Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Star Gazing

Shawn probably has his top quilted by now.

Phyllis made rings of stars around an applique block designed by Kim Diehl.

Sylvia used a Hewson reproduction print for her center.
It's hard to see the scale on these but the bird isn't very big.

She had the perfect pillar print for a border.

Cynthia M's Anachronistic Stars, set with a 16-patch

Cynthia writes:
"Here's my really warped top! I don't have many repros so I made lots of anachronistic combinations. Thanks for all the information and inspiration!"
And Terry has posted three different tops that she's made over the year.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Susan Robb's Confederate Quilt and the Pelican

Your time to see Susan Robb's Confederate quilt at the Autry Museum in Los Angeles is running out.
The exhibit Empire and Liberty: The Civil War in the West,closes on January 3, 2016.

You may have noticed the pelican knocking an eagle off his perch
that she placed in one corner of her center panel.

There are several birds on her quilt but this large bird seems to communicate some obvious symbolism. The Union eagle is being beaten by a bird with a long beak, representing the Confederacy as the eagle does the Union.

Confederate uniform button from Louisiana

The pelican has been the symbol of the state of Louisiana from
pre-Civil-War years.

Louisiana flag

Louisiana battle flag with a pelican in the center of the star.

The pelican feeding its young remains on the state flag today.
Why a pelican? Susan Robb Ruple lived in Kentucky, Mississippi, Arkansas and Texas, but I haven't found any records of her living in Louisiana.

The Louisiana pelican is always seen as nurturing---not the aggressive bird in Susan's quilt.

When Terry Thompson and I were working on
my books Quilts from the Civil War and Civil War Women
Terry used the pelican image to make a Secession Quilt

Secession Quilt top by Terry Clothier Thompson and
Frankie Lister, 1998

Terry's bird has a banner proclaiming "Secession". Frankie appliqued the cut-out chintz flowers and Terry pieced the traditional Seven Sisters blocks to stand for the first seven states of the Confederacy.

It's always easy to make wrong assumptions about symbolism in the past---maybe it's not a pelican at all. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A Lotta Stars

Judith writes:
"I've attached a picture of my quilt, Sleeping under the Stars. It has 225 4-inch star blocks."
225 is a lot of stars.

I think Judith wins the unannounced contest for over achievement in the star category.I am sending her a package of fat quarters from Alice's Scrapbag.

And Barbara S. gets a runner-up prize for 190.

As does Jill who also made about 190.

In the comments last week she said:
"I loved making these stars. I learned so much and had such a great time looking through my fabric. I decided to make four of each as was a good hand piecing project for the year. I got behind during the summer months but I am almost caught up with only about 10 left to stitch. I haven't counted yet, but I should be at the 190 mark. 
Some of the weeks I had so many fabrics to choose from that I think I might have made some extras. I have decided to use them in two quilts...Sister Quilts I am calling them. The layout will be the same with different setting fabric (same print just different colorway). And I think they will be for my two girls.
I can honestly say that if I hadn't decided to hand piece these stars I would have never got them done. It was so easy to sit down in the evening, watch a little TV with the family and make a block or two."
Let's hear it for hand-piecing! 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Memorial Quilt, Kentucky Museum at Western Kentucky University

Center block with "Gens of C.S.A."
Memorial Quilt dated 1866
Kentucky Museum
Gift of Henry Porter Brown

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned this silk hexagon quilt pictured in Mary Washington Clarke's 1976 book Kentucky Quilts and Their Makers. The caption attributed it to the Kentucky Museum, which is at Western Kentucky University. I didn't see it then in their online catalog.
Here's that post.

The quilt is in fragile condition.

