Monday, March 16, 2020

Seven Sisters Surprise

I'd always wanted a Seven Sisters (Seven Stars) quilt. All those little 60-degree diamonds and tiny triangles! Some quilt patterns you think you'll never make and if you're a quilt collector as well, these patterns are put on your 'bucket list.'

A little more than a month ago, I read a very average ebay description of a vintage quilt for sale. It was so boring "--old brown and green quilt--" that I'd normally never click on it. So glad I did! Up came a late 19th century Seven Sisters quilt. I watched the auction carefully and finally, at the last minute, placed a minimal bid. 'Seven' was mine! After some back-and-forth with the seller about shipping, I paid the Paypal invoice and waited.

A week later the quilt arrived in a recycled and battered box, bulging along the sides and one box seam splitting. I slit the packing tape very carefully wielding the knife sideways so as not to cut the quilt. And sure enough the quilt popped out of the box like those biscuits in a tube. The quilt hadn't been wrapped in paper or even put in a plastic garbage bag but rather just jammed in the old box and shipped. This sloppy treatment was a further clue (along with its unimaginative listing) that the quilt's seller didn't value the quilt highly.

I couldn't wait to get Seven up on the flannel design wall to take pictures! The photo revealed a slightly sun-faded area that the ebay pic had not shown and its overall condition was good rather than mint as advertised. But I still love it!

This Seven Sisters quilt has contained hexagonal blocks that finish into rectangles. Not a common method of dealing with a hexagonal block. The brown surrounding pieces also reach to touch brown squares where the teal green sashing crosses. It's a variant I haven't seen before. But the colors and the triple-bar border all scream 'Carolina.' Whether North or South I cannot say. Is the quilt actually an artifact of the Civil War? I'd say not as many of the fabrics in the patchwork date from the 1870s-1890s.

Ironically when I was putting the pictures of the Seven Sisters into a computer file, up popped two images of another Seven Sisters quilt. This is a quilt top and it is somewhere here in the shed, stored high above my head on the 8' shelf, folded with all the other vintage tops.

Excuse the crummy photos--these were taken with an ancient camera on a sunny and windy day while the quilt top hung on the clothesline. Since then I've become a somewhat more competent picture-taker. This quilt top has a different set than the new quilt. Here long bars of cheddar with tiny blue triangles keep the patchwork hexagons twirling over the surface of the quilt.

If you'd like to learn more about Seven Sisters, I'd suggest you peruse Barbara Brackman's Civil War Quilts blog.