Star Signature Quilt

Star Signature Quilt

I studied an unusual pieced star signature quilt in my collection dated 1877. The thirty-six 10-inch blocks probably came from northern New Jersey, the home of most of the signers, and were joined with wide sashing a generation later.

The center points of the stars are cut away in convex curves, providing space for signatures. I discovered a small group of published examples of similar eight and six pointed stars. All have narrow sashing and borders and were made in the New York/New Jersey area before the Civil War.

Unlike typical late-nineteenth century Midwestern quilts available to me, my quilt contains Eastern fabrics with lighter or clearer colors. Finding period reproduction fabrics was difficult because so many are dark or grayed. My new version has twenty 8-inch blocks with examples of simple geometric designs and refined small figures made from reproductions, older stashed fabrics, and a vintage solid pink almost identical to the one from 1877. The narrow red print sashing and border are reminders of the pre-Civil War star signature quilts.

I learned about the history of my quilt and the star pattern. I also gained an appreciation for a wider variety of fabrics available in the 1870s.