Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Stars in a Time Warp: The Pattern

 Vintage star about 1820-1850

Every Wednesday for much of 2015 I'll be posting Stars in a Time Warp QuiltAlong here at Civil War Quilts. The blocks stay the same each week. What changes is the type of reproduction fabric we'll use.

Star about 1830-1860

Star about 1870-1900


The pattern we'll use is #2138d in my BlockBase digital program for PC's. Here are rotary cutting instructions for a 6" finished star.

A - Cut 4 squares 2".

B - Cut 1 square 4-1/4". Cut into 4 triangles with 2 diagonal cuts. 

      You need 4 triangles.

C - Cut 4 squares 2-3/8", Cut each into 2 triangles with a diagonal cut. 


       You need 8 triangles.

D - Cut 1 square 4".    NO that's 3-1/2". Thanks to the Calico Cat for checking the math.

Here's how to piece the block.


Why 6" Blocks?
  • You can use Moda's 5" Charm squares for any of the patches.
  • A 6" block is enough to show off some prints but small enough to require a lot of stars for a full-size quilt.
But you can choose another size or you can make star blocks of varying sizes. Me, I'm sticking to 6".

Vintage quilt about 1870-1890

We'll use the star format to learn lessons in fabric
history, antique quilt identification and 
SHOPPING.

I'll give you information on what to look for when you're buying traditional prints. Each week you'll see examples of original prints and of good reproduction fabrics (mine and others). It will give you a shopping list and a way to sort your stash.


Vintage quilt about 1870-1890

You might want to start assessing your reproduction print stash now.
(And perhaps your credit card limit.)

Each week I'll also give you ideas for star settings, both vintage and current.

The shopping information will be helpful because to have a good vintage fabric stash you need to learn how to buy prints by the style rather than the name of the fabric line. The quilt fabric market is designed to change frequently. So if you are picking prints by categories like madder stripe or Prussian blue ombre print you will know what you need when it's available. It won't be on the bolt long.


I also think the best way to learn to make reproduction quilts is to study a quilt by copying it. You copy not only the fabric but also the fabric choices made by the original quiltmaker. It's not enough to use antique-looking prints, you need to use them the way they were used in the past.

An 1857 block--3 different background prints.
We don't think like this.

We'll be channeling the thoughts of Civil-War-era
quilters by studying the details in their blocks and quilts.

We'll use our crystal ball to choose fabrics like a 19th-century piecer.

It's not just having the right stripe, it's using the
stripe the way they might have.

The star pattern is seen in earliest pieced quilts. It's been published with many names. Here are four shading variations from BlockBase with some names in print..

2138a Evening Star

2138b Austin

2138c Square and Points

2138d Nameless Star
Sawtooth
Sawtooth Star

People tend to call it Sawtooth Star, Variable Star or Evening Star today.

See a post on variable stars here
http://quilt1812warandpiecing.blogspot.com/2012/07/variable-stars-antique-reproductions.html

49 comments:

Vic in NH said...

I love your sense of humor here! so far, I've only max'ed out one of my credit cards, so I guess that I'm good to go, LOL!

Wendy Caton Reed said...

Oh boy, I'm in! I'm sure I won't HAVE to go shopping, but it never hurts!

The Calico Cat said...

Is the square "D" 3.5 or 4 inches? You show two different numbers on the cutting diagrams.

Rosemary Youngs said...

I Love the idea of doing six inch stars. The sawtooth star is my favorite block, can't wait to make many of them.

Barbara Brackman said...

Calico Cat - You are right. Why don't they have Match Check in computer programs? It's 3-12/". I changed it.

Barbara Brackman said...

And spell check. I meant Math Check.

Cyndi said...

I want to do this and I will make Time for it!! Always loved Sawtooth Star, 6" is perfect size and I already have the fabrics in scrap boxes ready to go!!

Sharon said...

