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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.

Saturday 30 July 2011

Thinking Ahead

Now that the two quilts have gone off, I have been thinking about projects for the coming year.

Molokama has come out of its storage bag - its about 1/2 finished (applique). You can see how crumpled it looks!

I have also put Pilani back in the frame and will resume quilting on this.

I would also like to start on another wholecloth - a Welsh one this time. The program Inkscape has been loaded onto my old computer and I am going to start preparing some patterns with that. I can use my light table to trace the patterns onto the cloth - not how the old time quilters did it (they drew with chalk in the frame) but it works for me.

I have also been thinking about making a frame quilt. I have very little patchwork in my collection of old quilts and I think a frame quilt is out of my league money-wise - so perhaps I will just have to make one. The V & A was an inspiration of course.

This quilt looks very jolly and colourful...

and this quilt had some beautiful Welsh quilting on it - the light was very subdued so hard to see....

So with that in mind, I am going to start buying a few repro fabrics - here is a start - Maison de Garance squares. I am also going to look out for "Lately Arrived from London". Not overly impressed with the quality of the cloth - sigh....does anyone have any favorite repro lines that they could suggest to me?

Finally, I did some baking yesterday - this is a coffee cake from a blog that I follow, Mennonite Girls Can Cook at . As you know, my great grandmother Maria Dalke was a Mennonite and this type of food was what I grew up with (although nothing so fancy!) so I enjoy this blog.
This coffeecake got taken into one of my jobs in Ipswich where it didn't last very long....

Mike and I are off to Northamptonshire for the weekend for some walking. I will set out soon and hope that the traffic, especially the bottleneck around Cambridge, isn't too bad.

Tuesday 26 July 2011

Quilts Sent Off!!

The two quilts were sent off today on 48 hour post - they had to arrive by Friday so I thought I'd better play it safe. With so much work on the quilts to get them ready, I was glad to see the back of them - I always get that "fed up" feeling...

Safely packed - the quilts had to be "defurred". Although I keep the quilts under a sheet while in the frame, inevitably there are a lot of cat hairs and fibres on them - a few pieces of sticky tape really help to clean them up and look sharp.

The bell quilt had been stitched in the ditch for the bell blocks...using invisible thread....

You stitch on the low side of the seam, as near as possible to the seam line - if the seam allowance changes sides, you sometimes have to change slightly...

My template for the machine quilted border - does anyone recognise the cover of Dove? It was just the right size to make a template from...
I find the Karismacolor by Berol artists pencils the best for marking as long as you keep them sharp - they come in all sorts of colours, light and dark, and go on easily and are very distinct.

The Bell motif was connected with a ribbon and curving tendrils which are the most fun part to do....

The bells were placed one way and then the other, rather like a cross stitch border....

I now have 100 followers - many thanks to you all! I also found out a few days ago that I am the British Patchwork and Quilting Magazine's "Blog of the Month" for September - more information when I see what was said about me...I trust that it is good.....

I am looking forward to the Festival of Quilts in August very much and will be going for all four days - staying at the St Johns Hotel in Solihull with the Quilters Haven lot...I will be doing duties at the BQSG table for Saturday and Sunday but haven't got anything else planned -so am "up" for meeting up with quilters if they are attending too- if I am not to be found at the BQSG table, give me a ring on my mobile - number at BQSG or Karin Hellaby/Quilters Haven stall in quilting in action...hope to see you there.....

Thursday 21 July 2011

Yellow Weardale Quilt

Here is a yellow Weardale quilt which I bought as it was similar to one of my other quilts shown in an earlier post (thanks to Liz N for pointing it out to me).See my post of April 27th 2011 "White Weardale Quilt" to compare. The quilting designs are similar but not exactly the same on the two quilts.

In the centre of the quilt is a round medallion with a central star surrounded by twists and semicircular motifs. The whole surrounded by a feather wreath. This is very similar to the white quilt.

Another photo of the centre of the quilt. The stitching is neat and the crosshatching very well done. The top is a golden yellow cotton sateen.

