Sunday, 8 April 2012

Easter Trip

A very Happy Easter to you all!
I thought I`d share some pictures of the new exhibition at Jen Jones Welsh Quilt Centre in Lampeter. I ve been meaning to visit for a while but when I heard that the new show would be about Amish and Welsh quilts and the connections between them I had to go.
The new quilt centre is housed in the Town Hall, quite an impressive building.
As you can see, it is a fantastic space to display quilts.
There are some stunning quilts to look at, here a Welsh quilt is displayed over an Amish Central Diamond.
Another Welsh/Amish contrast. The lower quilt is a Floating Bar quilt which is a classic Amish design.

And here is a Welsh variation.
The three typically Welsh features on this quilt are the wider stripes;  the all-over quilting, in Amish and North Country quilts the quilting patterns tend to stay within the patchwork designs of the top; and finally, the glorious saturated colours of the material used.  

Two more Welsh quilts. The deep red wool used in the wholecloth above the bed is also used very sparingly in the tailors sample quilt on the bed. Such an effective use of colour.
Some more Welsh quilts. The one on the right is nicknamed the Rothko quilt from its resemblance to the abstract paintings of Mark Rothko and is probably the closest in resemblance to an Amish quilt.
Not all the quilts on display are so colourful. I was really taken with these two quilts and how the limited palette has been used.
I really want to make a quilt like this. Royal purple and cream is a combination I would never have considered until I saw this beauty and the photo really does not do it justice!

I can highly recommend a visit to Lampeter if you can manage it. There is a great fabric shop two doors down from the exhibition too, not to mention a great fish and chip shop.
If you are more interested in learning about the connection between Amish and Welsh quilting then Dorothy Osler has a book out on that subject.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Scrap quilt top

I don`t like perfection in quilts.  I like to see traces of the maker in the finished quilts rather than something that could easily have been made in a factory.

This lovely little quilt top shows just how far its maker has had to stretch her fabric stash. The result has a charm of it`s own, despite being a long way from Quilt Show perfection.
There are places on the top where a lot of similar patches are clustered together.
Almost half the patches are constructed from two or more scraps of fabric.
 The quilter has made the squares up as best she could and if that means that the pattern doesn`t match up, so be it.
There is such a lot of fiddly work that has been done here.
And this is the smallest piece I could find on this top. The patch in the centre of the photograph is only half a centimeter at the widest point.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Small Quilt Top

A small American quilt top bought from an eBay seller.
I`m not sure if this is an unfinished piece or not. It is quite small, one of the smallest I own and doesn`t appear to have been cut down. It measures slightly over three foot square which would seem an awkward shape for a finished quilt so perhaps its maker never got around to finishing it.
It is the only quilt I have that came with documentary evidence. This small scrap of paper was pinned to it. It reads  'Ruth Wards quilt'  and judging from the number of old pin holes it was attatched to this top several times. 

I think that it dates from the first years of the twentieth century from the overall look. The combination of taupes and shirting cottons contrast beautifully with the deep reds used. I have a bit of a weakness for reds in quilts.
 This block in particular is very bold. I like the way the quilter has used thin red borders to outline each block.
Some double pink fabric with some cotton printed with a tiny red leaf.
There`s a real 1950`s vibe from this design.

And in the opposing triangle we have this lovely star pattern.
An interesting Japanese influence here. There was a huge interest in Japanese culture in the late 1880`s due in part to Gilbert and Sullivan`s operetta 'The Mikado' and also an exhibition of a Japanese Village in Knightsbridge London which ran for two years from 1885. This piece of fabric may date from the late nineteenth century.
There is some minor damage which needs a bit of stabilising but overall it is a lovely piece.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Irish Quilt

Sometimes really simple ideas can be very effective.
This is a quilt that I bought from a seller in Northen Ireland. A simple triangle pattern  made with mens shirting fabric.
I`ve looked carefully and can only see six different designs. The maker was quite careful with what she had and there are several instances of patches being made up to the right size with small pieces of extra fabric. Sometimes very small.
This patch has a tiny half inch of extra fabric sewn on at the tip. She`s either not had enough fabric to match the stripes up or wasn`t that bothered about the final appearance.
It`s a small quilt, hand sewn and simply quilted. I think it is wadded with cotton wool as it is very light.
It`s had quite a hard life and there are many small holes and repairs. If it was made with recycled mens clothing then the fabric would have been fairly worn to begin with.
 It has a seperate thin binding, something I don`t come across very often as both Welsh and North Country quilts have knife edge finishing.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Christmas book

I hope everyone had a great holiday, with plenty of food, drink, rest and quilting stuff!
I have to share this gorgeous book that my brother and his wife gave me for a present.  They were a bit nervous that I might already have a copy as I have a large collection of quilting books but this was a new one to me. I spent the afternoon recovering from a large dinner and flipping contentedly through the pictures.
It's set out in sections for each region. Here we have three lovely American quilts.

 I really love these scrappy quilt designs

Three beautifully embroidered quilts from India. The spare use of colour and stitching in the last one is very striking.
This is a modern quilt from Japan. It`s so delicate and the colours are wonderful. Like a painting by Paul Klee. 
Sorry, this came out a bit dark. It`s a frame quilt from Ireland.

The next two quilts are ones that I definitely would like to make myself.

I love the colours in this Dutch quilt. The rich red fabric is like a dark wine or stained glass and the backing fabric, which you can just see folded over at the top, is also on my wish list.
I`ve never used such a deep colour for backing  but will certainly try it.

This Australian quilt really merits this double page spread. Simple 1940`s and 1950`s fabrics, a variation of a nine patch pattern and yet the way they have been put together gives this amazing quilt.
And finally, from my own country, this magnificent Welsh wool quilt.

I wasn`t just vegging out and reading. I have been working on my current project as well...

 Looong way to go yet....

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Nadolig Llawen

Got the Christmas tree...

Quilt for quilting. It`s a little bit squashed from being in a bag for a while...
loads of patches for piecing and plenty of time to relax and sew. Bliss. 

Nadolig Llawen i bawb!  

Sunday, 18 December 2011

My latest find

The weather was horrible yesterday; cold and grey with gusts of wind that sent the sleet at you horizontally.  I did a bit of Christmas shopping until my fingers went numb and stopped off at an antiques place on the way home. It`s a large place and thankfully very warm. Good for a couple of hours browsing and they usually have at least one quilt for sale. Yesterday they had several, most well over a hundred pounds.

But they also had this rather sad quilt which I just had to buy. 

It`s actually off white and rather grubby. The photo makes it look dark but it shows the quilting patterns better.

It has a traditional Welsh quilting pattern, which you can make out under the dirt!
This is from the innermost border, a leaf design with what looks like a small cloverleaf . I`ve not seen that before and I rather like it as a filler.
The outer border has this interesting design, complete with some traditional Welsh spirals.
And another spiral, slightly larger.
Unfortunately the fabric is quite worn and the wadding shows through in several places. It`s a light wadding, almost like cotton wool and this might make it tricky to wash this quilt without covering the worst areas.
It has been a well used quilt and someone has tried to mend it a few times

A torn area has been stitched here 
and some of the edges have been covered with fabric to stop fraying....not very skillfully. There are at least three pieces of fabric in this one area.

So I have a bit of a project over Christmas. I should have time to try and repair,  wash the quilt and have time for it to dry. Fingers crossed it should come out looking better.

And I also have quite a horde of patches for my new project too.