A “Durham” or North Country strippy with good provenance and excellent quilting.
Here is a North Country strippy to compare with the Welsh strippy which follows. It was made in Northumberland, an area famed for its quilters. This particular one was made by Annie Walton (nee Wallace), who lived on a hill farm on moors near East Woodton – (nearest large town- Hexham). The house no longer exists but the seller (Annie’s great nephew) called it the coldest house in the world – Annie was never warm after marrying farmer George Walton, and lived in her “mac”. Annie was “as tough as old boots” – heating and lighting was provided by candles.
“I remember visiting her as a child – we had to cross the moors from East Woodton to get there, and I used to dread it – on the way we passed a gibbet used to hang poachers in the last century. It gives you an idea of how bleak the area was. As farmers they barely scratched a living but were self sufficient and had all they wanted” Annie fished for trout until her eighties, and died with all her teeth.
“After a day of sewing and reaping, milking, cooking, cleaning, darning and child rearing, Annie spent her time quilting (by candle light). All hand stitched, the time these quilts took to make was measured in winters, not hours”
The quilt was made as a marriage quilt for the sellers’ grandmother so must have been made about 1920. Grandmother had it for “best” and hardly used it.
The quilt is made of cotton poplin with machine sewn strips 7” wide. There are ten strips. The quilting is neat and fine, with 9 or 10 stitches per inch. The white stripes are stitched with an elaborate daisy and swag pattern and the pink strips have a running feather motif with infill. The reverse side is white cotton. The quilt measures 76 x 82 inches and has butt edged seams finished by hand. The wadding is a thin cotton.
“She had a memorable life, and a memorable death. At the age of ninety something, she was whitewashing the kitchen ceiling – walked off the end of the kitchen table and broke her hip. Pneumonia set in and that was that.”
The photo shows Annie Walton on the left, and the sellers Grandmother on the right of the farmhouse door.