While leaning toward the modern, the more I quilt the more I'm drawn to antique and vintage quilts many of which are timeless in design. Am at the mind-numbing stage of sewing my Pineapple blocks and have been perusing images of FINISHED quilts to spur myself on. Since the pineapple is really only a variation, I've been looking at lots of inspiring Log Cabin Quilts. While we tend to associate this pattern with early settlers of the United States and Canada, it can apparently be found in all sorts of ancient cultures including those from the Middle East, Africa and Europe.
In North American quilts, the center square is traditionally red to evoke the hearth of the home. With the winter we've had, I can only imagine how central its warmth must have been and am in awe of these people who not only survived but flourished in what must have been freezing and drafty homes.
There are innumerable settings for the this block. Straight Furrow, Streak of Lightning, Sunshine & Shadow, Barn Raising and Pinwheels are just a few of the Log Cabin variations.
What is fascinating about the Log Cabin block is that it looks beautiful made in any kind of fabrics from silk to the most humble scraps. It is amazing how modern some of these quilts look. The following two images are both of antique quilts in the same setting. (Incidentally, all of these quilts are for sale on Ebay from this amazing vendor.)
Since I'm trying to devote most of my textile book shelf space with few exceptions to books about antique, art and modern exhibition or museum quilts, I'm really excited about the rise of e-books for patterns. What a space saver! If you are interested in making a Log Cabin quilt, Fons & Porter has a great e-book available on their website. It has patterns and setting instructions for all the variations mentioned in this post and some unique ones too. As well, it contains some gorgeous shots of antique and vintage quilts. The book can be downloaded for free here.