Saturday, June 11, 2016

Morris Hexathon 6: South Kensington Star

Morris Hexathon 6: South Kensington Star by Becky Brown

Morris Hexathon 6: South Kensington Star

This week's block is one triangular piece repeated 18 times, 
a geometrical puzzle found in many cultures.

Traditional Asian design

South Kensington Star by Bettina Havig

Mosaic floor

African print

I named it South Kensington Star
for the location of London's 1862 International Exhibition.

The building was on the site of today's Natural History Museum in London.

Japanese design was introduced there to the West in an exhibit of articles collected by Britain's Consul-General Rutherford Alcock. The design influence on Morris and his peers was pervasive.

One of the Morris firm's willow patterns showing
a Japanese aesthetic.

But that Japanese influence was after the 1862 Exhibition. In the first years Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Company focused on the medieval. 

Rather than rejecting the 1862 world's fair, as he supposedly had done in 1851, Morris and his partners rented two display areas for handmade furniture, embroidery and stained glass windows in the later exhibition. 

The firm won commendations for their interpretation of :
"the style of the Middle Ages. The general forms of the furniture, the arrangement of the tapestry, and the character of the details are satisfactory to the archaeologist from the exactness of the imitation, at the same time that the general effect is excellent."
The word tapestry here probably refers to the embroidered panels that Jane Morris stitched.

One of the commended pieces, the St. George Cabinet, is in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum (first known as the South Kensington museum.) Morris painted scenes from the tale of St. George and the Dragon on a wooden cabinet built by Philip Webb.

Detail of the St. George Cabinet.

See the St. George Cabinet at the South Kensington Museum---now the Victoria and Albert:

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

Mountain Mist published a similar pattern in the mid-20th-century, calling it Twinkling Star.

The pattern is in BlockBase and my Encyclopedia of Pieced
quilt Patterns as 241.1

But something happened to the geometry in BlockBase
and its picture got squeezed.
So if you want to draw it to a different size try using BlockBase #3716

Fitting hexagons into square blocks meant publishing an alternate structure,
BlockBase #3716, which was called Star of the East by another batting company,

Carrie Hall's Star of the East from her block collection
in the Helen F. Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas.

Getting 12 seams to meet neatly is always a challenge. You could
fussy cut diamonds from stripes to give the effect here.

Or if your center doesn't meet your standards plop an appliqued circle over it.

Carrie Hall called this appliqued pattern Old Colony Star.

One More Inspiration

Embroidered wool hexagons, about 1900


  1. Oh, I love that Twinkling Star version! I could see making that quilt. Thank you for including that.

  2. Monique D (B-Maransart)June 12, 2016 at 5:06 AM

    Bonjour Barbara,
    Merci pour ce 6ème bloc. C'est un réel plaisir de faire ces Morris Hexathon car depuis le début : je dessine, je cherche mes tissus, je coupe et j'assemble mes pièces. Je ne sais pas où tu nous emmènes contrairement au Westering Woomen que je fais également. L'assemblage des Morris Hexathon sera une grande surprise.