Suzanne Antippas contacted Curator Sandra Staebell, who got right back to her and said they did indeed still have that quilt, the Porter quilt, although it hadn't yet been uploaded to their digital catalog.
"The quilt measures 90.5 x 72 inches and is composed of hexagonal blocks and hexagonal pieces that are arranged to form a six pointed star with a medallion-effect center. Small diamonds frame the points of the star and provide a border or outline effect to the piece. The fabrics consist of silks and velvets and the backing is a black and white checked silk. The quilt is hand quilted in a diamond grid pattern that measures approximately 12-14 stitches per inch. The rest of the top is pieced from panels of varying lengths and widths, and the batting is cotton."

The pink hexagon is in the lower star point. The names:

Jackson, M. Moore, Lou Cage, B Scott, M Winans, Fannie, S.G. Caruthers, Richard, Clara, Dr. Combs, Mallie and A. Strange.

The unusual stitch (all by the same hand?) is not a tiny cross stitch but perhaps little dots
or knots.

The similarity between the Kentucky Museum quilt and the silk hexagon
quilt at the Museum of the Confederacy (above) is striking.
Above a block with Generals of the Confederacy.

See the quilts at KenCat the Kentucky Museum Library Special Collections site:

And the Porter quilt is now up there with many photos:

Thanks to Curator Staebell for the photos and information on the star quilt---and to Suzanne for contacting her.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Time Warp Label & 2 Finished Tops

Cynthia has 70 stars, set and bordered:
A cheerful quilt full of clear, bright color.

I squared up Dorothy's picture. 9 x 11 = 99.
Very traditional, very lovely.

Here's a label for the back of your star quilt.

The label itself is about 3-1/3" wide and 5" long so you have room (about 3" square) to write on it.

To Print:

  • Create a word file or a new empty JPG file that is 8-1/2" x 11". 
  • Click on the image above. 
  • Right click on it and save it to your file. 
  • Look at print preview.
  • Adjust the printed page size if necessary.
  • Print that file out onto treated fabric.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Crib Quilt Relative

Bed-sized quilt from Stephen Score Antiques in Boston

Crib Quilt from the Offit collection

After writing last week's post about a silk crib quilt with gold eagles in the corners I remembered where I'd seen that quilt before.

Not exactly the same---but a relative.

The full-size quilt at the top of the page has these 31 stars arranged in the central field.
The crib quilt has 34.

Several flag quilts have similar arrangements, so it's not so much the similarity in the stars that struck me.

Quilt made in Belfast, Maine in 1864

Quilt by Ivy Purcell documented by the New Jersey project,
photo from the Quilt Index.

It's the gold eagles that caught my eye.
Above on the large quilt.
Below on the small.

The small quilt is silk, the large looks to be cotton.

The large quilt is embroidered “Hope of our country” “The Star of Freedom: “M.W. L to C.M.L” It's attributed to a member of the Lewis Family of Boston and Saint Louis.

Read more about the large quilt here at a post I did several years ago:

I'm looking for more quilts with those gold eagles. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Counting Stars

Barbara S has made 190 stars in all.

About 95 stars from the other Barbara B.

In lurking about the blogosphere I notice a lot of people counting their stars.
And a few are making plans.

Jeanne's stars pinned to a curtain. 
She keeps various projects on various curtains and hangs them on a
 closet rod while
she's working on them.

Victoria C is alternating with an X block.

Gladi has her doll quilt done.

She's quilting on her crib quilt and planning her large quilt.

Keep checking our Flickr Group for stars and sets.....

And I'll keep lurking.

Did Barbara S. make the most stars- 190 (4 a week) ? Can you beat her record?

Saturday, December 5, 2015

A Silk Crib Quilt with 32 Stars

Silk Crib Quilt from the collection of flag collector
Morris Offit

This small flag quilt looks to be silk from the way it reflects light and the way the red has faded to a peach. The gold figures in the white border look to be eagles.

The center field manages to fit 32 stars into the field.
Actually that's 34.

After Minnesota became the 32nd state in May, 1858, the official U.S. flag included 32 stars for a year until Oregon became a state. 33 stars became the official count on July 4, 1859. States were added so fast in the pre-Civil War years that actual flags with 32 or 33 stars are rare.

