Monday, August 14, 2017

Star of the Bluegrass

Quilt of chrome orange and blues
with sashing that may have faded to gray-brown,
late 19th century.

Stars pieced of diamonds seem among the most common of quilts.

But I'm surprised to find this particular arrangement is rather uncommon:
Four diamonds in each star point.
BlockBase #3772

I'm not short of published names.

Patriotic Star from the Kansas City Star in 1936.

But 19th-century examples are rare.

Here's a quilt dated 1842, the earliest example I have
of a star with four diamonds per point.

Thia one from Stella Rubin's shop. It could be about the same time,
about 1840.

The quilt at the top of the page looks to be late-19th century.

Blocks may be about 1900 when grays and blues popular,
set with more colorful sashing later.

Most are 20th century...

From Cindy's Antique Quilts

It seems to be a useful pattern with lots
of shading possibilities.

Most quilts in the design date to later than 1933

When a quilt from Kentucky won national attention at the 
Worlds Fair Quilt Contest sponsored by Sears.

Mountain Mist published the prizewinner
with its fashionable green color scheme and stuffed work quilting. 

They called it "Star of the Bluegrass" for Kentucky. Many seamstresses were inspired to make copies by their pattern (published in 1948). Right after the Fair Sears published a pamphlet about the contest containing an ad for a kit for the Star of the Bluegrass. Times were tough, but people bought the kit.

Found in the Wisconsin project, purchased at an
estate sale.

Elizabeth Nesbett Cooper, Crawfordsville, Indiana
Indiana Project

The family story is that Elizabeth ran out of that green fabric
so substituted black.

Mary (Marija) Soklic Bartol, Cicero, Illinois About 1933.

This one from the Quilt Index also has a story:
"1933 was a difficult year, the worst year of the Great Depression. Work, and therefore income, was irregular, so my family's entertainment was making quilts. And since fabric cost money, most of our quilts were scrap quilts. That year, I visited the Chicago World's Fair with my parents. Because we were quilters, we were especially impressed with the display of prize-winning quilts at the fair. My father took the time to copy the pattern of a quilt that he admired, and later he made cardboard templates that my mother used to piece the quilt. My father even helped with the quilting. To the best of my memory, that quilt was green with very pretty printed fabrics. Our family made many quilts together."

See a PDF from the University of Chicago with the Sears pamphlet featuring an ad for a kit. 
Read more about the contest and the quilt copies here:

Stars with 9 diamonds in the points were far more
common in the 19th century This one is dated 1845.

Dated 1868

Mid-19th century.
There's something for you to ponder.
Why 9 patches instead of 4 patches?
Well, don't ponder it too hard. We don't have an answer.

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