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I am a quilter living in Woodbridge, Suffolk who has made quilts since I was a teenager. I also ring bells! Both are great British traditions....I will try to feature some of my antique Welsh and Durham quilts, the quilts I make myself, my quilting activities and also some of my bellringing achievements. Plus as many photos as I can manage. NB: Double click on the photos to see greater detail, then use back button to return to the main page.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Red Paisley Shawl ex Sothebys and Castle Howard Costume Gallery

As you may have noticed, I recently became very interested in Shawls.....There are not very many books on the subject, although I have tried to glean as much as possible from the few that I have been able to find.

Here is a lovely shawl with an interesting provenance. This is an earlier, printed example from the 1830s. As artificial colours had not been discovered, the dyes are all of vegetable origin.
The size is large at 80 x 100 cm.

There is some fading, but no repairs. There is a white fringe on all four sides.

This shawl was packed away for decades...

The seller was dispersing her mother's collection of textiles - her mother was a well known interior designer of the 1980s and 90s. This piece was bought at an auction at Sotheby's in October 2003.

The item has a small tag attached...

The interesting part is that the Sotheby's sale was selling off the Castle Howard costume collection.
Castle Howard is well known as the location where "Brideshead Revisited" was filmed.

I was able to go online and find a copy of the sales catalogue - I was surprised when it arrived, as it had come from a large warehouse in India!

Unfortunately, the lot entry for this shawl is not illustrated and does not give any detail - just " a group of five paisley shawls and a stole, circa 1830-1840, with attractive vegetable designs. Lot estimate £300-500 E430-720."

The catalogue gives information on the collection and the reason for its dispersal. The collection was started by George Howard, Lord Howard of Henderskelfe. Instead of in cases, as was usual for the time, the costumes were displayed on mannequins and in room settings. The collection grew through donations, loans, purchases and the family clothes. In 1973 a halt was made to further additions. The collection ultimately had about 25,000 items. By the 1980's the building in which the costume gallery was displayed, the stables, had started to deteriorate, and the cost of upkeep was great. There were worries about maintaining the condition of the displays. The only route to secure the items for the future was to close the gallery and to put the items into storage. Unfortunately, other institutions were not interested in the collection and no suitable  alternative venue could be found. The costume gallery was finally closed in 1993. Meanwhile, the main house needed reroofing. There was also major restoration needed to the garden and its follies.  The interior furnishings of the house also needed constant attention and restoration, hence the decision to sell off the costume collection and raise much needed funds.

It is interesting to look through the varied items in the catalogue. I am glad to have a small item form this sale!

Sunday, 10 June 2018

June 2018

I was very pleased to hear that my red and white Hawaiian quit, Lei Momi, had won the Best Hand Applique at the Malvern Quilt Show 2018.

The quilt arrived back safely, with a ribbon attached. However, in the past, there was a small cup which had to be returned after a year. No sign of this, this year! Perhaps it has been lost?

With my first red and white quilt, Molokama, I won these two in 2011 - Best hand Quilting and also Best Hand Applique. And again, for my purple and cream quilt, Piilani, I won Best Hand Applique in 2013. So it is nice to revisit this. However, no trophy??

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Recent Progress on Quilts

Just a short report on recent progress with the quilts....the Sanderson Star is mostly finished, with only the knife edge binding and the sleeve left to do. Doubtless that will get done before the FOQ in August!

A photo of the's a fairly big quilt.

I did finish the centre of the quilt - I had not marked it earlier as I was undecided as to what to put there. In the end, I went with something simpler by omitting some of the outlining seen in the original. I think that it looks more dramatic this way.
Work on the knife edge - with all those layers of fabric, it is rather hard going to make small stitches.

I am making good progress with Kikui Nut, the green and white top. It has gone, in its blue Ikea bag, to several bellringing striking contests, where there is, inevitably, a lot of sitting around.The batik is easy to work with and turn under.

I have also started quilting the red and white Hawaiian, Ipu Kukui. I am using a wool/poly blend and I don't think that I will ever use this again, it is not nice to needle in the way that pure wool is. So, a false economy there!

I had some good news this past week. I sent Lei Momi (String of Pearls) off to Malvern, where it won the Best Hand Applique award. I will show photos in my next post.

I was out and about in May. I went to Chigwell to give a talk to the Roding Quilters. Then, to a Regional Day in Sevenoaks for another talk. A nice stay with quilter Sarah A. and fortunately no traffic holdups on the M25! Finally, a talk to a group in nearby Brantham. All the talks seemed to be enjoyed and I had a good time showing my various quilts. Now, no more talks until September, although there is the Traditonal Quilt Group retreat at Grantham the last week of June. I will not be taking a workshop, but will take my own hand applique and be a room helper to Shirley Bloomfield's class. The other tutors are Lynne Edwards and Carolyn Gibbs. As group treasurer, there has been a fair amount of work to organise this event.

