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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.

Tuesday 27 November 2012

Welsh Patchwork Fan Quilt

Most of my quilts are wholecloth ones, so I was pleased to buy this Welsh quilt which is pieced. It is a fan quilt and although this is a common pattern, this one is made in typically Welsh style.

The predominant fabric is a cheerful gold cotton. This is used in the narrow border and in the fans.The other fabrics used in the fans are a variety of stripes and prints. The quilt dates from the 1930's and measures 168 x 200 cm.

The fans are all handpieced and then the blocks sewn together by machine. While the quilt has some wear to it, is a nice item.

The backing is plain cotton. The binding is unusual for a Welsh quilt, as the backing is brought to the front and then machined down. The quilting follows the fans in arcs, with diagonal lines in the narrow border. Again, not typically Welsh, but the thick wadding and the quilting stitches are as one would expect to see in a Welsh quilt.  

This quilt was bought at auction in Carmarthen and is likely to have come from the Carmarthen area.

Saturday 24 November 2012

Blue and Yellow Welsh Quilt

Here is a very nicely stitched Welsh quilt in royal blue and gold. The quilt came from a midWales farm estate sale in which most of the items dated from the 1920's.

The size of this quilt is 82 x 82 inches. The material is not cotton sateen; it is a fabric with a slight rib which I have seen in one or two of my other quilts (noteably the zany quilt from Aberythswyth) -  I do not know the name of this fabric. At Gawthorpe there was a silk outfit that was termed "silk grosgrain" that looked very similar but of course this fabric is not silk.

The centre is elegant with narrow leaves surrounding some large spirals. All surrounded by diamond infill.

The corners have a four lobed device and there are some simple leaves to be seen. Scales have been used as an infill.

A photo showing the ribbed effect of the fabric. The edge is neatly handsewn.

I especially like this "ram's horn" pattern which is not a common one but which is very elegant.

The corner fans are filled with a leaf or fern (almost looks like a feather?) The quilting is neat and as is usual was probably made by a local quilter or seamstress.  This quilt is in good condition and is not worn. This quilt is from a dealer that I have bought many quilts from. She does not sell as many now - either the supply is drying up or, it is less profitable to sell on that well known auction site??

Thursday 22 November 2012

Lilac and Cream Welsh Quilt

This quilt was sold as a Durham quilt, but is obviously a Welsh quilt. It came from a farmhouse clearance and was bought at auction at East Driffield, Yorkshire. How did a Welsh quilt come to be in Yorkshire? Was there a family connection, or was it a gift? We'll never know....

The colour was described as mauve, but looks more lilac or light purple in colour. The reverse is a cream colour sateen. The size is 72 x 80 inches. The quilt has been used and is worn, but has some nice quilting patterns.

The centre is the usual one of leaves with spirals surrounded by a twist. Fans echo the centre motif.

There are some nicely done leaves, all pointing in the same direction and outlined, with spirals as infill.

Here we can see the cream reverse and hand stitched knife edge.

I like the way in which all areas have been filled in with smaller motifs; note the triangles with spirals and a fern and also the four petalled motif as a filler. All create a rich surface texture.

Monday 19 November 2012

North Country Nightdress Case

Quillters have always made small items either  as gifts, or to sell. And after  WWII, there were quilting classes in which ladies made small items and lap quilts rather than bed quilts.

Here is a nightdress case that I recently bought on Ebay. It is  worked in gold coloured tafetta with a peach inner. It  measures 14 x 12.5 inches and is all hand worked.

The edges are hand stitched which is slightly unusual for north country work and makes me think of a class where "the correct way" was taught.

However, the stitching looks so even and well done that it may just be a gift  made by an expert quilter. It does not look to have been used.

The seller came from the Tyne and Wear area, and says she does not remember where it came from, but most likely an auction.

Thursday 15 November 2012

Patchwork Quilt from Staffordshire

Those of you who follow this blog will know that most of my antique quilts are wholecloth ones - I don't have very  many pieced quilts. So I am pleased to have bought this quilt recently, which I guess you might call a utility frame quilt.

The quilt is 88 x 85 inches and does not appear to have been used at all. It is clean except for a few small marks. The backing is of plain cotton. The binding is simply the front rolled over to the back and hemmed down. The central star is attractive and is sewn over papers, and the rest is entirely hand sewn. As it is unused, the seams are still tight but if you prod with a finger you can see this.

The seller told me "I saved it from the bonfire when my grandmother died in the early 80's." The seller was from Wales so I thought perhaps it was a Welsh quilt, but not so...."she was a Miss Wilton from a wealthy Newcastle Under Lyme family who married a Cheshire farmer and came to live on a large farm near Nantwich."

