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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.

Thursday 2 December 2010


Here are some carvings that I found around the doorway arch of a church in Norfolk ( I think it was the church at Barton Turf). The top one reminded me of the braids and twists we find on quilts - the bottom one just amused me. It also reminded me of the slate gravestones that we used to "rub" in some of the older graveyards in New Jersey, with the winged angel's heads and other interesting designs.

There is a lot of design and things of interest in these churches - some was swept away by the Puritans (and the Victorians) but much still survives if you look for it- especially in the country churches.

We have had snow here - before today I thought Suffolk had gotten off lightly but today we have had a good fall of snow and although the main roads are passable my car wouldnt start and our road is like a skating rink. So I did walk to one of my jobs but tomorrow if things don't improve I will try to take the bus or train. I really don't enjoy driving in snow and ice.

My Hawaiian quilt top is looking mostly complete (only the centre to do) so I am thinking of starting another applique quilt top and also marking out my Welsh quilt - I more or less know what I want to do now and just have the tedious business of making the pattern and marking it onto the fabric. Of course the actual Welsh quilts were marked in chalk as the quilt was in the frame, so this will not truly be tradtional. The older quilts have so much individuality and vitality - I think our quest for perfection has taken alot of this away and things are sometimes rather sterile these days. I'm guilty of this too - I did consider marking it the traditional way but if I am to enter it into a competition, I know that this wonkiness wouldn't pass muster....


  1. You are so right Pippa - the quest for perfection is not what old Welsh quilts were about but is difficult to break from especially with wholecloth because you have a blank to fill. If patchwork is involved you haven't this scope because you have to consider how the quilting will work with the pieces. I find this restriction helpful and tend to make it up as I work. Sometimes it works better than others, but it wouldn't win any prizes! But that wasn't the aim of the quilters that I admire most, so I take comfort from that.

  2. It is so frustrating that "traditional" as an exhibition category doesn't appreciate the irregularity that is part of the great charm of old quilts!

  3. If you are not using chalk to mark with what would you be using? I think whatever makes you happy. I have hand quilted quilts in frames with no markings just did what came into my head. I understand what you are saying.

  4. As I understand it, traditionally, the Welsh quilts had their fields and midpoints marked out in chalk, and then large motifs were marked in, the outlining and infill were largely done freehand. A lot of the markings were done with chalk and a piece of string, coins, cups and the like.

    What I shall do is prepare master patterns and use my light box to trace the patterns very lightly onto the cloth so that all is premarked. That is how I was taught to mark a durham is "front loaded" as it were, but makes it very pleasant to actually do the quilting.

  5. Hi Pippa. Interesting carvings - it looks like a glaze or paint over the stone? I love the colour.
    Premarking an entire quilt sounds like a chore, but I'd love to see how you go about it. Will you share photos of your process? K

  6. I always do the markings on my quilts "as I go", starting the design in the middle of the quilt and going to the open edges. It works just fine for me. The patterns are always a little irregular because of freehand drawing and quilting - but I love the charme of a handworked item!
    I also would love to see pictures of the marking process, Pippa..

  7. I will try to post about marking a Durham wholecloth (have done two so far) - and will keep you filled in about marking the Welsh one.Pippa

  8. Pippa, the old carvings from the church doorway are wonderful! I love finding and tracing the links of decorative motifs that were used in various ways down thru the centuries, generation after generation. I couldn't agree with you more about how sterile perfectionism can become. I love the "naturalness" of the old motifs in the Welsh quilts. Karen in the Islands