Michigan Quilt Project
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The Clarke Family Quilt Collection

Grandmother's Flower Garden
Bozena Vilhelmina Clarke
Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan
Top made in 1933, quilted in 1935
72 3/4" x 90"
MSU Museum Accession 6119.25
Photo by Fumio Ichikawa, all rights reserved by the MSU Museum

Quilts in the "Grandmother's Flower Garden" pattern were especially popular in the Depression era. Versions of the hexagonal-based block, known at first as "Honeycomb," "Hexagon," or "Mosaic," date back as far as the early nineteenth century when it was typically created in the English paper-pieced method. Pieces of fabric were basted over paper templates, whipstitched together and, once the quilt top was completed, the papers were removed. Later, hexagon-block quilts were usually pieced together with a running stitch.

This "Grandmother's Flower Garden" quilt, presented to Harriet Clarke as an eighth-grade graduation gift in June 1938, is a classic example of its time period. The centers of every flower are made with a single, solid yellow fabric; the petals of the flower are of various multicolored prints; and the final ring of each flower is of solid green fabric. The flower blocks are separated by sashing of off-white hexagons, also arranged in a flower design with solid green centers.

By Mary Worrall, excerpted from American Quilts from Michigan State University Museum.


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