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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.

Sunday 30 January 2011

More Photos of Zany Quilt

Here are more photos of the Geometric quilt with the zany centre. The quilt was made by Mrs.Annie Davies who lived above a drapers shop on Chalybeate St. in Aberysthweth.

A photo of the quilt where you can see the quilting patterns, mostly sprials and chevrons. Although a scrap quilt, it is symmetrically arranged in a medallion format.
The quilting is sturdy but obviously Welsh.The wadding is carded wool.

The zany, purple print fabric used in the central pinwheel. The stripes are pieced, and the quilter has not used striped fabric.

Another photo of the central portion of the quilt.

The fabrics used are sateen (pink) and a strange shiney, ribbed fabric (beige). I wonder what sort of fabric it is - not dimity, perhaps a calendered fabric or dress fabric?

The reverse of the quilt, where the quilter ran out of one fabric and substituted another red paisley along one side.

Wednesday 26 January 2011

Geometric Welsh Quilt with Zany Centre

Here is another quilt that was bought from Jen Jones. It measures 219 cm x 191 cm or about 86 x 75 inches. It was made by a Mrs Annie Davies who lived over a drapers shop in Chalybeate Street in Aberysthweth. You can see another quilt by the same maker in Jen's French book on Welsh Quilts - Les Quilts Gallois. That quilt is more obviously a scrap quilt, with green red and beige scraps organised in a rough medallion format and looking surprisingly modern - a Welsh Gee's Bend?

This quilt has a central pinwheel of purple,plus green and red stripes, surrounded by further borders of large triangles and squares. Although a scrap quilt, the quilt has been organised in a fairly symmetrical manner.

Here is the back - paisley red fabrics of two different sorts. The quilting is typically Welsh with chevrons and spirals.

A view of the two fabrics found on the reverse. It would be interesting to know more about Annie Davies. Generally, Welsh quilts which were made by professional quilters seldom have any provenance, possibly the family that owned the quilt - it is rare to know the name of the quilter.

Sunday 23 January 2011

New Bells/New Quilt

The ringers of Campsea Ash worked hard to raise money - over £120,000 - to turn their old ring of four bells into a modern ring of six. You might have read in the newspapers last September how four of the bells were stolen whilst they were at the bellhangers' factory in Dorset. Luckily, insurance money ensured that the stolen bells were replaced by new, recast bells.

On Saturday, the Suffolk Guild of Bellringers, which has given a grant towards the cost of the bells, had its official try out. The bells are a pleasant ring, with only a few minor adjustments to be made.

St.John the Baptist Campsea Ash is a country church - Suffolk and Norfolk used to be prosperous farming areas, with many farm workers working the land. Now the need for farm workers is gone, and the villages are a pleasant place to live for commuters.

Ringing rounds whilst Jonathan checks his sound meter... The sallies are gold, black and burgandy coloured, a change from our usual red white and blue.

We then went to Woodbridge. Here is St Mary's,Woodbridge, a much larger and grander church. It has a splendid ring of eight bells in a tall tower.

I have now basted my purple and cream Pilanii Hawaiian quilt. Here is the backing fabric pinned securely wrong side up on the living room carpet - ready for the wool wadding to be placed on top of it.

The ironed top is then centred over the backing fabric and wadding and smoothed out and pinned in place.

Then it was time to get down on hands and knees and put lots of safety pins to hold it all in place while quilting. I had to buy another box of safety pins to have enough as the rest were already in use. You can never have too many safety pins...

Now I am starting to quilt - at 1/2" intervals, using pins and a small ruler to mark the distance. Its pleasant to have both applique and quilting projects to work on.

Here is a small sample I made for a class at Quilters Haven, using two fossil fern fabrics. The weaving technique makes an interesting background for applique motifs.

And another small sample using ombre (graduated) fabrics. The woven fabrics are bonded onto the wadding and quilted in the ditch.

Thursday 20 January 2011

Red and Blue Flannel Quilt

Here is a flannel quilt that I bought using Carol's money as I was keen to have a flannel quilt. As no doubt you have guessed from the famous gate, it was bought from Jen Jones. The size is 216 cm x 167 cm - that is, 85 by 66 inches. These flannel quilts are rare now as few have survived - the woollen cloth is prey to moths. I assiduously use modern moth proofing in my storage room - the smell is not as bad as the old fashioned moth balls that was familiar when I was growing up....

I have traced the patterns on this quilt and the stitching is very neatly and precisely done - the work of a professional quilter. The patterns include wonderful church windows, fans, spirals, twists and a central medallion. the colours are a bright royal blue and a bright red.

A very heavy quilt. It was made about 1880 in the Swansea valleys, probably near Aberdare where a great many quilters lived.
This flannel cloth was formerly a common product of many Welsh mills, but is now, to my knowledge, made only at one factory - the Welsh Wool Museum, the former Cambrian Mills in the village of Dre-fach, Felindre in the Teifi Valley. A part of the Museum of Wales, the mill demonstrates the process from "fleece to fabric".
In 2007, the remote location led to the Museum having the dubious distinction of being Britain's least popular attraction with just over 17,000 visitors. I have not visited and am certainly looking forward to my visit!
You may have seen DeAnne Hartwell's quilts at the Festival of Quilts last summer. DeAnne, who lives near Cardiff,uses woollen fabrics sourced from the Museum in many of her quilts. Jen Jones also buy the fabrics to send to Ethiopia where it is used to make modern flannel quilts in the Welsh style.
A beautiful quilt - it was exhibited at the Quilt Associations summer exhibition in the Minerva Centre in 2009.

