Thursday, March 17, 2016

Tessellations 9: Curved Shapes

Charm quilt top about 1880-1900

I've been posting about tessellating shapes that one could use in a charm quilt for several months.
This installment: Curves.

Above is BlockBase #181a,
an old design, published with several names in the early 20th century.

Eveline Foland drew a pattern for the Kansas City Star in November, 1932.

The scale or shell shape is a classic of geometric ornament.
Here are several variations from Owen Jones's 
1850s book The Grammar of Ornament.

The pattern is seen in British quilts from about 1800

Moda collection
It may be British---perhaps mid-19th century.

Look for a Moda kit inspired by
the antique above.
Collections for a Cause: Love

End of the 19th century, American.

The reason the shell tessellates is because
it is a triangle---a three sided shape with curves.
Or a four-sided shape with curves.... 
Depends on how the shape is drawn.

BlockBase will print you templates any size you like.

Quilt by Mary Sears, early 1880s.
West Virginia project. Photo from the Quilt Index.

These shell shapes will stack up too.

Quilt about 1900

You can take any tessellating shape with straight lines
and if you curve it right the new shape will also tessellate.

Lynne Goldsworthy at Lily's Quilts re-shaped a 60-degree triangle

A pattern with BlockBase #272.5,
published in Ladies Circle Patchwork Quilts in 1981.

Here's a popular tessellation, a four-sided shape with curves---

Essentially a rectangle distorted with curved lines.

The Friendship Quilt
by Eveline Foland in the Kansas City Star
"Everyone welcomes a friendship quilt, and many families can boast more than one that has been handed down from mother to daughter. This is a very old, quaint pattern and is a nice size for the pieces to be used. Not two are alike...."

I don't know how old---Eveline might have been thinking 1880s.

It's BlockBase  #185a or 185b with many names
  • Friendship Quilt
  • Spools
  • Double Ax
  • Double Bit Axe

Plus Mother's Oddity from Capper's Weekly in 1928
People tend to call it Apple Core today.

1994 magazine cover
Apple Core from Sharlene Jorgenson

There is an unfortunate association 
with a certain piece of underwear.

Apple Core is good.

BlockBase will print you this version
any size you like.

Indiana State Museum dated 1933

I found a few innovative curved tessellations:

Susan Dileanis sent me a photo of her tessellated Twisted Apple Core
pieced of reproduction prints.

Twisted Apple Core at Annie's Quilts

And Chantell's Creations does many things with this half a clamshell.

See this post about curving a tessellating shape at David Bailey's World---Tess Elation

It will tessellate, but do you want to sew it?

I've created some Pinterest pages with the tessellations I've been posting about.
Here's a link to the one on Tessellating Curves in BlockBase:

And see Jeanneke's unusual curved tessellation here: It's a curve-sided hexagon:


  1. Cool! I loved the pattern! Really funny that it could be associated "with a certain piece of underwear":)

  2. Those curved shapes look so interesting to me. I think you have to pin with them being concave and convex. I have seen this demonstrated but not sure if it's something I'd want to tackle just now. I'm doing your Westward Women and that is such a wonderful quilt along! I enjoy your posts. Thank you for your posts!

  3. I LOVE both the apple core and the clamshell.....one day.....and I hope soon! Thanks for all the info and pics.

  4. The Apple Core block always reminds me of a sea of women wearing bikinis. The horizontal cores are the bra and bottom of the bikini and the separating vertical core is the body. Someday I will make a bikini quilt with tan for the beach and blue for the sky with lots of colors for the bikini parts. 8-)

  5. I tried something different and made a curved template for my 'Flow' quilt based on a hexagon, you can find it here http://www.jeanneke.com/#post162

  6. I love tessellations but am now unable to sew by hand; are there any that can be done by machine? Also, is there any chance that Block Base will ever be available for Mac?

  7. Judith---The tumbler is perfect for the machine. You sew tumblers together in rows. You piece the rows together. All straight seams.
    Regarding BlockBase and Macs---you have to ask EQ about that. I never worry my pretty little head about operating systems.

  8. I love doing tessellations but can't do it anymore because I am old that I can't even make just once. When it comes in writing, I can't even as well do rush essays, Oh I hate that age changes everything buts okay at least I have these experiences. I love curves and I even have curve decors in my room.