Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Seven Sisters - Happy 4th of July!!

Here's a favorite quilt from my collection which happens to be stars in red, white and blue - how appropriate!
The Seven Sisters block, done with just two simple prints and plain white, seems especially summery and fresh. 

Time to update the guest room bed . . .
including the bedskirt

c. 1925

As is the case with many quilt names,  there are several possible explanations about the origin of this name. According to Greek mythology the Seven Sisters were the daughters of Atlas who were metamorphosed into stars.  A star cluster in the constellatioin Taurus is known as the Seven Sisters. 
Another idea relates it to the first seven states to secede from the union; they were referred to as the "Seven Sisters". These seven-star clusters appeared on the first Confederate flag.
The term Seven Sisters also refers to the seven traditionally women's colleges that are comparable to the male Ivy League schools.
The design has been seen as early as 1845 lending more credence to the astronomical theory. According to Judy Schewender, curator of the Museum of the American Quilters Society, a Seven Sisters mail order pattern was sold by the Ladies Art Company in 1898.

Composed of diamonds sewn into six-pointed stars which are then joined into clusters,  it can take on many looks. As usual, fabric and setting choices make for a wonderful variety. Here are a few more vintage examples; most of them scrappy - one is a simple two color. I'll make a guess at approximate dates.

Set with a plain white hexagon c. 1900

Set with a plain green triangle- clusters being 'off-set"
c. 1940

Set in rows like mine but with horizontal sashing.
c. 1935

From the collection of the Quilt Index

Click here to see my post from this day last year with more patriotic quilts. 

Wishing a safe holiday to all as we struggle with various weather events across the country from fires, to floods, storms, excessive heat and power outages for literally millions.


  1. I have thought about making a 7 Sisters quilt. Interesting to see the different settings in these quilts.

  2. Thanks for the show of these wonderful quilts!!

    Happy 4th to you and your family.

    :) Carolyn

  3. I love the variation of quilts--all from the same basic star design. What vintage beauties you have. Any idea how many vintage quilts you own, or is that a subject best left alone? : )

  4. One of my favorite shapes, the 60 degree diamond. There are so many possibilities with it. You have some fabulous examples in your collection.

  5. Well, Janet, I just checked my lists and did the addition...I don't have THAT many vintage quilts...about 120 total which includes full bed, crib and doll sizes and about 25 tops. Don't ask about other textiles like table cloths, pillow cases, feed sacks etc. :) Do any of you care to share? and what other textile related collectibles are you interested in?

  6. timnca33tJean,

    Isn't the use of a hexagon in the seven sisters unusual?


  7. Gail, I do think it's an usual setting. (the scrappy red/white/blue) The clusters of stars don't seem to 'shine' as well being close together, do they?


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