1850 - 1880 Lucy Meade's "Sunburst" Pieced Quilt

1850 - 1880 Lucy Meade's "Sunburst" Pieced Quilt

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The “Sunburst” quilt was brought to Kansas from Ohio in 1904 by Emma Tracy, Lucy Meade’s mother. She had inherited it from her mother, Candus Cone Northway, whose aunt crafted it in the mid-19th century. Lucy Tracy Meade, the donor’s grandmother, exhibited the quilt in Kansas in the 1970s.
According to Lucy Meade, it was always referred to in the family as the star pattern. Whether it is called a 14-point star, a sunburst, or a sunflower, the quilt makes a bold graphic statement.
This carefully designed quilt is composed of five different roller-printed cottons, with a white cotton lining and cotton filling. A 23 ¾-inch red circular center is surrounded by 14 yellow triangles and 14 green diamonds. Additional piecing in blue provides contrast to the colorful sunburst. The resulting 57-inch square is framed by a border of 9 ½-inches on three sides and 17-inches on the bottom. The quilting accents the design with concentric circles ¾-inch apart in the center, echo quilting on the diamonds and triangles, clamshell quilting on the wedges between diamonds, and further concentric circles around the sunburst. The border is quilted with a diagonal grid pattern, all done at 7 stitches per inch.
In an article in the Hays Daily News from 1979 about the “Sunburst” quilt, Lucy Meade says: “It’s been in the family for as long as I can remember. We’re even so worried about it wearing out that we don’t use it anymore, except for display purposes.” Her granddaughter, Janet Meade Komoroske agreed, and felt that the quilt belonged in a museum collection where it can be admired and studied by a wider audience.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Physical Description
fabric, cotton (overall material)
thread, cotton (overall material)
filling, cotton (overall material)
overall: 87 in x 81 in; 220 cm x 206 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of Mrs. Janet Meade Komoroske
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Textiles
Domestic Furnishings
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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