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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.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Cot Quilt from Saltburn

Here is a cot quilt from Saltburn, Cleveland. It is a small north country patchwork and has not been cut down from a larger quilt. It is cheerful and has some nice fabrics. I'm not sure how old it is, but  I think about 1900 with some older fabrics. The quilting is in white thread with a cable design.

Some of the seams have popped....but the central red hexagons had deteriorated and looked unsightly. Now, usually I don't repair my old quilts, merely wash them if the quilt looks dirty and if it is safe to do so. But in this case, I thought that it would be OK to oversew some little patches in an antique fabric. The repair could be undone if needed.....

The patches were all slightly different shapes, due to the age and distortion of the fabrics. A little hexagon shape did not seem to work. So, I traced the twelve patches onto polythene......

...and made twelve little paper templates. 

The twelve patches, ready to sew to the an antique red paisley fabric.  And, below, the finished result. This quilt was bought at an antique shop in Saltburn called Northern Lights, and would have come from a local auction house, now closed. Its about a meter square in size and is all hand sewn, except for one patch that has been saved from a machine sewn item. There are a lot of "poverty pieces", even small patches are made up of two or three smaller scraps of cloth. There are some half mourning fabrics here.....a nice little quilt.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Mola of a Butterfly

Here is a mola, bought earlier this year. It is of a butterfly, moth, or other flying insect. I love the energy that these squares have. And I appreciate the work that goes into even a small piece of applique such as this.

The white background fabric is textured, in a pebbled sort of way, and adds visual interest when you examine it closely. At the moment, this block is near to my sofa ( aka sewing station) where I can appreciate it. At some point it will go upstairs to join the other molas that I have bought over the years.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

New Books on textiles and fabric manufacture

More new books...a bit like buses....none, and then several appear at once! This is a book based around the collection of quilts and textiles at the Colonial Williamsburg Collection. There are 21 chapters, starting with the earliest Indian textiles and progressing through other classes of quilts. American based, but with plenty of European examples as well. Nicely illustrated.

Here's the book that I traded with Liz Nally for...she got my soft cover copy of the earlier Beamish quilt book...and I got her spare copy of this book...Selections from the Winterthur Collection. This is one of the Du Pont Museums in Delaware...many years ago I was able to visit the mollusc collection there! This book is attractively written as essays, and is enjoyable to read, as there has been a lot of research done into the provenance and background of many of the quilts, providing plenty of social history. Many thanks to Liz...

Finally, another book from the Winterthur Museum, a book on printed textiles by Linda Eaton, based on the classic 1970 book by Florence Montgomery. This book covers the British calico printing industry, trade with America, and the American textile printing industry. There are also sections on designers and the chemistry and technology of calico printing. A big read, and a valuable reference book..

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Pink/Gray/White Hmong Coverlet

Here is a coverlet that I bought recently....very inexpensively , which is a shame, as there is much work here.....this coverlet is Hmong work from the hills of Thailand. It was bought as a souvenir some thirty years ago, on the slopes of Doi Suthep, north of Chiang Mai, the seller informed me.

Its a very large only half is shown here...

The colours are clearly for the tourist market, but the workmanship is very experienced indeed. The designs are traditional, if simplified, and colours to suit the tourists....

Unlike the traditional work, the stitches here, although tiny and made with fine thread, are spaced further apart . I can only marvel at the economy and expertise seen here....some areas have lifted up where threads have broken.....

If you've done applique yourself, you know how difficult it can be to get the curves and points to co- operate!

This is not a quilt, as it has not been quilted....but it has been given a backing. The front is folded to the rear to give a nice finish.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Christmas Bellringing in Ipswich

Today was Christmas bellringing in Ipswich. We opted for St Clements Church this is redundant, which is sad as it was once a proud old church with connections to the shipping at the port and with the British Navy...hence is known as the Seamans Church. Formerly used as storage for the local museum, the church has recently been cleaned up and will be used as a performance venue for nearby Suffolk College. Some of the monuments have been removed for safekeeping. We managed to ring Stedman, Ipswich, St Clements, Cambridge and Norwich here, on the ring of six.

Then we returned to St Margarets for tea and mince pies. This church has exciting plans for a new ringing gallery and work to the bells...

Last week, we also rang a quarter of Grandsire Triples at Ufford before their carol service.

I went to several company Xmas meals...Hintlesham Hall...we were a bit rowdy the Christmas crackers were those long balloons that zoom around making funny noises....we had lots of fun with those!

And the Ram in Hadleigh...this group was more sedate....

Tomorrow, more ringing at Pettistree, where the scaffolding is down and the decorating is finished.
The church looks lovely and bright now.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

More Books on Textiles

Some recent additions to the library....

An excellent and heavy book.....lots of reading here. It is in three main sections: Overview, Colors and Mechanics. There is a sizeable section entitled Appendices, which includes useful informstion such as Timelines, prices, and more on greens, blues and blacks. A sizeable bibliography and index round it off...originally a thesis, I think, this book is readable and engaging....quite a tome!

A book about textiles in Norwich, mostly woollens. Norwich lost out to later industry in the Midlands and North, so not as recent history as the books based around cotton textiles...but as Norwich is local to us here in Suffolk, this piqued my interest. I must visit the museums in Norwich again soon!

This book has been around for some time, but I thought that I had better buy a copy.....Kathryn Berenson has researched the topic thoroughly, and the book is well illustrated.

Finally, two books on textiles from Asia, bought at a used bookshop in Framlingham...

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Stamped Strippy from Durham

Here is a pink and white Durham strippy that I bought recently. It is not in good condition....not surprising, as these quilts were utility quilts, to be used as everyday bedding. I bought it because 
1) I like strippy quilts! 2) the quilting looked to be well done but also 3) the quilting patterns strongly reminded me of the Sanderson star quilts that I have been studying and seemed to have been professionally stamped, or marked.

This quilt doesn't photograph well, as the sateen is so soft and worn. The wadding is very thin, perhaps due to years of washing....

The patterns are the same ones seen on many of the earlier Sanderson star quilts....a Weardale chain and a stylised vine with curlicues design.

The stitching is very neatly done with small stitches.

The edges are hand sewn as well, and not sewn by machine, which was the norm for most of the later north country quilts.

Perhaps more unusually, the strips are sewn together by hand, as I hope that you can spot in this photo. This quilt top seems to have been sewn up by hand and then professionally marked by one of the professional quilt stampers of Allendale. The patterns are very similar to the older Sanderson star quilts that I saw at Beamish. This quilt came from a house clearance in County Durham and I hope to learn more from the dealer in due course, if possible. I think it may date from 1890 to 1900, although it is impossible to tell for sure.