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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.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Red and White Durham Quilt - Crawcrook, Durham

Here is a red and white basket quilt from Crawcrook, Co. Durham.This former mining village is now a part of Gateshead, Tyne and Wear.

This quilt must be the largest in my collection - it is 92 x 98 inches. It was too wide to photograph the whole of it in my lounge - you can see that I had to fold it on the RHS! There are 36 basket blocks - all surrounded by a zigzag border in red.

The border is pieced by hand. In fact, there is no machine stitching to be seen in this quilt. Perhaps the family did not have a sewing machine? Even the backing is hand seamed.

In the following photo, you can see that the basket handles are sewn on with a running stitch, not the usual whip stitch.

As the quilt was difficult to photograph in the lounge, I put the quilt on a double bed - you can see that the quilt almost touches the floor on both sides of the bed. The baskets are oriented in such a way that half face one side of the bed while the rest point in the opposite direction.

The quilt is entirely hand pieced. The fabrics are a turkey red twill and white fabrics, some of which are twill and some of which are a plain weave.

Quilting patterns are simple but varied - a flower or tulip-

Another flower - a braid is also seen -

One thing that was apparent when I put the quilt on the bed was that the four corners of the quilt stuck out-

--which may explain why the corners have all received a lot of wear. The rest of the quilt is in pretty good condition.

The quilt was made by Mary Maud Gardiner (the seller's great grandmother) helped by her mother. Maud lived in the small pit village of Crawcrook, where she lived all her life until her death in 1990 at the age of 97! Her husband Jack was a coal miner until his untimely death at the age of 40. Maud brought up her three sons on her own after her husband's death - Arthur, Joe and Robert. The quilt then went to the seller's grandfather (Robert) - she remembers her grandparents keeping it in their spare room mostly, only using it if it got really cold. It has been well looked after over the years.

If Mary Maud was born in 1893 then the quilt possibly dates from about 1910 - 1915. It is very difficult to date quilts made from plain fabrics and the turkey red fabrics were popular and manufactured over a long period.


  1. What a really super quilt! You have some fantastic pieces in your collection. Your exhibition and study day at QH sound very interesting, look forward to more details and hopefully will be able to come to one or both!

  2. LOVE your red and white basket quilt. Thanks for sharing the pictures. l am having a red and white exhibit next year in my barn, and madly making quilts to hang. Thanks for the inspiration.

  3. This one is really gorgeous, quite modern in its simplicity. The amount of hand work is quite mind blowing. Exhibition and study day sounds very intriguing, will check that out. Thanks for sharing all your lovely quilts

  4. It is such a lovely and lively quilt. I adore the border!!