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A Peek Into Log Cabins Landscapes
Flavin Glover

To depict a scene in patchwork Log Cabin, one typically breaks down the landscape inspiration into a simple line drawing.  Once the scene has been  stylized and simplified to elementary art, objects such as  mountains, clouds, the sea, sailboats and trees are shaped and reshaped to fit into a Log Cabin design.  Within a Log Cabin block each log can be a different fabric or they may all be of the same fabric.  Each Log Cabin Landscape design is unique regarding what types of blocks are used and how they are arranged into an overall grid.  Frequently the dominant lines of the drawing help determine whether square or rectangular blocks are best.  The size of the quilt helps determine the Log Cabin block sizes and log widths within the blocks.
One design may consist entirely of rectangular Courthouse Steps blocks set in a horizontal grid.  Another design idea may use a multitude of squares and rectangles in varying sizes that fit into a grid much like puzzle pieces.  The grid becomes a scale drawing or map of the design with each block numbered.  When necessary, shapes are drawn beyond the edge of any one Log Cabin block, utilizing adjacent logs in surrounding blocks.  Pieced logs within a block may be useful in creating a specific shape.  Turning a design into a Log Cabin Landscape also relies on changing colors from one area to another.
Using "Geese in Flight" as an example, peek into a visual journey of a design process.  Each Log Cabin landscape quilt involves problem-solving and some degree of trial and error.   Colorful and distinctive Canada geese were the primary focus of a Log Cabin landscape design depicting a flight of geese over a marshy area, with mountains in the background and a late afternoon sun beginning to set.  The sun is circular, yet it is in a rectangular grid. 
To emphasize the geese, their black and white necks were elongated.  This allowed each goose to extend the full width of a rectangular block.  To provide variety, two simple and stylized drawings of geese were alternated in the flight pattern.

The wings were constructed of narrow strips pieced together, then cut into the shape of wings.  The wings and breasts were appliquéd onto the block.  The pieced goose neck and body created a "log" that was sewn into a completed rectangular Log Cabin block.
To promote a feeling of spatial perspective, one goose was superimposed on one of the distant mountains.  The mountains were quilted twice as densely as other areas of the quilt to promote the feel of distance.

Breaking the design inspiration down into the basic shapes and keeping details simplified allowed the quilt to be created using only 56 Rectangular Courthouse Steps blocks.  Strips of fabric were cut 1 1/4" wide and finished log width throughout the quilt was 3/4" wide.  The strip piecing for the goose wings were cut 1" wide and finished 1/2" wide.

A Rectangular Courthouse Steps grid may be useful to you if you have a unique design that will lend itself to the
constraints of Log Cabin.    

You can click on any of these images to obtain a larger, printable image.

Buildings and houses can be drawn on block grids, taking advantage of the power of repetition.  Once the basic building shape has been determined, repeat it over and over again or be creative and develop a series of building shapes.  Changing colors can depict windows, doors, roofs and chimneys.  Variations in window sizes are possible by changing the size of the center square.

 Click here to obtain a FREE online pattern of
"Around the Corner."