I wiped away the weeds & foam. / I fetched my sea-born treasures home... Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, November 21, 2014

November Quilt : Sunshine and Shadow

Log Cabin crazy quilt
''Barn Raising'' or ''Sunshine and Shadow''.

Hi guys! Today I want to show you one of my best ''rescue'' quilts. In November, when autumn really gets its grip on the beach, I like to put away my Halloween cheddar quilts and replace them with my few softer brown-tones quilts. No big deal or effort to rotate my collection of antique quilts---they have to be aired and refolded regularly anyway. And all I do is fold them over the arm of the sofa or drape on one on my Shaker blanket chests.

Unlike my city loft with its 20 foot ceilings, where I had large quilts hung high on the old brick walls, my cottage doesn't lend itself to vertical quilt display.

I put my Porch quilt on my bed! Now if only I could find the flannel sheets.

And I use this antique/ vintage Log Cabin Quilt in my living room.

It is perhaps really a Barn Raising Log Cabin, but I like to call it Sunshine and Shadow because of its wonderfully graphic light and dark color placement.

If you look closely you'll see that the dark areas are set out in shaded order. The center is very colorful, darkly bright, the next round of darks is lighter or medium tones, then the outermost band is the lightest, just enough depth of color to make a contrast with the pales.

I lugged it out to the beach in a gale wind, so you could see the colors in the sunlight.

and its almost-hooked rug texture.....

The blocks fascinate me. I love the colors, so modern, yet rustic and autumnal: the green and brown of acorns, the dusty red of maples, the rich deep brown of oak leaves, the yellow of beech trees and golden rod.
I love the pretty faggoting or bird track stitch that is neatly though not gorgeously done in pink, sage, tan, and faded goldenrod yellow pearl cotton.
It is not quilted but tied with pink pearl cotton knots. Those that survive have formed tiny pink pompoms in each block's center.



I like that the ''logs'' or strips vary in width. It's not all equal and perfect. As I recall the few bald spots, like where you now see the gingham base fabric, were beautiful crumbling velveteen.

And the other fabrics are interesting, too: cotton damask, a few calicos, dark tartan plaid shirting, textured faille and bengaline [here]---interspersed with many cotton sateens. No silk or wool, which is probably why it survived such a long and hard life.

I found it at the flea a few years ago. I bought it and another beautiful quilt [cheddar and turkey red; Irish Chain?] that is made with a hand-woven linen ground and has the finest quilting you can imagine . These two quilts were the dirtiest textiles I have ever seen. They were literally both solid tan with what seemed to be mud. (I hoped it was mud, lol.) Had they been used in a barn? In a pig pen? The dealer didn't remember, he was just using them to wrap his larger wares. I wouldn't even touch them, just held open a black trash bag from my car and told the guy, 'Toss 'em in.'
I think they cost 10.oo.
Back then I had a kinda junky black Jeep and even so I cringed to put the quilts into its cargo space.
Home to soak in a bucket!

What even made me consider them?
Well I could see the fine quilting on the cheddar and red quilt...and this Log Cabin had a beautiful, not quite as dirty backing fabric which I thought I could re-use.

Mo is demonstrating scale here. Gorgeous grey ground roses print! How I wish we could buy this now. It's what makes me date this quilt as possibly 1940s, when grey was oh so stylish.

Once soaked and rinsed, I thought I could use the quilt for Christmas lavender hearts and stockings. But when I washed it again ---more than once, so gently, so carefully--- its true beauty emerged.

I treasure it.
I could never cut this beauty into ornaments or ''bears''. I'm so glad it called my name, oh so silently---that hot autumn day, under the bright rose red maple trees. And that it now lives in comfort, loved and valued ---despite some tatters--- in my collection.

What do you think? A keeper, right?



gone to the beach


Mo, snuggled on my shoulder.

 PS Or is this Barn Raising? No, this is Courthouse Steps? Log Cabin is, I think, the only pattern with all these secondary names?



  1. They are absolutely gorgeous! I can't imagine someone using them to wrap things in and the fact that they were so dirty. Obviously they were meant just for you, knowing that you would soak them and save them. Lovely! Have a wonderful weekend. Tammy P.S. That Mo is just too cute. :)

    1. Thanks Tammy. I love finding treasure, you know. Even if it s covered with [she said optimistically] ''mud.'' Not everyone has the patience to rescue antiaue textiles but it s so rewarding.

  2. What a beautiful collection you have. The one you call 'sunshine and shadow' is fascinating, I've never seen anything like it. What a lot of work to put something like that together. That is dedication!

    Ick, there's something about someone else's funk isn't there? Great finds though for sure.

    Oh, I could eat that Mo with a spoon, as they say. Is that a saying? Now that I see it written it seems an odd thing to say. Anyhoo, I don't know how you stand it!

    Still cold there? Enjoy the weekend.


  3. T-shirt weather by Monday! Yay! And high 50s for Sunday flea, yay again.

    Not sure about the spoon thing but yeah, mo can be adorable. It s the velvet wrinkles, right?

  4. I love love log cabin quilts. Making one is on my to do list for 2015! Your's is just gorgeous! I also made the Porch quilt....so cozy. As usual Mo is adorable!

  5. It certainly was a keeper! Its a real beauty!

  6. Your porch quilt came out gorgeous! I know I've seen most of the pieces as you were working on them but I don't remember seeing the finished quilt before. It's so pretty I want to just stare at it - the longer I look the more interesting and fun things I find in it!

    I love the sunshine and shadow quilt, too. I can't believe how some people abuse something that obviously so much time and love was invested in. I certainly couldn't bring myself to cut it up! About the only way I'd cut up a quilt would be if it was one I made and didn't like (not happening, I'm too lazy) or if it had ragged holes that ruined it. That one is just too pretty.

    Mo is so cute. How did you manage to get the pictures if he was on your shoulder? Looks like he likes to cuddle!

    Thanks for sharing your quilts! Have a great weekend and good luck at the flea!

  7. When Porch was completed I think we got sidetracked discussing why my quilter had a hard time w/ my applique and how to do better on the next one. I m glad you think it s interesting, thank you!

    I dont think the dealer who sold it to me even knew it/ they were quilts. It was incredibly dirty, just brown mud. How it got that way..who knows. Maybe was even in a flood or something? It smelled okay....

    I cut up *stained or severly damaged quilt pieces*. They won t survive unless recycled, so my using them adds to their life and someone can enjoy what remains. These textiles were made to be used, so I use them. Maybe that s wrong but what I rescue and use I m pretty sure was headed to the dump except for me.

    Mo s pix were selfies, that reverse thing w/ the phonethat takes you instead of what s in front of you. Then i cropped out my messy hair. LOL.

  8. What an incredibly gorgeous quilt! So glad you were able to rescue it and give it some love.:) Lovely to be using your Porch Time quilt too. It's a wonderful quilt.

  9. I am so totally in love with your Log Cabin quilt! Did you get alot of that snow? I hope you have a great Thanksgiving. Kit


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