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.