Monday, June 27, 2016

Tessellations: Hexagons 5 - Long Hexagons

Elongated hexagon charm quilt from my
Civil War Homefront reproduction collection for Moda.
Cindy at the Busy Thimble was hand quilting it in this photo.

Hexagonal shapes tessellate well, filling the plane with one shape.
It doesn't matter whether hexagons have equal sides
 or some sides longer than others.

Two basic elongated hexagons are found in patchwork.

BlockBase #172 and #173 were described as coffin shapes by Averil Colby in her book on British patchwork. 

Here's a page from my Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.

In one elongated hexagon you could say the point is on the end.

About 1910

The quilt pattern goes back a long way.
The above detail is from the Taunay family quilt in the collection
of the Smithsonian Institution. It was probably made in the West Indies about 1800-1815.

This hexagonal shape was also relatively popular as a tessellated charm quilt in
the 1870-1900 period.

Names, depending on the proportion of the shape, included Lozenge and Pointed Oblongs from Caulfeild & Saward's 1882 English book on needlework and Church Windows from Averil Colby.

 In America the Ladies Art Company called it Honeycomb Patchwork.

Proportion is variable.

From the 1950s, maybe.

The person selling this one (1960s-'70s?) saw it as a butterfly.

This shape will fit together in a variety of ways
with no gaps,

Something English quiltmaker Lucy Boston figured out in the 1950s.

See more about Lucy Boston here:

Robyn's block from her PP blog.
The other six-sided shape might be described as having blunt ends.

An early-19th-century example, basted over paper.
Probably English.

English bedcover dated 1797 in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum

This is among the earliest hexagon patchwork spreads and as the catalog says:

"The pattern is formed from equal sized (but non-rotational) hexagons radiating outward from a central point."

See the quilt here:

You do see this shape in American charm quilts
after 1870 or so.

Some skinny, some chubby.

From Mary Barton's Collection
Quilt Index
And some lined up nicely

From Stella Rubin's online shop

From the Wisconsin project and the Quilt Index.
This one looks to be from the mid 20th century.

Caulfeild & Saward didn't include a picture in 1882 when
they gave instructions for a Lozenge or Pointed Oblong.
Imagine trying to figure out what they were talking about from their description.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Tessellations: Hexagons 4---Medallions Stars

Late -19th-century charm quilt

Geometry gives us many ways to set hexagons together.
Some of the most amazing are medallions that radiate out from a 6-pointed star.

It's a challenge to keep these designs going

Collection: Missouri Historical Society

Indianapolis Museum of Art

It's supposed to have 19,567 hexagons.

They are all variations of BlockBase #160.

Here are two small shots I found on the internet,
both look to be mid to late 20th century.

As with all hexagon quilts one has to resolve the edges.
Six sided textiles make better table cloths than bed coverings.

Art Institute of Chicago

"Fragment" from the collection of the Quilters' Guild, UK

Shown in Chicago.

Patricia Smith Collection

The king of star medallions is Albert Small of Ottawa, Illinois
whose three mosaic quilts are in the collection of the Illinois
State Museum. 
Click on these Quilt Index links to see all three




And here's a link to his chief competitor Grace Snyder's star hexagon medallion at the International Quilt Study Center and Museum:

Monday, June 13, 2016

Tessellations: Hexagons 3--- Medallions

A hexagon medallion, perhaps from about 1950
One piece---a hexagon, shaded in concentric hexagonal rings.

Here's a variation of BlockBase #160 I hadn't indexed before.
I guess it's #160z

It's one of those vernacular designs that grows out of the geometry of hexagons.

An early version dated 1808 by Rebekah Morrison from
the collection of Natalie Norris,

and a tied wool version from the early 20th century.

Early 20th century

It was a popular idea with charm quilt stitchers
between 1870 and 1910. The example above
from Lynn at Vintage and Antique Quilts.

From Sandra Starley's Collection

As the fashion moved on quilters seem to have
forgotten about "no two pieces alike" and just
worked on rings of color.

1950's or '60's?

Susan McCord's late-19th-century version in the Henry Ford Museum,
photo from the Quilt Index.

It's a tempting idea. You start in the center with 
a conventional rosette and the rings just keep getting larger.

British quilt from Kerry Taylor Auction

But you have to remember that quilts have square
corners and hexagons don't.

You could  get a little bit fancy in the corners.

From the Koval collection

From French Antiques
Or a lot fancy.

Above and below, silk hexies from the last
half of the 19th century.
Copake Auctions.

But no matter what your plan pretty soon you have a lapful.

Some people go to Plan B.

Above a silk version of tiny hexagons.

Same solution to the problem in a mid-20th-century
cotton quilt from Stella Rubin at First Dibs.

From the collection of Iowa's Living History Farms

She tried to corral everything with
borders here

with some success.

This quilter was a little more skillful at framing.

From a British online auction.
She gave up early.

It looks like someone started the center about 1900
and then finished it up with random corners
twenty or thirty years later.

Plan C
Mid-20th Century

Plan D
Mid-19th century