Backus-Page House Museum Insider's Look

Log Cabin Quilt

Log Cabin Quilt

Chosen by Canada 150 Coordinator Delany Leitch as a symbol of our rural 
history and culture which can also be found across Canada over the past 
150 years.

What makes the quilt important to both Ontario and Canadian culture is 
that it is the product of a craft that brought people, generally women, 
together in collaborative community groups. Quilting bees provided the 
opportunity for women of varying ages to share recipes, advice, and 
familial news in addition to keeping their family members warm during 
the winter months. According to professional storyteller Pauline 
Grondin, “No thread running through Canada’s history is stronger or more 
consistent than in their use as links between women and their female 
descendants. Generations of women were united by the quilts that were 
the works of their hands and their hearts.”
This particular quilt is special because it features the iconic Log 
Cabin pattern. Jane Hall, author of “Quilt Patterns Through Time” at, writes that “Log Cabin quilt designs were among the 
most popular and easily recognized of all quilt patterns. Beginning with 
a center shape, usually a square, the traditional design is made by 
sewing stripes in sequence around the sides of the square, varying the 
values between light and dark.” In the British Isles, this easy-to-make 
design is often called “Canadian Logwork,” and there are many Log Cabin 
quilts found in Canada.

The message this quilt brings to present and future generations is that 
there was a time in the not-so-distant past when people in communities 
would join together to quickly accomplish tasks that would have taken 
one person a great deal of time to complete. Work was all done by hand, 
but instead of being tedious events, bees were some of the most 
enjoyable social gatherings of the year for the quilters and their 
families. People today can appreciate not only the skill required for 
the craft itself but also the togetherness it brought, both things that 
often aren’t as prevalent in 2017.