Saturday, July 7, 2012

Variable Stars: Antique & Reproductions

Star with various chintzes from about 1800

Some of the earliest blocks feature right angle triangles and their cousins, stars pieced of right angle triangles.

Sawtooth Star alternating with chintz blocks sold at Christies.

Many call this star a Sawtooth Star today. It's #2138 in my Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns with the name Sawtooth referenced as from Farm & Fireside magazine in 1884. The Ladies' Art Company published it as Evening Star a few years later. In 1935 Carrie Hall called it Variable Star.

This quilt in the collection of the American Museum in Bath is dated in the late 18th century. The date has been damaged but it might be 1770s.

Quilt dated 1820 by Sophia Hooker
Winedale Center
Briscoe Center for American History,
 University of Texas at Austin
See the Quilt Index photo here:

This star is a nine-patch with a proportionately larger center square---the center square is twice as large as the corner squares.

One could turn the stars on point and vary the shading.

And link them in rows for borders and strips.

And add more shapes. This one with the Turkey red points and am extra yellow square in the center square might be about 1830-1850. Quilters continued to vary the variable star over the years, but the early versions tend to be simple.

An Ohio Star?
From Connecticut's Stratford Historical Society
See the full quilt in a Quilt Index photo here:

Another common star is the variation based on a nine-patch with 3 equal divisions. The square in the center is equal to the square in the corners. This star is #1631 in the Encyclopedia with many names, perhaps the earliest published name being Mosaic Patchwork #1 in Saward & Caulfeild's 1882 Dictionary of Needlework from England. Carrie Hall called it Ohio Star and that name has stuck. It seems just a simple step from the ubiquitous Broken Dishes to this design.

From Colonial Williamsburg.
This star is often seen set on point.
 See the URL for more at the bottom of this page.

From the Washington (NH) Historical Society

Quilt dated 1811 with a Hewson panel in the center.
Collection of the Cincinnati Art Museum

Stars alternating with a striped toile from Skinner Auctions.

The third common star variation is pieced of diamonds (#3735). It was called Star or Eight-Pointed Star in the 1890 era publications, names too generic for Ruth Finley who called it The Star of LeMoyne in 1929.

Star signed by Catherine Collins,
Smyrna, DE in 1806

Here it is as a medallion border in a quilt dated 1806 in The Delaware Historical Society, the earliest dated example I've seen so far of either the simple star of the complex Star of Bethlehem. See more here:

So if one had some fabulous fabric and wanted to do an early reproduction--- a simple eight-pointed star would be a good choice.

Sophia's Star by Carol Gilham Jones

An AQSG study by Claire McKarns

Another of Claire's small stars.

Roseanne Smith was inspired by an antique shown above to make this star of William Morris reproduction prints.

Judy Severson
Evening Star & Bouquet

Bettina Havig

To see Colonial Williamsburg's quilts go to this site and do a quick search for quilt. This particular star quilt is #119.


Jan said...

Stars are a favorite & I can feel a new project coming on. Thanks for sharing these lovely examples.

WoolenSails said...

The star is such a versatile design and there are so many variations you can make with it, always a favorite.


Anonymous said...

Please release your Block base for iMacs. It's too expensive to keep repairing my crappy PC just to run Block Base. (I have many of your books, including Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns, but BB prints great templates without the hassle of drafting a Mariner's Compass, etc)

TerryHowell said...

hi!,I love your writing very a lot! proportion we keep up a correspondence extra approximately your article on AOL? I require a specialist in this area to resolve my problem. May be that is you! Having a look forward to look you. war of 1812 service records