Replicating the Feathered Star, circa 1849
In the Spring of 2014, a quilt was donated to the Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village that immediately caught the attention of the Historic Homes Committee of the Amherst Quilters Guild. It was a blue and white, signed and dated “Feathered Star”, and one of the only quilts in the BNHV collection that was signed and dated by the maker. The committee immediately decided to replicate this quilt, especially since the maker had included Williamsville NY, in the information she had written in her signature block.
Deciding to make the quilt was the easy decision. First, the pattern had to be drafted, since we had to allow for shrinkage and age, and lucky for us, one of our quilters, Jackie Groszkowski, took on this challenge, and drafted the pattern to nearly exact specifications. Then, after auditioning many blue and white fabrics, we chose the one that we felt matched the original most closely. Muslin was used for the white, just as was in the original.
After drafting the pattern, the committee members paper pieced the star points (½ square triangles), and assembled each block. Once the blocks were completed, they were sashed and the top was completed. It was then quilted by Loretta Cadwallader, one of our premium long arm quilters and member of the Amherst Quilt Guild, following the same patterns that were used in the original design. Finally, upon completion of the quilting and binding, the quilt was presented to the BNHV at the Volunteer Luncheon in November 2016.
It is important to note that this quilt was signed, dated, and location were all visible on the quilt itself. Because of this information, the BNHV was able to document this quilt correctly, and further research on the maker is much easier using this as a starting point. Every quilter needs to include this information in his or her quilt, not only for posterity, but for the receiver of the quilt, as well as a protection for the quilter should anything untoward happen to the quilt. And as added protection, the quilt should be appraised for insurance purposes.
The Historic Homes Committee was proud to replicate this amazing quilt, which can now be used for demonstration or display purposes, while still protecting the integrity of the original quilt. We loved working on this, and hope to continue our efforts in the future, replicating quilts in the BNHV Collection.
Contributed by Theresa Utz, Amherst Quilters Guild Member and Historic Homes Committee Member.