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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 29 January 2018

Horrockses- Clothing and Cotton Manufacturers, Preston

When I was at the BQSG seminar in Preston in October, I was very interested to hear about the Preston firm of Horrockses. Although Horrockses was a household name in Britain, not having grown up in the UK, this was new to me.

The Horrockses firm was founded in 1791 by John Horrocks and became well known for cotton goods and clothes such as pyjamas and shirts. The factory was a very large one, and was considered to be the largest factory in Europe in its time. Fabric were woven at the mills, and then made up into garments. Later, its woven goods were involved in the war effort.

After WWII, the problem was, how to stimulate demand for its cotton goods? Ready to wear dresses had become increasingly popular over time, and the question was, how to make cotton dressses, formerly considered rather pedestrian, into something more exclusive and glamorous.

A model in the Harris Museum showing how very large the mills once were - I went bellringing on Sunday morning at Preston Minster, and when I asked a local ringer about the factory, saw that this area immediately behond the Minster has now been completly redeveloped......

The answer was to hire the best designers, and to produce a variety of garments for the mass market, from simple shirt waiters in a variety of coloured prints to glamorous evening dresses. Each style would be made in a variety of prints and colourways. In each town, only a few selected shops could stock the dresses. And, Horrockses was careful to ensure that each shop in a town had different stock from the others in that town.....the dresses sold for the then not inconsiderable price of £4 to £7. Clever advertising re-inforced the exclusivity message.

Of course, the main purpose was, to use the cotton fabrics produced at the Horrockses Mills in a proftable manner. The brand was at its height from 1946 to 1964. Unfortunately, the 70's and 80's were not kind to the company as fashions moved on, and the company went under.

Recently, the brand name has been bought and the archives used as a basis to produce housewares and bed linens in retro prints.

Having looked on Ebay, I find that the iconic 50's dresses sell for high prices! I am not sure whether these are for collectors, or for wear.

Monday 22 January 2018

Progress report - January 2018

I was able to achieve quite a lot over the holiday period in December ( my firm takes a long break over Christmas). One task was to baste my red and white Sanderson Star, ready for hand quilting. I  had used a feint mechanical pencil to mark in the light areas and a water erasable blue marker for the red areas.

Just to check that the blue will actually come out! It does....
I have traced the quilting designs from an antique "stamped" quilt top, so the markings are as close to the original as I could get...

I have bought two oak thread holders from Ebay - and these not only look good, but save a lot of time. It is easy to snip off new lengths of thread when I need them.

And the progress on the Sanderson Star is good - the centre and the first border complete. The stamper did not mark the twist completely - I will have to decide whether to go for one central line (as suggested in one or two of them) or go for three strands (ie two extra lines of quilting). I will look at other examples to see what was standard for this design and then do the same. I don't have to decide right away.
I also wanted to set up two more Hawaiian applique quilts. Cutting and then unfolding and basting the applique is always a difficult job. But, I had bought suitable extra wide fabric at the FOQ for the applique fabric and backing. This design is dark blue on a mid blue background fabric. There will be some reverse applique to do, but I will mark that in later, using the original pattern.

And here is a green print batik on a natural back ground, I do hope that the batik behaves itself!! This pattern is called Kiku Nut. Both of the patterns seen here are from the traditonal range at Poakalani in Hawaii.

This should keep me busy for a while...

Monday 15 January 2018

Kit Rose Quilt - American

This quilt was bought inexpensively online. I am not usually interested in American quilts, but this one caught my eye...

It is a kit quilt, but completed in an expert way and nicely quilted.
There are also some embroidered details, such as the leaf veins...

There is an American site concerning kit quilts, but there is, rightly, a joining fee. I could not afford this just to research one quilt......but it would be interesting to know which company produced this quilt pattern and what it is called....does anyone know?

The quilt is a cheerful one...

.....and involved a lot of work for the maker - it was obviously a treasured quilt. As with so many of my quilts, it would be lovely to magicly know the story behind this one.