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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.

Friday, 16 August 2013

My Trip to York, Quilt Research

Well, it's taken me several days to recover from my expedition to the North and the Midlands! But I will be posting lots of photos from the Festival of Quilts over the weekend. This time, I wrote down which quilts I was photographing - from experience, it is hard to work out from the catalogue later, if you don't do that at the time.

But to preserve the timeline, I am going to fill you in to my two trips to quilt museums first, part of my research on the Sanderson Star quilts. At the end of July, I took the train up to York so that I could measure the three star quilts at the Quilt Museum there. Heather, the curator there, made sure that all three quilts were out of store and in place, so it didn't take too long.

The first quilt was a star top, which was marked by Elizabeth Sanderson's apprentice Mrs Heatherington, nee Allinson. The top was sewn together by Elizabeth Coultard nee Featherstone. The top was purchased by Shiela Betterton and is in excellent condition. It dates from 1911-1914. I am going to use it as my 1910 Benchmark quilt in my research....the markings are in the usual blue pencil. Interesting to note that the twists have the outlines marked in, but only the inner strands marked here and there.....

Here is the whole top, and you can see that it is in an attractive colourway. Size is 92.5 inches square.

Here is the second quilt, in a red and white colourway. It was purchased at an auction in Edinburgh and has no provenance....early 1900's....

The third quilt is in a pink and white colourway...this quilt is rectangular and a bit of a "bodge". This pattern was very complicated, and people made a stab at drafting it. In this case, the corner pieces were made square (they are usually a rhombus) so the angles of the star are not all the same. In addition, to make the quilt rectangular, the quilter has extended the pieces on two sides of the star (usually, there is a sashing border). The quilting patterns are not the standard ones, so perhaps a later version? No date given for this quilt. Bought from a shop, Hand in Hand, in Coldstream (Borders area). No other provenance.

After finishing the measuring, I had time to go upstairs and look at the quilts in the quilt museum - The Blossoming of Patchwork, Bridget Long arranged this one. I bought the catalogue...the best exhibition of quilts that I have seen in a long time - will try to share a few photos later. Just to say - I was really taken by these quilts, and the scholarly commentary which accompanied doesn't get much better.

Walking back to the train station, I must have been wearing the wrong shoes, as I pulled a tendon in one foot - it's taken me a while to recover from this! The train was delayed, we missed our connection at Peterboro, so had to travel via Cambridge and didn't arrive back in Ipswich until very late. Ipswich is a lively place on a Friday night......

More later on my trip to Beamish to measure the Sanderson Star quilts there and the Festival of Quilts at Birmingham....


  1. Thanks for this post, Pippa. I have been reading up about the Sanderson Star as I would love to have a go at making one. Looking forward to following your research on this.

  2. Great seeing the star in three colorways and as both a top and finished quilts. Hope you leg heals up quickly!