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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, 23 May 2018

Recent Progress on Quilts

Just a short report on recent progress with the quilts....the Sanderson Star is mostly finished, with only the knife edge binding and the sleeve left to do. Doubtless that will get done before the FOQ in August!
 

A photo of the quilt....it's a fairly big quilt.

 
I did finish the centre of the quilt - I had not marked it earlier as I was undecided as to what to put there. In the end, I went with something simpler by omitting some of the outlining seen in the original. I think that it looks more dramatic this way.
 
 
Work on the knife edge - with all those layers of fabric, it is rather hard going to make small stitches.
 

I am making good progress with Kikui Nut, the green and white top. It has gone, in its blue Ikea bag, to several bellringing striking contests, where there is, inevitably, a lot of sitting around.The batik is easy to work with and turn under.

I have also started quilting the red and white Hawaiian, Ipu Kukui. I am using a wool/poly blend and I don't think that I will ever use this again, it is not nice to needle in the way that pure wool is. So, a false economy there!

I had some good news this past week. I sent Lei Momi (String of Pearls) off to Malvern, where it won the Best Hand Applique award. I will show photos in my next post.

I was out and about in May. I went to Chigwell to give a talk to the Roding Quilters. Then, to a Regional Day in Sevenoaks for another talk. A nice stay with quilter Sarah A. and fortunately no traffic holdups on the M25! Finally, a talk to a group in nearby Brantham. All the talks seemed to be enjoyed and I had a good time showing my various quilts. Now, no more talks until September, although there is the Traditonal Quilt Group retreat at Grantham the last week of June. I will not be taking a workshop, but will take my own hand applique and be a room helper to Shirley Bloomfield's class. The other tutors are Lynne Edwards and Carolyn Gibbs. As group treasurer, there has been a fair amount of work to organise this event.

Monday, 23 April 2018

A Walk to Semer Water; Bedale

On our final morning, we went for a walk around Semmer Water, one of only two natural lakes in the Dales (Malham Tarn is the other). As in the Lake District, this lake is glacial in origin.
 
 
We set off on the lakeside road....the sun was shining...

The scenery was beautiful, and once again there were plenty of new lambs about....and daffodils...


There were plenty of stone walls and stone barns to be seen. The barns are generally disused now, but were originally used to store winter feed, and to protect stock from severe weather.

Also to the seen on this walk is an abandoned church, Old Stalling Busk Church.


A view across the lake. The latter part of this walk was very wet and our boots were covered with mud!

After our walk at Semmer, we headed home to Suffolk, stopping for lunch at Bedale. We had a good look around the church...


Most of the bollards had been "yarn bombed"...


A lunch of Northern proportions, and at a very reasonable price.....finally it was time to drive home.

Friday, 20 April 2018

On The Railway, Settle and Skipton

On one of our days in the Yorkshire Dales, the weather was not promising, so we decided to spend a day on the Settle to Carlisle railway.
 

The nearest station to Hawes is at Garsdale - there were others waiting for the train also, including walkers from the Pennine Way going home. This line was nearly closed some years ago, but was repaired, saved and is now very popular. Our train was a normal train, but there also are monthly steam trains run by another private company.


Our little train! We got off at Settle.....

 
We had plenty of time, so walked to Giggleswick, a village with a public school of the same name.
 
 
This cafe in Settle always causes amusement - it is not known whether it was an inn, or whether it was once an undertakers...
 
 
Due to a misunderstanding with the return times for the trains, it was easier to catch a train south to Skipton. After a wander about, we then caught a train to our original stop, Garsdale. Skipton has a lovely church with an excellent ring of bells. There is also a castle.

The main attraction on this train route is of course the famous Ribblehead viaduct. Being on the train, though, we could not see it! We will have to do one of the nearby walks  next time, to get a good view of the viaduct.

I have booked a visit for July, and expect that the area will be much busier in summer than at Easter.

Monday, 16 April 2018

A Few Days In the Yorkshire Dales

Over Easter, Mike and I went to the Yorkshire Dales for a long weekend. I was not familiar with this area, though when I was younger, the family did go to the southern Lake District often as the then in-laws lived there. I was very impressed with the Dales, and I think that we will be returning again this summer.
 
Rather randomly, I chose a B & B in Hawes, and it proved very pleasant. But how prices have shot up recently! The good part is, this area is easier for us to get to, it is straight up the A1 and across. Shame about the traffic at Cambridge, although I see that a huge new bypass of Huntingdon is now in progress...
 
 
On the first morning, we awoke to a light covering of snow - and it was made the fells look very pretty, though it did not last long. After a cooked breakfast, we did a walk from Hawes to Hardraw and back to Hawes. There are many old stone barns in this area.

 
Here, you can spot the snow on the fells. Many new lambs were in the fields, some with plastic raincoats on to keep them dry.
 
 
The waterfall at Hardraw - there is an admission charge of £2.50 to gain entrance. In Victorian times there was a flood and mudslide which destroyed the waterfall. However, the landowner pieced together the stones at the lip and was able to repair the waterfall.
 
 
After lunch, we took a drive up the spectacular Beggar Man's Pass. We then parked up and walked along the Roman road. This is still a navigable road and there were occasional bikers and 4x4 owners testing their vehicles ability to traverse the track. This walk produced some of the best scenery of the weekend.
 
Here, you can just see some of the snow remaining at higher levels, looking into the dale.
 
 
 

In the evening, we did a final walk from Gayle to Askgarth Falls. I imagine these falls must be packed with walkers during the summer!

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Norwich Shawl by Clabburn

When I saw this lovely shawl online, I realised that the dealer was living quite nearby, in the next village over, so to speak.....it was an expensive item, so we arranged to meet in
Woodbridge so that I could examine the shawl.
 

The dealer used to have a shop in Norwich, so knows these shawls well. She now sells mostly on Etsy....


After a discussion, including the various ins and outs of the trade and other dealers, I made a quick trip to the building society...

 
The Shawl is a beautiful one, and as its made from silk, changes colours, with a cast of purple..
 

The silk fringe is in perfect condition and the shawl has only a few small plucks...



There is a lot of information about the Norwich shawls in these two books, but no illustration that matches this shawl..


 
The shawl is unclipped, and so is not really reversible, as some are...
 

After a lot of thought, I decided to wear the shawl to Sophie's wedding....it seems to have come to no harm.....

I appreciated the shawl, even if no one else noticed it ...well, we can't all be textile experts, can we?
Dating from about 1860, the shawl is an amazing survivor....

Thursday, 1 March 2018

A Norwich Shawl in Pinks and Browns

Here is an antique shawl in muted pinks and browns with a pink fringe. It is the same as one illustrated in the book Norwich Shawls, so we can safely say that it is a Norwich shawl by Clabburn.

Item 56 on page 93: Jacquard Zebra Shawl 1860s by Clabburn Sons & Crisp. "The horizontal stripe unit in this shawl is 14cm and is made up of two patterns. They include circles and serpentine motifs with almost indistinguishable tiny pines scattered through. The shawl is very faded giving an attractive pink/brown effect." 


These shawls were known as zebra shawls and were produced about 1860-1870, at the end of the shawls' popularity. Perhaps this is why these are found in better condition, they were discarded and not worn when fashions changed almost overnight.


These shawls were woven on looms and were an expensive purchase. They were made from silk or silk and wool mixtures, so were worn for special occasions - not everyday...


I love the muted colors and the intricate designs...


In comparison to quilts, there are only a few books about antique shawls - here we see that catalogue for the exhibition of Norwich shawls held at Norwich cathedral held last year, and also a book put out by Norwich Museum Services...it would be nice to know more....and perhaps I should book a visit to Norwich to meet the shawl/textile experts there....

