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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 29 September 2011

Woodbridge Ladies Circle Quilt 1980

I don't often go for recent quilts, but as this quilt was made by a group that was very local to where I live, I made an exception. It was made as a fundraising effort in 1980.

The quilt is not wadded but has a top and a backing. The design is Grandmothers flower garden and it has been made by oversewing papers (English patchwork technique). It is a large quilt at 96 x 104 inches.

The colours are typically 1980 and I think I know just where the fabrics came from - in Gobbits Yard in Woodbridge, there was a small remnant shop which sold all sorts of fabrics, including similar cottons and furnishing fabric pieces (I moved to the area in 1985).

The centre - it has an air of Averil Colby about it as various floral cottons and plains have been used.

The top is unquilted. The backing is a rather heavy natural coloured cotton.

The quilt was made by the Woodbridge Ladies Circle for the Suffolk Scanner Appeal in 1980. The quilt was evidently raffled and won by someone living in Essex as it came from an auction in Colchester along with other items of needlework.

I have tried to make contact with this group but cannot find out whether it still exists locally and there don't seem to be any contact names. Perhaps I need to go to Ipswich Library and look at the EADT archives. I'll keep on trying to find out more about it, as it is a good example of what the tastes of the day were.

Some of the basting threads are still in place, so the quilt doesn't seem to have been used on a bed.

The rather heavy backing cloth. This quilt was probably a group effort by the club and involved a number of women.

Sunday 25 September 2011

Hollesley Ringing Outing 2011

Last year we went to Norfolk (and ate lunch at a brewery!) but this year the Hollesley ringers went south, towards London into deepest Essex....

We went down the A12 and rang at Galleywood (eight bells) and then at this nice little church,Downham which had six bells... and a dovecot outside the church with real doves......

Then it was onto Basildon and its famous, or should we say infamous, bell tower. It was built as a Millennium project - but it turned out that, although the tower had been built, there was no money to pay for the project, despite what the then vicar had said. The vicar retired in shame and the builders sued for their money, leaving the tower unused. The parishioners had to work very hard to raise the money owed! However, it is now in use...

You can see the ringing room (darkened room with sunshades) and in the uppermost room below the canopy, the ring of eight bells. We had a good practice here...the tower does sway rather alarmingly when the bells ring in certain combinations was 26 C even with several fans going - and I imagine it can get very cold in the winter, judging from the number of heaters seen. I suspect that the best place for bells is in a sturdy church tower or other structure...

Here are two of our ringers - you can see the reinforcement ties.

After lunch, we went to Prittlewell, a lovely ten rehung recently by Whitechapel, and also used as a ringing centre (school).

With the light fading, the last tower was Great Baddow, an easy going eight.

Close to home, Helmingham have just been rehung by Whitechapel - looking forward to a first ring on these bells which used to be a handful to ring properly. The bells were first installed to commemorate the Battle of Waterloo in 1812 - the idea was to rehang them in time for 2012, the 200th anniversary. The bells are now back in and the bellhangers have finished thier work. The dedication service will be in October.

A photo of Mike and me - the discarded bell fittings are behind us at the rear of the church.

Wednesday 21 September 2011

Beamish Strippy Quilt

This is a quilt with a special story. It is a north country strippy quilt dating to the turn of the century, made in turkey red and paisley fabrics. The strips are 7" wide and the quilt measures 82 x 91 inches.

The quilting is a bit crude but this is a good example of the quilts that were to be found in most households. The quilt was sold by a lady called Carol, on behalf of her 96 year old neighbor Peggy, both living at Stanley near Beamish in County Durham.

Here you can see running feather, bellows and a twist pattern.

Also to be seen are daisies and a worm pattern.

The reverse is a paisley fabric in a different colourway.

The edges are very crudely done, even by Durham standards where edges were often an afterthought...

Another very wonky edge - this might be a "club" quilt...

Now Peggy thought that the quilt was made by her grandmother for her mother when she was married. I asked Carol to try and find out more details and received this long email...

