It all started last summer when Shelly put out a call to museums and private collectors for hexagon quilts. I sent Shelly a list of seven of our collection quilts, along with photos, for consideration. She chose NEQM 1989.06T for the exhibit. In late October, the quilt was boxed up and shipped to Shelly in Kentucky.
NEQM 1989.06T is an un-quilted top. It was constructed using the English paper-piecing method, where the fabric is basted around a paper template, then the hexagons are whip-stitched together. This top still has all of its paper foundations, which were cut from magazines. In the exhibit photo, a corner of the top is pinned up to reveal the foundations on the back. The maker is unknown, but the top is c 1930 and was discovered in an attic in Barre, Vermont. The top was donated to the New England Quilt Museum by the Lamoille County (Vermont) Quilters Guild.
The Martha Washington’s Flower Garden pattern features hexagons arranged into large diamond shapes. The pattern was no doubt named after our original First Lady. Although quilts were made from hexagons in Martha Washington’s day using the English paper-piecing method, the pattern was probably not named for her until the colonial revival period in the early twentieth century. There is currently a Martha Washington’s Flower Garden quilt on display in the Depression Era Bedroom at NEQM in conjunction with the exhibit Campaigns and Commemoratives: Quilts for Presidents.
~ Laura Lane, Collections Manager