Just when you think you’ve seen every possible log cabin quilt design, along comes a quilt like Anniversary Gift.
Designed by Flavin Glover, this pattern originally appeared in McCall’s Quilting’s July 1994 issue. We decided to remake it and share the pattern again to celebrate McCall’s Quilting’s 25th anniversary year, which we’re celebrating throughout 2018. Made with modified log cabin blocks, the unique design features a center composition that looks just like a gift box holding an anniversary present!
Log cabin quilts, in general, are great quilts for beginners, but this particular pattern is probably best suited for quilters who are at an intermediate level with their skills. As Eileen Fowler, who pieced this remake, says, “Accuracy is a big thing with this one with all the tiny pieces involved, especially with the piano key borders. Whenever you piece a section, if your seam allowances are slightly off, the next border or the next row isn’t going to fit.”
Even so, Eileen enjoyed the challenge presented by the need to cut and piece accurately. “It was fun because of the variety of log cabin blocks,” she says. “I made all the center blocks first, then assembled it from the center out.” None of the blocks in this pattern are standard log cabins: the center is made of rectangular courthouse steps variation blocks, and the outer square blocks are asymmetrical, which creates the illusion of curves.
As for the fabric placement, which creates the illusion of a 3-D tumbling block there in the center, this version is very close to the original save for remaking it in batiks instead of screen prints. Because she’s such an experienced quilter, we sent Eileen a bunch of assorted blue, yellow, red and black batiks along with the original pattern and the instructions to “make it scrappy,” trusting that she’d use them to their best advantage. We were not disappointed.
Even with all the fabric we supplied her, Eileen decided to go even scrappier. “I threw in a couple of extra reds, and maybe a gold, to give it some variety,” she says. Her advice is to stick with colors of similar value, especially in the center, to allow the design to really come forward. “It doesn’t matter as much the further out you go,” she says, particularly in the piano key borders where the fabrics are placed randomly. “The huge variety is what makes it so interesting to look at.” She quotes Diane Harris, who specializes in fabulous scrap quilts, by saying, “If you don’t like a fabric, put more of it in there,” meaning the more a fabric shows up in a scrap quilt, the less likely you are to notice it.
If she were to make this for herself, she says she might try reversing the placement of the scrappy black fabrics and the bright primary colors, or play with the rotation and orientation of the blocks around the outside.
Eileen says this quilt’s bright colors pleased one of the toughest critics she knows: her husband. “He likes it a lot,” she says. “And he’s one that’s not easy to please.”
If you’re looking for a unique log cabin quilt pattern, perhaps to make as a gift for a special occasion, look no further than Anniversary Gift.