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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.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Pink and White Cumbrian Strippy with Wave Quilting

Here is a Cumbrian strippy in pink and white poplin. The back is of plain white cotton. The main point of interest is the wave quilting, which was traditional in Cumbria, Ireland and the Isle of Man.

I have always been interested to know how these waves were marked! There must be an easy way to do this, such as a cardboard triangle as a template? Or was it just eyeballed?

This quilt has seen better days and is worn at the ends - other than that, in good condition. The fabric is much sturdier than modern fabric.....

It might be that the quilter used the stripes as a guide for the wave quilting design? the points of the waves do coincide with the middle and edges of the strips...

The reverse of the quilt.

The edge is machine sewn. This quilt measures 210 x 210 cm or about 83 x 83 inches square.
The seller said 1940s or 1950s, but of course it is a bit older than that, as not many quilts were being made post WWII.

The quilt was bought at auction in Penrith, Cumbria by the seller so is a true Cumbrian quilt.
I recently bought another Cumbrian quilt, so I hope to compare the two...

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Scottish throw - Vintage fabric - 1960's

I am always on the lookout for fabric for wholecloths and as backing. You may remember the turkey red paisley fabric throw from Glasgow that turned out to be too nice to dismember and use for fabric!
Well, here is another of my finds which arrived today.

It is unused - from the 1960's, supposedly....and the fabric is a nice blue cotton sateen, and a large piece of a print. Red ribbon enclosing a leaf or flower motif, nice and cheerful..

These throws were an inexpensive way to make warm bedding from an old woollen blanket. It was easy to sew them up, no quilting needed....careful sewing was not required, either!

The older cloth is of a higher quality, I feel, than modern fabrics...and will be very suitable to use for other projects.

This throw is from Fraserburgh, Scotland. The best part - the cost of this throw was only £10. I doubt that I could buy suitable modern fabric for that price!!

I feel a small wholecloth coming on....

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Lemon Yellow Durham from Rowlands Gill

I was surprised when this quilt arrived - it was much nicer than expected. The photos on that well-known auction site had been poor. But what did I have to loose when the price was only £14?
 I decided to have a "go".

To say that I was pleasantly surprised would be an understatement! The quilt is an attractive lemon yellow colour and seems hardly used - very "fresh". This is unusual, as most quilts have been well used unless considered very special. Perhaps it was considered "old fashioned" and put away?

The fabric is cotton sateen and the edges have been neatly machine sewn. The quilt measures 80 x 94 inches and seems to be a nicer "club" quilt. The seller was from Rowands Gill, a former mining town outside Newcastle.

The centre of the quilt features a large star filled with flowers and fern. This is surrounded by large feather motifs.

The border is a chevron and flower design.

The centre of the quilt.

The neatly sewn edge.

The quilting stitches on this quilt are small and neat.

The colour does not show up well here, but is a bright lemon yellow - I tried to improve the colour but wasn't able to with my apps.

About twenty-five years ago, the seller was given three quilts from a friend's house clearance - the other two were white - this one was the nicest, and was used on the spare bed. Eventually, the grandson wanted Spiderman and other more manly decorations and the quilt was sold.

I am enjoying this unexpected treat.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Strip Quilt with Diamonds from Ashington

Here is an older strip quilt from Northumberland. It is a large quilt, at 91 x 102 inches. The plain strips, of a cream cotton with tiny brown and green leaf motifs,  alternate with blue and white pieced strips. 

The quilting is hard to see, but is mostly cross hatching. Around the outside is a large twist, and then a triangular pattern with a lobed motif.

This quilt has all been hand pieced and the edge is neatly hand sewn. The filling is a thin cotton, which may have been thicker once - perhaps thinned by repeated washing?

This quilt came from a house clearance in Ashington, Northumberland. Ashington was once a centre for coal mining. The house belonged to the seller's Grandmother, a lady named Hilda Revington.

Quilting, a large twist pattern...

The quilt is somewhat worn at either end. Many of the longer plain strips are pieced. I measured the plain strips and these varied from 6 3/4 to 7 inches. I wonder if, when making strippy quilts, the strips were torn, not cut? Certainly, with the two unquilted tops that I own, this is the case. It may account for the variability of the strips. The pieced strips are all 6 inches wide.

