Lillian’s Star

By: Melanie Wilson Poston
Charleston, South Carolina

The inspiration quilt was made by my paternal grandmother, Lillian May Stiles Wilson, and served many functions for our family of seven — at times a bed quilt, a wrap for reading and watching television, a picnic blanket. I wish I had asked my grandmother, father, and mother more about the quilt. Unfortunately, as a young girl, I took it for granted. The Lone Star design is a favorite, and the color combination of this quilt is a striking and pleasing design to me.

The Lone Star pattern first appeared in the 1830s. Known also as the Star of Bethlehem, it has numerous variations on the classic central star design. It has been a popular pattern throughout nearly two centuries, despite the difficulty of the piecing to achieve a flat quilt. Lone Star kits became available for purchase in the 1920s, and it is highly possible that Lillian’s quilt is a kit.

The period when this quilt was made was a time of uncertainty and unrest. Quilting likely gave my grandmother comfort. It is a colorful and upbeat quilt. She was a young widow raising three children in rural West Virginia. Life was uncertain and stressful.

It has been a long-term goal of mine to replicate this quilt. The AQSG Solid Color Quilt Study was the push I needed (as well as some significant prodding and encouragement from my sister) to tackle the project. The Lone Star pattern is intimidating, and it challenged my piecing skills, as did the task of reducing the pattern size. The process and the challenge have proven to be very enjoyable and have given me confidence and a willingness to try more challenging patterns. Most of all, this study quilt is a wonderful reminder of my beloved grandmother and my childhood.