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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.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Two Strippy Quilts - West Aukland

These two strippy quilts came from the same seller in Bishop Aukland, Durham - an area very well known for quilts and quilting. Neither quilt is terribly special in itself, but I still enjoy them. These are typical "club" quilts and were made to be used at home. Subscribers paid one or two shillings a week - about 5 or 10p - until the purchase price was paid. The cost of a quilt was too much to be paid in one fell swoop, so the subscription helped support a quilter and her family and also allowed the cost of the quilt to be spread over many weeks. A lottery decided who would receive their finished quilt in a particular week.

I should tell you that neither of these quilts was very expensive - both cost about £30 pounds each - about $50? When one considers the cost of todays fabrics, and also the cost of one's time to make and quilt such an item, this seems like a small price for something approaching 100 years of age.

This quilt is the more colourful, but more worn of the two. The online listing showed a photo with lurid colours - slate and purple - that I knew were unlikely to be real. It turned out to be a typical pink and white on the reverse and pink and cheddar orange on the front.

The other quilt was described as blue and cream, but is actually a blue green colour with yellow stripes. The reverse is solid blue green. This quilt is in better shape than the other quilt.

Typical patterns are seen daisies, twist and a flower in a square, all border patterns.

The orange and pink quilt has a running feather and an orange peel design.

You can see that the fabric here, especially the orange cloth, is very worn. There is also an obvious spot - perhaps of bleach or cologne that has caused colour loss.

But I like the fact that these quilts have been used and were once important possessions....

 These quilts were made rather quickly (in about a week or two) in a frame. Patterns had to be easy to mark and not so intricate - simple enough to cover the fabric effectively and yet look good. I think this was certainly achieved!

 These quilts both came from the same house clearance, a great aunt of the seller who lived in the mining village of Evenwood, where she was born in 1904. The mother of this great aunt came from the neighbouring village of West Aukland, and the seller thinks that these quilts might have come from there. The seller thought that these might have been made by the mother, but it is equally likely that they were made by a local quilter, of whom there would have been several.

You can see that the quilting is better in this quilt, perhaps because it has suffered less wear?

 The reverse of the quilt is plain. The size of this quilt is 78 x 95. The stripes would have run up and down the bed, not across.....the cloth is, of course, cotton sateen which has worn well and is very soft to the touch. I wonder if our modern and more expensive fabrics will wear as well - probably not....


  1. Lovely quilts. I hope to find one someday - perhaps make one.

  2. Loved reading about these two quilts, such a lot of life about them. Good to have some history too.

  3. What nice finds! Interested to see the patterns as I'm quilting a small strippy at the moment.