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Native American Quilts
As cotton fabric became liberally available at reasonable rates, more and more women started experimenting with quilt making. A fine example of their creativity with colors and prints is the Native American quilt which is usually a star quilt made with one large distinct star in the center of the quilt top. Other examples include the Mathematical Star, Star of the East, Star of Bethlehem, Lone Star and the Morning Star. Each individual name represents and reflects the culture of the region and traditions of the people where it was first made.
Making a star quilt is not as easy as it may seem. It requires great precision and delicate needle work to make it a complete success. The Native Americans have however been able to embrace this art and weaved excellent star quilt patterns embodying native legends including the Morning Star. The Morning Star is considered sacred by the Indians from the plains and can also be found on their hide paintings, clothing’s and footwear as well. Initially, Native American quilts were made in much the same way as other American quilts, but gradually with time the Morning Star motif which was adapted from the conventional Lone Star pattern, grew on to become a favorite Native American quilt design.
Although, quilting was a craft that the Native Americans borrowed from the Europeans, through their talent and fine weaving skills they managed to make it unique to their civilization. Native American star quilts are made by carefully sewing each cloth piece of diamond mosaic to form the shape of the traditional Morning Star pattern of the Sioux. Before this cultural group patented the star quilts, the Indian women made blankets from buffalo hides that were ornamented with paint, quills and beads. But since the evolution of quilts, they have been commonly used across diverse Native American cultures right from bed covers to infant swings to weather insulation.
Slowly as the Native American quilts became popular, the Morning Star came to be increasingly associated with the Indians. Eventually, these star quilts gained so much admiration across America that they have even been used to honor veterans of American wars and are also commonly used during tribal ceremonies, special occasions like weddings and pow-wows. Besides this, star quilts are also frequently gifted to sportsmen and their coaches as a tribute. Many high school basketball teams also stage star quilt ceremonies during tournaments.