The borders are running feathers in bellows pattern with stars in a circle and daisies.

On this quilt, the edges on two ends are neatly turned under, presumably as they were becoming worn.

Here the yellow quilt is compared with the white quilt - you can see that the borders are similar but not the same. In the white quilt the feathers are much wider and also larger in size.

The white quilt had had a hard life (being used to wrap furniture in a moving van) yet because it had been little used and perhaps because the fabric was of a better quality, it is still in very good condition. In the yellow quilt, the fabric is worn and the edges frayed a bit. This is especially evident on the back of the quilt. Colourful printed fabric has now faded badly, and the back shows a lot of wear. Surely a lesser quality or cheaper fabric was used on the back and has not stood the test of time very well.

The fabric is very rubbed - unlike the front which is generally in good condition. I wish we could still buy the old fashioned cotton sateen! Unfortunately it was discontinued with the advent of WWII as it was very labour intensive to make.

This yellow Weardale is a large quilt - it is 80 x 92 inches in size. The age is about 1900. Wadding is a medium weight cotton. This was a family quilt and came from the Rowlands Gill area of Durham. This is a village between Consett and Newcastle on the River Derwent.

Monday 18 July 2011

Two Quilts - Nearly Finished

Well the two quilts are very nearly ready - just the last touches to make - I guess I'm not the only one to be doing that this week! They have to be posted off next week to arrive by the 29th.

Here is the large sawtooth diamond. It is a large quilt at over 90 inches square. There is just a last check to make for unquilted areas (I know there are a few left) and then to "defur" it, pack it and send it off.

Here is my "helper" Snowy - sitting on top of the sewing machine where I will have to shoo her off.

And here is the bell quilt. I had tried to make a central panel using the photo of the bells amongst the ruins. I enlarged the photo several times - pieces were still very small!and the colours were very dark ... and the bells didn't stand out too well - the harder I worked, the worse it looked with a deadline looming I went over to "Plan B", a simpler centre where there was a circle of bell blocks. Of course the block made by Sue Spiegel had to go into the centre - she is the Cathedral artist in residence who had to be extricated, wounded, through a window of the collapsed cathedral. I think this centre looks good. The rest of the blocks were placed fairly randomly as in a scrap quilt.

This quilt is good proof that there is no such thing as a standard 1/4 inch seam allowance. Fortunately the blocks were not difficult to sew together as I had used my sandboard to mark the 6 inch seam line on the reverse of each block, having folded them in half first. I sewed them into blocks of nine -leaving some extra blocks to go along the bottom.

The finished top before the extra blocks and borders were attached. At the moment I am busy machine quilting the borders. More photos to follow once that is finished! This quilt will have a binding!!

Fianally, the bunch of beautiful flowers that Mike gave me for my birthday. There are roses plus some lovely Protea flowers from South Africa.

On Saturday I taught hand quilting at Quilters Haven in the morning - then we rang quarter peals on the bells at Wenhaston and Reydon. You could hear the Latitude music festival thumping along in the background - not a good year as there have been heavy downpours all weekend! To finish we all went to Southwold Pier and the others (not me - wimp) went swimming in the sea before having fish and chips. We admired the view of rain clouds departing and a beautiful sunset. A nice day.

Friday 15 July 2011

15th July

Today is my birthday!! It is hard to believe that I am 55...I am glad to be living in such a beautiful area with people I love. And of course, I still very much enjoy the bellringing and quilting!!

Here is the catalog that I received yesterday - Jen Jones' exhibition Oh That Summer Would Last cost £5 plus P & P and has some lovely photos. Jen's husband takes the photos and they show the quilting nicely. There are 11 double page spreads of quilts, and another dozen are shown as thumbnails. A good reference for later. Looking forward to seeing the forthcoming DVDs of the previous two exhibitions, which focused on Welsh flannel quilts and red paisley quilts.

The new Jen Jones catalog...

