Saturday, May 21, 2016

Morris Hexathon 3: Camelot Star

Block #3: Camelot Star by Becky Brown

This week's block is one of the most commonly seen
versions of the hexagon block...

Camelot Star by Bettina Havig

Katherine Shely Fretzlen
Silk quilt dated 1776-1876, 
Collection of the Daughters of the American Revolution Museum

and one of the few hexagonal block designs seen in the 19th century.
The embroidered version above made for the 1876 Centennial Exhibition 
features the 3-piece block set with red triangles.

Lancelot and Guinevere by Florence Harrison,
an illustration for a Morris poem.
"Wherewith we kissed in meeting that spring day,
I scarce dare talk of the remember’d bliss."

The name I've given it here, Camelot Star, refers to a place in the British imagination---the home of Lancelot, a Knight of the Round Table and Guinevere, Queen of Camelot. Arthurian legends of medieval Anglo-Saxon England were among William Morris's favorite books during his University days.

Morris bought a copy of Mallory's 1817 book
about King Arthur when he was a student.

Window with King Arthur and Sir Launcelot
designed by William Morris in 1862 as 
a commission for the house 
of textile merchant Walter Dunlop in Yorkshire.

The tales had great influence on Morris's life work as poet, artist and social activist. He published four Arthurian poems when he was 25 years old in 1859.
Florence Harrison's illustration for Morris's
poem "The Defence of Guenevere."

BlockBase #251a
The oldest published name for this pattern combining a hexagon, a diamond and a 5-sided shape seems to be Hexagonal Star from Hearth and Home magazine about 1910. 

The pattern has many published names, testimony to its popularity.

Hexagon Stars from the 
Nancy Page newspaper column
Dolly Madison Star 
from the pattern company collectors call Home Art
in Omaha

The design is seen before all those 20th-century names were published.

Here the star was pieced into a square in 1844.

Rebecca Scattergood Savery's quilt, dated 1844.
Collection of the International Quilt Study Center and Museum. 

See more about this quilt at the Quaker Quilt History blog and see another version dated 1851 by scrolling down.

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 4" on the sides. 
  • Adjust the printed page size if necessary.
  • Add seams when you cut the fabric. 

Silk quilt made by Mary James Radcliffe
during the 1863 Union occupation of Paducah.
Collection of the Kentucky History Museum

Amish quilt from the Indiana State Museum
Blocks here in both quilts above are set side by side forming black hexagons.

A great mid-20th-century example from the West Virginia
project, photo from the Quilt Index.
The stars are set as an intersecting allover design
rather than being organized into hexagons.

Three mid-20th-century examples

1862 Drawing (cartoon) for the Dunlop house stained glass by 
William Morris, featuring Queen Guinevere on the left

The Morris Firm's windows for the Dunlop house have been preserved in the Stained Glass Gallery at Cliffe Castle Museum in Yorkshire.

Stained Glass Window from the Morris Workshop
at Cliffe Castle

One More Inspiration

Vintage quilt, perhaps 1870s
Set your hexies with a triangle, which makes a double star.
Use the triangle with a 4" finished side
from last week's Crystal Palace pattern.


  1. Dear Barbara

    This is a wonderful Hexathon. I'm having so much fun. Thank you.


  2. Exquisite stained glass! I will be humming Guinevere, Crosby Stills and Nash, all afternoon :) Off to sew ...