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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.













Sunday, 8 January 2017

Sage and Orange Welsh Quilt

Here is a typical Welsh quilt in cotton sateen. The colours are very attractive in a faded, muted sort of way ....a faded blue green and an orange colour. I wonder what they looked like when new!


The centre is a bit unusual...no centre "coin" here - it is a diamond with crosshatching - and a heart with spirals in each corner next to that....


The single border has a leaf and spirals in each corner, and the rest is simple but effective crosshatch and that X block......

Another photo of the centre...



The hearts are very attractive...


At first, I thought that there were "pennies" or circles in the border.....but it is a simple twist...


But you can see that it was probably marked with an old fashioned penny, as the shape fits almost exactly....


There are also some small propeller shapes - the quilters liked these devices to fill up any empty spaces.


The photos did not come out very well - the colours although muted are a lot more vivid than these photos show.


This quilt measures 69 x 77". By chance, it came from a clearance of a house not far from me, in Laxfield Suffolk. The seller wrote - "All the quilts came from my cousin. He was a very flamboyant man who had a house literally crammed to the rafters with antiques. He rarely used anything new. He drank from Georgian glassware and ate off antique plates. Sadly he lost his battle with cancer earlier this year. The auctioneer didn't want to take the quilts so I put them here. I don't think that he bought much at auction. He liked antique markets and shops, but who knows. How he ever fitted so much stuff into his small house is beyond me."

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 spire...no 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 it....it 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...