So…yeah, I like log cabin quilts. Who doesn’t? [See recent book review for an answer to that question.] And I love how they all look different for me. Since I seem to be a tad obsessed with these blocks this summer, it’s a fun idea to look back on the log cabins of my past. Right?
Eh, whatever. Let’s call this: The Evolution of a Quilter: Log Cabin Variations.
Note: Though I show some of the tops un-quilted, these are all completed quilts. I just didn’t always document finished works back then. And years mentioned here are when the quilt was finished. Some of these took a year or so to make.
This first one—made back in 2005—was among my first quilts. My mother chose the colors and fabrics. I doubted the colors because I would only piece with blues and whites at the time. [Glad I overcame that issue.] But it felt fun to just follow her whim in the shop. Then she fed my piecing fever by cutting strips for me all night. Finished the top in a day. We called it Night and Day and I kinda liked it lots.
This is the quilt I use the most. It’s always on the couch, has been laundered a zillion times, and shows little sign of wear or fading.
I made several quilts in that first year of patchworking, 2005, and then I had a dormant period in 2006-2007 of no sewing. We call this the Knitting Period (mainly socks). Came back to sewing in 2008 in profound grief as a way to connect with the past.
In the dormant time, I’d collected old clothes from my family…all members of my family. There were worn and threadbare denim jeans, splashed and crusty white painter’s pants, and preppy corduroys and khakis.
The various recycled fabrics came together in great harmony in a celebration of the Heart/h of home. This one was inspired by a Gee’s Bend courthouse steps quilt, though I avoided wonkiness in piecing, yet reveled in handquilting with twine. This is a quilt with heft. Wrapping up under it always resembles a bear hug.
Counterpoint to Heart/h is this very pure, precision, white-on-white piecing using flour sacks.
…ahem…sorry I just swooned all over again. Piecing this got monotonous after a while, but I had (and apparently still have) a raging case of ProjectNarcissism over it. I couldn’t stop looking at it. Eventually this quilt went to live with a generous friend out in California. I haven’t gotten to see how it has aged. This might mean it’d be a good idea to make another one, right? You know…for science!
Then although I’d already begun to improvise in my patchwork back in late 2007, I’d not yet improvised with the log cabin motif. Miniquilts were and still are a nice way to play for a moment without committing to a big project. I used a small pack of Malka Dubrawsky‘s scraps of handdyed cottons. This was smack in the middle of my color renaissance and her reds and oranges and aquas just changed my outlook on life, in general.
I pieced and quilted this miniquilt in a personal challenge to do something under constraints. That is, I could use only the baggie of scraps and had to finish in an hour and a half. [No binding here; it was "birthed" instead.]
Another improvised mini was this one. A swap with Kelly P. This was in the time of my Nancy Crow crush.
Thought that I’d eventually return to this idea and make something bigger, more interesting. Revisiting here now reminds me of that. Hmm…
Discovered that I’m rubbish at the wonky log cabin game. But I tend to find a way to play within my rigid grids.
This one was a swap quilt for a knitter, Anne. It’s not really “me.” You know what I mean? I like it, but it lacks my personality and/or style.
However, this swap quilt for Heather seems to me to represent the quilter I have become. Someday I’ll need to be able to articulate what I mean by that, but…
I called this one Charles. Sneaking off from work before sundown (well, at 4pm) on a Friday and spending all night sewing like mad felt a bit naughty and reminded me of the short short story of the same name by Shirley Jackson. That metaphor is thinly connected, but we could also say that this handsome quilt is named for my dad, if we prefer. Heck, my dad was a bit naughty too.
Then this Simple Insanity—made with the tiniest scraps that my friends double-dog dared me to find a way to use—pairs well with Charles to represent my more recreational sewing side.
Not only is it an insane exercise to turn such tiny scraps into fabric only to slice and dice it again, but I also completed this top in merely 5 days. Yep. Touched with the crazy brush.
The story of Sharecropper is kind of nice. Go read about it over here. It’s a tale of grief and reinvention.
The striped fabric is from a sharecropper’s shirt. The blues are my own handdyed indigos on flour sacks.
Another scrappy challenge thrown down by my friends, this was also my first use of text in a quilt.
I kinda got some wonky to happen, but not much. And, well, it’s so scrappy that I want to smooch it.
Or maybe I’ll just get distracted by Squirrelzilla?
There’s really nothing that can be said about this one. LOL.
The perfect marriage of text and log cabin came to me in the form of this wedding quilt for my friends B & R.
This was another of those feverish piecing projects. Using crowd-sourced verbs, I felt my heart increase from grinch-sized as I meditated during the sewing. All that positivity and creativity was restorative.
I kinda went small. More next time…
Thanks for indulging me in this reminiscence!
Thanks also for your comments on the book review. It was fun to read the book and an interesting exercise to write the review. There’ll be more of this in the future. If you ‘d like a copy of the book, definitely visit the book review post and leave a comment. That giveaway closes on Monday, June 9 at noon (EDT).