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Aunt Eliza's Star
Maker unknown
Provenance unknown
ca 1820-1870
76" x 79"
Cotton with cotton filling
6521.4
Photo by KEVA, all rights reserved Michigan State University Museum

This is an early block style quilt in the Variable Star pattern. Each block is made of two fabrics. According to donor Merry Silber, the purple fabric is an example of the earliest printed fabric ever made in the U.S., a watermarked purple seaweed print. The purple still retains its original color which is unusual for a fabric this age. Purple dyes often faded to a soft brown and this tendency continued until the 1930s when better dyes were invented. The second fabric in the block is a medium pink floral on a striped backgound. The thin stripes move from pink to tan creating an ombre effect. These prints were popular in the 1830s. The sashing print is a tiny screen (vertical lines and horizontal lines, but not a plaid or check) of chrome yellow on yellow. This type of screen fabric is still being manufactured today in a variety of modern colors. The top dates from the 1830's. The red and white fabric on the back and the simple straight line quilting suggest the quilt top was finished ca 1870. According to family history records it was brought to Michigan around 1900.

According to Barbara Brackman the earliest published reference to this quilt block was from the Ladies Art Company in 1895. It was also published as Aunt Lottie's Star in the syndicated Nancy Cabot series in the 1930s and as Texas Star by Jean Dubois in the 1970s.

 


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