Log Cabin, set in a variation of the barn raising, late 19th century.
All quilts from Laura Fisher.
Scrappy Bee had a question in January:
I think many people made log cabin quilts, partly because the are easy to do and you can play with colors and settings. Was the block called Log Cabin from the start?
Detail of the quilt above, a remarkably simple block in a complex set.
The floral prints are delaine (wool-cotton combination fabrics).
It's hard to know what 19th century people named their quilts. So few written records mention a quilt by name. Fair records, for example, listed numerous prize winners with generic names like "silk quilt", "patch-work quilt cover," and "cradle quilts." But we are lucky here because we do see fair records mentioning the "log quilt" pattern, also called "log cabin". The pattern was so popular in the 1870-1900 period that fairs opened categories specifically for log cabin quilts.
Cotton Log Cabin in Courthouse Steps set on point, about 1875
Virginia Gunn found that Log Cabins received a commendation by name at the Ohio State Fair in 1863 (the pattern seems to have developed about that time) and again in 1868. In June of 1866, an Iowa diarist known only as "Abbie" wrote that she "went to town, bought Delaine [wool blend] for my log cabin." On the last day of July she "wrote a letter to Sis and worked on my log cabin."
Straight Furrow set, about 1900
Log Cabin seems to be the standard name, but the 1889 Ladies' Art Company pattern catalog called it the "Log Patch". The British authors of an 1882 needlework manual noted that the design and technique were "well known in Canada under the name 'Loghouse Quilting' but only lately introduced in England.…This patchwork is more commonly known as 'Canadian patchwork'." English names also include "Egyptian" or "Mummy Pattern", referring to mummy wrappings of dark and light strips in a similar design.
Display of Egyptian cat mummies at the British Museum.
Is that cat on the left wrapped in a log cabin design or what!
Courthouse Steps SetSo in answer to your question: We can assume quilters called the block log cabin. The names of the set variations are the standards we use today but their sources haven't been studied.
Zig-Zag set, about 1900
It's one of my favorites and dealer Laura Fisher's too. She often sends me photos of terrific log cabins, the source of the pictures here. Browse her inventory: