Search This Blog

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 29 April 2011

Royal Wedding - Llwynywermod

Did you watch the Royal Wedding this morning? Wasn't it good fun? I enjoy the pomp and sense of history. And, I enjoyed listening to the bellringing from the Westminster Abbey bells. The bellringers were all invited, and were a highly experienced band. Included was David C Brown from St Peter Mancroft, Norwich - a highly respected ringer with over 4000 peals to his name. The ringers had to go through security at 8.30 this morning, and will not be let out until 4 this afternoon. But they will be ringing a full peal today.

As it is Royal Wedding Day, I thought that I would set out below a piece that I wrote in 2008 on the Prince of Wales' Welsh home,Llwynywermod.
Prince Charles can be considered a collector of Welsh quilts.

In June 2008, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall attended an opening ceremony for their new "environmentally friendly" Welsh country house. Costing 1.2 million pounds, and with 1.8 million spent on renovations, it is located within the Black Mountains National Park at Mddfai near Llandovery. The Llwynywermod Estate contains not only an 18C farmhouse, but a 192 acre organic farm. It is found at the end of a long lane and is set in what was once a mediaeval deerpark. The views of the rolling countryside include the estate's ruined monastery.

It took the Prince's agents three years to find a suitable property. Historic and secluded, with a lovely range of old farm buildings, it will be used as a Welsh base for the Prince's annual visits. The farmhouse had previously been used as a B & B, and had a range of older buildings as well as some 1960's built worker's accommodation. The modern buildings were razed and the former courtyard re-created. A new conference hall has been built to one side, complete with vaulted dining hall. There is also ancillary accommodation for the Princes Trust charity workers. The house will be rented out as holiday accommodation when the Prince is not in residence.

The royal couple were heavily involved in the restoration, being regularly consulted on all details. All the buildings have been renovated using traditional materials, sourced from Wales wherever possible. New oak and slate was installed, using some materials salvaged from the demolished buildings. Local craftsmen and contractors were used for the building and interiors. The rooms are decorated in a simple and tasteful manner. New iron window frames and door furniture accompany traditional Welsh furniture. Welsh textiles and artwork have been hung on lime washed walls. Even the curtains have been woven at the century-old Solva Mill, which also made the floor coverings. Welsh shirting flannel lines the curtains while early 20 C Welsh pottery is used.

Eleven antique Welsh quilts have been hung on the walls. These were purchased from Jen Jones who also supplied a number of Welsh blankets. Pictures of the house interior show a number of striking collectors quilts, mostly flannel and woolen quilts in bright and dark colours, hung from dowels.

Three quilts can be seen in the hall - one is a wool flannel quilt in grey, black and red squares; the second is a single "hired hand" quilt in sombre wool rectangles and the third is another wool flannel quilt with a chequerboard centre of red and balck squares with borders of grey, red and navy wool.

Quilts can be seen on some beds, but these are sturdy modern quilts.

Craig Hamilton, the architect stated that "the project was intended as a celebration of the Welsh vernacular. I think it has been very successfully accomplished. The whole makes for a very very peaceful location. Further information can be found in a recent book, A Royal House in Wales - Llwynywermod by Mark Baker.

The courtyard at Llwynywermod

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall

Interior shot showing the use of traditional textiles and materials.

The new hall, which has several antique quilts hung on its walls.

Wednesday 27 April 2011

White Weardale Quilt

Here is a really lovely quilt made of white or light cream cotton sateen - no provenance but it has an interesting story attached to it! It measures 98 x 80 inches, so is a large quilt. The patterns are really stunning on this one, and the quilting is nicely done with good depth.

Here is the centre medallion - a centre rose with circles of shells and running feathers. It is fairly typical of quilts made in this area.

Around the edges are running feather borders - compare these with the last quilt - the feathers are fairly straight on this one. And the quilter clearly didn't know how to turn a corner - she just ran the feathers right off the edge of the quilt!

