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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.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Floral Durham Wholecloth Quilt with Strippy Patterns

I had to laugh with this quilt - the seller described it as a handmade Indian quilt sold in the 1970's
"oversewn with a pattern of stitches, willy-nilly but in a repeated almost shell pattern."

I had to laugh, as this is obviously a vintage Durham quilt. Perhaps it was bought at a charity shop, which took in donated items as well as selling third world goods? Anyhow, it is definitely not of Indian origin.

The quilt has a pinky/beige floral pattern with a mid brown reverse.

The quilting patterns are unusual - although a wholecloth, it has strippy or border patterns. Here you can see half a feather wreath used on the edge, with a running feather and a Welsh twist.

But, a circular feather wreath has been plonked down in the centre of the quilt - similar to the Welsh custom of always having a central "coin"!

Most of the quilt is done in running feathers, in a bellows pattern.

The top is an attractive floral fabric with rosy terracotta background and large brown and tan flowers.

The patterns are not matched (as the extra fabric for this matching could not be afforded) but is not so noticeable...

The floral hides the quilting patterns but the textures are pleasant to see...

The edges are machine sewn on the two longer edges - and - an unusual rolled edge to the two shorter ends. This is original and not a repair. The quilt doesnot look to ave been used much.

Another look at the two edge treatments.

The overall effect is attractive, and I can see why the seller bought the quilt in the 70's (probably for very little)...

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Designed (RBI?) Welsh Quilt

Here is a nice quilt that has clearly been designed, and may be a product of the Rural Industries Bureau, or one of their trained quilters. The colours  of the cotton are a mid brown and a dark green. The thread is green, so it is easy to tell that the green side is the top or right side and the brown the reverse. The stitches are small, so that one cannot really see the green thread against the brown fabric.

This quilt came from a sale of textiles and quilts may years ago at Christies, so has no provenance.

The borders are a nicely set out church windows - there are circular coins in the corners with a rose and a simple twist.

Inner borders are a four lobed design with cross hatching and spiral infill.

The centre coin has paired rams horns/scissors surrounded by a twist. All very nicely marked and sewn.

The stitching is excellent and even.

Here you can see the brown reverse and the green top, rich colours that contrast nicely.

This didn't photograph well - it is a dark green colour. Unfortunately as is very common in Welsh quilts the green has bad fades at the fold lines. The quilts need not be in direct sunlight for this to occur.

Another fade mark. This does not bother me as I just enjoy the quilt and its textures.

The corner - faded again - the edges are neatly hand sewn in the Welsh manner.

The edge, neatly hand sewn.

The Rural Industries Bureau is of special interest this year, as the Quilt Museum in Lampeter has an exhibition "As Good as It Gets" based around the work of the RBI. I look forward to seeing this exhibition in July.  I also have one of the small challenge quilts on display in the smaller gallery.

The elegance of the Art Deco period and the wealthy purchasers of quilted items are contrasted with the ordinary lives of quilters in Wales.

Although the workmanship and design of the quilts from this era are superb, the liveliness and originality of earlier times is lacking, and seem a bit sterile after the extraordinary  and sometimes quirky creations of earlier, local quilters, who all used their own patterns and arranged them as they fancied.


I have had a busy time recently. Most importantly, I have this week paid off my mortgage, a major accomplishment in my eyes! Twenty years of hard work....The extra money each month will now be channelled into sprucing up the house, then possibly downsizing in a few years - but there must be space for a quilt repository in any future home...of course.....

I have also been writing - three projects for a Thames and Hudson book for the V & A, an interview with Today's Quilters on "Quilt as Desired" and finally a lifestyle piece for Popular Patchwork.

I have rebooked the gypsy caravan in Wales for a short holiday in Wales in July - as well as visiting with Jen Jones, I also hope to visit the Tin Hut with Jane Becks quits and blankets near Tregaron.

Plus, the hotel is booked in Solihull for the FOQ in August. A lot to look forward to!