Cabin Quilts; A Lesson in Patchwork

Although it's been over 20 years since I've been using my old Kenmore sewing machine, I only recently got into quilting. Last December, after Christmas, I had some time to reflect on what I wanted to do in the new year. As I was traveling in West Virginia on a post-holiday holiday, I found some quilting books in a second-hand bookstore. These books were colorful and eye-catching, and the perfect inspiration for my next artistic endeavor: Cabin Quilts!

This title, Cabin Quilts, is the name of my alternate instagram account, as well as the quilt show I'll be exhibiting in fall 2018 with Free Range Brewing in Charlotte, NC. I was asked by the good people of Free Range whether I'd like to show some of my quilts there...I was flattered and also thrilled for the opportunity! Here, I had only just begun exploring quilting, but because of an awesome art show the year before, Free Range had been following my current work and thought the quilts I was creating would fit well with their art gallery aesthetic.

I had beginners luck / new-project-energy and was able to construct 4 quilts in the month of the January. Then, life took over and more things piled up, and it wasn't until June that I finished the 10th quilt. This might not seem like a long amount of time to sew 10 quilts, but I should relay to you that these are "lap quilts" or better known as "crib quilts" and measure 4x4', not very large.

A "Log Cabin" design, done in square patchwork instead of the traditional rectangular snaking maze. This one is called "Pine Bluff",named after a city in Arkansas. Each quilt design was thoughtfully made with an American city in mind.

Here's a peek into my process:

  • Create unique geometric design using Photoshop photo editing software.

  • Purchase various colors of 100% cotton fabric and cotton batting.

  • Wash the cotton fabric, dry it, and iron it.

  • Hand cut 289 pieces of fabric 3 inches square.

  • Lay out the design.

  • Piece together each row.

  • Piece each row to another.

  • Sandwich the sewn rows, cotton batting, and a whole cloth together.

  • Hand stitch—quilt—the three layers.

  • Cut and sew a long strip of fabric for the bias tape to run along the edge of the quilt.

  • Sew the bias tape to the quilted layers.

  • Hand stitch the bias tape hem closed.

  • Finish the quilt with a title or name patch and sew a fabric loop for ease of wall display. (The loop can be carefully seam-ripped off the back if the quilt’s purpose is for a bed instead.)

"Nanakuli" (Hawaii)

"Peoria" (Illinois)

"El Paso" (Texas)

"Yuma" (Arizona)

The quilts are (mostly) 4x4' and made up of 289 squares of fabric - each! That means roughly 2,890 squares that were cut and patched together! The actual "quilting" part of the process comes when you sandwich three layers together (the quilt top, the batting, and the back) and either hand stitch or machine sew the layers into one.

I loved creating this series - although I think I'll take a break from the machine for a while. This marathon of small quilts sated my sewing desire for a good, long while ;-)

Marni Manning - Artist

Join the e-mailing list
I agree to receive monthly email updates from Marni Manning Art