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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 1 September 2014

Vintage Books on Quilting and Textiles

I have recently been buying books on the history of crafts, and also the WI. Many have interesting illustrations as well as text, which will come in useful for my research.

Here is a book which accompanied an exhibition on British crafts in the 20th century, by Tanya Harrod. It covers the periods1916-1939, 1945-1969 and also 1970-1990. A huge, well researched book which will be a valuable resource. Many different crafts are covered,  including textiles. Much more than a coffee table book, with a price to match.

A book on the Welsh wool textiles. Quilts are only briefly mentioned. Some interesting photos...

A book on red dyes -cochineal, madder and murex....wide range of dyes and fabrics from around the world...

Durham County Federation WI booklet....very brief, and came with extra templates....I have many of these templates already, as The Quiltery used many of the exact designs in their packets of quilting designs, apparently without permission, or perhaps the templates were not covered by copyright?

I have seen this book for many years, but it was not of interest to me; published in 1985 it concentrates on english paper piecing, American patchwork and applique. This seemed very old fashioned at the time and I was ready to get on with newer it is of historical interest. Some traditional handquilting designs are shown but the American influence in quilt design and technique is clearly evident by this time.

A NWFI publication from 1979, this has a section on patchwork and quilting, which concentrates on piecing over papers. Hand quilting is covered in 6 pages, and illustrated with perhaps the worst example of quilting that I have seen in a long time! Very representative of post WWII quilting....

More WI leaflets...I wasn't sure if linen quilting would refer to the fabric or to bedclothes/sheeting, but it seems to be quilting using linen cloth. Covers "flat quilting" (no padding), corded quilting and padded quilting. Published 1964, price one shilling (5 pence). In this bundle were also leaflets on canvas work,
Eiderdowns using sheepswool and terylene, and how to make soft lampshades.

Anf finally, a book on WI textiles...the result of a survey on textiles from the various groups around the UK. mostly banners, tablecloths and other textiles used at WI meetings, but does include some quilts. The WI was instrumental in keeping quilting going after WW2. 


  1. What interesting additions to your library. Recently I went to a talk by the curator of the WI textiles at Denman. There were many examples of their collection on show, banners, embroidery, lots of smocking etc. I blogged about it at

  2. As an uninformed American, I have to ask...what is WI? Is it the Women's Institute? Is it a government or church based organization?
    I always find your blog entries interesting and informative. Where do you see the American influence you mentioned in your comment on the 80's book.

    1. Yes, it is the Womens Institute. as far as I know, it was a separate movement that originated in Canada, and is not a church or government initiative. Although somewhat on the decline
      Yes it is the Womens Institute. As far as I know, it was a separate movement that originated in Canada, and was not a church or government initiative. although somewhat on the decline now, many WIs are still going strong and have their own meeting halls in many villages.

      Re the 80's book, American influence seen in hand piecing, early machine quilting, sampler quikts and adding a separate binding("strip binding"). Seminole and Amish quilts are mentioned, and several American style quilt patterns are offered.