Monday, July 23, 2018

Vintage Lone Star Baby Quilt

Vintage Lone Star Baby Quilt

A local friend who deals in antiques calls me when she has quilts. I'm so grateful! This time I went through the pile of quilts and tops in her shop, and asked what else was she hiding. "Uh, just this little one," she said. It was a 35" baby quilt in a Lone Star pattern, worn, soft, and sweet as could be. Oh, it was going home with me!

I asked as many questions as I could about where this quilt was from, who she got it from, etc. Dating and placing a quilt where it was made or used are one of the most interesting parts of quilt hunting for me. I always gather as much information as I can before I leave the buyer, and write it down. I only knew it was sourced locally, likely in Coshocton county, Ohio.

Back at home, I went over the quilt in good light to find out what I could about the fabrics, construction, and any other little secrets it had to tell. Everyone wants to know, "How old is this quilt?" These clues can tell us a lot.

Nile green and pink were very popular in the 1930's. This pastel stripe appears to be made from yarn dyed before it was constructed into fabric. All these fabrics including the black dot and red stripe held their color well. 

Notice how well this quilter matched the stripes on the pastel, and the uniform directionality of the red and white stripe. I think she had made this pattern before considering this, and also how well the center came together and laid flat. 

The brown stripe star points also appear to have held their color fairly well, but the next two rows of points not so much. The solid pink tip is now very pale, but the lavender has faded to nearly white in most areas. There is also the added element of a leftover white stripe in the fabric's weave meaning it was more than a plain quilting or dress cotton. I wonder if this fancier fabric was leftover from a blouse or dress, and later made into scraps for the quilt. If it was in a garment, and worn several years as clothing was, how does that change the dating of the quilt?

Batting or Blanket

Many vintage utility quilts I see in this area have used alternatives to cotton or wool battings. As you look past the top layer in this one, you see a faint outline of the batting, and color peeking through.

We can see warp and weft from the back. It appears to be a brushed cotton of sorts, loose and open in weave. A well-worn blanket or flannel sheet perhaps? It's a repurposed batting for sure, and that's another sign it was from the Depression Era.

Feedsack Backing

A generous whole piece of fabric was used for backing. I'm sure it was bleached to remove as much of the print as possible, but can you see the wording in the middle of the top section?

While I can't make out everything, "Canton" is visible. Canton lies just north of us about 45 miles. Another clue this quilt was made locally.

Many people associate feedsack with the Depression Era, but did you know printed feedsacks were used for decades afterward? 

Simple Quilting

In the 1930's, quilting was simple. Often I see thread knots left on top of quilts around here, but none on this one. It's been made with particular care even though I would consider it a scrap quilt. The quilting was still uniform and fairly small done in white thread. Echo quilting is around each star point, half circles in the centers of each side, and whole circles in the corners.


This 1 1/8" binding is a diagonal print (late 1930's style) cut straight on the grain. It was machine sewn to the front, turned to the back, and hand finished with mitered corners. This is not a binding style we typically associate with the Amish or Mennonites which are so well know as quilt makers in this area. Regardless, there were many other quilt makers of other backgrounds during that time.

What's not to love about this quilt?

It's enough to inspire a person to start a Lone Star of their own. (Yes, I did, and more on that another day.)

Come on, Doxie girls.


Barb Neiwert said...

Nice find! With those faded colors, it must have been very difficult to photograph. Neat to see the Canton writing. You have a great knowledge of old quilts - we don't see so many around our area (Idaho). Or else, I'm just not looking. What are your plans for this quilt?

Julie said...

Barb, I think only preservation and appreciation. I hate to see quilts that aren't considered valuable used as cutters. I think we gain a lot of insight when we look at the common quilt as much as the good quilts. They're like little mysteries waiting to be solved with some research.

FYI Ohio has such a rich quilting history, but we also had strong textile market with cloth production in Cincinnati as early as 1890. Cincinnati Museum has an exhibit years ago called "Paris of the West". It was only second to New York, I believe, so we had nice fabric available too. I think being so rural also figures into our quilt love, and add tradition on top of generations that stayed in one general location with farming. That's a good recipe for finding old quilts. With the market so soft with old textiles, they're also very affordable. I feel lucky when I find something special.

Rebecca Grace said...

Ooh, you're making a Lone Star??!! That's on my bucket list. I've been ripping pictures of Lone Star variations out of magazines and pinning Lone Stars to my Pinterest boards for years... I love that you are a Vintage Quilt Rescue Hero!

Anja @ Anja Quilts said...

Thanks for sharing. Very interesting. Lone Star is on my wish list of quilts to make.

Angie in SoCal said...

Very interesting. In good shape for a 78 year + quilt.

Linda Swanekamp said...

What a precious quilt! Someone gave me a quilt to quilt that it an old top. I don't do that sort of thing, but she is a dear friend. I should send you a photo. It needs a couple of repairs. Thank you for showig the quilt. Any lone star tips?

Linda @ kokaquilts said...

Yes, it is certainly a very special find! Love how you dug deep & found out so much to share about this quilt. So, a 'cutter' quilt is one that's been recycled and/or cut up and made into something else, like a pillow or curtains maybe?
All that time & love put into a quilt only to be chopped up :(. Not too many really 'old' quilts here yet in NZ.

SandraC said...

Such a nice read about this little much to consider. I haven't made a star quilt in a long time, but have started one to use as a new Christmas tree skirt to replace my old one....I must get back at it!

Jayne said...

Isn't it beautiful! Thanks for sharing your vintage knowledge and what you know and found out about this quilt. It's pretty amazing what was made, how it was made and seeing the details!

Cherie's Quilting Journey said...

Such a great find. I enjoyed taking a look at it in detail. Thanks for sharing.

helenjean@midgetgemquilts said...

although I love to see your own quilts, Julie, as you know, I love to see the vintage quilts you pick up too. As you can say, you learn so much just from looking at them. They contain a real social history within them. I was thinking, it may have been somebody reasonably prosperous, a whole cloth backing, then you show it had feed sack backing and that changes the whole perception again. The prospect of making a lone star quilt terrifies me, far to many points!

beth s said...

Wow! What a great find.

KaHolly said...

Just love it when you impart your knowledge, Julie! I’ve always been fascinated by older quilts, and once upon a time, collected a few. Thanks so much for sharing!

Sandy Panagos said...

What a wonderful little quilt. Your assessment of it is so very interesting!