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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 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!


  1. Glad to see your recommendation. I pre-ordered my copy in December and am still waiting.

  2. Pre-ordered my book some time ago, from Amazon. Just waiting for it to arrive....can't wait!!

  3. Delighted that this is now available. Have explored the website. My grandfather worked in the Vale of Leven dye works so I have a nice family connection too. Fabulous project.

  4. Thanks for your recommendation. I must have a look at this.