Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Confederate Quilt

I came across this quilt recently in somebody's vacation snapshots, taken in a small Texas museum: a quilt behind a fossil case (probably fading away in the light.) What a strange pattern. But you know it could be a Civil War quilt. It's hard to tell the age of a quilt from a photo and the fabrics all seem to be solids. Very little help. But there is nothing to say that it's not 1860-1900.

That star appliqued border is intriguing. I have probably seen ten or more Civil War quilts with the same border, taken from the 1861 Union quilt pattern published in Peterson's Magazine.
And the block---is that four shields?

Pieced and appliqued?
Well I didn't think much more about it for a day or two

And then I came across this image on a Civil War envelope. I'd seen dozens of Union envelopes from the War, but never a Confederate envelope. I had never noticed "The Emblem of the South," a shield with three stripes just like the first flags.

So I looked at my files of Confederate quilts (a very small file). Here's the same shield in Varina Davis's post-war memorial quilt.

Another envelope---this a Virginia symbol

It seems to be an image that is almost forgotten. The differences between the Confederate shield and the Union shield are subtle (like the differences between the first Confederate and the Union flags.)

Union shields (these two are from Union quilts) have more stripes.

That Texas quilt needs better documentation and conservation.

See more about Varina Davis's quilt here:
And more about the star border here at my blog post here

And see many more actual Civil War quilts on my Pinterest Board


  1. Thank you so much for the links, Barbara! On the MOC's quilt site, I found the Shelton Eight Pointed Star Quilt and I'm in love with the setting. I am just about to start my next hand-piecing project, and I was wanting to do the 8-pointed star. This setting is wonderful, using a striped fabric for the sashings! I love it, and it is now my inspiration for my next project! Thanks a bunch!

  2. Someone needs to find that quilt and rescue it right away. Love the layout and the whole look of it. It needs to be treated better.

  3. What a wonderful and unique piece.
    I am still working on fabrics for my davis daughters, no good creams, so I am thinking of trying it with some tickings that I have, mixed with tea stain solids.


  4. Where in Texas is the museum? I live in Fort Worth - I'd love to see it.

  5. Thank you for sharing Barbara! That old quilt is fantastic!

  6. I'm interested in the location of the Texas quilt as well. would love to see it in person.

  7. That is a beautiful quilt, would love to know exactly where it is and more about it.

  8. Thanks for sharing this information. It is an intriguing little quilt and a unique way to set the blocks.