Monday, November 2, 2009


Tessellating Wall Quilt by UniquelyNancy

Tessellations are designs which fill a space, without over-lapping, to form a pattern. They are the simplest kind of jigsaw puzzle in that all the pieces look alike. The shapes in a tessellation can be geometric like squares and triangles, or shaped like animals and people.

Many quilts are tessellations. I think a lot of quilters are drawn to tessellations. In fact Jenny Beyer wrote a book I would like to get my hands on called, "Designing Tessellations." Perhaps some of you have read it.

There are only 3 regular geometric shapes that will tessellate. 'Regular', meaning that all sides and internal angles are equal. These are the equilateral triangle, square and hexagon. Of course these are very common shapes used in quilts.

A simple square tessellation quilt I made as a custom order

I have gathered most of this information from a wonderful site devoted to tessellation called  You could spend a lot of time on their site reading about the history of tessellation, browsing through their galleries, and even designing a tessellation of your own through their simple tutorials.  There is also software available that will help in your design.

Thanks to the featured Etsy shops for their wonderful examples of this fascinating artform.

Of course, not all tessellations are quilts.  Here are a few examples of this design form in other media.

Cubic tessellation embroidery by themooncraft

Birds of a Feather Tessellation Necklace by theMIX

Tessellated Yunomi by clayoh


  1. Love those quilts (and yes, I have the book!)

  2. Terrific post about tessellation! Love all the visuals, just wonderful.

  3. Tesselations are great! Reminds me of the artist M.C. Escher. He did lots of cool stuff like that!

  4. I love tesselations! I saw Jinny Beyer on Simply Quilts a couple of times showing how to create your own tessellations. I really liked the one she accidently came up with called "Sport". It was named after a horse and is a horse's head that tessellates! I couldn't find it on her website or I would link it here.
    Very interesting.