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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.

Wednesday 28 December 2016

North Country Cot Quilt in Blue and White

Here is a North Country cot quilt with a variety of quilting patterns. This little quilt is in reasonably good shape, unlike many cot quilts which have seen hard use.

The fabrics are a fine cotton in a faded blue/green and white reverse. The size is 26 x 38" or about the width of the fabric that was common in those days. The seller, from York, dated this as late 1800's but of course it is hard to tell. The edges are hand sewn.

The quilting patterns are interesting - it is somewhat difficult to design a cot quilt, as not much space is available. In the centre is a rose, surrounded by paired curved feathers, with a nice centre vein. There are corner feathers spouting from pots. There are also smaller leaves at the midpoints. The border is a north country twist with corner roses. The quilting is fine with some close quilting, especially on the feathers.

I am currently tracing the designs from this little quilt. I was asked to write up a hand quilting project - given the short amount of time available, it was not possible to make a new item, so  I suggested this little quilt. I just hope that all the writing and other work is completed by the deadline!

Friday 23 December 2016

Shawl Exhibition - Past Glories, Present Inspirations

In October, I was able to go to Norwich to see an exhibition of shawls. Norwich was a centre of shawl weaving, and the Norwich Museum has an excellent collection. However, the shawls in this exhibition were all loaned by members of the Norwich Costume and Textiles Association. All were from private collections and not often seen in public.

Norwich Cathedral has a lovely precinct...there was a wedding taking place in a nearby chapel...

The lovely bells for bellringing, however..

The exhibition was taking place in the Hostry. While I looked at the exhibition, Mike paid £5 to enter the Cathedral to take photos.

Photos not allowed......but I did sneak these two photos.....mannequins with shawls draped, to get a idea how they would have been worn. The earliest shawls were very expensive fashion items, and only affordable to the well-off. As weaving technology improved, patterns and styles evolved. Eventually, in the 1870's, shawls fell out of favour...they did not drape well over bustles and cheap printed cotton shawls made shawls commonplace, hence loosing their former exclusivity.

A paisley shawl.....once, over 50 manufacturers of shawls were to be found in Norwich.

I was able to buy a catalogue....and also a little book on Norwich shawls.

Here are two other books on shawls, one published by the Norwich museum service, the other documenting an American collection of shawls.

I shall have to find out more about shawls....

Friday 16 December 2016

Yellow and White Sanderson Star Quilt

,Here is another Sanderson Star quilt - this time in yellow and white cotton sateen. It measures 80 x 86" and came from another quilt historian's collection. The quilt was bought at one of Christie's textile auctions some years ago, where there were great stacks of quilts. These sales of textiles there have now been discontinued. So, as you can guess, this quilt has no provenance, except that it is a true North Country quilt.

The quilt has been well used and the sateen has a lovely softness. You will note that the colours are reversed....the star is white and the background is yellow. Pauline Adams has a theory that if you cut out two layers of cloth (one light and one dark) with all the patchwork pieces of the centre star, that once you swapped them about, you would have the makings of two quilts with very little wastage and less trouble - with one light star on a darker background and the other a dark star on a light background. Whether this actually happened, we do not know but it seems at least a possibility!

The centre of the star - Rose in a Ring and ferns...the corner squares also have a design....this seems to be a later quilt, one can only judge by the quilting patterns...

The corners of the borders are also turned (on older quilts this was not done)...

An interesting way to turn a corner....

Corner with a rose design....

The backing is a plain white sateen...

A very attractive quilt which I am pleased to have, it has already made an outing to one of my quilt talks

Sunday 11 December 2016

Green Welsh Quilt - Child Size?

Here is a quilt that was an unexpected purchase at the Festival of Quilts. The purchase price was a donation towards a Charity seeking to provide sewing tuition and materials to Nepali women. The quilt is a small size - larger that cot size, perhaps a lap quilt or a childs quilt? It is made from artificial silk, so is not of any great age....

While not in great condition (being whiskered around the edges) the attraction is the good quilting and the clever use of quilting motifs. There are some nice paisley pears to be seen here...

The centre is a flower, surrounded by paired paisleys and smaller flowers. Some close quilting here...

The corners have an attractive squares pattern...the border has more paisleys and flowers...

The edges are hand stitched...

Some beautiful double lines of quilting...the colour is a sage green. A nice display of Welsh quilting motifs.

Saturday 3 December 2016

A "Devon" Quilt

Here is a patchwork quilt which was bought from a Devon seller. It had been bought at auction, so has no provenance. There were two quilts, and this one was in better shape, although there is some tendering (damage) to be seen.

