"Pinwheel Stars"—sixteen-block variation (quiltmaker's name: "Chain Link")

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    Photo: Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio
1980s
Cotton and cotton/polyester blend
88 x 88 inches

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Description: 

"Star" quilts were never for every quiltmaker in Gee's Bend. The "Star" may enjoy the widest popularity of any quilt pattern in America, but the interconnected diamonds of the star motif make the quilt vulnerable to puckering and pulling, unless pieced by a good seamstress. "Stars" also require lots of thread and good scissors, both of which were luxuries during earlier periods of hardship in the Bend.

"Star" quilts were never for every quiltmaker in Gee's Bend. The "Star" may enjoy the widest popularity of any quilt pattern in America, but the interconnected diamonds of the star motif make the quilt vulnerable to puckering and pulling, unless pieced by a good seamstress. "Stars" also require lots of thread and good scissors, both of which were luxuries during earlier periods of hardship in the Bend. Quiltmakers who did make "Stars" made many. Once the techniques had been mastered, the choices became almost infinite. Lucy T. Pettway remained fascinated by the possibilities, creating many single-and multiple-star quilts. Her "Pinwheel Stars" cleverly incorporates preprinted "Star" fabrics into sixteen distinct blocks, creating an eye-deceiving artwork.