Monday, 23 April 2018

A Walk to Semer Water; Bedale

On our final morning, we went for a walk around Semmer Water, one of only two natural lakes in the Dales (Malham Tarn is the other). As in the Lake District, this lake is glacial in origin.
We set off on the lakeside road....the sun was shining...

The scenery was beautiful, and once again there were plenty of new lambs about....and daffodils...

There were plenty of stone walls and stone barns to be seen. The barns are generally disused now, but were originally used to store winter feed, and to protect stock from severe weather.

Also to the seen on this walk is an abandoned church, Old Stalling Busk Church.

A view across the lake. The latter part of this walk was very wet and our boots were covered with mud!

After our walk at Semmer, we headed home to Suffolk, stopping for lunch at Bedale. We had a good look around the church...

Most of the bollards had been "yarn bombed"...

A lunch of Northern proportions, and at a very reasonable price.....finally it was time to drive home.

Friday, 20 April 2018

On The Railway, Settle and Skipton

On one of our days in the Yorkshire Dales, the weather was not promising, so we decided to spend a day on the Settle to Carlisle railway.

The nearest station to Hawes is at Garsdale - there were others waiting for the train also, including walkers from the Pennine Way going home. This line was nearly closed some years ago, but was repaired, saved and is now very popular. Our train was a normal train, but there also are monthly steam trains run by another private company.

Our little train! We got off at Settle.....

We had plenty of time, so walked to Giggleswick, a village with a public school of the same name.
This cafe in Settle always causes amusement - it is not known whether it was an inn, or whether it was once an undertakers...
Due to a misunderstanding with the return times for the trains, it was easier to catch a train south to Skipton. After a wander about, we then caught a train to our original stop, Garsdale. Skipton has a lovely church with an excellent ring of bells. There is also a castle.

The main attraction on this train route is of course the famous Ribblehead viaduct. Being on the train, though, we could not see it! We will have to do one of the nearby walks  next time, to get a good view of the viaduct.

I have booked a visit for July, and expect that the area will be much busier in summer than at Easter.

Monday, 16 April 2018

A Few Days In the Yorkshire Dales

Over Easter, Mike and I went to the Yorkshire Dales for a long weekend. I was not familiar with this area, though when I was younger, the family did go to the southern Lake District often as the then in-laws lived there. I was very impressed with the Dales, and I think that we will be returning again this summer.
Rather randomly, I chose a B & B in Hawes, and it proved very pleasant. But how prices have shot up recently! The good part is, this area is easier for us to get to, it is straight up the A1 and across. Shame about the traffic at Cambridge, although I see that a huge new bypass of Huntingdon is now in progress...
On the first morning, we awoke to a light covering of snow - and it was made the fells look very pretty, though it did not last long. After a cooked breakfast, we did a walk from Hawes to Hardraw and back to Hawes. There are many old stone barns in this area.

Here, you can spot the snow on the fells. Many new lambs were in the fields, some with plastic raincoats on to keep them dry.
The waterfall at Hardraw - there is an admission charge of £2.50 to gain entrance. In Victorian times there was a flood and mudslide which destroyed the waterfall. However, the landowner pieced together the stones at the lip and was able to repair the waterfall.
After lunch, we took a drive up the spectacular Beggar Man's Pass. We then parked up and walked along the Roman road. This is still a navigable road and there were occasional bikers and 4x4 owners testing their vehicles ability to traverse the track. This walk produced some of the best scenery of the weekend.
Here, you can just see some of the snow remaining at higher levels, looking into the dale.

In the evening, we did a final walk from Gayle to Askgarth Falls. I imagine these falls must be packed with walkers during the summer!

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Norwich Shawl by Clabburn

When I saw this lovely shawl online, I realised that the dealer was living quite nearby, in the next village over, so to was an expensive item, so we arranged to meet in
Woodbridge so that I could examine the shawl.

The dealer used to have a shop in Norwich, so knows these shawls well. She now sells mostly on Etsy....

After a discussion, including the various ins and outs of the trade and other dealers, I made a quick trip to the building society...

The Shawl is a beautiful one, and as its made from silk, changes colours, with a cast of purple..

The silk fringe is in perfect condition and the shawl has only a few small plucks...

There is a lot of information about the Norwich shawls in these two books, but no illustration that matches this shawl..

The shawl is unclipped, and so is not really reversible, as some are...

After a lot of thought, I decided to wear the shawl to Sophie's seems to have come to no harm.....

I appreciated the shawl, even if no one else noticed it ...well, we can't all be textile experts, can we?
Dating from about 1860, the shawl is an amazing survivor....