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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 11 March 2011

First Purchase - Durham Strippy

Here is the first Durham quilt that I bought on Ebay - in 2006. I was disappointed when it arrived - although colourful, it seemed very scrappy. I had not yet learned to "read" the Ebay descriptions properly, and did not appreciate at that time how important scanning the photos carefully is.

But, luckily, this quilt has grown on me...

Most people think of quilts, especially patchwork and strippy quilts, as being made of scraps - recycled fabrics - however, the typical strippy was made of two lengths of fabric bought especially for the quilt, and not made up of scraps. The strippy format was a convenient one - the fabrics could be made into a cheerful quilt without much wastage. The quilt was simple to seam together on the sewing machine - and the strips meant that the quilting designs were easy to mark, within each strip.

This quilt is an exception to the rule, as it is made of various offcuts - some strips are pieced, and some strips are made up of several very narrow strips. There are a lot of selvages here! Of course, the paisley red strip is a stand out - but there is a floral panel, once very bright, now very faded and almost invisible, on both sides. The quilt would have been much more colourful originally.

The quilting pattern is a bit hard to see - it is an overall pattern (I guess the strips were too small to have the usual quilting patterns). The centre is a large flower-type pattern with very large flat iron type devices. The outer border has fans and a swag and bellows type border.

Here is the border pattern -and a good view of the paisley red with the peacocks ( a clue as to the Indian origin of the paisley pattern?) Can you see how the yellow strip is made from more than one fabric?

Another view of the front - on the left is the faded panel which once must have been very colourful. The yellow strip is made of several pieces of fabric as is the pink one.
While strippy quilts are thought of as utility or everyday quilts, of course in very poor households, they were often the "best" quilt.

Here is the back of the quilt - more subdued colours, but still with the narrow strips seen on the front, and a twin of the faded panel on the front.

The edge of the quilt - you can see that, as with many north country quilts, this has a machine finished edge. You can also see that the strips were sewn by machine.

This quilt has no provenance, but came from a dealer in Morpeth in Northumberland - it measures 84 x 60 inches. The wadding is cotton.


  1. What a sweet little quilt. It seems that within the structure of North Country and Welsh quilting there is still an ability to express the whimsey of the quilter. I wish you knew more about her and if this was a utility quilt or the best she had.

  2. Such an unusual example, and, in it's way, prettier than the more orderly types. I like it's personality!

  3. Love,love, love that peacock fabric...and the others of course.

    A really gorgeous quilt, but yes sometimes we have to wait until they grow on us, but they're the ones we love forever after, a bit like some songs.

    Thanks for sharing,