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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.

Wednesday 31 August 2011

Welsh Quilt with Yellow and Striped Fabrics

Here is a Welsh quilt with yellow fabric on the top and a striped fabric on the reverse. This quilt measures 68 x 92 inches and is therefor a rectangular and not square quilt. The quilter thus had some modifications to make to the quilting design to ensure that it was longer in one direction than the other.

The wholecloth side is a pale lemon colour. The centre has hearts and a flower while the sideborders have leaves and a corner device. There is a diamond infill around the outside.

Along the longer side is this pair of leaves with a heart in the centre. Hearts were a popular motif but the story goes that they were used on wedding quilts. It is hard to tell if this was so, now.

Notice how the quilter has place extra hearts on two sides to make the design longer.

And the shorter side has just a single leaf! You can see the corner device which is a branch with six spirals. Very attractive and lively.

The central area with its flower and four hearts, with infill cross hatching to complete. All the motifs are double outlined, giving a single raised band - a characteristic of Welsh quilts.

The reverse of the quilt in a striped fabric. Can you see that the maker has run out of fabric and pieced the last strip, and not been able to match up the stripes? Welsh quilters were very frugal - this quilter had no more fabric to use.

The whole of the reverse.

Lovely leaves and spirals seen on the reverse of the quilt. Nicely stitched, probably made by a professional quilter. quite a heavy quilt, with a carded wool filling.

The edge of the quilt - a hand sewn edge as is usual with Welsh quilts.

No provenance on this quilt - it was bought for £6o at the Newark textiles fair - failed to sell in a shop for £125 - I bought it for £25 on Ebay. I guess no one liked the muted colours. Once again it was sold as a Durham quilt, but I think everyone can see that this is a Welsh, not a Durham, quilt.

Wednesday 24 August 2011

FOQ More photos 2

More photos from the Festival of Quilts...

I think this is "Fantastic Fossil Fish" a wholecloth quilt, machine quilted by Harriet Watson of Cambridge. The free machine embroidery and quilting was interesting to see, and reminded me of the marine ceramics I saw while in Greece

This was a late entry, and did not have a proper entry in the catalog. It is by Pam Holland, who will be replicating the ENTIRE Bayeaux Tapestry as a sponsored project next year. The workmanship was staggering on these - having seen the originals, I was interested to see these quilts.

More from the quilt by Pam Holland.

An interesting strppy by Judith Caroline Lynch of High Wycombe. It was a red and white strippy, over which Judith had machine written extracts from her son Nic's emails received from him during his gap year abroad, six months during 2004. A commenmorative quilt that had a lot of people reading the rather hair-raising entries...

Elizabethan Jewels by Jane Rollason. Silk dupion in curved log cabin patchowrk, hand painted, hand applique and free motion machine quilting. Very nicely done and invited further inspection of the details.

Detail of the applique and quilting on Jane's quilt.

I think this is a detail of a quilt by Robin Fahy of Drumquin. If I have gotten this wrong, please let me know! Quilted on a longarm machine, hand guided. Cotton Sateen and trapunto. The "Mactavishing" made the feathers really stand out.

A larger portion of the above quilt.

Katab Daisy Chain by Jane Davies of Rugby. Katab (cutwork) work from North West India was the inspiration for this quilt, which used a machine pieced background and hand applique. Design was cut free hand from fabric folded four times. Very colourful.

Monday 22 August 2011

FOQ More Photos 1

More photos from the Festival of Quilts...

I think this is Hare by Linzi Upton, who is an expert long arm quilter.

This quilt looked much better in real life than in a photograph, it is by Ruth Parker and is called "To Feel the Tingle in your Fingers". Bonded applique, machine pieced and quilted, this quilt showed a very clever use of colour. It shows her "Singlive" group's performance

A quilt by Veronika Chambers, London, "Class of '99" a kantha style quilt with hand embroidery- it shows the diversity of ethnicity in the UK.

This was a striking quilt by Bente Kulthorp Andreson of Norway "Dassehra". Hand dyed and commercial fabrics, raw applique, free motion quilted on a domestic machine. Men in Rajasthan wear their saffron turbans at two occasions, weddings and the Dessehra festival.

It was fascinating to look at the detail and how the colour had been built up through the use of the raw edge applique.

