Log Cabin Quilt Block-Sampler Quilt

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The Log Cabin quilt originated in Europe in the early 19th century or maybe a little earlier.  On the Island of Mann,  red and white wool was torn into strips and sewn in this pattern called ” The Roof Pattern.”  None of those quilts survive today but descriptions of this quilt is found in diaries.  Scissors were rare and expensive among the peasants, so a pattern like this could created from torn pieces.   They would use the length of their fingers and hands to measure with to make the strips.  Most  women did not have any education plus there was probably no rulers around for them to use.

Some quilt historians contribute it to the Egyptian artifacts that was brought to Europe in the early part of the 19th century.    Nineteen tons of mummified cats were brought to Europe to use as fertilizer in the 19th century.  The way they were wrapped could of inspired the patch work in quilts.

800px-British_museum,_Egypt_mummies_of_animals_(4423733728)Courtesy of Wikipedia

As you can see the pattern of the weave looks just like the log cabin quilt.  Anything  Egyptian was in high style in the first half of the 19th century and lower class women would copy the fashion of the wealthy.  One of the ways they would have copied fashionable homes was with home made bedding and rugs from scraps of fabric and worn clothing.

The earliest known log cabin quilt in this country was just after the Civil War in 1869.  Historians have found that the pattern was used in raffles to raise money for the war and the name may have been associated with Lincoln.     The style lent it’s self to the settling of the West as Pioneers set up homesteads.  The red centers was a symbol of the hearth and warmth of the cabin.  The yellow centers was the symbol of the light in the windows of the cabin.  The light fabric side was the symbol of the sunny side of the cabin and the dark fabric side was the shadow of the cabin.   The pattern was ideal for heavy assorted fabrics that could be sewn on to a foundation piece of cotton fabric.  This would stabilize the pattern and then the top would be hand tied to a backing with out batting in the center.  The fabric sewn on cotton scrap fabric was to bulky to finely hand stitch. This created a heavy quilt for winter use.   This would utilize the heavy fabrics that was not suitable for most pieced quilts.

In the link below,  you will see various lay outs of the the blocks and  the common name of these quilts.

http://www.museum.state.il.us/muslink/art/htmls/ks_piece_log.html#

This link shows some wonderful close ups of log cabin quilts.  One of the ways they would make them was to fold the fabric in half and sew them to a foundation piece.  This would add extra thickness to the quilt.  You will see an example of that in this link.

http://www.historic-american.com/LogCabinsCrazyQuilts.html

There are many other examples of block lay outs that I have not covered.

To make this 12 1/2 inches block of “Lights and Shadows” you will need:

Four red 2 1/2 inches squares for the centers.  Also and assortment of 1 1/2 strips of fabrics in  lights and darks.

This block is based on 4 by 4 grid.  Each unfinished section is 6 1/2 inches.  The seam allowance is 1/4 inch.  There is no need for a foundation piece to sew these strips on.

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Just follow the picture above sewing the strips around the center.  Check your quarter inch seam allowance after each seam and also square up to the correct size.  Press each seam after sewing.  After the strip is sewed on it should be 1 1/4 inch and then when the second row is sewed the same strip should be 1 inch wide.  The finished center block is going to be 2 inches square after all four sides are sewed on.   When the last row is attached, the block will measure 6 1/2 inches with the last row strips measuring 1 1/4 inches.

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Sew the block as you would a four square.

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Make sure you line up your seams so that your intersections come together in the same place.

Well this makes the 21 blocks now finished for this 19th century sampler quilt.

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22 Comments Add yours

  1. quilt32 says:

    Probably the block I use the most for scraps.
    Lillian

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    1. trkingmomoe says:

      I always end up with little scraps that I don’t want to throw away. These little 6 1/2 inches log cabin blocks used some of the up in my reproduction scrap box,

      I am on my way to the fabric store to look for sashing for this quilt. At first I was just going to use cream muslin but now I just don’t know. I have trouble with changing my mind as I work. I now really see the blocks in their color combinations. I also have a coupon to spend and fabric is getting so expensive.

