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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, 24 February 2012

Northumberland Strippy Quilt

A “Durham” or North Country strippy with good provenance and excellent quilting.

Here is a North Country strippy to compare with the Welsh strippy which follows. It was made in Northumberland, an area famed for its quilters. This particular one was made by Annie Walton (nee Wallace), who lived on a hill farm on moors near East Woodton – (nearest large town- Hexham). The house no longer exists but the seller (Annie’s great nephew) called it the coldest house in the world – Annie was never warm after marrying farmer George Walton, and lived in her “mac”. Annie was “as tough as old boots” – heating and lighting was provided by candles.

“I remember visiting her as a child – we had to cross the moors from East Woodton to get there, and I used to dread it – on the way we passed a gibbet used to hang poachers in the last century. It gives you an idea of how bleak the area was. As farmers they barely scratched a living but were self sufficient and had all they wanted” Annie fished for trout until her eighties, and died with all her teeth.

“After a day of sewing and reaping, milking, cooking, cleaning, darning and child rearing, Annie spent her time quilting (by candle light). All hand stitched, the time these quilts took to make was measured in winters, not hours”

The quilt was made as a marriage quilt for the sellers’ grandmother so must have been made about 1920. Grandmother had it for “best” and hardly used it.

The quilt is made of cotton poplin with machine sewn strips 7” wide. There are ten strips. The quilting is neat and fine, with 9 or 10 stitches per inch. The white stripes are stitched with an elaborate daisy and swag pattern and the pink strips have a running feather motif with infill. The reverse side is white cotton. The quilt measures 76 x 82 inches and has butt edged seams finished by hand. The wadding is a thin cotton.

“She had a memorable life, and a memorable death. At the age of ninety something, she was whitewashing the kitchen ceiling – walked off the end of the kitchen table and broke her hip. Pneumonia set in and that was that.”

The photo shows Annie Walton on the left, and the sellers Grandmother on the right of the farmhouse door.


  1. What a wonderful insight to a hardworking woman. A fantastic quilt to leave behind. Thank you. I enjoyed reading the post.

  2. Thank-you for sharing this quilt with us. I have recently become a fan of Welsh quilting and am loving your site.

  3. What a great story - and a magnificent quilt.

  4. We call that "bubble gum pink" here in the US - does the color have a different name in Wales? A lovely post with fascinating information about the quiltmaker. Such a graceful quilting design...just beautiful.
    Thank you for giving us these clear images.

  5. Pippa, thank you so much for this and earlier posts. I have adored Welsh and North Country quilts for years and thoroughly enjoy your pictures and the stories behind the quilts. There is so much to learn from these quilts and their makers, I hope you have lots more to tell us about them!

  6. Thank you so much for sharing! It was wonderful to read your post about a woman who lived a hard live - and left such a beauty of a quilt. I'm full of respect for her. How lucky we quilters of today are! Pippa, please go on telling us such interesting stories.
    I really love you blog.

  7. What beautiful quilting!! It's a gorgeous quilt. I can't imagine quilting so fine with only candlelight to work by. She sounds like she was a remarkable woman.

  8. Thank you for sharing the quilt and quilters story! The quilting is so beautiful!!

  9. They always win some more beauty when you know their story. Thanks for sharing it with us.