on them. I wonder what the Egyptians called this design? For sure, it wasn't 'log cabin'! The resurgence of this design in Early American history illustrates that red centers are traditional and common as the center of each log cabin square. Each red square represents a glowing, warm hearth. The light values on one side represent the sunny side of the house, the dark values represent the shady side. Many quilts in this design were stitched in the early 19th Century when pioneers were heading west after the Civil War period. It really is a 'little-house-on-the-prairie' design! I've stitched a log cabin quilt for my family, and I have enjoyed observing those of others over the years. The oldest I've enjoyed is one I found on display at an old fort from the Civil War era. And yes, the centers were the traditional red, made in wool, and the light and dark strips were constructed of uniforms of army soldiers. What a historic piece it represents and what a story it tells. Is there a log cabin quilt in your personal history?


  1. What a lovely quilt! I tend to like wedding ring patterned quilts best of all but I have to say a log cabin quilt is a close second.

  2. Thanks for the history lesson on the log cabin quilt design! I hadn't noticed that the center piece was always red.

  3. The log cabin is my favorite quilt design. I love the variations when placing colors in different positions.

  4. beautiful...I did a Cal. King Log cabin in blues/purple/violet/and pale icy greens. there was a vine of leaves all around the boarder it was the "healing Quilt".
    It was like an ocean...Loved it! I still have it but it no longer matched the room.

  5. beautiful quilt!
    inviting you over to my 500th post give away

  6. This has always been a favorite of mine so I really enjoyed hearing some history about the pattern. I never knew about the red center! It's so interesting that it was found in a tomb in Egypt too! Thank you for sharing this with us. The quilt you show is just beautiful.

  7. No, but I wish that there were. I'm sure that there's an easy way to toss one together, right? Ha!

    Yours is lovely, if this is the one that graces your home.

  8. Anonymous9:38 AM

    What a pretty quilt. Did you finish the tea quilt yet?
    They were fun to make.

  9. I didn't know that about the Log Cabin pattern! Very interesting! The first quilt I made was a Log Cabin. As I was learning on it, it's not the most perfect of quilts, but I was so pleased to having finished it! I've since done parts of two others (Texas Lone Star and Giant Dahlia) as well as several pillows for family and friends.

  10. What an absolutely stunning quilt. Just beautiful!!!


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