The Saga Of One Quilt Pattern

The Unknown Star

   At the 1933 Century of Progress in Chicago, Sears Roebuck Co.  sponsored a quilt contest.  The Grand Prize was to be $1,000.00.  The quilt that won the prize was a pieced one called “The Unknown Star” by the maker, Margaret Rogers Caden of Kentucky.  The quilt, itself, was presented to the wife of the then President, Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt.

   Sears Roebuck Co. in 1934 issued a quilt pattern booklet of the prize-winning quilts in the contest.  The booklet was “Century of Progress in Quilt Making.”  The prize-winning quilt was offered in both kit form and perforated pattern form.  It was re-named “Feathered Star: in this publication.

   The prize-winning quilt received reams of publicity during this time.  Pictures and articles about it appeared in many newspapers and periodicals throughout the country.  Other pattern sources featured it, too.  Capper’s showed it in May 1934, and called it “Quilt of the Century.”  A book “Quilting” by Alice Beyer, published in Chicago, displayed this quilt, also.

   In the late 1940s, Mountain Mist again issued this same quilt pattern.  It was called “Star of the Bluegrass,” perhaps in reference to Margaret Rogers Caden’s home state of Kentucky.

   Here we have in very vivid form a prime example of the name changes for a quilt pattern.  From “Unknown Star: to “Feathered Star” to “Quilt of the Century” to “Star of the Bluegrass,” with perhaps a few other names in between, this pattern has acquired lasting fame.  For this quilt as “Star of the Bluegrass” continued on its prize-winning ways.  In 1952, it again won a $1,000.00 Grand Prize for the five women of the Middlebury Grange #139, New Haven, Conn., who made it for a National Quilt Contest.  This quilt, too, was presented to the wife of the then President, Mrs. Harry S. Truman.  This, then is the saga of one quilt pattern.


Sources:
Unknown Star – “Quilting: - Alice Beyer, 1934
Feathered Star – Sears; Century of Progress of Quilt Making, 1934
Quilt of the Century – Cappers May 1934
Quilt of the Century – Kate’s Blue Ribbon Quilt, 1971 (Cappers reprint).
Star of the Bluegrass - #100 Mountain Mist
Star of the Bluegrass – McCall’s
Needlework Spring & Summer 1953

 

Quilt has 42 pieced blocks – 6 across, 7 down.
Block size – 12-1/2”
Border – 3”
Star made of light, dark and print diamonds.  Each star has 32 diamonds in it.
Original was in shades of green with matching print, which included a touch of red.
Material for background may be the light shade, or white.

 

Material requirements:
Light 4-1/2 yards
Dark 3 yards
Print 4 yards

Pattern on page 16 of fall 1973 issue of NNT (V-5, N-3, P-16   73/09)


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