81" x 81"
MSU Museum Accession 2001:158.4
Photo by Fumio Ichikawa, all rights reserved by the MSU
During the last quarter of the nineteenth century, the "Log Cabin"
block pattern became popular. It has many variations, including "Pineapple"
(seen here), "Courthouse Steps," "Barn Raising," and
"Fields and Furrows." Some textile historians believe that the
popularity of the design can be traced to Abraham Lincoln's presidency
in the 1860s. Lincoln's childhood spent in an Illinois log cabin was an
oft-repeated detail of his biography.
This quilt offers a remarkable fabric study of typical late nineteenth-century
fabrics. A wide variety of shirtings, double pinks, butterscotches, stripes,
plaids, "Hershey" browns, mourning prints, and others create
an encyclopedia of the era's textiles. There are forty-nine 10-inch blocks
in the quilt. The second border of pieced green squares placed on point,
against a double pink background, adds to the quilt's visual impact. Small-scale,
green print fabrics, produced continuously from the late nineteenth century
into the twenty-first century, have long been favored by quiltmakers.
Because of the long period of time over which some the green fabrics were
produced, dating a quilt made of such fabrics can be difficult.
By Mary Worrall, excerpted from American
Quilts from Michigan State University Museum.