Michigan Quilt Project
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Maker unknown
Birmingham, Oakland County, Michigan
ca 1840-1860
87" x 92"
Cotton with cotton filling
Photo by Fumio Ichikawa, all rights reserved by MSU Museum

In January of 1835, Godey's Lady's Book, published a quilt pattern called, "Hexagon," also called "Honeycomb" and "Six-sided" in later issues. This was the first time in America a pattern was named and in a printed source. In England this style of quilt was made as early as 1770. The English paper-piecing method where the fabric is basted to stiff hexagon paper shape and the pieces then whipstitched together was the method Godey's recommended to their readers. The maker used unusually tiny stitches, numbering 18 stitches to the inch, to assemble the blocks. The red fabric used to connect the large hexagon units is a good example of a Turkey red background that has been discharged (the original dye removed) and replaced with clear, bright yellow. The large-scale chintz used in the border has been reproduced by RJR Fashion Fabrics in its "Great Lakes, Great Quilts" line.

By Beth Donaldson, excerpted from American Quilts from Michigan State University Museum


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