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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.













Monday, 1 September 2014

Vintage Books on Quilting and Textiles

I have recently been buying books on the history of crafts, and also the WI. Many have interesting illustrations as well as text, which will come in useful for my research.


Here is a book which accompanied an exhibition on British crafts in the 20th century, by Tanya Harrod. It covers the periods1916-1939, 1945-1969 and also 1970-1990. A huge, well researched book which will be a valuable resource. Many different crafts are covered,  including textiles. Much more than a coffee table book, with a price to match.


A book on the Welsh wool textiles. Quilts are only briefly mentioned. Some interesting photos...


A book on red dyes -cochineal, madder and murex....wide range of dyes and fabrics from around the world...


Durham County Federation WI booklet....very brief, and came with extra templates....I have many of these templates already, as The Quiltery used many of the exact designs in their packets of quilting designs, apparently without permission, or perhaps the templates were not covered by copyright?


I have seen this book for many years, but it was not of interest to me; published in 1985 it concentrates on english paper piecing, American patchwork and applique. This seemed very old fashioned at the time and I was ready to get on with newer things..now it is of historical interest. Some traditional handquilting designs are shown but the American influence in quilt design and technique is clearly evident by this time.


A NWFI publication from 1979, this has a section on patchwork and quilting, which concentrates on piecing over papers. Hand quilting is covered in 6 pages, and illustrated with perhaps the worst example of quilting that I have seen in a long time! Very representative of post WWII quilting....


More WI leaflets...I wasn't sure if linen quilting would refer to the fabric or to bedclothes/sheeting, but it seems to be quilting using linen cloth. Covers "flat quilting" (no padding), corded quilting and padded quilting. Published 1964, price one shilling (5 pence). In this bundle were also leaflets on canvas work,
Eiderdowns using sheepswool and terylene, and how to make soft lampshades.

Anf finally, a book on WI textiles...the result of a survey on textiles from the various groups around the UK. mostly banners, tablecloths and other textiles used at WI meetings, but does include some quilts. The WI was instrumental in keeping quilting going after WW2. 

Monday, 18 August 2014

Pink Durham Quilt


Here is a Durham quilt with very nice quilting patterns. A large quilt, this one measures 76 x 91 inches. It is in very good condition; the seller was from West Rainton, which is near Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and said that this quilt came from a house clearance. The owner of the house had been a lecturer at either Durham or Newcastle Universty.



The patterns are very well stitched and the quilt is in good condition....there is an inner field with paired feather plumes,separated by a border with a twist, then an outer border with stouter feathers and a final narrow border with twist.


Daisies are found in each corner...


The edges are neatly sewn...all in all a well made quilt.


This quilt reminded me of another quilt, the one made by a WI group in Sunderland or Washington in the late 40's......again, we see pairs or feather plumes, but with a flower at the junction.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Hawick Quilt #3

Well, quite a saga accompanies this quilt! I bought this quilt on Ebay...then waited for it to arrive, via Hermes, a carrier......no quilt. After a week, I contacted the seller...the parcel tracking said that it had been delivered, and signed for, the previous week. As I go out to work each day, I knew that this wasn't possible.....and so sent a message back to the seller. In the meantime, I walked around to two other houses on the estate with the same house number......no luck. But, the seller had contacted Hermes and had found out that it had been misaddressed and delivered to another house.......I immediately walked there...though the house number was just one different, it is not a near neighbour...and of course they didnt know me or where I lived. BUT...the parcel and quilt were there!
I am not impressed with Hermes (second time that I have had a mishap.....a previous parcel went to Inverness not Ipswich and never arrived..fortunately an inexpensive item). I will be paying extra for another carrier in the future.... I should point out that none of this was in any way the fault of the seller!



Anyhow....here is the quilt...does not photograph too well as it is a pale pink colour with a white reverse. It dates from the 1920's and measures 80 x 84 inches. The fabric is a nice cotton sateen.

My other two Hawick quilts have the usual Hawick patterns...this one does not...but this one was bought with another quilt with the typical spikey heart motifs, so is a true Hawick quilt...you can see the usual scale filing pattern. The border pattern is a fan or scallop pattern. Inserted into the scales is a floral wreath pattern, rather difficult to make out...


Here, a better photo of the floral wreath pattern, enclosed in an octogon shape...these quiltst were made by church groups as fund raisers in the 1920s...there is an article in Quilt Studies which gives much more information.....


The edges are neatly sewn by machine, rather unusual for these type of quilt...in blue thread....


