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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.

Sunday 23 February 2014

Gt Livermere and Bury St Edmunds

Today's walk was at Gt Livermere, Suffolk, a small village not far from Bury St Edmunds. Mike had agreed to ring a quarter peal of Erin Caters at Bury, so we set off early for a short walk.

The church at Gt Livermere is one that I had not visited before, as it has no bells....but is a charming country church. Note the thatched roof and the tower with a wooden belfry roof.

Inside, a sign commemorates the grave of William Sakings, the King's forkner (falconer). Serving three Kings, this was an important and well paid job.

We walked down to a small reservoir, full of swans, geese and ducks at this time of year. On the far side, in a farmyard, could be seen the ruins of St Peter and St. Paul, Little Livermere. Suffolk and Norfolk were prime farming areas, and before mechanisation, would have been very densely settled, with many more inhabitants than now. This church was abandoned in the early 20th century. Some of its contents are to be seen in other local churches.

Then it was off to Bury St Edmunds, six miles away. The cathedral has a detached bell tower, the Norman Tower. This is considered to be one of the best remaining examples of Norman architecture, similar in age to the Tower of London. It was built by Abbot Anselm between 1120 and 1148.

 Before the Dissolution of the Monasteries during Henry VIII's reign, there was a very prosperous Benedictine Abbey here. housing the shrine of St Edmund.....these houses are very elegant, and have been built in the ruins.

The bells were formerly a ring of 10 by Thomas Osborne, but were recently augmented to 12. A large ringing room with a massive ring beam. The quarter was Erin Caters and was intended as a practice for the Ridgeman trophy, a ten bell ringing contest,to be held later this year.

On Saturday night, we had our annual Pettistree dinner at the Froize Inn, Chillesford near Orford. I now have another item to put beside my cup for Hand Applique - Mary's bellringing plate, an award made annually for contribution/effort to ringing at Pettistree.

Monday 17 February 2014

Brown and Pink Welsh Quilt - Rhayader

Here is a Welsh quilt, which was bought many years ago from a house clearance in Rhayader, midWales. It had been stored and never used, as intended, in a B &B. This quilt is a good example of one made by a local quilter or by a farm wife. The patterns are different to any of my other Welsh quilts, but of course, the variety seen is one of their hallmarks...

The quilt is made in a rather thin, silky artificial fibre. The gold side is in good condition, but the pink side has some patches where there is thinning. The pattern is a bit hard to make out here, but the centre  is hearts forming a flower, surrounded by several straight lines forming a square. The use of several lines, five here, has a nice effect. This is followed by a border of flowers and leaves, then square infill.

Another photo of the centre...rather lumpy, I was wondering why....

The pink side, stitching is a bit easier to see here..the fabric is "shot" ie has a gold cast in some lights. The outer borders are an Interesting use of fans which I had not seen before....

A border of fans with another square motif in the corner...

Another look at that fan design, with a flower in the intersections...

The gold side.....the edges of this quilt are hand sewn. Size is about 80 x 82 inches. 

I had wondered why the quilt looked a bit puckered, especially in the centre. Usually these Welsh quilts have either lambs wool or a single worn blanket inside them. When I held this up to the light, I could see that the filling was a real patchwork of wool offcuts ..some light, some dark, some big some small, and some lightweight and some heavy. No wonder this quilt had shrunk unevenly when it was washed! A quilt that reflects the mend and make do attitude of the day....

Sunday 9 February 2014

Strippy Quilt from Ashington, Northumberland

Here is a strippy quilt from Northumberland, an area that was well known for its quilters. This quilt has the cheerful red strips, but instead of white, these are teamed with a nice apricot color.

The quilt measures 77x 68 inches. June says that this quilt came from clearing her aunts house. The aunt was Ethel Sudlow from Ashington, and Ethel had inherited it from a relative. This quilt is a prime example of what I would call a club quilt. Nicely made, but nothing fancy!

Nonetheless, the quilting patterns are very attractive ...a running feather, a twist, a four petalled design, some hammocks and a flower in a square. The material is cotton sateen.

The quilting is nicely done, and was probably made by a quilter running a quilt club.

The ends are worn, as the ends at the top and bottom receive the most wear. Someone in the past has machine stitched some ribbon along either end. The quilt was finished with two lines of machine stitching.

Monday 3 February 2014

Colouring the Nation

Here is a new book...Colouring the Nation: The Turkey Red Printed Cotton Industry in Scotland 1840-1940 By S Nemadic and S Tuckett. It is published by the National Museums, Scotland, price £17.99.

This book resulted from a two year project to catalogue the museum's collection of some 200 Turkey Red Pattern books - rare survivals which contain some 40,000 samples of the industry's output. The sample books themselves are in a fragile state and thus not available to researchers, so this book is very welcome. 

Turkey Red was a complex process, but produced a red fabric which was bright coloured and did not fade. Although there was a domestic market for the fabric, much of the output was exported, and the cloth had to be carefully tailored to the taste of various  overseas markets. These fabrics of course were not seen in British quilts, so the samples shown are of interest. 

History has tended to ignore the importance of textiles in British history - but Scotland vied with England in Turkey Red cloth printing and production of cotton goods, and employed thousands along the River Clyde and in the Vale of Leven. 

This book has a readable content and is illustrated with some colourful and nicely detailed photos. Books on fabric are few, so it is a delight to have such an attractive addition to my meagre library. The book is available online at or from Amazon or The Book Depository. Highly recommended!