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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, 24 July 2016

Walk from Cwmtydu to New Quay - Ceredigion Coastal Path

On Friday, the weather being relatively dry, we were determined to go for a walk. The Farmer suggested the coastal walk, starting at Cwmtydu. Basically, you followed the nearest road, up to the coast!

There is a walk around much of the Welsh coast. The section we chose is hilly, especially for us flatlanders from Suffolk!

This is the little bay at Cwmtydu - before the advent of roads, all goods would have been landed in small bays such as this. And, this bay was often used by smugglers, who hid goods such as salt  and   brandy in caves until they could be taken inland by horseback.

The local sheep....

The port of New Quay was 4 miles away...a popular seaside resort town, but with active fisheries.

New Quay has an enclosed harbour and is a popular spot for dolphin, whale and seal watching trips.

Low tide when we were there...lunch was fish and chips with a crowd of seagulls watching us...

Followed by an ice cream....we were able to spot some seals basking on rocks as we walked back to Cymtydu.
Welsh ponies grazing. 

My trusty old walking boots, which have carried me many miles in several countries over many years, suddenly felt quite different while in New Quay.......while they had been OK with the flat walks in Suffolk, they had come apart completely at the toes during the climbs and descents of the Welsh hills. I'll have to use my new pair of boots now, even in muddy conditions!

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Trip to Wales July 2016

Here is our accommodation for our recent trip to Wales - yes, a gypsy caravan. I have been following Jinsy's farm blog for some time now, so when Mike asked what I wanted to do for my birthday, it immediately popped into my mind! And, looking at the visitors' book, most of the other guests were celebrating something special - a birthday, wedding or anniversary. Penyrallt Farm is located in the Teifi Valley in mid Wales, so a long drive from Suffolk....and the weather forecast was not good! But, I am glad to report that, although overcast, we did not receive any rain whilst we were there, so that was a good result.

The Gypsy caravan, our sleeping place - very cosy and nicely decorated,

The view - very peaceful and green....the farm is mainly dairy, so grazing cows as well.

As well as the waggon, there was a cabin and deck. It was a bit of a shock to realise that there was no wi-fi or TV! and it made us realise how reliant we are on these. After a day or two, I was getting used to this...there was a fire pit outside, too, and we enjoyed building a fire each evening. As the wood was well seasoned, this was not difficult to get alight.

The little cabin had a sofa, kitchen area and a bathroom with shower. There was also a wood-burning stove, which we did not try, but I guess would be useful in cooler weather!

The farm is a working organic farm, run by the Robinsons and their two sons. There is a holiday cottage, but the caravan is run by Katy, married to one of the sons.

In the next few posts, I'll be able to share our walk along the Ceridigion coast, our visit to Jen Jones shop in Llanybydder, the Quilt Museum in Lampeter and the waterfalls at Cenarth. I must admit, I was really in my element at Jen's....a lovely weekend to celebrate my 60yh birthday.

Thank You, Mike!!

Website for the caravan can be found here:

And the link to Jinsy's blog can be found here:

Thursday, 14 July 2016

French quilt?

You may remember this little quilt, which was bought in the US. I was unsure weather it was Welsh, North Country or French....

Here is a photo that was sent to me by Virginia Berger, of a cot sized quilt she bought in France, which she thought had influences of North is the photo.

You can see that there are similarities....given that the quilt above has diamonds for the main body of the quilt and that this is a common treatment in French quilts, I'm prepared to say it is French....well, probably.......

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Trip to Nadelwelt, Karlsruhe, Germany June 8-13 2016

 Last year, I was invited, via a German Facebook friend, to exhibit some of my quilts at Nadelwelt, a quilt and craft show held every year in Karlsruhe, SW Germany. The original idea was to show some Welsh quilts - but they are very heavy to transport! The organiser was much more interested in my Hawaiian quilts, which are very striking and perhaps rather different to other quilts seen on the Continent. So, during the intervening months, I emailed various information over, and even signed a contract. I didn't really know what to expect...

I booked a budget hotel on the advice of friend Andrea - and booked parking at Stansted and air tickets to the nearest airport, Baden Baden. I planned to carry the quilts with me on the airplane rather than ship them - and managed to carry on three quilts and pack the other five into a large suitcase.

The big day finally arrived - how glad I was to see the suitcase with the quilts appear on the carousel at Baden. As is usually the case with these cheap airflights, Baden was quite a distance from Karlsruhe, about 25 miles. There didn't seem to be another direct bus for quite some time, and as I didn't fancy struggling with two suitcases on two buses or trams, I opted to take a taxi.

No problem finding the hotel then! As I checked in, Andrea Strache and Birgit Shueller did too, which was fortunate. We were able to go out together for a meal in Karlsruhe together. Both speak excellent English, in fact I was struck by Birgit's extensive vocabulary! It turned out that in a former life she had been a translator - however, she is now a very well known long-arm quilter. Both were there to exhibit the quilts that had gone from Germany to the World Quilt Competition in the US.

The next morning, off we went to the new Karlsruhe Messe, or Exhibition Hall. It is some way out of town, and I was glad to be given a lift by Birgit in her car. The roads were crazy! I'm sure that there would be multiple pile ups if these roads were in the UK.....

I had pre-ordered measured battens for the quilts to hang on and these were ready. But, the hanging system was different than in the UK, as the battens were attached to hooks and monolfilment....the quilts hung against white display boards....

