Friday, August 1, 2014

Star Pattern Without a Name

Or a number!

It's a common pattern, a variation on the Lone Star or Star of Bethlehem
with what we tend to call "satellite stars" in the corners and edge triangles.

Pennsylvania 1880-1910

Quilt dated 1838-9 Moore
Winterthur Museum
Here's the earliest date-inscribed example I've found

Most seem to come from the Pennsylvanians 
about 1880-1910 or so.

Stauffer family, Mannheim Pennsylvania

The North Carolina project uncovered a few.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a terrific example
they call Star of Bethlehem

The same name the  International Quilt Study Center and Museum
gives this Pennsylvania variation.

But Star of Bethlehem really just refers to the category of large stars of diamonds
(BlockBase #4005)

Example from the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Museum
at Colonial Williamsburg

How could a pattern so distinctive, so early and so common go with an unrecorded name?

My guess is that pattern names were recorded (or made up)
by designers selling quilt patterns beginning about 1880. This complex star with
stars would be hard to show as a block and hard to
draw up or kit up.

By Lydia Hall, about 1900,
 from the Wyoming project and the Quilt Index.

I can't give it a name but I can assign it a number. I'm writing #4005.5 in my copy of my Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.
Philadelphia Museum of Art
I'm lumping in all the variations with different stars and sunbursts.

Marlo Miller has been looking for a pattern name for
this quilt pictured with Grandma----
"4005.5 variation" isn't very romantic but it may have to do.


  1. I have been really enjoying your wonderful posts about these amazing star quilts!!

  2. I'm writing the same in my encyclopedia. Love that book! I really like the simpler quilt example that uses the simple stars in the corners and between star points.

  3. It is really hard to fathom that it got away without a name - those are beautiful quilts Barbara!