Star quilt with block embroidered
"R ???? Porter... (Perhaps it says Her Own Work)
Done in the Year 1777"
American Museum in Britain
Americans have been making patchwork quilts since the days of our break with England in the 1770s.
Among the earliest patchwork patterns is one we'd call a Sawtooth Star, a nine patch of triangles and squares.
Over at my Civil War Quilts blog we are doing a Block of the Month in 2021 featuring variations on this nine-patch star to recall the real-life family of Little Women.
See the first post of Hands All Around: Alcotts at War here:
And join our Facebook group here
I was surprised to find how many early quilts with dates on them use the star.
1797 Hannah John
Maine quilt project
1787 Rachel Mackey, Chester County, Pennsylvania
America Hurrah Antiques
These are among the earliest of our date-inscribed quilts.
1783 Deborah Wilson
Deborah's patchwork is rather primitive.
Her sawtooth stars may be applique rather than pieced.
It's an easy block to piece---a good beginner block.
This one from the Porter quilt look to be pieced.
UPDATE: Lynne Bassett sends a photo of patchwork (not a bedquilt) thought to be from the Colonial era: A paper pieced star for a hand screen (one held a small screen up to one's face to protect it from the heat of the fire) attributed to Deborah Hobart Clark of Danvers, Massachusetts who died in 1765. See the Massachusetts Quilts book.
Sophia Hooker, dated 1820
Collection Winedale, University of Texas
Deborah Wilson may have appliqued blue triangles to a white background
in her 1783 quilt but here's another way to do it
You take a square of chintz
You applique squares to the corners
Then you applique triangles to the edges.
And there you are.
More about early stars: