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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.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Christmas Bellringing in Ipswich

Today was Christmas bellringing in Ipswich. We opted for St Clements Church this is redundant, which is sad as it was once a proud old church with connections to the shipping at the port and with the British Navy...hence is known as the Seamans Church. Formerly used as storage for the local museum, the church has recently been cleaned up and will be used as a performance venue for nearby Suffolk College. Some of the monuments have been removed for safekeeping. We managed to ring Stedman, Ipswich, St Clements, Cambridge and Norwich here, on the ring of six.

Then we returned to St Margarets for tea and mince pies. This church has exciting plans for a new ringing gallery and work to the bells...

Last week, we also rang a quarter of Grandsire Triples at Ufford before their carol service.

I went to several company Xmas meals...Hintlesham Hall...we were a bit rowdy the Christmas crackers were those long balloons that zoom around making funny noises....we had lots of fun with those!

And the Ram in Hadleigh...this group was more sedate....

Tomorrow, more ringing at Pettistree, where the scaffolding is down and the decorating is finished.
The church looks lovely and bright now.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

More Books on Textiles

Some recent additions to the library....

An excellent and heavy book.....lots of reading here. It is in three main sections: Overview, Colors and Mechanics. There is a sizeable section entitled Appendices, which includes useful informstion such as Timelines, prices, and more on greens, blues and blacks. A sizeable bibliography and index round it off...originally a thesis, I think, this book is readable and engaging....quite a tome!

A book about textiles in Norwich, mostly woollens. Norwich lost out to later industry in the Midlands and North, so not as recent history as the books based around cotton textiles...but as Norwich is local to us here in Suffolk, this piqued my interest. I must visit the museums in Norwich again soon!

This book has been around for some time, but I thought that I had better buy a copy.....Kathryn Berenson has researched the topic thoroughly, and the book is well illustrated.

Finally, two books on textiles from Asia, bought at a used bookshop in Framlingham...

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Stamped Strippy from Durham

Here is a pink and white Durham strippy that I bought recently. It is not in good condition....not surprising, as these quilts were utility quilts, to be used as everyday bedding. I bought it because 
1) I like strippy quilts! 2) the quilting looked to be well done but also 3) the quilting patterns strongly reminded me of the Sanderson star quilts that I have been studying and seemed to have been professionally stamped, or marked.

This quilt doesn't photograph well, as the sateen is so soft and worn. The wadding is very thin, perhaps due to years of washing....

The patterns are the same ones seen on many of the earlier Sanderson star quilts....a Weardale chain and a stylised vine with curlicues design.

The stitching is very neatly done with small stitches.

The edges are hand sewn as well, and not sewn by machine, which was the norm for most of the later north country quilts.

Perhaps more unusually, the strips are sewn together by hand, as I hope that you can spot in this photo. This quilt top seems to have been sewn up by hand and then professionally marked by one of the professional quilt stampers of Allendale. The patterns are very similar to the older Sanderson star quilts that I saw at Beamish. This quilt came from a house clearance in County Durham and I hope to learn more from the dealer in due course, if possible. I think it may date from 1890 to 1900, although it is impossible to tell for sure.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Jen Jones Quilt Museum Exhibition 2014 - "Early to Bed"

Today, I received my copy of the catalog for the 2014 quilt exhibition at Jen Jones' Quilt Museum in Lampeter. I was not able to see the exhibition this year, which has now closed - Wales is just too far from Suffolk - but this is a good record of the yearly exhibition. The exhibition was "Early to Bed - Make Do and Mend and Folk Art".

This year's show contained  quilts from Jen's own collection, plus some of Ron Simpson's and two other museum collections,  Brecknock and Ceredigion. If you are in Wales during March to November, these exhibitions are well worth going to see. Like previous exhibitions, this was professionally designed and staged by Gwenllian Ashley. The Lampeter  Old Town Hall is a lovely venue. And, with Calico Kate, there is a good quilt shop nearby!

I was very surprised to turn the page, and to see that my blog post of 31 March 2012, concerning military quilts and the painting of Thomas Woods, was quoted in its entirety. I had no idea!

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Quilted Bed Jacket - Saltburn near Redcar

This quilted bed jacket came from an estate auction some years ago at Saltburn near Redcar. This area is in the far north part of Yorkshire. The family's name was Robinson, of "the horsey set" the dealer tells me.

This little jacket is very nicely quilted and finished. The outside is an ivory silk or artificial silk, and the lining is of pink cotton. The front fastening is a single button. The edges are nicely finished by hand.

The design is a simple one piece separate arm pieces, here. The quilting is effective, some curling feathers on the sleeves and front...

The back is treated in a similar manner...

The stitching looks attractive on the lining, as well..

I'm not sure of the date of this item, but according to the dealer, it is not recent as it was in her collection for some years. It does make me wonder if it is another small RIB item, or if it was part of the post war trend for smaller quilted items.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Durham Quilt from St Mark's, Jarrow

Here is a quilt that I bought in July. It dates from around the second world war. It is faded, and the fabric is not the usual quality that one would expect of is a bit harsh and has not worn well. I imagine that fabric supplies dried up during and after the war, when rationing was in force. It took several years for domestic industry to resume, and it is my understanding that Roman sateen was never produced again, as it was very labour intensive to make, despite being an inexpensive fabric.

This quilt is pink and green, the green side is much faded. The quilt was made by a womens group from St Marks church in Jarrow on Tyne. At  that time, the church was thriving and had a very active womens group. The church is now a family home and is deconsecrated. The sellers great grandmother was Elizabeth Overton, who owned Overtons shop on Monkton Road, Jarrow. The sellers mother Charlotte Mabel Maughan inherited several quilts including this one.

The design features a large central motif of a flower, surrounded by fans and tulips. There is an outer border of a large twist.

View of centre of quilt, showing central motif.

Central motif....

The edges are machine sewn.

.....and not too carefully done! You can see that the edges are frayed and that the fold has not been "caught" by the stitching.

The quilt was well used, and the poor quality fabric has not lasted very well....cotton wadding... Quilting stitches are fairly large, as one would expect from a group quilt made for fundraising efforts, but the designs stand out well. Size of quilt is 240 x 240cm, that is about 95" square.

Here is a photo of The St Marks ladies on a church trip, probably from the 1950' taken from the site Jarrow then and now. The church was very active at that time. Maybe the quilters were among this group?

St Marks Church was made redundant and is now a private house...the church hall is now a granny annex.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Welsh Quilt with Green Frame/Paisley Pears

Here is a Welsh quilt that I bought recently. It came from a house clearance in Portsmouth, so has no provenance. The family did come from Wales, however.

As you can see, the right side has a frame of darker green fabric surrounding a centre of light green sateen with pink and red flowers. The green fabric has been left in the sunlight at some point, causing bad fading at the folds. But the stitching is expertly done. 

The reverse is plain green sateen. You can see that paisley shapes and roses make an attractive centre, surrounded by crosshatching (check out the converging lines in the lower left hand corner!)

This quilter made great use of the paisley shape in the borders, as well as the centre....the paisleys form a fan in the corners...then they march around the edge, upright, and meet as a pair in the centre of the border....boxy motifs are seen around the outside...

Fading also seen on the back....some dark colours are very prone to this...

Another look at the center from the reverse...the quilt is a heavy one but the filling is lambswool.

This quilt was probably made by a professional quilter. The edges are neatly hand sewn. The quilt measures 76 x 80 inches.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

BQSG Seminar Papers 2014

This years papers were especially interesting...but I always find them an interesting and varied selection....

The first presentation was by Sara Impey, a look back at 30 years of Quilt Art (a group here in the UK) as well as the development of her own quilts. From those first Secret Garden quilts, lettering has become an important theme in Saras quilts. The early aspirations and hopes were contrasted with susequent achievements.

Dorothy Osler then gave a paper on the two diaries of Muriel Rose, which she studied as part of the V & A exhibition research. These were two small notebooks giving details of visits to quilters in Wales and Co. Durham. The first visit was factfinding for the Rural Industries Bureau and dates from the mid 1930's. The second was a trip with Mrs FitzRandolph in April 1954, when the latter was writing her Traditional Quilting book for Batsford. The diaries, although field notes and made for different purposes, are valuable as they give names and locations of various quilters, made during brief visits to each. Sketches of quilting designs are made and assessments of the quilter's neediness and ability are made. In each visit, a dozen Welsh quilters were recorded, as well as about 35 north country quilters. Bearing in mind that the sample is an extremely small one , Osler was able to extract some simple percentages from the data. These figures do show that the average age of quilters had increased by the second visit, also that  the transfer of skills had become formalised post war. The location of quilters in both areas showed a strong correlation with mining. Most interesting to Liz and I was the discovery that the Page Bank pattern mentioned as very common by FitzRandolph, is a paired feather pattern also known as festoon feathers.

