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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.













Thursday, 23 March 2017

Striped Norwich Shawl

I am really enamoured of this shawl - I don't know much about shawls - but - this has some lovely colour combinations. What skill to weave this..


This seems to be the right side - bands of blue alternate with a sinuous band in mossy greens and rust.


The reverse has a striking magenta colour with darker shades of green - very sophisticated.



You can see how intricate the patterns are!


Shawls fell out of favour in the 1870's, so most of these have been languishing in trunks and lofts for over 100 years - many are not is very good condition - but still lovely. The best are wool or wool silk mixtures so subject to moth attack....


These shawls were used as wraps (coats) over the larger dresses popular at the time.
One can only imagine the social events and concerts that these attended!



The shawls are often very large and were meant to be folded and draped about the woman's shoulders. I am trying to learn more, but unlike quilts, there are few books to read on the subject.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Tan and Cream Strippy from Evenwood

Another strippy quilt, not very expensive and rather worn at one end! Yet, I was interested as the quilting designs stood out and were attractive. Also, the seller was from Spennymoor....Dorothy Osler recently organised a group of BQSG members to look into the Spennymoor quilters visited by Muriel Rose and Mrs FitzRandolph. I thought this might have a link.....as it turned out, this quilt is not from Spennymoor, it is from Evenwood which is a mining village Southwest of Bishop Aukland.


The quilt is made from tan and cream strips....


The designs are a four lobed design and a running feather....


I noticed something unusual about the running feather...


Although nicely quilted, the plumes do not all point forward...it is "wrong" in that the plumes point forward and backward....not the usual! All the tan strips are quilted with this pattern. The reverse is a faded floral sateen.

This quilt was one of several made by Edith Wilkinson, mother of three. Born in 1888, she lived most of her life in Evenwood. A miner's daughter, she also married a miner. She lived just short of 100 years.

The quilt measures 76 x 90 inches. 6" of one end is very worn where no doubt, it was tucked under the bed springs. I wont trim this off....

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Yellow and Grey Green Strippy Quilt from Bedale with Wave Quilting

Strangely, I bought this quilt at the same time as the previously posted strip quilt. Again, the main point of interest is the wave quilting pattern.


This quilt is from Bedale, which is in North Yorkshire but just across the border from Cumbria. The wave pattern was traditional in Cumbria, the Isle of Man and Ireland.


The colours do not show up accurately in these photos; the colours are yellow and a light grey-green on one side, and a cream and light grey-green on the other. The fabric is cotton sateen.


These strip quilts were easy to sew together, with little waste of fabric, so were the utility quilts of the day. Much needed in a cold unheated house!


As I said in the last post, I have wondered how these waves were marked. In the last quilt, the peaks and troughs of the design coincided with the centre and edges of the strips. As you can see, this is not the case with this quilt.


The quilt has carefully been darned in a couple of spots to repair a tear in the fabric...



More careful darning, a lost skill in our age of cheap, disposable textiles and clothes.... The strips have been joined by a treadle sewing machine...


The edges are hand sewn.


To show both sides of this quilt...


This quilt has a calming effect and must have been a warm covering.


This quilt was brought into the Bedale Post Office (which also acts as an antique store) by a local family for sale. Interestingly, another quilt sold the day before mine was another quilt from the same family in the same colours  - however, that quilt had fairly elaborate North Country patterns.

In the next post, I will briefly compare the two wave strip quilts...

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Pink and White Cumbrian Strippy with Wave Quilting

Here is a Cumbrian strippy in pink and white poplin. The back is of plain white cotton. The main point of interest is the wave quilting, which was traditional in Cumbria, Ireland and the Isle of Man.



I have always been interested to know how these waves were marked! There must be an easy way to do this, such as a cardboard triangle as a template? Or was it just eyeballed?


This quilt has seen better days and is worn at the ends - other than that, in good condition. The fabric is much sturdier than modern fabric.....