"Hello I have some updates on the quilt. The family were called Madden and lived in Beamish. The maiden name of Mrs Madden was Watkins. There were - as far as I can determine - 8 Madden offspring - one of whom was Peggy. It took ages to get to this! When I thought that part was sorted she kept saying there were ten of them including 'poor Peggy' - I can only assume this was an aunt as there surely cannot be two Peggys in the same family. Something dreadful must have happened because in 1919-1920 the whole family were split up - including the baby - whatever it was must have been pretty final because Peggy never really knew her mum and dad. She went to live at No Place - a small mining village about 1 mile away with another branch on the Madden family - she also lived with a family called Morton who had a daughter called Joan - and they lived then at Andrews Houses near Sunniside [RA miners housing - now derelict] - next field to the current Tanfield steam railway. I presume after that she was married because she never (email stops here)

Sorry, cont. I cannot find out much more but in delving into this I have discovered that in some way there is a connection to my family - I never thought along these lines before - I asked my cousin if she knew anything and she told me that another Peggy - a Madden - married my father's brother - so - distant as it may be - but there it is - Peggy has always been around and we love her dearly - it is so sad she is losing her memory - or her marbles as she puts it - and worse she knows it. These snippets of info took lots of laughs and tea and biscuits but it was worth it. I am glad that you asked about the background to the quilt because although the family link is very questionable is it nice to know Peggy is ours properly if you know what I mean. Regards Carol

Another view of the quilting patterns, which follow the strips in the north country tradition. I was very touched by this story and was glad that the quilt had found a good home.

Monday 19 September 2011

Autumn Walk at Worlingworth Suffolk

Mike and I usually try to take a walk on Sundays. Recently we have been using the Ordnance Survey maps to invent our own walks along the many footpaths of the area. Footpaths are protected by law and were the way most people used to get to their place of work in the days prior to modern transport. There are also bridleways, cart tracks and my favourite,"green ways" (old sunken roads).

Yesterdays walk was at Worlingworth, a small village near to Framlingham.

First we had lunch at the Dennington Queen, a pub which does good food. There was a village cricket match going on behind the pub (as someone who did not grow up in this country, I readily admit that I know little about the game and even less as to how it is scored). It was too cool to sit outside on the pleasant patio yesterday.

But we could see Dennington church through the pub windows - pubs and churches are often found side by side! Dennington has a heavy ring of six bells which has recently been rehung so that they are easier to ring.

We started our walk at Worlingworth church. The fields have mostly been ploughed now, ready for the next crop. There were plenty of fluffy white and sometimes dark clouds, but we didn't get any rain, luckily.

The walking was along footpaths and quiet country lanes.

This has been a good year for blackberries.

And apples, pears and plums.

Its good to get out and get some fresh air as well as some exercise. We also occasionally get to see some wildlife - we saw a stoat (or was it a weasel?) but only for an instant. Still, good to see.

Friday 16 September 2011

Turkey Red Panel Quilt

I am very interested in Turkey red paisley fabrics - especially the printed panels that were sometimes used in quilt tops.

Here is one of the fabric panels that I salvaged from a throw that I bought on EBay for very little (the seller didn't think that they were vintage, as they were so colourful!)

Well, here is a Durham quilt that has also been made using preprinted red paisley panels. This quilt is rectangular and measures 78 x 96 inches. It is a rather worn quilt, as it was in regular use by the owners family until I bought it, having been in the family for many years. You can see that the centre is a printed panel, surrounded by more printed borders and plain turkey red fabric.

The quilting in the centre follows the lines of the printed panel - nothing new in what we do today, then...

The edges of the mitred corner has been top stitched using a sewing machine - it was probably easier to do it this way!

The quilting surrounding the central panel is cross hatching, then a twist, then a border design with a square enclosing a four petaled motif.

The reverse is a red paisley print.

The back is very colourful.

Notice that the mitre does not go directly into the corner!!

The quilt is worn and through one hole, you can see that the filling is cotton ( as is usual for north country quilts).

This quilt has had a lot of use in its days, and one end is particularly rubbed.

