Eight Pointed Star
Alabama Department of Archives and History
Eight Pointed Star, ca. 1860
Virginia Atkinson Watkins
Virginia Atkinson Watkins’ child’s quilt has been carefully constructed to contrast the patterns of the fabrics, and their impact by the way in which the individual pieces of brown striped fabric were cut. This technique, known as “fussy cutting,” cuts printed fabric edges at different angles to create a particular design; it was time consuming and sometimes seen as wasteful since it required a greater amount of fabric than usual in order to match the elaborate patterns within the quilt. In this piece, each square, and the quilt as a whole, was bordered with a rich, foliate-patterned fabric that visually contrasts with the geometric regularity of the stars. The entire quilt was then stipple stitched (using tiny stitches) to give the overall surface a puckered texture. The complications of construction, the materials required, and skill needed to create this quilt would suggest that, in addition to skill, the maker was blessed with both time and access to abundant resources.
Virginia Atkinson Watkins (1837-1908) was born in Lowndes County, Alabama. In 1856, she married Dr. Benjamin Franklin Watkins of Conecuh County. Watkins served as a surgeon in the 44th Alabama Infantry Regiment during the Civil War. It was during this period, while the family was living in Selma, Alabama, that the Eight-pointed Star cradle quilt was created. Virginia and Benjamin had seven children during the course of their marriage. The family eventually moved west, settling in Texas sometime around the turn of the century.
Back to quilt pair.