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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, 15 August 2011

Festival of Quilts 2011- 1

I returned from the Festival of Quilts late last night, having stayed for all four days....a much nicer hotel this year, near Solihull. The traffic was busier this year, and I didn't arrive until Thursday lunchtime.

The Christchurch Bell quilt looked well and was hanging on one of the solid walls. The judges thought the colours were "well balanced" and that it was a "lovely unusual design idea". One judge liked the quilting around the edge but the other didn't think the green rayon thread worked as a colour.

Here is the sawtooth quilt - again hung against a solid wall. The judges remarks - good variety of quilting designs well executed - well done -lovely quilt. But one judge didn't like the originality or design and gave low marks. It just shows that the modern sensibility is quite different from that prevailing when the top was made. I made a decision not to amend the design, colours or quilting motifs and although I could have "improved" it, it was simply a recreation of an older quilt.

Here is a lovely North Country quilt that was hanging behind our BQSG stand. The quilt was found at a textile fair and had no provenance - we guessed the date to be 20's or 30's. It attracted lots of attention. The quilting patterns are unusual and the quilting unusually fine and dense. One morning a member of BQSG said that she was familiar with the patterns, as they came from a pattern sheet published by the Durham Womens' institute. If one could find out when these patterns were first published, it would give a rough idea of the date of the quilt. Pauline thought that one edge had no wadding and had "the edge" although a hand sewn one, not a machine sewn one. The piecing on the quilt is all by hand. It may be a WI quilting class item - the WI was very persnickety about hand sewing and this is all hand sewn, even the edge. However it seems that the quilter was not very experienced - what we assumed to be seams in the outer border were in fact large 1/2" pleats on the far side, where fullness of the fabric had been quilted over - there was some puckering on the far edge as well.

This was probably meant to be a wedding quilt, as it has a true lovers knot at the centre plus lots of hearts. There are some rather unusual pots of flowers as well. Presumably the Durham WI copied patterns from local quilters, some of which might have been passed down and were therefor quite old.

Considering that we originally knew nothing about this quilt, close inspection and the knowledge of a quilter have raised some interesting leads.

I have more photos of the FOQ quilts to share in further posts.


  1. Your bell quilt is wonderful, I love getting things judged, but always remember it's just one persons opinion. One time I did an applique border and the arms of the snowmen were intentionally knobby, bent, kinked, just like branches. One judge told me I should have used bias and made the smooth. Go figure!
    Your red/white is beautiful and I thought your quilting designs were fabulous! The blue&white piece had gorgeous quilting,

  2. Your quilts looked fantastic - some of the judges comments are difficult to understand! Well done - you should be so very proud.

  3. The bell quilt turned out to be so nice. Thanks for letting me be a part of the project. I absolutely love the quilting on your other quilt.

  4. 'It just shows that the modern sensibility is quite different from that prevailing when the top was made.' So true. I got some odd comments about my antique Swedish random scrappy quilt when that was entered at FoQ in 2009. But as we know, the quirks are part of the charm of those quilts!

  5. You should be very proud to have hung your quilts and received (for the most part) positive feedback. Although sometimes judges comments are difficult to fathom, it's a great achievement in itself to have your quilts finished, hanging beautifully straight and looking pretty darn good!! Well done.
    Gee the quilting on the blue and white is wonderful!

  6. How nice to see the Bell Quilt all together and on display! Thank you for your dedication to this project and letting me participate.

    The blue and white quilt is stunning!

    And your classic red and white quilt is so lovely.

  7. Thank you for the pictures, Pippa! Your sawtooth quilt is really lovely and your quilting just marvellous.
    Regarding the North Country Quilt: Do you have Dorothy Osler's book "North Country Quilts: Legend and Living Tradition"? I just found on page 61 a picture of Quilting leaflets produced by the National Federation of Women's Institute of the early 1950s and the heart pattern of the quilt is shown there. Could this help to find out the age of it?

  8. Andrea, Congratulations on your third place win with your lovely strippy quilt - I have photos and will hope to post them, with your permission, of course.

    I think the lady involved is going home to look at her WI patterns, so we should have further information about the date. I myself got some very interesting information on my Indian quilt. And as a result of a house clearance, the Guild was offered some information and patterns from the Quilt revival in Durham at that period. Personal contacts are so interesting. I have lots more to post so bear with me.

    I am so grateful to all those who made bell blocks. I am in contact with Karen R and the quilt will be handed over when we meet in October, Pippa

  9. Thank you, Pippa! Of course you can post pictures of my quilt - I would be honoured! :)

  10. Beautiful site. So sorry I didn't find your site before the NEC, but did see your quilts. Will follow your blogs with real interest.