Another photo of the medallion and the corner treatment.

The story goes - Christine (who I bought it from) lives in Whitley Bay and often goes to the Tynemouth market, where she bought the quilt from a furniture dealer. He had found it in a large linen chest bought locally - this quilt had been left in one of the drawers. Perhaps it was an unused gift - it looks unused. The quilt was actually being used to wrap around furniture in his van!! It's amazing that it survived in such good condition.

When Christine got the quilt, it was BROWN - only after two hand washes and a trip down to the laundromat did it emerge as a light cream colour.

The postscript is, I came home one day from work to find my son Tom vigorously washing this quilt in the bathtub with soap - he had washed his skiing gloves and set the wet gloves down on my stack of quilts - the black dye had seeped out of the gloves onto the top quilt, this one. Luckily the dye came out and the quilt was none the worse for its further washing. I did note that, when the quilt was wet,you could see that the cotton wadding does have bits of cotton seed in it ( I don't know if this signifies anything - perhaps that it is a bit older??).

This is the same lady that I got my Allendale quilt from - and the paisley panels - I have also just bought another £50 quilt from her, interested to see it when it arrives. I just wish that I lived near a north country market! Christine does say that the supply of quilts is rather erratic - sometimes nothing, then suddenly you find a couple. She usually washes and repairs them before selling them online. Thank goodness there are other people that are interested in old quilts.

By the way, Borderline Quilter has just posted a Durham quilt that lives on the back of her sofa - it is a good example of a Hawick quilt - see her post here: The hearts with the thistles are very distinctive!!

I like this blog - the machine quilting is lovely and well done and the Borders scenery and horseriding is great to read about.

Monday 25 April 2011

Cockfield Quilt - Running Feather

Here is a quilt that was rather difficult to photograph, as it is a white quilt. I bought this quilt three years ago from Sarah Truelock of Norton, Stockton-on-Tees. The quilt had belonged to her mother's family, and had been made in Cockfield, a village in Weardale. The quilt measures 79 x 94 inches so is a large quilt. The pattern is a running feather in a "bellows" (in and out) configuration. This pattern is common - it was striking, easy to mark and covered the fabric well without being too intricate. The templates showed the outline - the quilter just had to add the lines for the feathers -some quilters made the lines straight, but the better quilters drew more curving, naturalistic lines.

You can see that either end has a row of daisies - another well-liked pattern, it covered the fabric well. No attempt to turn a corner here!!

Another view of the running feather pattern - very attractive.

This quilt is unusual in that it has Pauline Adam's "edge"- ie the front and back were seamed together before being set on the frame. Here, it is well done and hardly noticeable, unless you look very carefully for the machined seaming stitches. The edge is machine top stitched.

This quilt was clearly made by a professional quilter, it is very nicely done without being complex, and the stitching is neat and regular. It could be a "club" quilt.

A view of the centre of the feather, with its double line for the feather vein.

And here is the running feather pattern in another quilt, the Rothbury quilt - I did not show this pattern very clearly in that post, so here is another photo. In this version, you can see that there is a "worm" or vein with a twist, in the centre of the feather. A popular pattern like this is bound to have several variations.

Thursday 21 April 2011

Bell blocks are arriving!

Very exciting to have the Bell blocks arriving! I am very pleased with the variety of fabrics and backgrounds, which was what I was hoping for. Many thanks for everyone's help and I am looking forward to receiving more.

Many thanks to Patricia Lloyd, Daphne Pratt, Shirley Blair, Lorraine Shergold,Ros Burton, and Marion Hamilton. I will soon be starting on the central panel, which will be interesting work. I am going to use Ruth McDowell's techniques of piecing from a paper pattern (which I will have to draft first). I gave a talk and show of quilts at Gislingham WI last night, and as usual, everyone liked my pieced flower and vegetable quilts, which use Ruth's patterns.