I like what you said about buying fabric, I've bought 'collections, but find I'm all over the board with color/prints. Going to try to build a better selection of CW through this series of posts.

Anonymous said...

Get ready, get set-- can't wait for the fabric/shopping tips!

cityquilter grace said...

ok i am in....love the idea of 6" blocks and i've a fairly good stash...i think....can't wait!

Chantal said...

I have sooooo happy about these lessons in fabric choices. I don't really have reproduction stash and I don't know where to begin so ... yes, I am in. Help me do it right and thanks. :)

Anonymous said...

Wendy in NH

I haven't done a QuiltAlong before but I think I can manage making a block per week! I shouldn't start another new project, but this sounds fun & doable.
Wendy

Pieceful Lady said...

I have been watching my email waiting for todays post and for some reason i did not get it. I tried to sign up again but was told i was already on the list. I have received the other posts this week and also receive the Material Culture email. Anything i should check on my end?

Anonymous said...

Whoa, my sister, Louise, already finished two blocks. This is going to be a lot of fun. Happy to see how scrappy the stars are in your photos. They are definitely the real deal. I need to go catch up! Judy

Amy said...

Usually I get my email version the next day

Anonymous said...

Thanks Barbara! Looking forward to making a lot of stars and learning about my 1800 fabric addiction 😊

Anonymous said...

In those vintage samples with lots of red, was white or cream more commonly used in the stars?

Sue Hilton said...

To be "authentic" is the sawtooth star made with half-square triangles rather than flying geese?

Judie Bee said...

Barbara, I am submitting an entry to AQSG basket study this year. Just downloaded your encyclopedia of pieced quilt blocks. I have a question re: "LAC 138" designation on basket block 725. How can I know the year? Can I assume it's from 1889? Sorry for this on your blog but don't know how else to contact you.
Kindest regards,
JudieBee

Baxtermom said...

Great fun!! Had three repro fabrics and have made 9 blocks with all the possibilities from switching positions within the block.

Stefanie said...

O.k., I'm in. I'm going to try to do this from stash/scraps, we will see how close I get.
Thanks for hosting this, and I really enjoy all your historical elements and commentary on such.

Carol Moellers said...

This looks like fun. A while back I collected a lot of reproduction fabrics in greens and creams. I think I am going to give this a go but my quilt will be in all kinds of reproduction greens. I think I am going to make my blocks 8" so I have a little larger quilt top when finished. I think I want to finish it to at least a queen bed size. Going to start making some CW reproduction green sawtooth star blocks tonight. It is going to be fun meeting new quilting friends and sharing our CW fabric inspired sawtooth star blocks with one another.

Judymc said...

I am SO happy about this learning exercise! I have both books and tons of repro fabric and I'm ready to go!

Sandi B said...

Tried to grab the button but nothing happened...not the greatest computer person...Digging into stash tonight

Gina Loren said...

I love the CW fabric, and the BOM you have had in the past. However I have never done a quilt along, but it sounds fun.

lseitter said...

Ok, I'm coming late to the game and I've never quilted before. I have always wanted to. Where exactly do I get the fabric? I'm also printing out last year's quilt along.

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Kerry said...

Greetings From Downunder!,
Love your bom's Barbara....
Getting in a tad late!...but looking forward to the challange!
Think I may be Handpiecing.

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Mary said...

Joining this SAL late this year! My CW Stash is calling to me. When I sew the Ombre Star on Kathy from Canada's Blog I knew I had to come get the pattern. Thanks Becky and Barbara!!!

Anonymous said...

This is aside from the current star quilt; am doing the "Civil War Sampler" quilt blocks and have found a couple of typing errors to the blocks; one is on page 35 with directions stating to make a rectangle 3 3/8" x 63/8" which would not fit into the block arrangement but would be too large for a 8 x 8 block; each unit in block is 4 1/2 x 4 1/2 so cut a unit for trunk with that dimension and block came out correct. Not sure if this has been remedied. Anomynous

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