Consider the Log Cabin
Its history as shelter and home has evolved throughout history. Once considered a luxury by those unable to access or craft wood, it became the staple image of the pioneers and western expansion. Yet, as technology and economic conditions improved, log cabins became the symbol of poor, working class farmers, unable to live in the luxury of cities.
Abraham Lincoln typifies Americana in the story of his rise from a log cabin in Kentucky to the White House in Washington, D.C. Today, many Americans are rediscovering the rustic charm of log homes, often paying a premium for custom-built timber or log-framed homes, filled with all the modern amenities.
In some ways, the same can be said of the Log Cabin quilt pattern in American quiltmaking. As one of the most beloved and recognized of quilt designs, Log Cabin quilts first made a wide-spread appearance in the United States in the 1860s during the time of the Civil War. It quickly became wildly popular and was identified with the pioneer spirit and values of America.
A uniting element for both traditional and more modern interpretations of the Log Cabin is the combination of a central square, surrounded by colorful strips of fabric. In traditional Log Cabin blocks, one half is made of dark fabrics and the other half light.
Toward the end of the nineteenth century, Log Cabins began to have strips that were folded and laid down creating a three-dimensional effect.
Today, Log Cabin quilts are natural candidates for strip-piecing and can be made in a fraction of the time it took our ancestors. Log Cabins are still a favorite choice for scrap quilts. As an excellent way to “recycle” those leftover scraps, it’s virtually impossible to run out of ways to make beautiful Log Cabin quilts.
The Log Cabin is certainly a pattern not likely to go out of “style” any time soon. It will continue to evolve just as the original homes of the settlers have changed and adapted with the times.
Make Your Own Log Cabin Quilt
By: Robert DeCarli
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By: Barbara Kaempfer
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By: Brenda Brayfield
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Designed by: Karen Witt
Finished Size: 86″ x 106″
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