It is very warm and pleasant here in Suffolk, so we are looking forward to the Easter weekend. It is the AGM of the Suffolk Guild next weekend at Henley. Today's task to parcel up the new Allendale and red and white Hawaiian quilts to go to Malvern. I have never been - but it does have a very good hand quilted and wholecloth section, or so I'm told!

Monday 18 April 2011

Giveaway Results

Here are the results of my little "giveaway". What I did was to assign everyone a number, and then use a random number generator - so they are random although they perhaps don't look that way! Welsh Quilt Book - Artymess. Detroit Times quilt clippings: Kathie of Vintage Fabrics, Heather, and Barbara. Korean silk fabric: Sew primitive, Lesley, Sharon (of Blaine Washington), Indigocarole, and Susan B. I will try to email you in the next day or so, but in the meantime if you see this, it would be nice if you emailed me with your address (my email icon is on my profile page). Many thanks to all those who participated and for your kind remarks!! I am going to show some more antique quilts soon - also the bell blocks have started to arrive! I am so excited about this and will show the ones I have over the next day or so. If you have made yours, please send it soon as I will be getting started on the quilt centre.
Finally, just to show you the progress on the centre of the sawtooth quilt. I find this the best part, as it is all ready and you can just quilt and do not have to fiddle about with marking or other preparation -bliss!

Friday 15 April 2011

Trip to York

On Tuesday, I was up early to drive into Ipswich, park the car, dash across town and then catch the train to York - the purpose, a committee meeting of the British Quilt Study Group. The trains were all OK and by lunchtime I was walking across York towards the Quilt Museum that is also the headquarters of the Quilters Guild. York Minster is one of the most spectacular cathedrals in the UK, but no time to visit! I wanted to get some time to visit the Avril Colby exhibit!
Here's the old guild hall which is now home to the Quilt Museum - I just wish it was better signposted - I knew what I was looking for, and approximately where it was - but only one small sign ( its behind that red car) told me where to enter. I think they need a large banner to tell the tourists that it is there!!

The Colby exhibition was very interesting, and I was able to have a chat with Margaret Nichol, who is the outgoing Treasurer. We were both interested to have a close look at the Colby quilts - exquisite workmanship. Margaret was very amused to see that one small quilt was an assessment piece to allow Colby to participate in a WI needlework programme - hardly a practice piece and again with very fine work. The silk button hole stitching on the broderie perse quilt was especially fine and even, it was hard to believe that it was done by hand.

Then it was off to the Bar Convent for the committee meeting - this is an old convent which is now a museum, tearoom and hotel. Here is the chapel.

There was quite a lot to discuss - the Quilt Studies journal currently being printed, the newsletter -Culcita, the forthcoming seminar at Grenygog in Wales in late October, and the BQSG/Quilters Guild exhibition in 2012. I did not realise that there was so much planning involved in a quilt exhibition, or that the lead in time was so long!

Finally we checked into our rooms and went out for an evening meal. I really enjoyed meeting the other committee members - what a wealth of expertise and experience. The Minster bells were ringing for practice night, what a glorious sound. They are considered one of the best, if not the best, ring of bells in the UK - very rewarding to ring.

Then on Wednesday morning it was back to Ipswich. Here is another cathedral en route - Ely Cathedral, with its famous octagonal towers. No bells here - one of the few cathedrals with no ring of bells.

I have layered up the sawtooth diamond quilt - here it is in the frame. You can see that it is basted with safety pins and that I have started to quilt. I noticed that one small stretch of cloth escaped being marked - will have to trace onto tissue and then transfer the markings to the cloth.

I will hold the draw for the give away on Sunday night and will let you know the results later. Many thanks for all your support during the year.

