Quilt of the Month


March 2017

March 2017

Log Cabin – Barn Raising 

Made by Abba Jane Blackstone 

Curtis, Nebraska

Circa 1910

Cotton, 80″ × 75″

2004.015.0001, Gift of Mary Oba

Abba Jane Blackstone’s life was governed by her strict Methodist beliefs. The parallels between her straight and narrow lifestyle and her quilting are embodied by the Log Cabin quilt pattern. The blocks are sewn in a Barn Raising setting that, according to Blackstone’s great-granddaughter, she made exclusively throughout her life.

“Log Cabin quilts depend on the manipulation of light and dark fabrics for their effect; here in an everyday quilt, the contrast is almost textural. The light fabrics, in a variety of checks, stripes, and small prints, blend together softly in muted tones of pink, pale blue, tan, and white. The wines, blues, browns, and blacks are hard edged, each strip of color distinct. The maker carefully distributed her scraps making a small amount of wine-colored fabric go a long way. The dark centers of the blocks stand out, unifying the quilt.”

-    Nebraska Quilts & Quiltmakers, edited by Patricia Cox Crews and Ronald C. Naugle (University of Nebraska Press, 1991)

Despite her years of practice, one block at the top of the quilt is sewn in the wrong position, interrupting the usual perfect symmetry of Log Cabin quilts. While this was likely a mistake, Blackstone purposely made the blocks on either side of the quilt narrower by eliminating two rows of strips, which resulted in a rectangular quilt rather than a traditional square Log Cabin quilt.

To see more Nebraska-made quilts, visit the online exhibition for Nebraska Quilts & Quiltmakers. For more Log Cabins, view Design Dynamics of Log Cabin Quilts and Log Cabins by Luke Haynes.