It might be that the quilter used the stripes as a guide for the wave quilting design?


...as the points of the waves do coincide with the middle and edges of the strips...



The reverse of the quilt.


The edge is machine sewn. This quilt measures 210 x 210 cm or about 83 x 83 inches square.
The seller said 1940s or 1950s, but of course it is a bit older than that, as not many quilts were being made post WWII.

The quilt was bought at auction in Penrith, Cumbria by the seller so is a true Cumbrian quilt.
I recently bought another Cumbrian quilt, so I hope to compare the two...

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Scottish throw - Vintage fabric - 1960's

I am always on the lookout for fabric for wholecloths and as backing. You may remember the turkey red paisley fabric throw from Glasgow that turned out to be too nice to dismember and use for fabric!
Well, here is another of my finds which arrived today.


It is unused - from the 1960's, supposedly....and the fabric is a nice blue cotton sateen, and a large piece of a print. Red ribbon enclosing a leaf or flower motif, nice and cheerful..


These throws were an inexpensive way to make warm bedding from an old woollen blanket. It was easy to sew them up, no quilting needed....careful sewing was not required, either!


The older cloth is of a higher quality, I feel, than modern fabrics...and will be very suitable to use for other projects.


This throw is from Fraserburgh, Scotland. The best part - the cost of this throw was only £10. I doubt that I could buy suitable modern fabric for that price!!

I feel a small wholecloth coming on....

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Lemon Yellow Durham from Rowlands Gill

I was surprised when this quilt arrived - it was much nicer than expected. The photos on that well-known auction site had been poor. But what did I have to loose when the price was only £14?
 I decided to have a "go".


To say that I was pleasantly surprised would be an understatement! The quilt is an attractive lemon yellow colour and seems hardly used - very "fresh". This is unusual, as most quilts have been well used unless considered very special. Perhaps it was considered "old fashioned" and put away?


The fabric is cotton sateen and the edges have been neatly machine sewn. The quilt measures 80 x 94 inches and seems to be a nicer "club" quilt. The seller was from Rowands Gill, a former mining town outside Newcastle.

The centre of the quilt features a large star filled with flowers and fern. This is surrounded by large feather motifs.


The border is a chevron and flower design.


The centre of the quilt.


The neatly sewn edge.


The quilting stitches on this quilt are small and neat.


The colour does not show up well here, but is a bright lemon yellow - I tried to improve the colour but wasn't able to with my apps.

About twenty-five years ago, the seller was given three quilts from a friend's house clearance - the other two were white - this one was the nicest, and was used on the spare bed. Eventually, the grandson wanted Spiderman and other more manly decorations and the quilt was sold.

I am enjoying this unexpected treat.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Strip Quilt with Diamonds from Ashington

Here is an older strip quilt from Northumberland. It is a large quilt, at 91 x 102 inches. The plain strips, of a cream cotton with tiny brown and green leaf motifs,  alternate with blue and white pieced strips. 

The quilting is hard to see, but is mostly cross hatching. Around the outside is a large twist, and then a triangular pattern with a lobed motif.


This quilt has all been hand pieced and the edge is neatly hand sewn. The filling is a thin cotton, which may have been thicker once - perhaps thinned by repeated washing?


This quilt came from a house clearance in Ashington, Northumberland. Ashington was once a centre for coal mining. The house belonged to the seller's Grandmother, a lady named Hilda Revington.


Quilting, a large twist pattern...


The quilt is somewhat worn at either end. Many of the longer plain strips are pieced. I measured the plain strips and these varied from 6 3/4 to 7 inches. I wonder if, when making strippy quilts, the strips were torn, not cut? Certainly, with the two unquilted tops that I own, this is the case. It may account for the variability of the strips. The pieced strips are all 6 inches wide.

My feeling is that this is an earlier quilt, but perhaps from someone who did not own a sewing machine (quite costly items in those days) so perhaps turn of the century. The fabrics are what we would call workaday fabrics....last quarter of the 19C.