Saturday 9 April 2011

First Anniversary Give Away

To celebrate one year of blogging about Welsh and Durham quilts - and what a learning curve it has been - I am having a little "give away" for fun. I have one copy of Mary and Clare's "Making Welsh Quilts" - not my signed copy, I'm afraid, just the paperback version---

Plus these duplicate copies of syndicated quilt patterns from 1933. These are from Detroit newspapers, before the Fuller family moved back to Oklahoma--The patterns are Josephs Coat of Many Colours, Lafayettes Orange Peel, and New York Beauty. They would look great in a suitable frame but would have to be kept out of the sunlight as they are so old and the newsprint is not very strong.

I also wanted to give away some vintage fabric - here is some Korean silk. My understanding is that it was part of the American redevelopment work after the Korean War, trying to get a textile industry rebuilt and going, especially silk making - these are salesman's samples and I think date from the 1960's. The silk is good to use in patchwork as long as you resist the temptation to pull at any loose threads!

There are some larger pieces as well. I will try to make up several bundles and give an assortment. The designs and colours are very 60's and do look rather Merimeko in an oriental sort of way, if that makes sense.

To enter, just leave a short comment and I'll put them all in a hat, which I will draw in about a week's time. I'll email the winners - I hope that not too many of you have "no reply" addresses! As I say, it is just for fun.....Pippa

Friday 8 April 2011

One Year On - First Anniversary of "Welsh Quilts"

Well, its one year since I first started blogging! I have a large collection of Welsh and Durham quilts and it was my intention to share them with others - I hope that I have succeeded. The good news is, I still have more quilts to show. I get a lot of pleasure out of quilts and quilting, and I'm hoping that you do too. In my first blog post, I wrote that my sister Carol had died in 1989 of breast cancer, and that I had used a small inheritance to buy antique quilts. Carol was a quilter too and would have enjoyed them. I value these quilts, which were made by women who are now often anonymous. The stock of vintage quilts is not getting any bigger, and I worry that, taken for granted and not appreciated for what they are, they will be used up as old blankets or designer decorator items. My quilts are functional but will no longer be used - I will store them carefully and do as much research as possible. I will look at sewing techniques, the threads, the fabrics and the history of the maker if possible. I've had a good year - I made my second wholecloth - a recreation of an antique Allendale stamped quilt, very tatty, that had come from a house clearance on Tyneside. The new and old Allendale quilts, side by side. I really enjoyed making this quilt. The patterns were lovely.

I was able to publish an article about this process in The Quilter, and I had a stall at the Festival of Quilts, which was a great experience. I met a lot of quilters - and talked so much that I nearly lost my voice!

I have continued to make Hawaiian quilts - like a wholecloth, but applique!

There have been some interesting discoveries - like this Durham top that was sewn by a quilter in Wales--

And that the very worn "Blue Durham Quilt" that I bought for £18 on Ebay was in fact an Indian quilt made in 1922 and shown in plate 47 of English Quilts by Elizabeth Hake.

And I found out that the throw of "1970's origin" that I had bought for £20 was actually Victorian paisley panels - the same pattern as the quilt shown above.

I found this stamped Northumberland top - I sewed a replica and have traced the quilting patterns onto the new top - now to layer, baste and start quilting.
I discovered that some samples I bought may be Rural Industries samples - like this sample made by a Mrs Harhy of Treharris, Wales. These came from Devon, where the WI was particularly active ( the WI was involved in keeping quilting going at that time, the 1930's).

The role of the WI or Women's Institute has been another interest - it encouraged quilting and kept the art going in many areas. Here is a quilt made by a WI group in Sunderland in the 1940's.

I did some preliminary research by taking measurements of several Sanderson star quilts - a small project that could usefully be continued by taking measurements of more quilts. Above, a bronze and green stamped quilt from Barnard Castle, Durham.

I am especially looking forward to being on the committee of the British Quilt Study Group - first meeting, next week in York. Looking forward to my first visit to the Quilt Museum , and the Avril Colby exhibition.

Finally, I am looking forward to this year's Festival of quilts at the NEC in Birmingham, and making the Christchurch Quilt - that will need quite a lot of attention - which I am hoping to share with you. Pippa

I am hoping to have a celebration of my anniversary by having a small give-away - details in the next post.