This quilt was bought from its owners, the Beveridge family who live at Mains Farm House in Ebchester near Consett, County Durham - two sisters who, to the delight of their husbands, were clearing their lofts after the children had flown the nest. The quilt probably dates from the 1900's but as the red fabrics were manufactured for some time it is difficult to tell.

Tuesday 13 September 2011

Green Floral Welsh Wholecloth Quilt

This is a typical Welsh wholecloth - plain pink on one side and a handsome green floral on the other side. It was purchased in North Wales at auction so no history.

The quilt, which dates from the 1900's, measures 70 x 79 inches. The floral side is a bit whiskered and the pink side, though in better condition, is faded in places. Otherwise in good condition, with wool wadding inside

The central medallion has beech leaves surrounded by a twist.

The reverse and the floral side. Patterns seen include a four leaf pattern and lined squares.

The pink side of the quilt. You can see a three leaf design has been used to frame the central medallion.

Detail of the stitching - in the centre of this photo you can see where one line of stitching has come loose.

The edge of the quilt with its hand sewn edge. Can you see how the quilter had to adapt the size of the quilting motif to fit the space? Definitely getting smaller and smaller....

A typical Welsh wholecloth with an attractive print fabric and some nice stitching.

Saturday 10 September 2011

Brown and Pink Paisley Welsh Wholecloth Quilt

Here is a Welsh wholecloth in paisley fabrics. One side is mostly browns, while the other is a matching fabric in pinks.

The whole of the quilt has been quilted with a fan pattern - of course with this pattern (it being directional), you know that the quilt was loaded into the frame at one end (here on the bottom side of the photo) and the quilting proceeded towards the back of the quilt (on the top of this photo). Thus the sides of this photo were the sides of the quilt as it was in the frame.

This quilt was sold as a modern and non vintage item - however when it arrived it was apparent that it was an antique quilt. The fabric has a lovely softness and sheen that modern fabrics cannot reproduce.

Brown versus pink sides of the quilt.

The quilter did not have enough of the brown fabric and had to eke it out with some of the pink paisley fabric along one side.

I bought this quilt for only £15 - I felt guilty once I found out that it was an old quilt and offered to pay the seller more. She emailed back that she had bought it at a boot sale or charity shop for £7 and as it was her first EBay sale, she was satisfied with the amount. I steered her towards some web sites showing a variety of Welsh quilts so that she knew what to look out for in the Swansea area in the future!

This quilt measures 72 x 72 inches and is filled with wool wadding. It is from the Swansea area.

Wednesday 7 September 2011

Small Welsh patchwork quilt

Here is a small patchwork quilt by a known maker. It was made by Margaret Jesse Barnett (nee Jones), who died in 1992 when she was in her 80's. She was born on a farm in the South Wales valleys at Llantrisant. At age 14 she was apprenticed as a seamstress. She later married and they bought a farm at LLantrisant - Rhiwfelin Fach Farm. Margaret sewed by hand and also her trusty Singer treadle sewing machine. This quilt was bought from her granddaughter, Eira Edwards. Margaret was her Nain (North Wales Welsh for Grandmother).

The quilt measures 46 x 65 inches and is a utility quilt. I don't know the date of this quilt. Margaret made other, grander quilts - I was sent a photo of another green and red applique quilt that she made. This quilt seems to be made of all sorts of offcuts and was made for her family to use.

The quilting is an allover crosshatch pattern. Although made of remnants, Margaret has made an attempt to make the patches symmetrical.

The other side of the quilt, another frame pattern.

On this quilt, the binding appears to be a simple turned over binding. Not sure if this is the original binding - it could have been added when the quilt became worn. You can also see that one edge has a sewn binding in green added.

This quilt is very worn and the thinner woven fabrics have shredded. You can see here that there is a worn blanket inside the quilt - very common for Welsh utility quilts.

Most of Margaret's brothers worked in the mines, however one brother, Richard Jones ("Dic Dyffryn") was a carpenter and wheelwright, supposedly the last wheelwright in Wales. He was very pleased to have met the Prince of Wales at a special exhibition held at St Fagan's (Welsh equivalent of Beamish Museum).