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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.

Monday 24 June 2013

Walk - Woodbridge Riverside

Yesterday was a rather stormy day, so we did not take our usual Sunday walk, but did take a short walk by the riverside between showers.....

I have been dithering about upgrading my telephone...I don't use it all that much, but wanted to have a camera attached and I took the plunge and traded the trusty old Nokia for a new I was experimenting with the Iphone camera. The quality is a bit different, so I will still use the reliable Sony camera where possible!

A rather stormy vista of Woodbridge, with the Tide Mill visible as the white building in the centre. The River Deben is in the foreground. Boating is very popular all along the east coast....

You can see that it was low tide, the boats usually have flat bottoms or have special keel fins to keep them from toppling over..others are moored further out in the river.

 Experimenting with the zoom lens - the farmhouse on the hill is Mrs Pretty's farmhouse....she owned the land at Sutton Hoo, where the ship burial is and the property is now owned by the National Trust.
Mike and I went for a quarter peal at Rendham on Friday evening - the quarter was miscalled so came to an early end - Mike and I decided to check out the reopened Sweffling White Horse nearby - it is an old fashioned pub but with "glamping " ie glamorous camping. There are a number of yurts in the back garden which were filled with holiday makers. One of the neighbors was giving pony and trap rides to the campers at very reasonable rates. It seemed a pleasant way to explore the surrounding countryside.

My daughter Sophie is now in the country, back from Singapore to attend a wedding, so I'll be seeing her tomorrow. I also plan to go to London with her for a day, must research what exhibitions are on at the  moment!

Thursday 20 June 2013

Pillow with Backstitching

Here is another small vintage item, a cushion that is quilted with a backstitch.

The colour is a golden beige colour, which did not photograph very well.....The item was probably made for a class.....and never made up or used, just put away. The design is an oblong feather wreath with a scalloped border.
The stitching is very neat, and you can see how time consuming this method is.....
the basting threads are still in place..

Close-up of the stitching...

...there is no backing as this was intended as a cushion cover - you can see that the wadding is a fine wool, called domette...

This item came from a house clearance and no information was available...probably another example of the work done in the popular sewing classes held after the war, when small items were made for use around the house.

Friday 7 June 2013

Welsh Quilt Exhibition at Abbotts Hall

Yesterday I went to The Museum of East Anglian Life, for the preview of the Welsh Quilt Exhibition, "Quilts: Textile Treasures from Wales". Mike and I drove over from Woodbridge to Stowmarket - unfortunately, we arrived too late to hear the opening speeches. However, we were able to have a good look around at the quilts, and also the amazing building.

Here it is, Abbott's Hall, the big house that has received a major restoration over the past three years, having received a major Lottery grant. It looks lovely now, and the rooms form a nice display area.

There are two rooms full of quilts, all from the Ceridigion Museum in Aberystwyth.
There are explanatory signs about all the quilts - here is a wool quilt, late 19c. It is backed by grey flannel.

Two more Welsh quilts - the orange wholecloth was made by two Thomas sisters of Ystradgynlais around 1880, and donated by their granddaughter from Solihull in England. The quilting pattterns were very nicely done...a brighter orange than is shown in this photo.
This small cot quilt was displayed on a tradtional quilting frame. It is mostly made of flowered cottons and has lovely traditional Welsh quilting patterns. Wool filling.

I was interested to see this pieced star pattern. The colours were sombre....there was a large button or ruched piece of fabric in the centre - was it to hide a less than pefect centre join?

In the other room, the quilt that I would take home - a typically Victorian patchwork frame quilt, made by Lydia Jones of 37 High St, Aberystwyth. Lydia was a professional quilter who made quilts to order.

 A recent acquisition...this has a wide variety of fabrics, including some paisley turkey red fabrics in the corners.

There were a number of smaller items from Suffolk,  including this sewing machine.

I was also able to catch up with Liz N, a fellow BQSG member and antique quilt collector. Liz was with her husband - the two men quickly became bored with the quilts - but the beauty of this museum is that there is so much to see. Mike wandered through the walled garden and spotted a vixen and a very young cub - before listening to taped recordings of Suffolk dialect, including the Blaxhall bellringers. Mr N, being a builder, was more interested in the buildings restoration....

I would love to go back another day, and revisit the full museum. I would especially like to visit the two workers cottages - these were bought in 1970 with the effects of the previous owner in situ - and one can hear tape recordings of her life story.

I will also be giving a talk on my Welsh and Durham quilts on te 18th of July, as well as workshops on Hand quilting and hand applique on the 3rd August.

A very interesting evening....

Monday 3 June 2013

Welsh Quilted Nightdress Case

Here is a small item that I bought online recently - it is a quilted pyjama case from Wales. As you know, after WWII sewing classes were popular, but generally only small items were made. Bed quilts were not considered a desirable or suitable project, instead the emphasis was on making beautiful items for the house.

This nightdress case is from Swansea in South Wales. It is quilted with traditional Welsh fans and a rose. Wool is used as the padding and some ends are making their escape through the fabrics.

 The lining is a light pink and there is a pink braid around the flap.

These cases were a simple patterm - just a single piece of quilting folded over and fixed. You can see that the quilting on the back is squares on point infill.

Pam the seller said "I had two wonderful aunts, one was a spinster who lived with the other and her husband in Swansea. They both belonged to sewing classes and would make all sorts of things including my Welsh costume. They didn't have any children themselves but treated myself and my other cousins as their own, and would try and teach us to sew. I have kept a lot of their things, but now is the time for me to pass them on.

I don't know which aunt made it, they were both such special ladies and they would be delighted to know their work lives on with someone new.

My spinster aunt was Martha Williams, and her sister was Caroline Emmanuel."

You might like to compare the Welsh nightdress case with the North Country one that I featured earlier - othb are typical of their areas and have a different "feel" to them....