This is the second of the two magnificent quilts that greeted us as we entered the Chicago quilt show. It is titled "Star of the East" (c. 1870) for the spectacular fabrics from which it is made that are likely from the eastern seaboard of the U.S. The information sheet says that the fabrics are likely from the period 1830-1875.
I was so taken with this collection of antiques I just started snapping pictures immediately and then realized I wasn't taking time to just view the quilts. So, I went through once taking picture after picture and then put my camera away and went through again just to look and look and look. I love old quilts. I am sharing my photos in small bits. If you want a look at both these beauties visit "What a Load a Scrap" blog and if you want a more comprehensive view of the show visit "A Sentimental Quilter" blog. By the way, who let that woman with the coffee near the quilts?
Here's a closer view of the center of the star medallion. It appears this quilter did not quite have enough of every fabric to complete each color round. Notice the cream and yellow in round 6? There are just a few diamonds of yellow and they are in two separate areas. Was this planned out? If so, why not space the yellows out in a more balanced way? There are other rounds with the same differences in fabrics.
I am guessing there may have also be a stash issue with the gorgeous chintz background fabric. See the panel in the lower right corner above?
It is different than the fabric used in the rest of the quilt.
I am going to end this by being a noodge. Given the perfection of the rest of this quilt, including my suspicion that it was either stored or rarely displayed to keep it so pristine, I have to think that the piece I am going to show you was a true boo-boo. See the second from the right green diamond above? It looks like our mystery quilter missed two sides of that piece in her quilting. I love it. You know how you work meticulously on a quilt and think it's all perfect and then the first time you show it to someone they say, "you missed a spot"? Should I be smug or say a silent apology to our unknown quilter for being that person?
The fabrics in these quilts have me longing for the days of the RJR/Smithsonian collaboration. Do you remember those collections based on the Benonie Pearce Album quilt called the Groom's Quilt, the Littler Sister's Quilt and the Rising Sun Quilt? Click on the links for photos of more magnificent 19th century quilts from the Smithsonian Museum. Finally, here is a link to a photo of the fabrics based on the Rising Sun quilt. I am hoarding some of them still, but would love for RJR to reprint them.