      I also have found a feathered star I would like to do for the center and it is 15 1/2 inches. So I need to get the sashing because that would be the backgound fabric for the feathered star.

      Thanks for your comment.

      Like

  2. Jo says:

    I like the way you have turned your blocks. I like the effect.

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  3. trkingmomoe says:

    That is a classic pattern for the log cabin. It is called lights and shadows.

    Thanks for stopping in.

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  4. KerryCan says:

    Neat historical background for this pattern! I had no idea! I’ve always loved the pattern but haven’t really used it myself–that needs to change!

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    1. trkingmomoe says:

      Women have a history of their own. They have left a record in their quilts. It is an easy pattern to do and it goes fast. It will use up the small scraps.

      I settled on unbleached muslin for the sashing today. I need to get it washed and dried to shrink it.

      Thanks for stopping in.

      Like

  5. cyndiann says:

    Hi. Enjoyed reading your log cabin post. Interesting to have the history of the block included in great photos to guide people trying to make the block.

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    1. trkingmomoe says:

      Thank you. quilts hold a lot of history about women’s lives. Please stop by again. I am going to be doing more blocks for this quilt.

      Like

  6. Julesras says:

    Love the history lessons with the blocks – very fun! I haven’t tried these patterns before and yours look great! I especially liked the flag colored block. Thanks for visiting my blog – as you can tell, I am new to blogging. Love sewing and quilting though! Have a great weekend!

    Like

    1. trkingmomoe says:

      If you are enjoying them, take time to down load them. Make a pattern file. I saved pattern for years and years from magazines and newspapers. I am glad I have them now. The ones I am doing are classic patterns.

      Thanks for your comment.

      Like

  7. candiharris says:

    Lovely blocks:). You have so much interesting ready, I love coming here.

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    1. trkingmomoe says:

      Thank you. Just sharing what I know. I have been at this for 50 plus years.

      Like

  8. Victoria says:

    This is one of my favorite quilt block patterns, but I never knew the history behind it. I’ll be thinking about “the light in the window” next time I make one!

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    1. trkingmomoe says:

      It has only been in the last decade that quilt historians have tied this pattern to the Egyptian antiquities. You normally see the red squares in the log cabin quilt but yellow is less common.

      Thank you for your comment.

      Like

  9. Hello Trkingmomoe. Thank you for checking out my blog today. It’s so nice to meet you in blog-land. What a lovely surprise to come visit your blog and find such an informative piece. I look forward to following you and reading all your posts!

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    1. trkingmomoe says:

      You are so welcome. I have some plans for other interesting blocks for this quilt. So please stop in again.

      Like

  10. Deborah says:

    I am consistently drawn to the log cabin pattern, and I love what you’ve done with it–both in terms of the block and your background information. I need to get serious about exploring log cabin possibilities. But then, I need to get serious about getting back to my quilting. Working on it. 🙂

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    1. trkingmomoe says:

      Thank you. It is an easy one to make. Just strip up some scrap fabrics in light and dark prints figure out your center color. Then just go from there. Not much to it. It is one of those patterns that can be done a little at a time.

      Like

  11. ChgoJohn says:

    What a fascinating post! Thank you for taking the time to research and share it with us.

    Like

    1. trkingmomoe says:

      You are welcome. It has only been in the recent years that scholars have taken time to research quilting as part of women’s history. There is more to history besides wars and leaders.

      Like

  12. Thank you for visiting my blog. Thank you also for this wonderful post about log cabin quilts. Certainly one of my favorite patterns in quilting, especially the “Barn raising” and “Courthouse Steps” or “Japanese Lanterns” as it is also called, depending on how you place the colors. I really enjoy reading the history behind this ancient design.

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    1. trkingmomoe says:

      Thank you for your comment. It does have an interesting history and how the block was inspired.

      Like

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