Monday 4 April 2011

American Red Cross Quilt

Earlier, I talked about Grandmother Marie Fuller's patchwork patterns; among the items was this book - The Priscilla War Work Book - Comforts for Soldiers and Sailors. It cost 25 cents and was published in 1917. Publisher's Note - "The purpose of this book is to provide the home worker with specific information in regard to the making of the many different articles which are needed for the comfort of the men "at the front"....Finished articles are to be sent to a local Red Cross Chapter if possible....keep in close touch to find out for what articles there is the greatest need...Directions....may be followed with the assurance that the finished articles, if well made, will be acceptable". Ah! the insistence on good workmanship! This was not the first instance of using quilts to raise money - quilts were often auctioned or sold in the past for funds. My Hawick quilt was made and sold by a church quilting group for funds to build a new church after the original one burned down. Signature quilts were a well known means of fundraising - Quilt Treasures (Quilters Guild book documenting the UK quilt documentation days 1990 - 1993) shows several quilts with signatures including one made to raise funds during WWI. Many date from the 1890's. Of course the idea of signing or inking quilts had started much earlier, including the well known Album Quilts circa 1850's, made to give to church members who were moving away. But the Red Cross quilts were a high profile effort - and helped to establish the fundraising signature quilt, incorporating as it did the values of volunteer work and community, bravery and the care of the sick and wounded. Here you can see the suggested quilt design - a variation of the simple four patch block. You can double click on this photo to see the detail. It is suggested as an uncomplicated project for small groups of women. Squares or spaces were to be sold, with names inked or embroidered with the name of the contributor. Printed slips provided a receipt to the donor, with the remainder given to a treasurer along with the money collected. With a sliding scale of charges, over $1000 could be raised. Memorial blocks in the centre were the most costly at $25 each, corner blocks $5,with other spaces going for 25 cents. Plain blocks were available to those who did not want their names displayed but who still wanted to donate money.
A pattern was given, although it was suggested that more original ideas could also be used. Materials to be used were white cloth and turkey red cotton. The back of the quilt could contain plain white blocks which could be sold for additional funds. It was suggested that the money raised might be used to buy yarn, "with which to supply knitters who are only too happy to do the work, if the materials can be provided".

A modern version of the pattern is given at this site:

The original pattern called for 6 yd of 90" wide bleached white cotton sheeting, and 6 yd of 27" wide turkey red fabric.

The American Red Cross Museum has a Red Cross quilt signed by, amongst others, President Woodrow Wilson and his wife, Theodore Roosevelt and Sarah Bernhardt. Normally this quilt is able to be viewed online, but at the moment the link is not working.There are WWII vintage knitting patterns available on this page:

Here is another Red Cross Quilt from the IQSG website; it shows a quilt made by the Third Grade Sunday School Class of the First Methodist Church of Lincoln,Nebraska, date given circa 1916. Size is 76 by 66 inches. Pretty good work for third graders, I think they might have had some help!

And here is a modern quilt made to the Woman's Work pattern -no signatures. Find it, with further photos at this site:

This quilt is more heavily quilted than the original, which was very minimally quilted (only a diagonal line of stitching at each corner of the block).

Well - lack of quilting lets me off the hook! but I am interested in how the idea of fundraising and making items for comfort giving is still alive and flourishing today.

Friday 1 April 2011

Bell Quilt Instructions

Just a quick post to say that I have made up the instructions for the bell block - checked them - and sent them off to those of you who emailed me. Many thanks to all those who have offered to help - it is much appreciated. I am really looking forward to seeing them. If anyone else would like a copy, please email me; I had thought of putting it on a separate blog page, but guess it is not a good idea to publicise my home address!! although it would not be difficult to find that out..... Anyhow, please do email for a copy. My blog anniversary is fast approaching, so I had better decide what I want to do! I'll keep you all posted! Pippa