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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 30 September 2019

Festival of Quilts August 2019

The Festival of quilts 2019 - once again, we stayed in Solihull and just went for the weekend. This is more than enough for me! as four days was just too much, too exhausting. It is a very big show, and the best place to buy things that are specialised...

My red and white Hawaiian had arrived safely. I had to work very hard to complete the quilting, binding and sleeve in time. Next year - I must complete the quilt in good time!

Another Hawaiian from a Japanese entry. Two ladies agreed that they liked this one better than mine. It is more colorful - but not strictly traditional....quilting was good on this one...

I was especially interested to see Christopher Tate Wilson's trunk show. He advertises heavily on social media and I have heard so much about him from the other dealers. He is the "wide boy" of the quilt world. Most of the quilts go abroad to collectors and do not stay here in the UK, I guess this has long been the case...

The Best of very bad for photos..

I really liked this quilt, it reminded me of my work with fossil pollen grains in my PhD work...

I don't watch any of the TV selling stations - but I did watch Susan Briscoe giving her broadcast for a while. Karin Hellaby also appeared and received a lot of attention afterwards. I dont often watch videos or Utube, as I am not a visual person:  I like to have written instructions that I can return to quickly. But I have been buying a few downloadable .pdf patterns recently....more later.

Monday 23 September 2019

Vintage Sewing Machines

I have a small collection of vintage sewing machines. When I retire, I will be able to clean and restore these machines. Unlike modern machines with their plastic innards and computerised boards, the vintage machines are all metal and highly engineered. If cleaned and lubricated, most will give many years of sewing. And it is possible to rewire them if necessary. Here are two that I bought inexpensively recently.

A 99k Singer.

A 201 Singer. This is the type of machine that I learned to sew on. Of course, Mother's Singer was in a lovely wooden cabinet and had a matching chair. This little machine weighs a ton and is definitely not portable. It is even a job to get it from floor to table! Still, it will happily sew through heavy materials like denim, canvas and leather.

At the moment, I am only interested in the electric models, although the hand crank models are abundant here in the UK. I do have a treadle singer bought from the estate of one of the old Ipswich bellringers who worked with leather. I also support a charity, Tools with a Mission, based in Ipswich which sends tools including sewing and knitting machines to Africa, where they can be life changing.
Training and the gift of a vintage sewing machine allows a person to earn money and keep their family.

Monday 16 September 2019

Lavender and Black Hawick Quilt

Yes, another Hawick quilt, this time one from Hawick itself. This quilt was bought in an antique shop in the town many years ago.

This quilt is very similar to other quilts, with the same wooden templates being used, although in a different arrangement.

The centre is a daisey (gowan) surrounded by a circle of the spikey heart motif

The strangely stumpy thistle is present too. Also seen are the scale fillers and the yinyan motif.

Black seems an unusual colour for a quilt but the Quilters Guild collection has one in black and pink.

The reverse. The lavender side is faded, so must have been the side that was used most.

These quilts were made as church fund raisers and there is an interesting article about them in Quilt Studies. As group quilts, they are not especially well made, the stitches are rather large as are the motifs. Still they are rather charming!

Friday 13 September 2019

Trip to Norfolk - July 2019

In July, we went to Norfolk for a weekend stay. We stayed in a shepherds hut at Melton Constable, near Holt. The location was very quiet and rural.

The Hut was nicely fitted out and was comfortable.

The owner keeps chickens and eggs were supplied. Of course, as Mike grew up on a poultry farm, he has an aversion to eggs! but they were nice to see...

You can see that the location was very pleasant. We checked in quickly, then raced off to nearby Holt so that we could attend their bellringing practice.

On Saturday, we walked along the coast from Sheringham to Cromer. It was much further than we expected! About 10 miles....At points you have to walk along roads as the cliff top path is not accessable.

The sun was out and it was a pleasant walk.

Cromer is one of the larger towns on the Norfolk coast and has a surviving pier.

Bagshot goats have been introduced to keep the scrub on the cliffs at bay, and these seem to be popular with the visitors.

Cromer Pier, with its RNLI life boat station.

Cromer church - there was a wedding and as the tower door was open, we went upstairs to have a look. We were kindly shown the belfry and the bells, and also helped to ring the bells for the wedding.
As we had walked so far, we took a bus back to Sheringham.

We were pleased to be able to visit the Sheringham train station for the Bittern Line steam trains.
We also went for a drink to the Gunton Arms, which has a collection of artworks. Its not often that you see a Damian Hurst in the ladies loo!

The friendly cat, Pumpkin, at the hut.

We also visited Blickling Hall on Sunday, which we enjoyed very much.

The highly decorated library ceiling...

Looks like a princess feather motif, doesn't it?

We also went to Wroxham on our way home and saw the Bure Valley steam trains.

This was the first time that I had booked anything through AirBnB. The hut and the owner Mary were very pleasant and I would be minded to use AirBnB again, especially as the money side is apparently better for the hosts. I was rather amused to see that not only you as a guest leave a review for the host, but the host leaves a review about you...whether you are recommended guests or not. Luckily we were nice people, clean and tidy...always nice to know...

Monday 9 September 2019

Trip to York June 2019

Mike and I drove up to York in June, so that I could attend a Quilters Guild Meeting for Treasurers (I am the  Treasurer for the Traditional Quilt Group). We stayed in York for the Friday night, but as it was a race weekend and the prices were very high, we decamped to a motel outside of  York for Saturday night. While I had my meeting on Saturday, Mike was wandering around York with his cameras.

On Sunday, we parked the car (always a feat in York) and walked to the Minster.

We parked near the Quilters Guild in St Anthonys Hall and walked along the walls towards the Minster.

Of course, the object was to ring the Minster bells. The previous Dean fired all the bellringers and formed a new band - a great upset in the bellringing world - so Mike wanted to see whether the new band was more welcoming and what they were like.....they were a friendlier bunch.

These bells are some of the heaviest ringing bells in the country; Mike had a ring but as I had rung here many years ago with Durham University I sat out. We went to St Wilfreds across the road later, where I did have a ring...

Later we went to Castle Howard, a grand National Trust property and famous as the "Brideshead Revisited" venue. It was very crowded, as it was Fathers Day and there was a motor event going on.

A lovely fountain...

The main building...

The lunch was, unexpectedly, very reasonable in price and very tasty…

The Walled Gardens were full of beautiful flowers.

On the way home, we stopped at Stamford, which has several mediaeval churches, some now redundant. This one had beautiful angels in the roof.

Stamford was a major coaching stop in former times.

Some of the churches are very grand in size for such a modest town, an indication of its former wealth and importance.

The famous George Hotel, with its sign stretching over the road.