Stars Fragmented

Stars fragmented is not a style it’s just the reality of my photographs.  I participated in another DAR quilt study session last week and these old quilts are so big it is difficult to get a good photo of the whole thing.  So, we must settle for fragments of them  Since I am listing my inadequacies, I also spent more time clicking away and not much noting the details about the quilts.  If you want to learn more about the quilts most are on  You can go there and search for stars in the DAR Museum collection and learn such things as dates, maker, etc.

Okay, now on to the quilt pictures.  Above is an early star quilt.  The brown fabric is one of those that starts to fall apart so it is fragile.  I just love the block that we now call Ohio Star that surrounds the central medallion style pieced star.  There is something calming and sophisticated in this soft two-color quilt.

The quilt above is another one that has deteriorated with time.  The big star, of which you can only see a bit, is a pieced 8-pointed one while the small stars surrounded it are 6-pointed.  I like the pieced triangle border.  You cannot see it in the photo but the brown print on the pink fabric in the border has deteriorated and eaten holes through the fabric.

This quilt has stood up to time much better.  If my memory serves me well, it can be dated to the late 1830s.  It is the large pieced star one sees from that time period and contains the delightful Turkey red fabric.  Don’t you love the applique border you can see toward the back of the picture?

Here is a detail showing some of the red fabric I just love.  If any fabric designers and manufacturers happen to be reading this, we need more reproductions!  Good ones, mind you, that accurately recreate the shade of red seen in the surviving mid-19th century quilts.

This group of photos didn’t load in the order I intended so forgive the jumping about.  First, let’s immerse ourselves in the red and green gloriousness of it all.  Above is the corner section of the quilt – all four corners are made of nine eight-pointed stars with sashing.

And above, is a bigger section of the quilt showing that the maker also managed to successfully sash around the large center star and fit more sashed stars in the triangular sections on the sides.

Here is a better picture of this engineering marvel.  The use of the limited palette (red, green and white) makes for the pulsing effect you get looking at the quilt.  I think I even captured it in the picture although in “real life” it was quite striking.

Above is a close up of a stamp with a name – Guyer on the back of the quilt.  I also like seeing the two green fabrics used in the binding and the quilt.  Don’t you love them?

Now, this one is quite something.  It is all wool hand whip-stitched together.  Wool holds color so well that there is no fading in the quilt.  It is what we would consider just a top since there is no batting or backing.  I’ve seen this type of quilt with a backing before but never batting.  Think how heavy that would be!  The edges are raw but the fabric is so tight that it does not even fray.

You can see the stitching and raw edge in the lower right part of the photo above.  You can also get a pretty good look at how the pieces look inlaid from the front.

The quilt above is another wool quilt.  It is not, however, Amish or Mennonite as you might guess.

I particularly like this one since I’ve spent three years hand piecing Lemoyne stars like these.  Well, not quite since mine are individual stars and these are pieced together in fours sharing a center large square.  Maybe I’ll try this design on my next group of stars.

I particularly like the colors in the stars around the edges.  Pink, brown, green and blue, yum!

The quilt above and in the next couple of pictures is the first we saw and one of the earliest.  It is my opinion that these large star quilts are nothing short of magnificent and these fabrics are also.

In the photos above and below you can see the pillar print used in the border.  The broderie perse “basket” is actually the top of the pillar cut off, the blue turned into leaves on each side and the flowers that wrap around the pillar are fussy cut to be the flowers at the center of the motif.

You can definitely see the pillar print better in the photo above.  Below is a close up of the fabrics because I do love that soft yellow print, particularly as it contrasts against the Prussian blue.

The feathered star quilt below is a combination of excellent quilting and piecing.  Our tutors were not positive but think the green fabrics may have been home dyed and they were fading unevenly in spots.  Of course, I love it because, fading or not, it is red and green.

Don’t you love this quilting?

This quiltmaker wasn’t to be satisfied with one elaborating pieced star so she made many.  A style believed to be later than the single large star.  All of them fit together perfectly.

The picture below, a detail from the quilt above, was chosen to show you the fabrics a little closer.  Pink and green is another favorite of mine and that bright green is a delight.  And, the red.  Did I mention how much I like Turkey red?

I hope you enjoyed seeing these bits and pieces of some wonderful quilts.  The DAR Museum is continuing their quilt study sessions on the second Tuesdays of February, March and April.  The events are called Textile Tuesdays and each session is just $20.  You can register by emailing mu****@da*.org.  If you are planning a visit to Washington, DC you should definitely try to fit one of these sessions into your plans.  Also, the DAR will be mounting an exhibit on early Maryland and Virginia quilts this fall so pencil that into your agenda, too.  Some of the quilts we are seeing are to be included in that exhibit.  The mid-Atlantic boasts some of the earliest U.S. quilts and are examples of some of the finest fabrics.

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  1. what a truly wonderful collection of quilts! your photography is to be admired too… You have the knack!
    thank you very much for sharing.
    best wishes, Jay x

  2. Lovely quilts! The green and red was fabulous but so was the brown. I wonder why she made a brown quilt, her favorite color? or his? The fabric was on sale? Thanks for posting these.

  3. Amazing quilts! I'm writing my column for NQA magazine now on Bethlehem or Lone Stars and loved seeing these. I have a wholecloth quilt made of that blue pillar print, can't get enough of pillar prints.

  4. Howdy! I found you! And you posted on my birthday! I would love to see quilts like this up close and personal. How lucky you are to be able to view them so closely. Are you making friends with other quilt lovers who go to these presentations? What fun! I am in awe of the ladies who made such beautiful quilts with nothing but thread and needle, scraps and wonderful imagination…thanks for sharing!

  5. Wow! Just when I thought "This is my favorite" I'd scroll to the next and think the same thing! What an amazing opportunity you have to see these. Thanks for sharing them on your blog.

  6. Just amazing! I don't even have the words to describe how enthralled I am by these quilts! Oh, how I wish I could see them in person, but thank you for sharing the pictures – they are awesome. I love looking at the old fabrics.

  7. I second Janet's thanks you. What an absolute treat to view these wonderful, inspiring quilts while having my morning coffee. I agree that it would be great to see more of these fabrics reproduced in original colours and prints. I would buy bolts!

  8. Jaw droppingly gorgeous quilts! Thanks for showing close ups so we can enjoy the fabrics. I'm starting to get tempted a little with lemoyne stars.

  9. I so enjoyed seeing the Lemoyne star quilt. I just finished piecing the last 4-star block like the blocks in this quilt. It is called an Old Maid's Patience block and these blocks took a lot of patience because I hand pieced them all. I'm putting in solid alternating blocks instead of sashing but it was fun to see it in a different setting.

  10. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing these pictures – they are marvelous! I love these quilts and the fabrics and the quilting. What a delight to see them in person. I'm going back to look some more and be inspired.

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