Saturday, June 4, 2016

Morris Hexathon 5: Upton

Morris Hexathon 5: Upton by Becky Brown

Block #5 Upton
Two pieces: a hexagon and a quadrilateral---a tumbler

Upton by Bettina Havig
I don't think Bettina and Becky saw each other's
blocks but they fussy cut the same Vine Tapestry for the outside ring.

I named the block Upton for the town near which William Morris built his Red House.

When he married Jane Burden in 1860, Morris and close friend architect Philip Webb collaborated on a house built of exposed brick (not a fashionable exterior at the time.) Morris and Webb had studied architecture together but Morris quit his training to be a painter. This is the only house he built for himself.

The Red House is a must see stop on a Morris marathon.

Detail from a Max Beerbohm cartoon:
may be William Morris and Jane---
(or it could be Lizzie and Rossetti.)

The Red House was "decidedly medieval in spirit."
The half-hipped roof line is echoed in the fireplace.

Above, the motto reads:
Ars Longa Vita Brevis,
Latin for
"Art lasts; Life is short."

The signature shape is also echoed in this week's block.
Pattern for an 8" Hexagon
(4" sides)
To Print:
  • Create a word file or a new empty JPG file that is 8-1/2" x 11". 
  • Click on the image above. 
  • Right click on it and save it to your file. 
  • Print that file out 8-1/2" x 11". The hexagon should measure 8" across or 4" on the sides. 
  • Adjust the printed page size if necessary. 
  • Add seams when you cut the fabric.
The pattern has a BlockBase number #241.9.
I found it published only one time in a small pattern magazine named
Aunt Kate's Quilting Bee in 1965, but people were making this quilt
before 1965.

Example from the 1950s or '60s, perhaps, set with
white triangles.

The same pattern with blue triangles between the hexies.
But maybe not much before the 1960s.

Blocks side by side
from the Michigan project, photo from the Quilt Index.

A block from Debby Kratovil
Different Proportions

In the past few years quiltmakers have
discovered another way to use the same pieces. 

If you flip the tumblers over...
Putting the down side up...
Upton and Downton???

And chase them around the central hex...
you get a twist

This is really not a new idea. Above a velvet version
from the early 20th century

found on Stella Rubin's site.

Bill Volkening has an example in his collection of the same pattern in polyester doubleknits.

One More Inspiration

Twirling Hexies from Nancy Mahoney

You might want to make two blocks this week.
Or save this design for later when the weekly block is not to your taste.
Don't choke on your breakfast---they are going to get harder.


  1. Off to find my fabrics. Your closeout line made me laugh so hard it was as well I wasn't eating.Thank you so much for this challenging project.

  2. Dorry-that's because a certain reader told me she choked on her breakfast last week. I don't want to be liable.

  3. I'm curious--I've done some EPP and some regular piecing with seam-allowance turned under so I can add them to the EPP ones. Is everyone doing EPP for these??

  4. I would say most people are not paper piecing these. Bettina and Becky did them conventional fashion, Bettina by hand, Becky by machine.
    I was thinking EPP when I drafted them and people might want to mix techniques, using EPP for smaller pieces and curves.

  5. Lovely blocks...both of them. I am machine stitching mine so far. But these hints of more difficult ones to come may change all that.

  6. Becky says I am wrong. She is paper piecing over freezer paper, which is how I would do them....if i did them.

  7. I do love these blocks and the stories. William Morris is a favourite of mine and actually a quilt inspired by him, and made by Michelle Hill, introduced me to quilting. I am about to start on my blocks and delve into my rather large stash of William Morris fabric. So looking forward to this project. Thank you so much Barbara.