Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Tessellations: Hexagons 2 Rings of Rosettes

I'm on a fool's errand - categorizing hexagons. But it keeps me entertained.

The basic way to repeat a hexagon is in the form of a rosette of 7 hexagons,
1 ring around the center 

Here it is in my Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns as #160g.

A Honeycomb Patch from Hearth & Home magazine about 1910
Charm from Wallace's Farmer in 1929
and Simplicity's Delight in the Kansas City Star in 1946

Part of the repeat is how those rosettes are set together.

You can just set one next to another...

or set one hexagon between them, in this case a black hexagon.

Or use two white hexagons as in this example from Laura Fisher.

Or applique them onto a background.

Here's a tiny scan of page 41 from 
Godey's Lady's Book in January, 1835,
reprinting a picture from Eliza Leslie's
American Girl's Book in 1831.
The pattern was given 3 names then:
"Perhaps there is no patchwork that is prettier or more ingenious … than the hexagon or six sided: this is also called honey-comb patchwork."
This picture is so far considered the earliest picture of a patchwork pattern published in the U.S. Rosettes of seven hexagons set with a ring of white hexagons,

which is a common set.

In the 19th century white rings probably were the most popular,

although that setting ring could be another color.

#160k = 19 hexagons

More names from my Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns

Quiltmakers were likely to add another row to make 2 rings around the
center hexagon, 19 hexies in all.
This is #160k in my Encyclopedia

You see it in 1826, as in his dated example from New Paltz Deyo house

and the mid-20th century

This may be the most common rosette 
Published names:
About 1910 Hearth & Home magazine called it the Hexagon.

But in the 1930s there's a trend to call it a garden in the agricultural magazines and pattern catalogs of the day.

1931 - Oklahoma Farmer Stockman called it Old Fashioned Flower Garden or Aunt Jemima's Flower Garden and advised yellow centers, with a ring of plain, a ring of prints and white paths or rings between the flowers.

The next year the Rural New Yorker called it Grandmother's Rose Garden or the French Rose Garden.

About the same time the VerMehren pattern company in Des Moines called it Martha Washington's Rose Garden or the Martha Washington Quilt.

These various flower garden names evolved into Grandmother's Flower Garden, probably established by designer Ruby McKim who showed the rosette design with 4 rings ( 37 hexagons) set with a ring of white.

McKim's set was not a new idea. Above a date-inscribed quilt,
1807, by Abigail Hunt in the collection of Old Sturbridge Village

They actually have two of these, indicating the first
burst of popularity of the design.

One reason it was called Grandmother's Flower Garden over a century later when
the granddaughters of the original makers rediscovered the pattern.

Carrie Hall's blocks labeled Grandmother's Flower Garden
in the collection of the Helen F. Spencer Museum of Art
at the University of Kansas. 
She set the rosettes with a single green hexagon.

Above and below-20th-century versions.

From Vintage Blessings

Early 19th century? English?

You can go on and on, adding rings. Although we won't.
At least for today.


  1. Great post! I love hexie quilts ... guess I've joined the craze! Thanks for all of the information.

  2. It may be a fool's errand, but the information is fascinating. Thanks for the history lesson. I do wonder about the sizes and the method of construction. Did the early makers of rosettes use paper foundations? Was there a consistent size!

  3. The 19th century versions were usually pieced over paper. Size---I've never studied.

  4. Thanks for all the colorful photos!! Amazing, what one repeated shape produces. I have loved following your creative postings---makes my day to read what you are currently studying about in quilts/design/fabrics and techniques.

  5. I did a gfg and at a stand still as I don't know how to quilt it. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


  6. The English didn't quilt them so you are done! Or in the US the 20th c versions were quilted around each hex inside the seam.

  7. What if anything was in place of batting?

  8. Hexie quilts are beautiful. I've never made one. a friend of mine did and pieced and quilted it by hand, finished in 2015, Pam @ http://hokkaidokudasai.blogspot.jp/2015/11/monday-morning-star-count-big-finish.html.

  9. What a wonderful collection of information. Thanks.