One of the quilts that appears in the show at the Jen Jones Quilt Centre in Lampeter, Wales.

I have nearly finished the pink and white quilt and am going to start machine quilting the bell quilt - more photos of those in the next few days.

Wednesday 13 July 2011

How to Sew a Traditional or Knife Edge

Apologies for not posting last week - but my computer was "ill" and had to go off to Bill, the PC Doctor in Felixstowe, where it was tidied up generally. Much got put onto the external hard drive that my son Tom bought me - and Bill also loaded a graphics programme. Once the two quilts are finished I should have fun with that.

I recently bought Havig's Classic English Medallion Style Quilts. Something bothered me - it took a while to realise what it was - all the quilts in the book had Bindings. Now if you have looked at the antique quilts on this blog you will know that British quilts nearly always have a knife edge. No where in that book is any information on the traditional knife edge. The quilts just don't look right to my eye - the binding immediately marks them out as not British.

So here are some photos of how to make the knife edge - not difficult, but very neat looking - and- no extra fabric is needed.

My whole cloth quilts are carefully pre-marked - and usually have a line around the edge of the quilt. First, sew along this line - being careful to turn the corner neatly. Use your walking foot.

Next, trim off extra fabric and wadding - I trimmed it down to an inch beyond the sewn line - 1/4" fabric turn under leaving a 3/4" edge. Use your rotary ruler and take your time. Measure twice and cut once....

Next, I bent the fabric back and trimmed the extra wadding away with scissors- here, about 1/4". You don't have to be too careful about this as any extra can be pushed in during the next stage. But do be careful not to cut into the front or back of the quilt.

Then, using the ruler again, I turned under 1/4" of the top fabric to leave an edge of 3/4" - pin in place carefully.

Turn to the back and using the same pin turn under the back to match the front and pin again.

Judging from my antique quilts this next step is not entirely necessary, but it does make a nice edge - using a whip stitch neatly sew back and front together. Take special care at the corners to make a neat job.

Again this step is not de rigeur - many of my quilts have only one line of machine stitching. However, with my first wholecloth quilt one of the FOQ judges said that the edge was "too puffy" so since then I have always added a second or even third line of stitching. This makes the edge neat looking and firm. Darn in any thread tails.

The finished edge to the quilt - a traditional knife or butt edge.

Friday 1 July 2011

Bigger Photos - I hope...

Collector quilt 7473 at Jen Jones - larger photos I hope!! See previous post for the details of this beautiful quilt. Now gone to a new owner...

The centre of the quilt..

Whole quilt, on Jen's famous fence...

The large leaves in the border - have seen this motif before, will have to look in the books to see where...

Fantastic Quilt from Jen Jones

Here is a wonderful quilt from Jen Jones that I have been allowed to share with you. Before you get too excited, it has been SOLD - what a wonderful quilt for the new owner to enjoy, worth every penny of the £1200 it cost!

In the border, wonderful large leaves. The centre features an amazing "spider's web" which is echoed in the borders.

One side of the quilt is white while the other is pink. Seen here are the centre, large flowing leaves spirals and flowers. Expertly stitched in Cardigan about 1890.

The pink side - a large quilt, it measures 219 x 216 cm or 7ft 2 x 7ft 1.

I am also interested to see that Jen is selling a catalogue of her current exhibition "Oh that Summer would Last Forever". The cost is £5 plus post and packing, in the UK this would be £6.75, I am sending my cheque off now! Go to Jens website and click on exhibitions.

I am also interested to hear that DVDs of the first two exhibitions, Heartland and Unsung, are in the pipeline. These will show good detail and details will be posted on the website once they're ready.

The British Quilt Study Group is having a weekend at Gregynog near Newtown, Powys in Wales this October 21-23 where we will be able to hear Jen talk and also go to Lampeter to see the exhibition. Doreen will also be there from the Quilt Association in Llanidloes. A very promising weekend. More details on joining and the seminar can be found on the BQSG website or in the recent issue of Culcita.