Friday, January 13, 2012

Mosaic Patchwork - Not the Paper Piecing of Today

I recently had the good fortune to see Elegant Geometry;  American and British Mosaic Patchwork Quilts at the IQSG (International Quilt Study Center) in Lincoln, Nebraska - just before the end of its run.
No flash photography is allowed so the few photos I am posting appear 'yellowed' compared to the real quilts.

I was especially drawn to this border.  Familiar? On my last post you saw the pieced 'tall triangles' border I am doing on one of my projects. Upon close inspection I discovered that these triangles are appliqued with a whip-stitch onto a plain background!  Hmm. Would that have been easier?
I'm sorry I don't have a close-up that captures this detail but click here to see the full quilt dated 1818. It's a stunner. (Sixth quilt)

These are the tiniest hexagons I've ever seen - measuring less than 1/4" on a side.
I asked an innocent bystander to help me show the scale!

Take a look at the amazing variety of cotton prints in these close-ups...all from one quilt.
 I'd like a fat quarter of each, please!


The good news is....YOU can see all of the quilts in the exhibit! All but one are part of their permanent collection. Click here. From this page you can order the catalog, have access to the gallery notes and accompanying lecture.

If you are not familiar with the concept of English Paper Piecing it involves basting fabric to paper shapes and whip-stitching the edges together. For more specific details on the method click here.

Hexagons are not the only shape pieced using this English method but perhaps they are the shape we most often associate with it today. Triangles, squares and other shapes were also pieced this way.
The informative exhibit catalog reminds us of this  fact and I quote from the concluding paragraph, "the technique has been traced back through three centuries to eighteenth-century domestic needlework.....and has had a seminal influence on the development of the patchwork tradition" in both the United States and the UK. The catalog is well done with excellent photos including close-ups. It is available through the gift shop here.

The study center has continual exhibits. Free audio devices allow you to devote full attention to viewing each quilt while listening to information about it.

To learn more about the study center and all it has to offer, visit their website(IQSG). If you are anywhere in the vicinity it is definitely worth a stop!

By the way, next fall the AQSG seminar will be held in Lincoln !
October 4-8 


  1. I can't believe the size of those hexagons! Yikes!
    Very interesting.

  2. fat quarters, oh my I would want a yard of each please!!!!! thanks for sharing this with us. oh I have wanted to make a hexagon quilt someday!

  3. Hi Jean!
    Glad you got to see it. Nice aren't they?
    Mary D had us applique a triangle border, mixed on which works best (pieced or applique).
    Yours is coming along nicely. I'm looking forward to your next progress report ;-)

  4. Kathie - I thought of that (geetting a yd. of each) but then a picture of my 'room' of fabric popped involuntarily into my mind and I figured a fat quarter of each would STILL be a LOT of fabric!


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