The centre is a square of glazed chintz in a fern pattern from the 1840's - evidently, a better fabric that had been saved by the maker. There are others chintz fabrics to be seen.....the rest of the fabrics are "workaday " fabrics from the third quarter of the 1800's.

Mourning fabrics and pinks are seen......

More fabrics...

The chocolate fabric with roses is also 1840's....

The quilting is fairly basic, with straight lines and also clam shells to be seen.

Another 1840's fabric is this leaf pattern. This quilt is delicate and I would not wash it. The other quilt offered for sale was dirtier,  and the buyer washed came up much cleaner, but the red backing of that quilt ran terribly, and even with colour catchers, the colour did bleed onto the front of the quilt a bit. Well....I'm leaving this quilt alone!

A simple patchwork frame pattern that is very attractive...

Saturday 26 November 2016

Red Paisley Throw

Here is a paisley throw that I bought online for the grand sum of £8. The photos were poor, but as the item came from Glasgow, there was a very good chance that the fabric was vintage Turkey Red cotton from the Vale of Leven Mills. I had planned to take it apart and reuse the fabric for a project.

However, when the item arrived, it was too nice to unpick. It looks very Scottish, as the reverse is offcuts of woollen tartan cloth, presumably from a local mill. So colourful and lively...very "Outlander"...

So, the throw will remain in the collection.....I love these red paisley items, they are so warming and cheerful! The colour is seldom accurately reproduced in modern fabrics...

Saturday 19 November 2016

Another Sunderland Quilt

This is a quilt from Sunderland (evidently a hotbed of quilting).
The quilt measures 82" x 94" and was handed down in one family, from Sunderland. It was always kept as a spare, and not heavily used. 

The centre of the quilt has a strong and slightly quirky pair of feathers.....surrounded by the bellows pattern, and corner feathers.

The border is of paired scallop shells. Atteactive in white and pale yellow cotton sateen.

The edge is machine sewn, which was preferred in the north country as it produced a firm edge.

The overall effect is good, and has a strong, more masculine feel to it. Part of a household decluttering, but I am happy to benefit!

Sunday 13 November 2016

French Paisley Quilt

Here is a rather strange quilt, which seems to have been made from a cast off wollen paisley shawl. It is French and I do not have much other information about it.

The colours are lovely in this woven shawl and it was probably too good to discard when shawls became unfashionable....hence transformed into a warm quilt.

I recently went to an exhibition of shawls at Norwich Cathedral... These shawls were exceedingly expensive for many years and were high fashion items. Later, the shawls did not sit so well over dresses with bustles and went out of fashion. Shawls were generally very large and were worn folded and draped over dresses. It looks as if the one has been cut in half, judging by the centre motif at one end...

The wool has a few holes...

The reverse is a red cotton...

It is amazing how much work went into weaving these shawls and I was rather amazed to see the shawls from different decades on display..

The quilting is French in style, with cross hatching in the centre and parallel bands around the outside...

Thursday 3 November 2016

Yellow and White Stamped Quilt

Here is a lovely quilt - one side white and the other a soft yellow. It has a design which seems to have been a fairly common one, with a central design surrounded by two offset squares which firm an outer star. 

The centre has a daisey surrounded by proud ferns.

Large corner motifs seem to be pointed ferns.

There is a nice scroll and feather outer border, which is not turned but has a cross hatched corner.

Another look at a corner.

The reverse is a gentle yellow in cotton sateen.

The edge has the usual double line of machine stitching.

A few blue marks. This pencil must have been very sturdy as it often remains for a long time and quite a few washes.

Wednesday 26 October 2016

Green and Gold Stamped Quilt

Here is another "stamped" quilt. These designs were marked on the quilt top in blue pencil by professional quilt designers, usually in Allendale. Then the buyer could either give to to a local quilter, or quilt it herself. Church groups often sent off for these, too. You could buy them ready made, or send your own fabric to be marked. FitzRandolph surmises that most quilters lost the ability to mark the more complex designs as a result.

The colours of this quilt do not show very well in the photos. The colour is actually a pea green! Green and Gold were considered to be a popular combination.

The centre has flat iron designs with ferns and roses, and the corners echo this. Here, there is a feather creation with the longer feathers outermost....not seen this before. The swag border has little trefoil uprights. The designs were marked on large tables, so the background infill is always nicely done, unlike many other wholecloths where the grid is often decidedly wonky.

You can see that, as is common in dark coloured quilts, there are fade marks where the folded quilt was exposed to sunlight in storage.

The reverse of the quilt is gold colour. Unusually, the quilting has been partly done in green thread, partly in gold would usually expect the thread to match the right side, green in this case.

The machine edging has been more neatly done than most. You can see remnants of the blue pencil marking on the green side.

More blue pencil in this photo...a very elegant quilt in good condition.