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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.













Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Block Printed Wool Shawl

After visiting the shawl exhibition at Norwich Cathedral, I  became interested in shawls. However, I do not know as much as I would like to, as unlike quilts,  there are very few books on the subject. However, they are very pretty. Shawls largely went out of fashion in the 1870's, due to a change in fashion, when dresses with bustles made wearing shawls very difficult. Still, they were fashionable for over 100 years.
 

This is a block printed woollen shawl. It took great skill to block print the designs accurately. Each colour would have required a different block, and these had to be matched up accurately. However, these were much less expensive than the woven shawls, as 30 or 40 could be made in the time it took to weave one large shawl.

The woollen shawls were generally used as light summertime wraps, or for evening wear.


So colourful.....
 ...with a decorative fringe...

I am going to visit Norwich Museum totry to find out more. The important centres for shawl making were Norwich, Edinburgh and of course Paisley in Scotland.


Sometimes, it is possible to see the tiny resgistration dots which helped to align the different blocks of colour....


Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Very Worn Sanderson Star Quilt - Berwick Upon Tweed

Here is a very worn quilt, I guess that this is one of my "study items". This pattern was a surprisingly difficult one to make, and many were bought, ready marked, from quilt designers. It was a very popular pattern and continued to be made for many years. Thus, the quilting designs do change over the years as fashions changed. This one seems to be one of the later ones, and has similarities with the one presented in Barbara Chainey's Project book.


Note that the colours are reversed - white star with a pink background. A fairly standard layout, however instead of an inner border around the star, the pieces are just lengthened at either end - to make it rectangular. The earlier quilts were square, later ones were rectangular to match the evolving trend in bed sizes.


You can see that the fern and rose design has been replaced with a more modern tulip design in the star rays...

The cotton sateen is very worn on the front of the quilt and it must have been well used....


An interesting quilting design of a crown, perhaps a nod to a royal event. This years exhibition at Jen Jones' Quilt Museum in Lampeter showcased a blue quilt with a similar design...


Here is the Welsh wholecloth in royal blue, seen at the Quilt Museum, Lampeter. This quilt design was featured in the Rural Industries catalogue, and could be ordered in different sizes, from cot quilt to full size by adding extra borders. The quilt features two crowns, possibly to commemorate the coronation of George VI in May 1937. Made by Magdalen Price of Cardiff Road, Aberaman, Aberdare.


The twist is simplified here, and simple roses with circles have appeared in the border...

 
The outermost border is a swag with a feather device and circles on stalks, also with a more modern feel.....

However, this border has the traditional swirl pattern, well marked or "stamped"...


The corners are turned with a rose - earlier quilts just had a block with cross hatching, the design was not turned....



Here is an attractive design, which I have not seen before....elegant but simple...


The back is in good condition, unlike the front, so must not have been exposed to wear..


This quilt came from an auction in Berwick Upon Tweed and came from one of the large houses there. Northumberland was noted for its expert quilters and also for its quilt designers, of which there were many in Allendale and Weardale. I will be measuring this quilt and adding these to my "Database" of information, I have a long term project to study these...


Monday, 4 September 2017

More Tea Cosies

Small quilted items were always popular to make, and were often given as gifts. This was especially true after WWII when evening classes in crafts were popular. Larger quilts were too laborious to make, but smaller items were more achievable and fitted in well with the "house beautiful" movement.
 

This tea cosy, like most, seems unused. It is from Wales, but was made from a commercial pattern.


Here is another from Tyneside, with corded, or Italian, quilting. Both sides are the same.


These small items have a colourful, almost jewel-like quality. The quilters must have been pleased once these were made up!

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Pink Welsh Quilt with Scalloped Edge

Here is a lovely Welsh quilt in pink that I bought in July. Usually, pink quilts go for a premium - I was surprised that it did not go for more - but the fact that it was described as an "embroidered blanket" may have had something to do with this. The quilt is in good condition and the quilting is excellent. The edges are scallopped, which means that this was considered a "special" quilt.
 

The centre coin has a four spiral centre, with radiating rays - very effective.


There are nice church windows (one of my favourite patterns!) with spirals along the scallopped border.

The inner curves of the scallops have a neat button hole stitch. As the edges are hand stitched, and the curves would have been snipped to allow the turning, there would have been very little seam allowance for the stitching to catch. The buttonhole stitches ensure that the edge stays neat and firm.


One border is an unusual star pattern - different patterns are always cropping up on Welsh quilts, very refreshing and lively.


The church windows pattern.

The cats inspected, as usual in this house......



This quilt came belonged to the seller's grandmother, Catherine Harrie, who lived in Llandybie in Carmarthenshire, Wales. Catherine had eight children, of whom two died in infancy, one in the Great War, and one as a student. The seller's father was the youngest of the survivors.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Small Quilt from a stately home

This quilt is not hand made, but was bought for very little and has an interesting provenance.
 

The reverse is satin, nicely sewn..


Here is the front, you can see the net with embroidery. The MR apparently stands for the Mary Duchess of Roxburghe.


A detail of the embroidery. I am not sure if this is hand or machine, it rather looks like machine work or hand guided machine work...


