log-cabin pattern blue

Log Cabin Quilt block

Log Cabin is a quilt-block with interlocking rectangles. The design and name is inspired by log cabin houses.

" Home is where the hearth is"

The log cabin quilt: It's one of my favourite blocks. The design is such a great combination of straight lines and movement.

But maybe it's one of my favourites because it's the first quilt block my mother taught me. With the foundation piecing technique, it's a very good block for beginners.

Also, so much is possible to diversify the look of the block by changing the colours.

log-cabin pattern blue

There are sources claiming that the log cabin quilt, and quilts as a whole, played a role in the abolition movement and the underground railway.

Quilts were often on display in farmyards on washing lines. The story is that specific patterns and colours  were code for safe houses or specific routes the slaves could go. For example, a yellow heart in the log cabin would mean that a house was safe and would offer food and shelter.

It's very hard to tell an accurate history on quilting, because there are few records on it. The makers of quilts usually didn't consider quilts important enough to record.

However, there are no historical sources confirming this. Sadly, many of the quilt patterns claimed to have that significance were invented long after the abolition movement!

However, it is true that a yellow square signifies a welcoming light in the log cabin. So it's very possible the two stories got mixed. It's very hard to tell an accurate history on quilting, because there are few records on it. The makers of quilts usually didn't consider quilts important enough to record.

Although, the history of quilts in slavery is unclear, quilts do have a strong role in storytelling. Quilts have always been, and will always be, a way for the maker to personally express themselves and to give meaning to life.

With the log cabin that is possible by using colours and fabrics to signify a place called 'home'.

  • A red centre to signify the heart of a home
  • A yellow centre to symbolise a welcoming home

log cabin penguin tote bagA log cabin tote bag

You can do anything with the pattern you want. Consider it a nice mindfulness exercise to contemplate different meanings you can give to your quilt with pattern, fabric and colour use. Especially when using specific old fabrics or clothes.

Learn how to make a log cabin quilt in Quilt College.

Do you have a log cabin quilt you want to be featured? Email me at rianne@kickassquilts.org.

Log cabin coaster greenLog cabin mini quilt coaster

Questions:

  • Have you ever made a log cabin quilt?
  • What do you think the meaning of quilts is?


Sources:

Facts and fabrications. Unraveling the history of quilts and slavery - Barbara Brackman

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