The seller wrote to me "I bought two quilts at a car boot sale in Denholm [ a Borders village near Hawick]. I just happened to be passing a charity stall when I saw the two quilts being laid out. I did not know what they were at the time. I thought they did look old but was not sure. I purchased them as we have an old white  and brass bedstead and I thought that they would look good on that. Then another stallholder called me over and told me that they were, in fact, Hawick quits. I later did a quick browse online and saw the iconic patterns (the other one had the lovely heart design in lemon and white). Hope that helps."

I am so pleased that this quilt arrived safely! And very pleased that it is so different to my other two....

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Welsh Quilt with Unusual Quilting Patterns

Here is a Welsh quilt which is a bit puzzling.....it has some interesting quilting patterns, but does not seem to have been especially carefully made.


At first, I thought that this was the top or "best" side....the flowered sateen is attractive, but an odd bit of beige fabric has been used to complete the top, here placed in the middle, almost like a frame.....


But, looking at the edges and the frill, it is apparent that this side was the underside...you can see that the frill has seams and turned under edge facing this lower side, making it the reverse...

The edge with its frill was not very carefully sewn....the fabric edges were not carefully turned in, and in many places where the turn in was not caught by the line of stitching, the two selvedge edges are just sticking out....



Turning the quilt onto the plain side, one can see that this pink side was the uppermost side....the frill is nicely gathered on this side...no seams showing....the thread also matches this side...


The quilting patterns are also more apparent on the "better" side....there is a central coin with four hearts..surrounded by circles....with four fans at the corners...you can see that the usual bordered format is not followed...on either side of the central coin are two more half circle designs....


Another look at the center hearts...


At either end are some triangular designs....the two ends are not quilted in the same manner, however....this one has two daisies...with a paisley shape at either side....


While this one had a half daisy or fan and a leaf and paisley pear.....


The corner fans have teardrop motifs...


Another corner, this one with a fan...


Some unusual linked spirals, which look like eyeglases? These are seen in several areas, including the side triangles and in between the central hearts.

This quilt came from a family in Newport, South Wales. The quilt measures 72  x 81 " with a 5" frill.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Durham Club Quilt with Spring Flowers and Ribbon Edging


Here is a quilt which makes use of a very attractive fabric....it is cotton sateen with bright and colourful spring flowers. The quilting design is fairly simple, and I suspect that this is an example of a club quilt. There is a central wheel, infill of diamonds and then two borders, a twist and a square petalled flower...


I have not seen this treatment before, the edge of the quilt has had an attractive ribbon with matching colours, top sewn to the edge.


The reverse of the ribbon....


Although an attractive quilt, the stitching is not very fine...only about 4 or 5 stitches per inch...


The plain side of the quilt....you can see the central wheel or flower...


....some of the threads have popped or broken with use....


...a closer look at the flower quilting pattern...


And another look at the bright fabric, with tulips, daffodils, jonquils, irises, bluebells and other spring flowers. 

This quilt came from a house in Oxfordshire and has no provenance.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Welsh, but Durham-style Quilt

Here is a bit of a puzzle - a quilt definitely made in Wales by a Welsh woman, but with a north country flavour. It seems to be another example of a marked top in the Durham style. North Country marked tops were available commercially and could be purchased by post or through stores. This quilt was made of blue and salmon satin by the seller's great aunt. The size is 80 x 90 inches and the quilt dates from about 1920.


The centre has an emblem that resembles a simplified lovers knot.


There are some nice scrolls and some leaves...not feathers, I think, as they are too pointy...notice the prairie points at the edge. None of this looks very Welsh!



A view of the whole quilt...


You can see that the design is marked with a dark pen....which makes me think that it was either done by someone who did not know too much about marking, or by someone who did not want the markings to disappear before it was quilted. The stitching is large and not especially good...


The corner, showing the prairie points...attractive colours....


The quilt was made by the seller's great aunt, who lived in South Wales. The quilt would have been made in either Abersychan or Sebastapol, as she lived in both places. They are both in the eastern valley travelling north from Newport. The seller didn't think it appropriate to give the great aunt's name.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

More Molas

 I enjoy molas, they are very lively with a lot of detail! They are often brought back as tourist souvenirs from Panama. Formerly they were made as panels in clothing for the Cuna people of the San Blas Islands, now they are an important source of income.

I am not sure what this creature is! He was sold as a mythical animal, it is gathering something to put in his basket...great colours....


Again, not sure what this means..it may be a logo or a brand of an item? This mola was bought very inexpensively, I was interested to see that it was professionally framed in Brixton....it has anti-glare glass. It has now been hung on my wall....