Doing a bit of web based research, the Duchess, was born in 1915 and married the Duke of Roxburghe in 1935. She was a close friend of the Queen Mother and by all accounts had an eventful social life. She was rather unexpectedly served divorce papers in 1953 and was the subject of eviction from Flores Castle, near Kelso, Scotland, the marital home. She later inherited West Horsley House, near Leatherhead, from her mother and lived there for many years. The house was stuffed with family effects and latterly, only five rooms were inhabited. Upon her death in 2014, her estate was unexpectedly inherited by Bamber Gascoine, her Godson. A sale of effects from the house was held by Sothebys in 2015 to provide much needed funds for the House's restoration. The sale exceeded expectations and realised £8.8 million. I assume that this little quilt came onto the market during this time.

The seller estimated the date to be 1930's. The monogram dates from after her marriage in 1935. As the the Duchess had no children, I am guessing that it is not a cot quilt, but must be a gift or serve some other purpose. Mary was the partron of the National Union of Townswomens Guilds, so it may be that this was a gift with her monogram upon it. The RIB catalogue at that time offers lap quilts and car throws, it may be one of these. What do you think?

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Another Hawaiian Quilt - Sunflower Ipu Kikui

As you may know, I find hand applique very relaxing and satisfying, especially with the larger designs. Hawaiian quilts are a favourite, as I find them very striking. I don't like the newer designs so much, but really admire the traditional designs from the 30's and 40's.
 
 
I have been saving this fabric - the first job is to fold the applique fabric and background fabric carefully and iron into eighths. Next, having pinned the design securely, the applique is cut out. I have to use my sharpest scissors here, there as there are eight layers to cut through...

I did use the little Clover clips here for the first time to hold the edges in place, they worked well....

 
It takes quite a while to cut out, several sittings...and is hard on the hands...
 
...but the most difficult step is to unfold the cut applique, to get it to lie smooth on the background fabric and for the folds in both to match up. In this case, I had to make sure that the centre had an even space all around.

 
Finally, you have to baste the pieces in place, so that they do not shift or move during the long applique process. As I have cats that might like to destroy the placing, or even worse, be sick on it, I have to finish this in one evening (a long one - I was tired the next morning!)
The traditional way to baste was to thread baste - the more modern way is to use dots of a fabric glue like Roxannes - but I prefer to use lots and lots of safety pins. I have lots of them and can move or remove them as needed. And, I do not usually wash the quilts, as would be needed to remove spots of glue....
 
 
Finally I could get to work on the applique - of course the edge is much easier than the centre to work on. The applique "lives" in the ubiquitous IKEA blue bag....it takes about a year for me to applique a large quilt, and another year to quilt it by hand, but only working on it some evenings.

I had cataract operations last year (only in one eye, unusually for my age, but both were done on the NHS quite speedily by the NHS as I am still working). I was near sighted - now I am long sighted, quite a change after 50 years of glasses. I have tried a magnifiying glass on a stalk for my applique and like it very much, I am able to see the stitching much more clearly and its almost like pre operation days....


My Japanese daughter in law Lily chose a cafe decorated with Hawaiian pillows in Tokyo for her birthday treat this year, so when they visited in August I hunted out some spare blocks and quickly made them into pillow covers. Not too much bulk to take back to Tokyo! I hope that she is able to enjoy and use them. They look cheerful, don't they?

Saturday, 12 August 2017

LLanon and Aberaeron

Having visited Lampeter and Tregaron, the slightly wet weather improved, and we decided to have a look at the Cerigion coast once more. We ended up at Llanon....
 

...which again is on the coastal path....


And then on to Aberaeron, a lively town in the summer.


The harbour was empty at low tide......


The next day, it was back to Suffolk...via Port Talbot, which Mike wanted to see....


The Severn Bridge - no toll this way, you pay to enter Wales but it is free to exit! We had a lovely visit and I hope to return again....

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Jane Beck and Tregaron Bog - Wales 2017

On Saturday afternoon, I wanted to drive to Tregaron, to visit the shop of Jane Beck. Jane deals mainly in the Welsh blankets and shawls, but often comes across quilts with these, and thus has a selection on her website. I have bought two quilts from her, including a wedding quilt by Miss Jones of Ty Mawr, Brecfa, which I really like.
 

The satnav sucessfully found the shop for us, a bit out of the way like many things in Wales....
The Shop is called Ty Zinc or tin hut....


The shop is crammed full of blankets..


Some new, some antique...


Most are arranged by colour, for use in interior decorating...


There are also coats...




Bags....

 
And hot water bottle covers (very popular).
 
No, I didn't buy this hat, very fetching however...
 
 
Jane at her counter, with little dog Binkey...


Jane also has two shepherds huts for rent in a field across the road, we went to have a look...

After visiting the shop, I could not resist a trip to what we used to call "Tregaron Bog", a part of the scientific journal reading for my PhD in ecology (long ago now). It now seems to be called Cors Caron, the local Welsh name.

 
It is a raised bog, a rarity nowadays but formerly more common. Most have been destroyed so this is worthy of interest.
Grazing by local ponies...

Lakes created by water management, some on former peat cuttings...
...and a Sphagnum pool, testimony to the unpolluted environment in Wales.