This seemingly simple quilt attracted much attention. It was in the two person category, and is Regatta by Bernadette Mayr and Angie Gibbins of Wadebridge. Hand quilted by Angie on a frame. Highly Commended.
I liked the repetition of a single motif in varying colours.

A quilt by Jennifer Mogridge of Bromely, Cross Hatched in Cumbria. Another quilt that saw its beginnings at one of Lilian Hedley's Sedbergh 5 day courses on wholecloths, it took two years to complete. In white cotton, so difficult to photograph.

Quilt by Robyn Fahy of Drumquin, N. Ireland - "Melinda's Zinnia's" - Raw edge applique and then thread play using a variety of threads. Inspired by Melinda Bhula. Again, I liked the detail and colour in this quilt!

Saturday 20 August 2011

Winners at FOQ

Here are just some of the winners at the Festival of Quilts:

" Hot Africa" winner of Pictorial Quilts by Janneke de Vries-Bodzinga. Hand dyed (but not painted) cotton and silk which were free motion quilted. A very large quilt of which this is only one portion. Inspired by a photo taken in Kenya during the dry season. A spectacular quilt, with lovely workmanship.

Best in Show and winning Contemporary Quilt - "Octopussy"again by Janneke de Vries-Bodzing who had a very good show!! Hand dyed cotton and silks with fabulous free machine quilting. A very attractive quilt.

The first prize miniature - Blue Like a Wedgewood by Kumiko Frydll of Texas. Kumiko also made last years best of show but unlike last years quilt, this one is not pieced but entirely machine quilted, with trapunto. The blue background is formed by the blue quilting thread. The thread and quilting stitches were exceedingly fine, making me wonder exactly what needles and thread she used!

Kumiko being interviewed by Bonny McCaffrey. Look out for Bonnie's free vidcasts on her website.

The winning Traditional Quilt - Hearts Desire by Deborah Kemball of London. Hand applique, hand quilting and hand embroidery. Last year, none of the winners in the traditional class were hand sewn - this year the tables were turned. This one is all hand sewn - beautiful colours and beautiful workmanship.

A detail of the quilt,

Winner of the group quilt class - Mere Kats, had everyone in stitches with its references to the "Compare the market" television ad.

Andrea Stracke's strippy quilt - Anglesit. A beautiful strippy with lovely designs and very small quilting stitches. Perhaps Andrea will tell us how she achieves such small stitches? In a soft butter yellow fabric with cream, and very thin wadding.

Detail of Andrea's quilt which won third prize in the Traditional section.

More lovely quilting patterns on Andrea's quilt.

I have more photos to show, just a random selection of quilts that caught my eye at the Festival of Quilts.

Friday 19 August 2011

Group Quilts at FOQ

Here is the winning group quilt at FOQ - Mere Kats. Everyone loved this quilt, which had references to a well known advertising campaign here in the UK, -e.g. Made by a group of eight from Chester.

This quilt constantly had crowds surounding it and was very popular. I enjoyed seeing the group march up to receive their award from Kaffe Fasset ( who didn't do a very good job of the prize giving - why do they go for these "names" when it could have been done so much better by someone else?)

Another interesting group quilt made after the"Quilt of Crosses" by Lucy Boston. Made by the Allington Quilters, Durham from Liberty fabrics using paper piecing. Silk wadding!! Very colourful.

Stree Shaki (Women's Power) hand applique, made by group of seven from Tiverton, Devon - a quilt on Village Life inspired by the Madhubani art style. This is only one portion of the quilt. I liked the blue background and the lively figures.

A quilt by the East Surrey Branch Embroiderers Guild, Reigate Surrey - "Indian Inspiration". Hand dyed background stitched in kantha style with applied elephant motifs, lavishly decorated in hand and machine stitch. Very colourful.

Thursday 18 August 2011

FOQ - Tentmakers of Cairo

The Tentmakers were the centre of attention at the Festival of Quilts. Jenny Bowker from Australia was in charge and gave two talks on the craft.