Dr Archer and Mr Jeffrys then gave a very moving paper on Women's Embroideries of Internment Camps 1941-1945. Six embroideries were shown....5 from Singapore and one from Hong Kong. Very moving.

The final paper on Saturday was one given by Alison Carter on a mosaic patchwork with the words PEACE GIVE GOD THE PRAISE BLUCHER, dating to 1814. Some really fascinating research here! Looking forward to rereading the paper in Quilt Studies!

On Sunday, Janet O'Dell gave an excellent paper on the Braddlyll quilt, a silk hexagon quilt made by three unmarried sisters who lived in Cumbria and Hampton Court. A high status quilt, with lots of detailed history of the family.

After coffee, Margaret Nichol introduced Beamish's two newest acquisitions....two further wedding dresses quilted by Amy Emms. Very exciting! Margaret Bauldrey told of progress with the Talking Quilts  project, and Amanda Davidge showed a quilt she used with dementia patients to spark memories and conversations.

We all look forward to seeing these in print in Quilt Studies. We also look forward to next years seminar in Manchester! Thanks to all involved in the organisation of this weekend.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

BQSG Seminar in Worthing 2014

This year's BQSG seminar was held at the Chatsworth Hotel in Worthing. This is on the south coast, not far from Brighton. I was lucky this year, as I was able to get a lift with Hilary, who also lives in Suffolk. What a treat....not having to battle with the M25 or Dartford Crossing! Although I must say, no heavy traffic this year.

Everyone stayed at the same venue this year...the food was excellent and we had a nice room for our seminar. The young staff seemed very attentive. My only complaint was that the room was very warm -you could practically grow bananas - but otherwise, very pleasant.

The group discussed the seminar format, and we all agreed that staying at one location, with evenings free for discussion, seemed the most agreeable recipe. Many thanks to Susan who has very successfully organised the last four years seminars. Next year's seminar will be held on October 16 -18 2015 in Manchester, at the Luther King Conference Centre. More details in the next issue of Culcita, or the BQSG website.

It was interesting to see the Pier, so close to the hotel. It is very sedate compared to our more raffish Felixstowe here in Suffolk! Worthing has many elegant buildings from the 1930's.

On Friday, two groups were able to view quilts in the Worthing Museum. Textiles and costume have always  formed a major part of the Worthing Museums collection, and we were able to look at the museum display cases of costumes and textiles. Some other textiles items were also set out in the workroom for us to look at. There were gloves, shoes, pockets and other embroidered items....

Many commented that hexagons seemed the order of the weekend, both at the museum, and in the papers presented. From my notes, I think this is an quilt made by Anne Silk, finished in 1852. The fabrics are nicely arranged, with repeats of the striped fabrics.

Close up of the above quilt....

This is a table cover, judging from the braid around the edges....the centre dates from 1820-1850. The outer borders and braid are younger, 1870-1880. The blue fabric in the outermost border has bled...the fabrics contain some linen. Cotton thread came into use in the 1820s-1830's...linen thread is seen here?

Another photo of our group and the curator, seen at right with the gloves. What a stack of quilts! More on the seminar talks in the next post.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Bowes Museum Exhibition Catalog, 1963

 Here is a small catalog that I bought recently. It dates from 1963 and relates to an exhibition of quilts held at the Bowes Museum, and sponsored by Durham County Council. The Womens Institute also seems to have had a major involvement in this exhibition, if the credits are anything to go by!

There were 40 quilts shown....each is described and the owner or maker is given. Most were loaned by private individuals, although some of these quilts have now made their way into museum collections.

Only a few illustrations of quilts, but each quilt is given a short description...the quilts are grouped as follows: Northumberland quilts, Durham quilts, Cumberland quilts, Westmoreland quilts and Yorkshire quilts (the last three, rather small groups!) Templates and quilting frames were also on display.

A few photos are given, but the quilt photography "was of a very difficult nature". Do you recognise any of these?

Two more embroidered quilt and one made by Elizabeth Sanderson....

And a detail of the quilted lid of a yew wood box, made near Ullswater.

This catalog deserves further perusal, to see if there are any clues to be gleaned....