New Orleans House Project

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Log Cabin Therapy Goes Purple

I have been a fan of log cabin quilts from my earliest days as a quilter.  I think the appeal is two-fold:  the geometry and orderliness of log cabin quilt construction and the the therapeutic reverie induced by piecing log cabin strips.

One of the first quilt books I purchased as a new quilter was Carol Anne Wien's The Great American Log Cabin Quilt Book.  Published in 1984, this book pre-dates rotary cutters and suggests using a paper cutter to cut fabric strips!  The book has a generous helping of color pictures of log cabin quilts and I've thumbed through those pages countless times for inspiration.

Somewhere along the way, I started a stash of 2-inch fabric strips, ready cut for log cabin piecing.  When I had a hankering for what I call "mindless sewing", I'd pull out the strips and start piecing log cabin blocks - round and round and round the center square until my block was the target size.  I find there's something soothing about piecing in that round about fashion.  

I relied on log cabin therapy to help get me through some of the trying times caused by the flooding after Hurricane Katrina.  Our home was undamaged by the flooding and DH and I both had jobs to return to; we were back home within a month of the storm.  Our youngest son was still in high school and although his school took on over 15 feet of water, the administration made arrangements to hold night classes at another local high school that did not flood.  My job was reduced to just weekend hours for the first several months, so I had long stretches of time to fill during the week.  Out came the 2-inch strips and log cabin blocks were made with abandon.

I made one Courthouse Steps style quilt with yellow centers.  It turned out pretty cheery, despite its gloomy origins.  This one was gifted to a friend with whom I weathered several hurricanes in Florida.

This batch of traditional red center blocks were laid out barn-raising style.  I gifted this one to my friend Michele, who lost everything in the post-hurricane flooding.  When it came time to bind this quilt, I found The Perfect Fabric hiding in my stash - a red and black hot pepper print.  Perfect, as Michele loves hot, spicy food!  I brought it to her in December, 2005, at her temporary home in SW Louisiana.  

A recent log cabin post from Barb, of Fun with Barb, got me thinking about the solace of log cabin piecing again.  I decided I needed to try building some log cabins in a little more improvisational manner. 

I already had a pile of purple strips from another project.  The strips are different widths and not necessarily cut straight.  I started with two pieces that were roughly square and just started adding strips, log-cabin fashion, until I had a piece that could be trimmed to 6.5".  I probably should have made slightly larger blocks, but 6.5" is the width of my rotary cutting ruler, and that just made life easier.

Not the wonkiest log cabin blocks, but I'm happy with the result and the therapy was good, too!

I went back and added some pink LC blocks to the collection as well - so these can become part of the 2013 Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  Saturday is RSC share day, so do visit Soscrappy's blog to see what the other participants have been up to this week!

Last but not least, I do have one last purple house to share this month.  I didn't make any additional scrappy house blocks this month as I already have a bunch from last year.  But since log cabins are also houses, I figure I can sneak in one more!  This is a classic "shotgun double" - two residences side-by-side in a long, one-story house.  What caught my eye about this house (besides the color purple) was the stained glass windows - just a slightly different twist.  Can't wait to go hunting for next month's house color - whatever it may be!


  1. I'm guessing next months color will be hard to find in houses -- but I could be wrong.
    What great log cabin blocks -- always nice when one project gives us the seeds to start another. It is really relaxing to just keep adding on in circles.

  2. I love your log cabin blocks and the pictures of the houses that you share. I just bought some map material from Marshall's dry goods, and it is a map of New Orleans, much like your header. I got gray, but I think they had other colors too.

  3. You have some wonderful purple fabrics in your log cabin blocks and they look great together with the pink ones. I so enjoy seeing all the coloured houses that you find in your town.
    Oh Angela is such a tease, lol, I wonder what next month's colour will be. Black perhaps?

  4. Really enjoyed reading your log cabin stories. The purple and pink look so nice together!

  5. I always enjoy reading how a quilter progressed from one project to the next, how life affected her quilting, and how quilting affected her life. Great reading in this post. Thanks for sharing your log cabin saga, Angie.

  6. Log cabin blocks are one of my favorites, too. I love reading the stories of your quilts and seeing the lavender house. The stained glass windows, green doors and pink chair are the perfect mix.

  7. Great log cabin blocks. Thanks for showing another purple house. I love log cabin quilts too. One log cabin quilt is not enough.

  8. Your purple blocks look great! Log cabins are such a wonderful block...

  9. yay for log cabin quilts!
    I really like the courthouse steps quilt and of course your traditional one is great too. Looks just like the one I finished.
    The purple LC blocks are so fun!

  10. I love your log cabins, and I agree that there is great therapy in making log cabin blocks. The book you posted is one I haven't seen.

  11. Gotta love log cabin quilts! They are so beautiful - I've never seen an ugly one! Your rainbow log cabins are really cute, and you'd never know you did them improv!

  12. Love your log cabin blocks. Another pretty purple home! I think orange is the March color. I imagine you can find a peachy orange color house or two to photograph.

  13. i can really relate to this interesting post. i actually still have my own well read copy of this book too.
    all of your log cabins are fabulous but i particularly like the courthouse steps. i think it's the wonderful contrast of the white with the bright scraps . . . i've been thinking about doing a log cabin and using up my skinny strips of scrap muslin for the lights and seeing your courthouse steps inspires me . . .
    and there IS something particularly soothing about stitching these blocks together . . .
    i think i've just about talked myself into making a log cabin my next leader ender quilt~!