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Very Worn Sanderson Star in Yellow and White

As I am very interested in the Sanderson Star pattern, I did buy this quilt...it has seen better days though! The quilt has been cut down at some point and a binding applied. These quilts usually have three dark borders, and not a light outer border, so I suspect that a very worn portion of the quilt has been cut off. The edges of these quilts do receive the most wear, so not surprising. The quilt has been reduced in size to 70 x 60 inches.


Here is the central Sanderson Star. This pattern was very popular and the quilts were made in some numbers. Here we have one in yellow and white.


The quilt is very well used and although the cotton sateen has survived amazingly well, if you hold the quilt up to the light you can see that the wadding is lumpy and has diminished and shifted through hard wear. There is not much of it left!


The quilting patterns have become simplified from the earlier Sanderson Star patterns. You have a simple twist, and a much simplified Gardiner feather border - it really is just large swirls here.


In the central star, the usual rose with fern has also become much simplified.


The single binding is modern and stitiched to the back and hand sewn to the front - the reverse to what I would do....
 
Still, a striking pattern even if faded and well used, as here....



Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Pink and Green Durham with Star Motif

Here is a Durham quilt in green and pink sateen. The quilt was sold by a charity shop in Leeds and measures 227 x 190 cm or 89 x 75 inches.
 

Judging by the pink thread that was used for the quilting, this whole cloth side was meant to be the "best" side.


You can see the large motifs used - fans, large roses and feather swags.


The reverse has a pink frame with a green centre. There is a large central applique star and the corners have a similar quarter star.


Although the pink side is meant to be the "best" side, by looking at the quilting stitches, it is obvious that the quilting has been done from this side. It is easy to see why - the quilting motifs are arranged around the stars and it would have been very difficult to do this if quilting from the plain side.


You can see by examining the quilting stitches that the quilting was done from this side. Also, that the applique was done by machine and none too carefully!


It just shows that these quilts were turned out fairly quickly and that the overall appearance was more important than intricate workmanship...


The edges reveal that the outer edge of the border has the selvedge of the material....again another time saver...


This star may be a later, simplified version of the more complex Sanderson Star.

The central star has a rose motif, and is surrounded by feather swags. The quilt is generally in good condition, however that dark spot seems oily? ...and the quilt may have to be washed!!

Monday, 29 January 2018

Horrockses- Clothing and Cotton Manufacturers, Preston

When I was at the BQSG seminar in Preston in October, I was very interested to hear about the Preston firm of Horrockses. Although Horrockses was a household name in Britain, not having grown up in the UK, this was new to me.
 

The Horrockses firm was founded in 1791 by John Horrocks and became well known for cotton goods and clothes such as pyjamas and shirts. The factory was a very large one, and was considered to be the largest factory in Europe in its time. Fabric were woven at the mills, and then made up into garments. Later, its woven goods were involved in the war effort.


After WWII, the problem was, how to stimulate demand for its cotton goods? Ready to wear dresses had become increasingly popular over time, and the question was, how to make cotton dressses, formerly considered rather pedestrian, into something more exclusive and glamorous.

A model in the Harris Museum showing how very large the mills once were - I went bellringing on Sunday morning at Preston Minster, and when I asked a local ringer about the factory, saw that this area immediately behond the Minster has now been completly redeveloped......


The answer was to hire the best designers, and to produce a variety of garments for the mass market, from simple shirt waiters in a variety of coloured prints to glamorous evening dresses. Each style would be made in a variety of prints and colourways. In each town, only a few selected shops could stock the dresses. And, Horrockses was careful to ensure that each shop in a town had different stock from the others in that town.....the dresses sold for the then not inconsiderable price of £4 to £7. Clever advertising re-inforced the exclusivity message.


Of course, the main purpose was, to use the cotton fabrics produced at the Horrockses Mills in a proftable manner. The brand was at its height from 1946 to 1964. Unfortunately, the 70's and 80's were not kind to the company as fashions moved on, and the company went under.


Recently, the brand name has been bought and the archives used as a basis to produce housewares and bed linens in retro prints.

Having looked on Ebay, I find that the iconic 50's dresses sell for high prices! I am not sure whether these are for collectors, or for wear.