Historic American Quilts
Both Log Cabins and Crazy Quilts are usually made on foundations, i.e. each piece is sewn to the previous one and to the foundation, one after the other. In this country, quilters began to make Log Cabins about 1860, and the trend was strong throughout the last part of the 19th century, although Log Cabin quilts are still popular today. Interestingly, they were popular in the 19th century in North European countries as well. Many were made with black centers in Scandinavia and the UK. Crazy Quilts reached their peak from 1880-1910. Quilters made use of the abundance of silk available from China and copied the patterns that resembled oriental crazed vases. These artisans welcomed the opportunity to show off their embroidery and embellishment skills. Embroidery along the seams and in the patches themselves was a big factor in the worth and desirability of a specific Crazy Quilt. Toward 1910, woolen Crazy Quilts were more common and became more utilitarian.
Log Cabins, Crazy Quilts and Utility Quilts
693 Log Cabin, Barn Raising, ca 1890, 88x88, Queen, found in Illinois. The centers of this log cabin are small and made of scraps of fabric. The strips are 1 inch wide and made of a great variety of fabrics, including neons, vermiculite, ditzies, mourning prints, Lancaster blue, cadet blue, indigo, bright blue and black floral stripe, black and red, and drabs. Some of the prints have pineapples and botehs. The piece is hand quilted in large squares at 5 st/in.The back, as in the last photo, is a floral chintz. It is machine pieced. This is a beautiful quilt in excellent condition and BIG. $995
636 "God's Eye" String Quilt, ca 1900, 70x79. Sort of a log cabin because it is pieced onto a foundation (machine and hand pieced). The black, solids and plaids are challis, henrietta, and poplins and other wool combinations, as is the backing. The quilt is unusually lightweight for a woolen quilt of this era. The maker had a wonderful sense of color and contrast, and the whole is very graphic. The binding is a separate piece of black. Excellent, excellent condition....a significant quilt! $950
437 Light and Dark Log Cabin, 73x80, ca 1880's, Snyder County, PA. You could tell this was from Pennsylvania from their favorite color, cheddar, and here we have two flavors, maybe mild and sharp. The logs are about 1/2 in wide, or maybe a finger wide. There are madder browns and of course the red is made from madder as well. The various shirting prints probably caused a good rumble through the jumble bin. The backing is a very attractive madder stripe, and the binding is made of the same fabric and very narrow, perhaps indicating an earlier date for the quilt. There are quilted grids on the borders and along several of the "logs" at 8-9 st/in. All is hand-pieced. Excellent condition. $875
696 Log Cabin, Courthouse Steps, 68x76, 1880-1900, found in Illinois. Vibrant colors of wool challis and other wool fabric combinations. The top is not quilted , but the backing is patched in two different coordinating prints and is quilted in straight lines. I assume it is quilted lightly to the foundation. The stitches are 6st/in.There are a few moth holes in the red centers.The binding is a black fabric as in some parts of the quilts. The quilt is very light weight, probably because of the wool/combination fabrics. $600.
601 Log Cabin Light and Dark, dated 1914 and 1917, 71x81. The mostly wool fabrics have very nice colors -- log green, purple, black, cadet blue, cocoa, orange velvet, and several perky plaids and some figurals. Turkey track embroidery covers every seam, and this gives the appearance and feel of quilting. There is a striped flannel backing, and another piece of flannel acts as the foundation. The binding is rather frayed. I haven't a clue as to the symbol in the green up there by the dates. One navy patch has worn through to the foundation, otherwise the fabrics are all good. $250
716 Log Cabin Barn Raising, 72x79, 1890, Iowa. Cadet blues and double pinks on front with mourning prints, shirtings and red. The border is double pink. The back is solid cadet blue. There is thin batting. The quilting is 7-8 st/in in diagonals. There are not many log cabin quilts with pastel colors overall, so this will go into a room that you may not have thought "Aha, log cabin!". The binding is very slightly worn but otherwise the quilt is in excellent condition and perfectly strong for everyday use. $425
396 Double Log Cabin, Barn Raising and Straight Furrows, 1870-1920, 71x81. This is a lovely graphic quilt with dark pieces blending into each of the two patterns. The center of austere colors is bordered by multicolored vibrant reds, blues, and yellows. All are wool and in excellent condition. The backing and binding (wraps around) are a decorator's print with olive and yellow flowers on a coral background.The piece is quilted at about 6 st/in. in squares. It is in excellent condition and would be very dramatic as a wall hanging or on a bed. $850
600 Four Patch with Sashing, 20th Century, 68x80. You will need a car or a cart to carry this one off. It's made of rather rough-textured upholstery fabrics and is very heavy. The backing is flannel. What is nice about it is the teal green and salmon color scheme throughout. Another person used their ingenuity and artistic sense here. The fabrics are all very solid. This would be able to withstand a Civil War reenactment, including a major battle, over it. (Yes, I know it's not the correct period, but who wants to put a Civil War era quilt on the ground?). $125