Flowers Blooming in Deyo Hall

Grandmother's Flower Garden Quilt

There is a new addition to our gallery in Deyo Hall, a 19th century hexagon quilt. An old label found pinned to this quilt reads “Crib spread – 1824 – Presented by Mrs. Peter W. DuBois – 1900.” In 1900, Historic Huguenot Street (known then as The Huguenot Historical, Monumental and Patriotic Association of New Paltz) was just six years old. The donor may have been closely related to the maker of the quilt, but without her first name, it is difficult to research exact provenance. Also the types of fabrics used to make the quilt suggest a slightly later date than the donor’s attribution.

This is a lovely and well preserved example of a “Honeycomb” or “Hexagon” quilt (later known as “Grandmother’s Flower Garden”).  With its roots in English quilt making from the 18th century, the piecing technique is a difficult and labor intensive one to master. Six-sided pieces of heavy paper are first cut out to form templates. Fabric is then basted very carefully around these forms. Each hexagon is then whip stitched to the next starting from a central hexagon unit and built out in rings. When the sewing is completed the paper forms are carefully removed from the back – although we occasionally find quilts with their paper templates still in place. Obviously it is crucial that each hexagon is the same size and carefully constructed so that everything fits together!

Early Honeycomb quilts tend to have a central focus. Here the overall composition is surrounded by a very wide border of floral cotton “chintz” mitered at the corners. The cotton is probably roller printed. Note how vivid the colors remain. The quilting in the central field echoes the pieced hexagons but the floral border has been quilted in a large scale clam-shell design. The whole is bound with woven tape binding. If this quilt was indeed fashioned for a child’s bed or cradle, it was lovingly preserved.

If you are interested in making a Flower Garden quilt, view the Thimble Blossoms website.

Do you have a Hexagon or Grandmother’s Flower Garden Quilt? Tell us about it by commenting below.

Block detail

Block and sashing detail

This entry was posted in History, Quilt, Research, Women and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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