The quilt has no wadding and the quilting is a simple grid. I am not very good at dating fabrics - but there are quite a few types here to look at. This is a roller print in a tiny pattern.
There are a good number of stripes...

 ..and some half mourning prints in dull purple....

..and you can see a double pink here. A type of Lane's net pattern...there are also some brown fabrics but no more modern bright colours. No turkey red, for example and only a few small areas of green. There is one simple shirting. Many of the patches are pieced, what I guess the Americans call "poverty patches". Many of the fabrics appear more than once, so not a sample book.

If the fabrics look like Laura Ashley fabrics, there is a reason for this. Laura Ashley had a collection of old quilts and "borrowed" her designs from the antique fabrics.
I will have to do some more research but the fabrics suggest 1860 to 1880? Would anyone else like to venture an opinion??

More quilts to follow, I have gotten behind on these! I am giving a talk on "My Quilts" this Friday evening, so I had better select the ones to take next. Andrea, I haven't forgotten your question on these talks and will try to write about these soon.

Monday 12 November 2012

Towneley Hall, Burnley -Seminar 2012, BQSG

This year's BQSG seminar was held on the 20 and 21st of October, and proved to be interesting and enjoyable. Townley Hall was ideal as a venue - a nice lecture hall with ranked seating, and a Museum/stately house to explore during the breaks. The meals were provided by an outside caterer in the Servants Hall. The house has some wonderful  priests' vestments on display - the family was a Catholic one and saved these from destruction during the Dissolution. There was also a "priest hide" to be seen.

The papers presented were:

Chris Burgess - West Kent Textiles in Wills, Inventories and Probate 1550-1650.

Celia Eddy - The Ogier Wedding Quilt - North American Influence in British Quilts from the Mid Nineteenth to early Twentieth Century.

Ann Gibson - Patchwork - A Literary Tale  (Patchwork in childrens' books)

Anne Jeater - A Tyneside Signature Quilt - A Passport to a Primitive Methodist Community in the 1890's?

Lynne Setterington - Signature Quilts Old and New

Laurel Horton and Erin Beeston - Boltons Cotton Counterpanes - Handweaving in the Industrial Age

The Signature Quilt that Anne Jeater was speaking about belongs to the Quilters Guild, and we were lucky enough to be able to see the quilt. A large portrait of Queen Victoria is found in the centre of the quilt.

There are signatures, many in family groups. This quilt was used for fund raising, and each signature was accompanied by a small donation. Primitive Methodism was an offshoot of Wesleyan Methodism. While the Wesleyans were more middle and upper class, Primitive Methodists were poor working people, so the donations were unlikely to have been more than a few pence.

The quilt came from Tyneside, so it nicely quilted in North Country motifs.

Anne was able to go to the Primitive Methodist archives, and found a note in the meeting minutes to the effect that the proceeds had been used to buy a new carpet and curtains. By measuring the area that had been carpeted, and using approximate carpet prices of the era, she was able to arrive at a figure for the earnings of the signature quilt. I shall now have to go and look at my quilt more carefully - of course my quilt is Wesleyan, not Primitive, Methodist. I don't know if my quilt was used as a fundraiser.

I shall also push ahead this year with my Sanderson Star paper and hope to finish it for next year. Our exhibition at York (Quilt Museum) is next Autumn and we are devoting a lot of energy as a group to the exhibition and the seminar which will also be in York. This is the time to use some of the reserves that have accumulated and to produce a small but scholarly exhibition catalog.

Monday 5 November 2012

Bellringing Outing to Norfolk

On Saturday we went on the South East District's bellringing outing, organised by Tom Scase of Debenham. It was well attended, with some new faces from Debenham and Otley.

Our first port of call was East Harling, a church that does not have a regular band of bellringers. Although the tower captain here has taught countless learners over the years, the drop out rate is high - perhaps more difficult than most people imagine? and also, many other activities vying for peoples' time these days. Bellringers are afraid that their enjoyable hobby is "on the way out".

A large and impressive church - all ready for a wedding later in the day. There were pots of cyclamens plus two gigantic flower arrangements at the front of the church.

 Our bellringers took full advantage of a coffee morning with cakes for sale in the church.

Another church we visited was Quidenham, which has a round tower. These round towers are a Norfolk speciality, although you do find a few in Suffolk.

The churches all seem to have healthy populations of bats, as their dry droppings are everywhere to be seen. This was a cute cloth bat hanging in one of the church windows. Some of the churches have sonic bat repellents, but as bats are protected by law, they must not be directly harmed. And they do good by catching countless insects.

Of course we had lunch in a pub, the Red Lion at Kenninghall. Only in Norfolk - a tractor parked outside the pub!!

I will  be talking about the papers presented at the BQSG seminar in the next post.