My 19th Century Sampler Quilt would not be complete without a Feathered Star. This block is 14 1/2 inches unfinished and since I am using sashing on my 12 1/2 inches blocks to bring them up to 15 1/2 inches. I am going to sash with unbleached muslin. I used this as the background fabric for this star. This will be in the center of my quilt. I chose the unbleached muslin for a couple of reasons. It was the choice of many antique quilts that were samplers and because Kona Cream is too heavy to work with in a pattern like the feathered star that has one inch half squares. The feathered part of this block was papered pieced. Kona Cotton was just too bulky. I have used this brand of muslin for years and have been happy with it.
I still have some work to do on this block. I need to go back and fix some intersections. I was rushed for time to get this done for another blog and just left it as it was. I haven’t pulled the paper off of it yet so I can reline things up a little better.
The feathered star was one of the few named quilt blocks in the 19th century. It was a very early pattern and was copied by many quilters for good quilts. The pattern took some skill to draft this block and to sew all the tiny pieces. It was also a good way to use up tiny scraps of expensive printed fabric. Good dressmakers could show off their skills on their beds when company came. When guests would come to visit they would spend the night because travel took awhile. The best quilts and bed lines would be used for the company. We see some excellent examples of this quilt in museums to day and this pattern is highly prized by quilt collectors.
Many of the complicated patterns were paper pieced using newspaper or wrapping paper in the 19th century. Patterns was usually copied on newspaper to share and drawings and templates. Many times a quilter would see a quilt at a fair or raffle and take time to draw the pattern or would reproduce it from memory. Not many patterns were published until the last 2 decades of the 19th century. Collectors today know there are regions in this country that are known for certain patterns. That was because that pattern was shared among neighbors.
I found this feathered star on line at McCall’s Quilting. It is a free PDF file that you can down load. The pattern is called Tribute to York County. York County Pennsylvania is were many of the very early patterns and quilts have been found. They used to publish a Vintage Quilt Magazine and this pattern came from their Spring Issue in 2005. I have some of them and kept them for reference. Here is the link to the pattern:
In my next blog I will give you the cutting instruction and how I paper pieced it. It isn’t that difficult of the block when it is papered pieced.