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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 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.


  1. I'm glad it found a good home too, it is very nice. Having the story behind the quilt is special and makes it even more valueable in my eyes.

  2. How lovely to have this story with the quilt - it really makes it so interesting doesn't it? I also have quilts with 'wonky edges' even the Sanderson Star quilt which is otherwise well done, it seems that the makers spent the time on the quilting then did the edges as quickly as possible without too much regard for getting them neat! I expect that if they were club quilts they needed to get the next one started.

  3. I'm touched too. I have a strip quilt hanging on the line as we speak, not a patch on this, A very faded US depression era, most likely was ever so bright at one point.

  4. A beautiful with a touching story. Thank you for sharing! I love strippy quilts and I have made 2 so far... but I want to do more.

  5. Hi Pippa, I amma Dutch quilter and this summer I visite the Welsh quiltcenter from Jen Jones in Wales (uk) and I fall in love.... Such wonderfull quilts.
    After my holiday I reproduce an amazing Wesh quilt I have seen. The quilt I made to remember the exposition is a doll quilt. I wrote stories of my trip and the free pattern of my little welsh quilt on my blog. Please visite my blog.
    I am verry pleased I found your blog. Thank you for the wonderfull stories.
    (sorry for my bad English)
    with love from Holland,

  6. There is nothing better than having a bit of history on an old quilt is there. I try to find stories of old quilts here at the lake and it's always lovely to feel the softness and know the love that went into making these.
    I love the quilting in this. So much work.
    Love your blog by the way too!

  7. Fascinating story and just captured in the nick of time too. Strippys like this remind me that making one is on my bucket list!