A 33 star flag---official between 1859 and 1861

 Is the number of stars a clue to date in a quilt?

Occasionally the number of stars is based on all the stars the seamstress can fit rather than an accurate official tally. It may be that the crib quilt is from 1858 or 1859. It might be from the Civil War years when 34 stars celebrated Kansas's statehood from 1861 to 1863. West Virginia was symbolized with 35 stars from July 4, 1863 until after peace in July, 1865.

Or the star arrangement is an attractive pattern that fits the blue field in question.

See more about Morris Offit's flag collection here:

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Time Warp Stars: Becky's Set

Stars in a Time Warp by Becky Brown
84" x 84"

Thanks for all the nice comments last week. I enjoyed writing the weekly Time Warp posts, collecting together things I'd written about fabrics years ago and getting some new insights.

Penny's Clouds and Storm Prints

I also enjoyed seeing what you readers found in your stashes. I can see we have been buying the same fabrics for years. Now you know why it looks authentic. It's always better to have a name for a style than just a gut feeling that it looks "right."

Els G - Provincial

It will be exciting to see what kind of sets the star-makers come up with.

Terry had a stick print---or is it cracked ice?

Many thanks to super-model makers Becky and Bettina.

 I had intended to make stars too but I'd rather write than sew and and they did sew, so, sew much better a job than I would have.

Below is a free pattern for Becky's set.
She used 113 stars:
- 64 dark framed stars
- 49 light framed stars

As she sewed stars every week she framed each 
so that her finished star blocks are now 7-1/2" square.

"Adding frames is a really nice way to show off each little block - also a nice way to adjust for any variance in size of the block."

“Each block was framed with 2 short and 2 long strips. I alternated light and dark frames. When you lay them out in preparation for sewing, alternate the long side of the dark and long side of the light frames to avoid seams butting to seams. When sewing the blocks together, I pressed toward the dark fabric.”

The intersections

Cutting the Block Frames:
Here is Becky's method. She cuts large and trims.

“The finished frame width is 3/4". I cut the strips oversize (1-3/8") and after carefully pressing the seams AWAY from the star block, I trimmed each block to 8". The finished size of each block with frame is 7-1/2 inches“

· Cut 2 strips 1-3/8” x 8-1/2” for the top and bottom.
· And 2 strips 1-3/8” x 6-3/4” for the sides. Trim as you go.

Some technical editors think you should cut exactly. If you'd prefer to cut exact measurements....

· Cut 2 strips 1-1/4” x 8” for the top and bottom.
· And 2 strips 1-1/4” x 6-1/2” for the sides.

Cutting Exactly

Border Edge

“I wanted some kind of border without making the quilt too much bigger. Adding a strip in the outside triangles give it a bit of a zig-zag look without increasing the size of the quilt. 

The frame along the edges is slightly wider and all dark fabrics.

Cutting the Border Triangles
You need 49 edge triangles (C) and 4 corner triangles.

"The cut size of the strips is 2" - the outside triangles are cut so the edges are on the straight of grain.”

Here's a JPG of Becky's instructions for the edge.

Side Triangles 
A - Cut size 2" x 7".
B - Cut Size 2" x 8-1/2".
C - Cut 5-1/2" square. Cut into 2 triangles.

Corner Triangles
Strip - Cut 8" x 2"
Triangle - Cut 4" square. Cut into 2 triangles.

Becky's instructions above are summarized in two JPG files below that you can print.

How to print:
Create a word file or a new empty JPG file that is 8-1/2" x 11".
Click on the image.
Right click on it and save it to your file.
Print that file out 8-1/2" x 11". 

JPG for Block Setting.

JPG for edge instructions.

Attention Volunteer Technical Editors: If you notice any errors in our (MY) instructions let us know. We appreciate the free-lance correctors.