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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.

Thursday 2 June 2011

Light Blue Allendale Quilt

In spring 2009, I bought an old North Country quilt that was in very poor condition. The quilt had been purchased at Tyneside Market after a house clearance - the quilt was very faded and grubby although not smelly or damp. It was as if it had been left in a shed or loft for a long time. It had stains and some paint on it, and an area where the wadding had entirely disappeared.

The centre of the quilt

My first action was to wash the quilt in a tub with some Synthrapol detergent, and clean tepid water. Several tubfuls of dirty water later, the quilt was much cleaner and could be carefully spun and then dried. Although it was still rather stained, one could see that it was very nicely quilted. Over the years, the quilt had faded to a pale blue, but by looking in the seams one could see that it had once been a mid blue colour. The quilting patterns were very attractive and it was apparent that the designs had bee professionally "stamped" or drawn out, although no markings remained after years of use and washing.

I found a very similar quilt illustrated in the Beamish Museum's book Quilts and Coverlets, which had been stamped in 1910. The patterns on my quilt were not identical, but as quilt designs were largely drawn freehand, few are exactly the same.

I decided to trace the quilt patterns onto polythene sheeting using a permanent marker. The design was roughly rectangular with swags, roses, feathers, ferns, spirals and elaborate pomegranate-type designs, The centre treatment was especially pleasing. The pierced ferns are very characteristic of Allendale quilts, as are the border swags.

The corner treatment - note the swags with roses at the junctions and also in the corner. In the centre of the corner is a fleur de lys design with much freehand scrolling. Note the hand-drawn feathers underneath the swags - very characteristic of Allendale quilts. The background grid is neatly drawn , 3/4 inch squares on point; again this was difficult for most home quilters to do but was carefully and neatly done by the apprentices in the Allendale workshops.

I later decided to make a new quilt - more in the next post!


  1. What a beautiful old quilt. I look forward to seeing your new quilt.

  2. Dear Pippa. So happy to find your blog. Ray Finch is my Tower Captain here at East Harling in Norfolk. He told me about your bell pattern quilt for Wellington. Great stuff.
    Best Wishes
    Jo Ludbrook