At the Loch Lomond Quilt Show, I couldn’t help but notice a complete lack of hexagon quilts. There were my swallow wings, and there was one tiny flower in one of the A5 sized quilts in the Cupar Quilter’s group exhibition. I didn’t make it round all of the venues, but upon chatting to one of the volunteers, she too commented on the dearth of the hexagon. Conspicuous by its absence.
Hexagonal quilting is thought to be one of the oldest techniques. Usually pieced over paper templates by hand, it creates a mosaic effect, and thus strikes me as slightly Moroccan but quintessentially English at the same time. They can range in size from great big mama hexagons to teeny tiny baby ones. They are fiddly, require meticulous accuracy, and are very repetitive. The woman I spoke to was actually piecing some at the time, and she thought there weren’t many in the exhibition because they are so maddening! I think they’re just out of fashion. When I spoke to one of the advanced, award winning quilters about quilting, she gave hexagonal quilts as an example of the old-fashioned and stuffy image quilting suffers from in the mind of the general public.
Poor hexagons. They are so versatile, technically demanding, and, to my eye, utterly mesmerising and beautiful. Maddening, certainly. But they’re going round my head and that’s where I’m headed next, I reckon…
Here are a few beauties:
Traditional, and lovely, quilt by an unknown quilter in the USA in the 1930’s:
This pattern is called Grandmother’s Flower Garden, and is also very traditional. Although the artist, Carol Muse Skinner, has used batik fabrics and had it longarm quilted (a gigantic quilting machine), which puts a slight twist on it:
This one, by Isabelle Etienne-Bugnot, makes me think of impressionism, and is as far removed from flowers and rosettes as it’s possible to get:
And in this one, the temptation to go smaller and smaller has been taken to the extreme (click the photo to read about the making of this incredible work by Australian quilter Linda White):
Amazing, inspiring. And a bit daunting.
I was very surprised to get the judges’ comments sheet in the post today from the Loch Lomond Quilt show. I hadn’t really thought about how they had judged the quilts, or that I might get some feedback, so it was a pleasant surprise. I had a slight shiver of nervousness akin to getting exam results through the post, but they were very kind. Encompassing such clear categories as ‘Clean’ (should be an easy ‘Excellent,’ really, but to my shame, was not) and the rather more enigmatic -but most important, probably- ‘Tingle factor,’ the tick boxes ranged from ‘Excellent’ to the diplomatic ‘Needs Attention.’ They said my quilt was ‘charming’ and ‘well executed’ and I received an ‘Excellent’ for the prairie point/sawtooth border. There were 10 ‘Very goods’ and 6 ‘Goods.’ I was dead chuffed, and now I know what they’re judging on, will be determined to get an ‘Excellent’ for cleanliness next year!