My feeling is that this is an earlier quilt, but perhaps from someone who did not own a sewing machine (quite costly items in those days) so perhaps turn of the century. The fabrics are what we would call workaday fabrics....last quarter of the 19C.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

BQSG Seminar at Bath University - October 2016

In October, I attended the 2016 Seminar of The British Quilt Study Group, which was held in Bath. As I have a new  part-time job, which is less flexible than previous ones, I was not able to attend the study day on the Friday. It was held at the Museum of Costume, held in the basement of the Assembly Rooms. I understand that it was excellent!

I arrived late, and took the bus up to Bath University, where the seminar was being held - I got totally lost, wandered far and wide but could not find where the evening meal was being held - I finally called into student counselling (open, but not busy on a Friday evening) and was very kindly given directions....

I always enjoy going to this seminar, as it visits places that I would not otherwise have reason to visit. Bath is firmly on the tourist trail, but I had not visited in many years and was keen to see it again. But in addition, Ron Simpson was a speaker and I was very interested to listen to someone that I had always heard about as a major British quilt collector and quilt enthusiast.

Ron now lives in Thailand for the winter, and returns to London for the warmer months - and who can blame him! I cannot show all that he brought, but perhaps a few photos will suffice....

A small item - a dogs head made from incredibly tiny hexagons - never finished and you can see why - a real labour of love, this one...

Ron Simpson with Bridget Long...

Ron's talk was very informal; we gathered 'round on the stage while he uncovered the various items that he had brought along.....

This was a small strippy - cot sized.....these items collected over many years with some good finds in the days when perhaps more was available with less knowledge of textiles..

A quilt made from wool off cuts..

and the famous Welsh quilt with the cow in the centre...very charming...

A classic Amish Centre Diamond Ron said, the feathers on American quilts are generally much looser than those on British quilts...

Quilting stitches on the Amish Centre Diamond...

Some of the quits were very striking....

The food was good as ever, and the papers were once again very interesting. The results of Dorothy Osler's study into the Spennymore Quilters was shared.

The hotels in Bath tend to be very expensive, so several of us stayed at the YMCA, which was fine for budget accommodation. I had taken the train, so no problem with cars and parking....

The venue of next years seminar is still to be decided - the problem seems to be the cuts in government funding. Many collections of textiles do not have curators or are currently closed. The collections still exist but are not available for viewing, even to specialist groups......

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Sage and Orange Welsh Quilt

Here is a typical Welsh quilt in cotton sateen. The colours are very attractive in a faded, muted sort of way ....a faded blue green and an orange colour. I wonder what they looked like when new!

The centre is a bit centre "coin" here - it is a diamond with crosshatching - and a heart with spirals in each corner next to that....

The single border has a leaf and spirals in each corner, and the rest is simple but effective crosshatch and that X block......

Another photo of the centre...

The hearts are very attractive...

At first, I thought that there were "pennies" or circles in the border.....but it is a simple twist...

But you can see that it was probably marked with an old fashioned penny, as the shape fits almost exactly....

There are also some small propeller shapes - the quilters liked these devices to fill up any empty spaces.

The photos did not come out very well - the colours although muted are a lot more vivid than these photos show.

This quilt measures 69 x 77". By chance, it came from a clearance of a house not far from me, in Laxfield Suffolk. The seller wrote - "All the quilts came from my cousin. He was a very flamboyant man who had a house literally crammed to the rafters with antiques. He rarely used anything new. He drank from Georgian glassware and ate off antique plates. Sadly he lost his battle with cancer earlier this year. The auctioneer didn't want to take the quilts so I put them here. I don't think that he bought much at auction. He liked antique markets and shops, but who knows. How he ever fitted so much stuff into his small house is beyond me."

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

North Country Cot Quilt in Blue and White

Here is a North Country cot quilt with a variety of quilting patterns. This little quilt is in reasonably good shape, unlike many cot quilts which have seen hard use.

The fabrics are a fine cotton in a faded blue/green and white reverse. The size is 26 x 38" or about the width of the fabric that was common in those days. The seller, from York, dated this as late 1800's but of course it is hard to tell. The edges are hand sewn.

The quilting patterns are interesting - it is somewhat difficult to design a cot quilt, as not much space is available. In the centre is a rose, surrounded by paired curved feathers, with a nice centre vein. There are corner feathers spouting from pots. There are also smaller leaves at the midpoints. The border is a north country twist with corner roses. The quilting is fine with some close quilting, especially on the feathers.

I am currently tracing the designs from this little quilt. I was asked to write up a hand quilting project - given the short amount of time available, it was not possible to make a new item, so  I suggested this little quilt. I just hope that all the writing and other work is completed by the deadline!