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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.

Monday 30 May 2011

Allendale Quilt Designs

The Gardiner style is instantly recognisable, but as these quilts were marked by hand, there are no two identical patterns. In her book "Traditional Quilting", Mavis Fitzrandolph says that Gardiner evidently had a good understanding of what would be effective in quilting, and a remarkable talent for design.

These "complicated and elaborate" quilts generally have large central motifs, with much freehand curlicue infill. The centre is rarely confined, but instead "flows" into the central field of square diamonds. Elaborate corner motifs are present, with borders of swags or goosefeathers. Elizabeth Sanderson was said to be able to mark one or two of these tops per day with the help of her assistants, thus thousands must have been produced over the years. Certainly, large numbers of quilts in this style have survived.

Generally, while everyday patchwork and strippy quilts were "hand laid" or marked in the frame at home, more special quilts were sent away for marking. It is therefore supposed by Fitzrandolph and others that most local quilters lost the ability to draw out the more complex patterns, or to turn the corner in a border. Indeed, many of the later wholecloth quilts have more simplified designs and lack the elegance and skill of the earlier, Gardiner-style quilts marked at the turn of the 20th century.

Allendale quilt with swags and central design with flat-iron motifs.

White Allendale quilt with swags and fleur-de-lys motif and elaborate corner design.


  1. I never tire of seeing the soft light and shadow of hand quiting. . .

  2. I agree...and I will never be tired of doing it! :)

  3. I really love the fleur de lis quilt. Being near New Orleans, the design is special. This would be a beautiful quilt to re-create and handquilt. Anyway the pattern may be available still?