Sunday 16 January 2011

More Books on Textiles & Quilts

Here are some more books that I have been reading recently. Christmas is a good time for catching up on reading and also ordering books online that you had been wanting.

Here is the catalog to a recent exhibition at the York Quilt Museum on Red Cross and Bundles for Britain quilts. I have seen one of these quilts locally at one of my WI talks and was able to give the owner a photocopy of the Quilt Treasures pages on Red Cross quilts. Unfortunately, I am too far from York to go to the exhibits of quilts.

Here is another book that I located recently - it documents the Roger Warner collection of textiles at Temple Newsam House near Leeds. Warner was an antique dealer after WWII; he was able to buy many textiles at auction when many stately homes were being broken up after the war. He sold on the most valuable textiles, but kept the rest for his personal collection of household fabrics. These were not considered to be of much interest at that time. He also inherited textiles from his father. The collection falls into three parts: silks, cottons and woollen fabrics. Woollen furnishing fabrics were ubiquitous but are not well known now as few have survived. This book has lovely clear photos (not usual in books on fabrics)with a brief description of each piece.
I waited awhile before buying my hardback copy - the price has now fallen to £20 at the Book Repository - this book accompanied the V & A Quilt exhibition. The photos are superb and the text is interesting - although much is cobbled together from the usual sources, there is much new information on the quilts themselves. Of course the V & A is the premier textile museum in England, so expect blockbuster quilts. Traditional quilts do not get much of a look in - but there are some new photos of the RIB period that I had not seen before. Having had a quick read through, I am settling down for a more careful read.

Here is a book that I have found most helpful -Vintage Fabrics - although the book mostly concerns American textiles, it has descriptions of the many named fabric types and also gives illustrations of the items of clothing or furnishings which they would have been used for. Quite an eye opener and I am now clearer on the many different fabric types. To the rear of the book is a brief section on microscopic analysis of fabric types, which I found useful in examining fabrics and waddings with my microscope.

Finally, the Beamish book on Quilts and Coverlets - a beautiful book and one which I go back to regularly. Good photos and well written text - what more could one ask for.

Yesterday, I was going through my collection of quilts, listing which ones had been blogged about and which ones I had traced onto polythene. I am glad to say that there are still quite a few quilts to show you...

Monday 10 January 2011

A New Year - 2011

Happy New Year! I hope that the coming year will be a good one. I know that for many, this past year has been a struggle. So I hope that 2011 will be a happy and prosperous yearfor everyone.

I had a good holiday period, apart from the four days I spent in bed as part of the UK swine flu epidemic! All recovered, with no after effects.....Sophie and Tom came back to Suffolk for Christmas and I enjoyed hearing all their news.

Tom has been working in an architects' office at Tower Bridge and uses powerful vector drawing programmes - part of his job is turning plans into 3D images. He is going to install an external hard drive for my computer, and also will show me how to use the drawing programme. Not only will I be able to draw patterns, but I will be able to scan in and redraw tracings. I will also be able to scan in photos taken at an angle, and then reorient the plane to horizontal - it sounds good and Tom will teach me to do this - now we just have to arrange a weekend.

I also have plans to look at the Hake papers this spring at the V & A archive in Kensington and I will be able to stay at Sophie's flat while I do this.

I finished the Pilani applique top- here is the centre cut out and ready to applique. I have ironed the top and resewn a few bits that didn't look right...
And here is the wadding that I bought at Quilters Haven yesterday - I will get the backing sewn together and baste the three layers in the next few days - then this quilt can go into the frame.

Also over the holidays I realised that I missed not having some applique on the go so here is the next Hawaiian project - it is called Molokama (a different pattern to the red and white quilt which was Molokama O Na Kaui).

Here is the paper pattern pinned to the extra wide cotton, ready to cut. I could not find my good Gingher scissors! - I obviously put them away in a safe place - so safe that I could not find them - luckily I had a pair of light weight Gingher scissors (given to me long ago by my friend Kay Michalak) and those made a good job of cutting the pattern out.

I have made a start on this quilt top. You can see that although I like the red and white colour combination, here I have used navy and cream fabrics, which I hope will be a good pair. I have been extra careful this time and have also pin basted each "lobe" with a safety pin.

These are the books that I have enjoyed reading over Christmas - the American Museum book has lovely photos, although of course I have the two smaller books that had been published previously.

Today, I ordered some fabric - pink and white Kona cotton - to start work on my Northumberland sawtooth centre diamond quilt. I traced the patterns from the antique top onto polythene over Christmas and can use those to mark the quilt once the top is complete. One of the twist borders is very wonky (it looks as if a cardboard template was used to trace the outline, then the interior lines were added none too carefully) so I may have to redraft this. The free hand scroll and flowers are very attractive.

And finally, here is Monkey enjoying the winter sun. The piano he is sitting on is going to a new home soon, where it will be retuned and played once again (it was the one Sophie used) and I will be able to replace it with bookcases and cupboards for my fabric. December and January are good for making plans!