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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 27 March 2011

Christchurch Cathedral New Zealand Commemorative Quilt - Call for Blocks

On the 22nd February, Christchurch New Zealand was struck by an earthquake, causing widespread damage. Christchurch Cathedral's spire collapsed and there was devastating damage to the rest of the Cathedral structure. More information here : Luckily, no bodies were discovered in the rubble. The ring of twelve bells was destroyed, although several of the bells have been recovered, with damaged fittings.

The collapsed spire of the Cathedral.

The recovered bells amongst the rubble of the tower. Hopefully, you can see the shape of these bells and the general colour.

Bellringing is an old tradition, and bellringers are very much a worldwide community. Ringing societies in Australia, North America and the United Kingdom have already promised help. It will undoubtedly take some time to rebuild the tower and restore the bells.

Karen R., a Christchurch bellringer and quilter, wants to make a commemorative "bell" quilt and I suggested that I would be willing to co-ordinate efforts.

I am asking ringers/quilters to make a 6 inch " bell" block that I have designed - it is based on an old pattern called "monument". I am suggesting "bell" colours - mid to dark browns, bronze or slate colours, with a variety of off white/cream/ecru backgrounds. I am asking the makers to sign the block with their name, town and country, or if a ringer with their home tower.

I think this block would look good in repro fabrics, especially the civil war fabrics - and shirtings?? although I don't own many myself.

Here is the block - I have tried to keep to the change ringing bell shape - there is a clapper too, at the bottom. No headstock though.

Here you can see the finished and unfinished blocks. I have signed one of the blocks. The block is 6 1/2 inches unfinished, 6 inches finished size.

I will make a central panel (with Ruth McDowel's techniques) using a suitable photo of Christchurch - possibly the photo of the bells shown above.

For the border, I had envisaged a border based on this free machine quilted leaf and vine pattern, although with bell shapes.

I hope that all blocks can be submitted by the end of May, so that I can complete the quilt in time for the Festival Of Quilts in August. Afterwards, it will be sent to New Zealand. If you wish to participate (and I hope that many of you will) please send me an email (address is on the profile page) and I will send you an attachment with instructions for this block. No matching up intersections of seams - so should be achievable....Many thanks, Pippa


  1. Hello Pippa, I will make you a block. Ros

  2. I am not a quilter but I hope you will blog about this project....v. interesting on many levels

  3. What a wonderful project Pippa and I would love to participate. I am not a ringer but my grandfather was born in Christchurch after which his family moved over to Sydney, Australia, so I feel I have some affinity with the city. Please email the details. Happy stitching!

  4. Wow! As a christchurch resident who has been living through the devastation of a 7.1 magnitude earthquake in Sept last year, followed by two 6.3 magnitude quakes (Feb, June 2011) and literally thousands of aftershocks, I am touched by the kindness and generosity of people around the world who are contributing towards the rebuilding of not only our city but our spirit. Thank you! I look forward to seeing progress on this quilt and to enjoying your blog. Your hand work is breathtaking.