I made this quilted wall hanging last year. The design is called Log Cabin.
All the women in my family quilted--my mother, sister, aunts, and cousins. For mountain women making quilts was both a necessity and art form. Every home needed a supply of quilts to keep everyone warm in the winter since we didn't buy blankets. All year long quiltmaking was a part of a woman's work. In the summer women pieced scraps of cotton together in beautiful designs, with names like Grandmother's Flower Garden, Wedding Ring, Drunkard's Path and Friendship, when the housework and gardening was done for the day. In the winter the handpieced quilt tops were "set up". Setting up a quilt involved sandwiching cotton batting between the top and lining and stretching in a frame. After the winter housework was done, the quilt would be let down from the ceiling in the front room (or parlor) and the women of the family--and sometimes visiting neighbors--would sit around the quilt frame joining the three layers together into a beautiful work of art and enjoying each other's company. The workmanship standards were high. No fabric was wasted, every hand stitch must be even and very small with no puckers in the fabric. A common insult to a woman's quilting abilities would be to say that her stitches were so long her husband may catch his toenail in a stitch! We more modern women may say that perhaps the husband should cut his toenails. . .
As a small child, I can remember playing with my cousins underneath the quilt frame as the women worked. Young girls learned to quilt by making miniature or doll quilts. My 85 year old Aunt Draxie still has some of the treasures she made as a child. Newly married women were given at least five new quilts when they started their new home, almost like part of a bride's dowry. Recently my Aunt Draxie presented her great grandson with a collection of handmade quilts at his wedding. What a loving tradition to keep going!
My Log Cabin wall hanging was done the modern way. I bought coordinated fabrics, laying them out on the work table like I was creating a painting. I selected the earth tones that I like to have around me instead of using what fabrics that could be found in the quilt scraps bag. I used precision tools like a rotary cutter to make the quilt pieces. Then each section was assembled, using my very weak geometry skills, on the sewing machine. There are no hand stitches in this quilt except for the edge binding. Although it's not handsewn, it's definitely made by my hands. It pleases me as much as a painting.
Now be sure to check out other Fun Monday "made by hands" at Karisma's Page .