My display area was well lit and right next to the glass quadrangle, thus the quilts could be seen from many parts of the hall. It took several hours to hang all the quilts by myself, climbing up onto two chairs. Once I got the hang of it, it wasn't too bad. And the quilts did look very striking once they were up! An adhesive sign was pasted up...The sun was at full strength now and the hall acted as a greenhouse, becoming very warm! I was rather flushed by this time...

Looking into my area....I was very proud of the way that the quilts looked...very striking...

I had brought a part finished quilt, Lei Momi or String of Pearls. I had planned to enter it into FOQ this summer, but the quilting was still "in progress". This quilt aroused a lot of interest as you could see how it was constructed. Also, so as not to become bored if things got too quiet, I had brought my current applique top to work on. I ended up by demonstrating needle turn applique for most of the time on  Friday, Saturday and Sunday - again, attracting a lot of interest.

Nearly all of the German quilts on display were what I would call Art, Contemporary or Modern quilts, so most people were rather bemused by these Hawaiian quilts which were all hand applique and hand quilted. The most common question was how long did they take to make? and my answer was, one year to applique and one year to quilt, only doing a bit most evenings, so about two years....

Not my photo but Birgit's, showing the exhibition area from the mezzanine. Of course there were workshops being held, and there was a very large vendors' area. But no quilt competition, the explanation given was that there are no quilt judges in Germany...

Andrea Strache and Birgit Shueller on Sunday, prior to packing the World Competition quilts away...

I was able to share a taxi to the airport with Alicia Merrett on Monday, and was able to compare notes. Alicia of course is a much more seasoned traveller than I and had been in constant communication with the organisers. She was teaching, which I would have found rather stressful, even with a translator.

Final thoughts - I was so proud of the quilts and how well they looked together.  I did enjoy this experience and enjoyed talking to quilters from a variety of countries. What would I take away? That it was a bit of a learning curve for me - if I were to do this again, I would have to communicate much more closely with the organisers. I had assumed that things would be much as they were in the UK, and was a bit caught out by the differences. Better communication on my part would have made me better prepared. Also, I did not get much help from the organisers, but this was perhaps because I did not ask for any help. I found out that Quilt Angels were available had I but known it.

Finally, thank goodness for Facebook. Birgit and Andrea helped out immensely, by transporting me to and from the Exhibition Hall each day. I enjoyed our evening meals together. It would have been rather lonely without them!

Here are links to two other blogs which have further photos of the quilts at Karlsruhe, and also my Hawaiian quilts:


Petra at Not all is Grey:

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Applique Pots of Flowers Top

Here is an unfinished quilt top - it is very large at 90 x 104 ". Perhaps it just grew and grew, as many tops do, and then was never finished off!

The quilt top is made of applique flowers set with plain blocks. The fabrics are a mixture of prints and plains, and have a perky charm to them.

Narrow green borders are seen together with smaller flowers and leaves.

The cats had a look......

It looks a bit rumpled, but nothing that won't "quilt out"....

Pink flowers....

Blue flowers...

Purple flowers...
Even green flowers...but all have similar colour pots....

The rather pastel colours remind me of 30's colour schemes - especially that green colour, which at one time was very popular. This quilt top has been made solely by hand - even the long borders are sewn by hand, not by machine. The seller was located outside Edinburgh, and this top came to them with other linen; nothing more is known about it. So it could be British or it could be North American.....there was much cross over, both amongst patterns and also quilters, so it is difficult to be certain where it originally came from. A very jolly sort of pattern!

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Small Welsh Quilt?

Here is a small quilt. It was originally bought by the seller in Greenwich Village in NYC - so could be Welsh, North Country or possibly French.

The size is what I would term a child's quilt - too large for a cot quilt at 49 x 55 inches. The style is a frame...a pink print with diamond hand quilting in the centre....

Then, hand stitched swirls with fans and flowers around the edges...

The edge is neatly hand stitched.

The centre has somewhat of a French boutis feel to it...

The reverse is a pale print with a small fern motif - difficult to know what the original colour was.

The reverse - a printed fabric. Like most cot quilts and children's quilts, one feels that it must have been much used and much loved, so the shabby quality adds to the charm, I think..

What so you think, Welsh, Durham or French?

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Quilt Studies 17

My copy of Quilt Studies arrived on contains the written versions of the papers we heard at a BQSG seminar held in October 2015 in Brighton Grove, Manchester.

The article that I find most interesting is the one by Clare Claridge, "The Quilt Wives of Aberdare".
The article sets out in detail the story of the quilting initiative of the Rural Industries Bureau in Wales. Leading quilters in the Aberdare area are identified, and to the rear, some quilting designs set out.

Other articles are: "Pride of Place: The Bed and its Furniture: An Analysis of 88 Wills (1580-1680) from North Staffordshire and South Cheshire by Paula Hulme; Egyptian Quilting: The Documentation, Structural Analysis and Conservation of Two Mamluk Caps in the Newberry Collection, University of Leeds, by Jacqueline Hyman; The History of Cyanotype (Blueprinting) and its Use in Photography, Industry Art and Textiles, by Dr Cathy C Michel; A Stitch in Time by Jennifer Vickers.

Copies of this Quilt Studies can be purchased from The Quilt Museum, York.