When I walked into the Special Exhibit at American Quilt Study Group Seminar in San Jose, California, I knew immediately my search was over and I’d found a very unusual star quilt for my 2010 study quilt.
“Starburst” owned by Julie Silber was made by Amanda Dubois for her grandson Andrew Dubois for a wedding gift in Ashville, North Carolina and dated 1878. Pieced stars appliquéd onto a strip pieced background and lots of embroidery work grace this quilt.
The original quilt was 75” x 75.” I reconstructed the quilt on a small scale using modern techniques. The stars were fused onto a pieced background and embellished with free motion machine embroidery and a small machine blanket stitch. Even with modern techniques this project was a huge undertaking with over 2,000 yards of thread used for the embroidery.
The study quilt is made with cotton fabric. The original quilt was made with silk and wool at the beginning of the Crazy Quilt period. Although the piecing is very symmetrical, the elaborate embroidery work could have been influenced by a Japanese fan quilt. Embroidery work on crazy quilts was just coming into fashion when this quilt was made in 1878. The 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition with the Japanese Exhibit is credited for inspiring crazy quilting in the United States.