Seeing Stars

As you may have already guessed I buy a lot of vintage and antique quilt tops and blocks from eBay. (could this be an understatement?)  One of the things about eBay buying is that sometimes you just have to take a gamble.  I just got a lot of 20 star blocks and this is what the seller had for the description.

Lot of 20 handsewn vintage “8 pointed star” feedsack quilt blocks. They measure 15″ x 15″ each and are in nice vintage condition. It looks like these were once either hand sewn together or maybe removed from an existing quilt. There is stitch marks around each of the edges of the blocks where they were once sewn to something? There is some light yellowing discoloration on the cream fabric background and very light fading of the dark green on one block only. They are beautiful and would make an outstanding quilt!!

There was just one picture

Those don’t look very “feedsacky” to me.  To me feedsack is the flowery pastel fabric from the 30’s….like this

I know that a lot of the fabric in this top was feedsack because I re-made the top recently and there are several areas where you can see the seams from the sacks, and the holes left from where the sacks were sewn shut.  Anyway to me this is the kind of thing I think of as feedsack. (I should do a post about this top some day what a job it was to re-make!)

There are however many people who sell on eBay and anything that is fabric and looks old becomes “feedsack” even when it is not.

So I took a gamble and bought them $26…..that is $1.30 per block!  Hope they are good…well I think they are great!!

Nice bright red.  Beautiful yellow.  Teal Blue.

So how old are they?

look at the yellow.

That Yellow fabric (Chrome yellow) is pictured in The Trestain book “Dating Fabrics A color Guide 1800-1960” on page 66 in the 1830-1860 section…but oddly enough there is also one on page 117 in the 1880 -1910 section but it is duller and less defined.  And look at the red.  the above picture has a tanish fabric…that was red when new.  The maker of these blocks had more than one red fabric and one was clearly not as good as the other.  The more expensive dyeing process made for stable red and the color is still as bright as when it was new.  but the cheaper fabric turned tan with age.  some of the blocks have both fabrics used together

She was very frugal with the fabric…lots and lots of the pieces are pieced

The cheddar fabric stayed very bright.  The centers look rather blue or teal.

I imagine that they might have been more green when new.  Many antique green fabric will turn teal as it ages because the yellow dye dissipates and leaves the blue.  If you look at antique quilts you will often see blue leaves and stems in applique work …but they were green when new. This fabric was likely teal to start with but you never know for sure what antique fabric looked like when it was new.

Anyway I have 20 of these so there is plenty to make a quilt.  I could do a side by side setting and perhaps add some sashing.

Or I could set them on point (which makes a bigger quilt of about 85″ x 100″)

Here are pictures of all the blocks. (click to enlarge)

Im glad I took the gamble and bought the “feedsack” blocks that were not

Happy Quilting


21 thoughts on “Seeing Stars

  1. Karen says:

    these will make a nice quilt! did you find they are all 15 x 15 or are they off a lot?

  2. Sara says:

    I think on point would be very nice! I believe I had some of that yellow print that is attached to the pink and it came in yellow, red and blue, same print and that was early 70’s (I might still have some!), unless it is newer and has been reproduced! Not sure about the rest, but they are great no matter what!

  3. Jean says:

    Hi Tim,
    You have such enthusiasm for taking on challenging projects and you seem to get started on them right away….I must say I don’t think that the blue was once green from what I can see and from the rest of the fabrics shown…they don’t look overdyed…there is a blue/green teal that was teal from the start – QHL list was recently talking about the teal, cheddar combo from North Carolina mostly. Are you on that list. ?

    • timquilts says:

      Hi Jean
      The teal sure could have been teal from the start. It is very difficult for me to get a true color representation with the camera, but they are more green than they look in the picture. (I should try to photograph outside in natural daylight) The blocks came from a seller in Missouri but they could have originated in North Carolina….textiles have a way of traveling across the county over time .
      Im not on the HQL list what is it?

  4. Mandy Currie says:

    Tim, these are lovely blocks, going to make a great quilt. I will look forward to seeing what you do with them.

  5. Ginny says:

    On Point definetle….absolutely! They look “glommed up” all close together.

  6. Barbara Wells says:

    I vote for on point also. They are so interesting, what a treasure!

  7. Barbara Wells says:

    But isn’t that half the fun? Taking something that needs a home and turning it into a beautiful quilt. It is lots of playing with ideas and options and working with less than perfect block sizes, but oh, so rewarding! If they could just talk!

    • timquilts says:

      that sure is a big part of the fun!…and yes it would be great if the blocks could talk!!….i am going to have fun looking for fabric to go with these

  8. audrey says:

    Great blocks. Love the frugal piecing and the sharp colors!

  9. Dolores says:

    Personally, I would set them on point. More quilt that way and the alternate squares beg to be quilted with a wreath or a spider web or another star.

  10. […] I posted about these a while ago when they first arrived,  see that post here. […]

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