The tentmakers work very fast, making large applique hangings that were formerly used as awnings at weddings, funerals and other occasions. Considered rather old fashioned by Egyptians and largely replaced by printed fabrics, the pieces are now mainly sold to tourists. Everyone was fascinated to see their working techniques. Surprisingly, there is a base under layer beneath the background fabric that is very coarse although the applique fabrics are of cotton/polycotton. The designs are made on pricked paper and then traced with pen on to the background fabric. The shears were huge, the stitchwork very fast. The applique was not the finest but the result was stunning.

Two tentmakers had flown in from Cairo with works to sell at quite reasonable prices. These sold quickly and all had been sold by the end of the show.

I liked the hangings with birds - especially a large one in shades of green.

Sorry these are blurred - the area was teeming and the lighting not good. This is one of the larger hangings with geometrical patterns.

Another larger hanging with floral patterns. Bonnie MacCaffrey was due to go to Cairo to film the tentmakers in February but had to cancel her ticket in the wake of the disturbances. She was able to film them at the NEC. She posts free Vidcasts on her website - so watch out for her film on this craft when it is posted.

There will also be futher vidcasts taken at the FOQ - but only on subjects that would appeal to her American audience!!

Wednesday 17 August 2011

Coventry Quilt Exhibition

On Saturday, I took the opportunity to make the short drive from the NEC to Coventry to see an exhibition of antique quilts in the Herbert Museum, Coventry. This was quite a straightforward drive.

This is a Jacquard loom for making ribbons. Coventry was at one time the world's largest manufacturer of ribbons. This loom is set up for making five red, white and blue ribbons. There is a large set of punch cards at the top which control the process.

The owners of this private collection of quilts had a stall at FOQ to publicise the exhibition. Of course, I was interested to find out how they had managed to arrange this exhibition at their local museum (the museum at Ipswich has a lovely display room!!) They told me that it had taken five years of effort - plus some personal connections amongst the museum curators! The exhibition runs until October and is well worth seeing. Only a quarter of the collection is on show - a good mix of British and American quilts, some old, some newer. Some are hung on the walls while others are draped over bed forms, much more attractive than laying flat on a board. Of course when I turned up, others in the BQSG had the same idea, so we were able to share ideas.

Unfortunately, no photos allowed of the quilts.

You will not be surprised to hear that the museum has been amazed at the numbers of people viewing this exhibition - the usual story! I don't think museum staff fully realise how much the general public connect with textiles and quilts.

The new wing of the Herbert Museum - directly across from Coventry Cathedral and next door to Coventry University. Entry to the museum is free.

The Cathedral - bombed during the Second World War, the ruins still stand, with a modern and very moving new cathedral built next door. Well worth seeing.

As I left I could hear the tenor bell being rung up! I hurried over to see if it was a visiting band and if I could get a "grab". Unfortunately, it was just the tower captain adjusting the height of the ropes.....

I had been worrying about how to manage the return of my Welsh quilts from Jane Rollason in France - how would I get the three bags of heavy quilts plus the two new quilts back up the hill to the car park? A builders merchant provided the answer - a small handcart or trolley. It worked extremely well on Sunday afternoon.

Tuesday 16 August 2011

What I bought at FOQ....

Well, of course I had to buy various things at the Festival of Quilts - where else can you find such an assortment of traders?

I looked hard for repro fabric but there was not very much to be seen. Of course I wanted to try the chintz from Den Haan - rather expensive so I just bought a yellow print and a central tree of life panel to try it out - also found a small packet of "Lately Arrived from London" which will be released in October.

I didn't buy any traditional books but did buy Mary Jenkins' Little Welsh Quilts ebook, as well as Jenny Barlow's set of two DVDs on quilting and quilt patterns. I will let you know more when I have had leisure time to look at these.

Some books and magazines as well as Rosemary Muntus' book on computer graphic design - I think the user manual will be more helpful but just thought there might be some useful tips in there...

The American Museum were displaying several of their lovely antique quilts including the lovely red and white Hawaiian quilt that was used for the publicity for FOQ....a very interesting and unusual wool quilt was also shown Amish quilt - A white work quilt -a Lone Star - in all, about eight or ten quilts -no photos allowed there...

More thread to replace that used on the sawtooth quilt - some thumb thimbles - a new pair of scissors. I have misplaced my Ginghers and cannot find them - I fully expect them to pop up, now that I have replaced them. I also measured Jenny Barlow's Sanderson Star quilt - had to buy a measuring tape to do so....