The Cottage Orné Quilt

The Cottage Orné Quilt
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Thursday, 13 November 2014

A little break!

I have been doing a bit of gadding about!  Sharon and I have been staying in a Facebook friend's little house in Derbyshire for a few days!


It was quite delightful and a lovely base for visiting some favourite places.

On the way we visited the Bicester shopping outlet and did some Christmas shopping and this was the hall on our arrival!


It got much fuller than this -  this was the rear view of the cab on the way home!


Well where to start?  We packed so much into those few days!  Of course as both of us are potaholics we made two visits to Stoke on Trent, but on the middle day we visited Chatsworth to take in a bit of culture!


This is the view of the Painted Hall where the staff were beginning to put up the Christmas decorations!  They were full of apologies for the disruption but it was interesting to see the process in a stately home.  We weren't that impressed with the decorations which we thought were more suitable for a department store and didn't think that they did justice to their sumptuous surroundings!

Chatsworth is a stunning house and we had a beautiful day to see it all -




The above picture is a view of the golden windows, not yellow paint but real gold leaf!  When I visited a few years ago the whole house was shrouded in plastic as it was being renewed.



Next time I will tell you all about our visit to Stoke on Trent and the pots we bought and saw!

Till then, here is a taster -


Thank you Sharon for taking the pictures!

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Lucious stitching!

Sometimes you see something that is so wonderful that you simply have to share!

This is a detail of a portrait of Catherine Carey, Countess of Nottingham, who was a very close friend and confidant of Elizabeth I.


The detail in this portrait by Robert Peake is wonderful and you can click this link and zoom in to examine it more thoroughly.


Because the dress was so spectacular, it was thought for a while, that it was a portrait of Elizabeth herself, but apparently it isn't!  They were such good friends that Elizabeth lent her the dress for the portrait!  However, there is some doubt about Catherine's parentage.  Here is what Wikipedia says -

Catherine Carey was born in about 1524, the daughter of Sir William Carey of Aldenham in Hertfordshire, Gentleman of the Privy Chamber and Esquire of the Body to Henry VIII, and his wife Mary Boleyn, who had once been a mistress of the king. Catherine was Elizabeth I's first cousin. Some contemporaries also asserted that Catherine was an illegitimate child of Henry VIII which would make her Elizabeth's half sister. Although this was never acknowledged by the King, Catherine was given deference by the Court as she aged and came to resemble Henry.

No wonder Elizabeth lent her dresses?


Monday, 13 October 2014

New Project


Sorry about the teaser the other week!  It is so easy to press a wrong button on Blogger and I didn't realise I had until I got comments!

I got bored trying to finish things and decided that as I enjoyed working the Cottage Orné quilt so much, I would do another in the same vein.  I think this one will work out a bit smaller, only about 40 blocks and I am using a stronger colour palette.





All the blocks are taken from Georgian quilts.  Many are the same as in the Cottage Orné, which was based on the Sundial Coverlet, but there are different ones too, some I have come across since and wanted to try out!

I am using mostly Liberty Lawn fabrics because some of the pieces are so small that the fabric has to be quite thin but strong and these fabrics are certainly that.  I never ceased to be amazed at the sheer variety of patterns produced by Liberty.  You only have to look on eBay to get a inkling but the range is even bigger than appears there.  I have been collecting them for decades, so quite a lot of what I am using is vintage, but I am still buying bits on line.  I like to find the quirky stuff, because it can be cut into and makes interesting effects within a block.

Apart from the house at the centre, all the blocks measure 12 centimetres, because Georgian patchwork blocks  were small and this seems a good compromise size.   It is also easily divided by two, three and four which helps when drafting the patterns.

I am using my usual method of selection, getting a wide collection of fabrics together that seem to mix well.  Then I don't have to worry too much when choosing for individual blocks as I know that they will blend together whatever I choose!

I have done 20 blocks so far, so quite a way to go!


 


Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Eye on Elegance Exhibition, DAR Museum, Washington DC

Sorry about the last post, I was going to share a new project with you and accidentally pressed the "publish" button!  It certainly brought in more comments than I usually get, so maybe I should try a teaser more often?

I will return to it soon, but first of all I wanted to tell you about a new exhibition which is now open in Washington DC.  For those of us who can't get to see it there is an online exhibit and an excellent video - here is the link

I am particularly interested in early American quilts because they have such a strong link to British quilts.  Many have the same format as our frame quilts and use blocks found on our Georgian quilts.  This quilt being a prime example -


It has such a strong and simple form and I can see it made up in various ways.  It could be in plain vibrant colours and be Amish?  Or made in dark Welsh wool and be Welsh?   However, here it is in beautiful chintz, very carefully chosen and probably very expensive? The quilting on it is absolutely breathtaking, do look at the video on piecing which shows it in detail.  Of course if it was Welsh it would have different quilting, equally sumptuous but quite distinctive, full of spirals, fans and other wonderful Welsh patterning! Sorry couldn't resist getting that in!

This really is what the exhibition to about, it is demonstrating to us with wonderful examples, the trouble and expense women went to in the 18th and early 19th century, to make masterpiece quilts using high quality fabrics.  This is  something dear to my heart, collecting really good fabrics and using them imaginatively!
 
I do wish I could visit and drool over these wonderful quilts!
Go if you possibly can!

Here I must give this museum full credit for catering for those of us you can't visit in person.  Not often I praise a museum on this page!







Saturday, 27 September 2014

Liberty/Persephone Pomegranate Pots

My favourite store Liberty of London has again teamed up with my favourite pottery person, Emma Bridgewater and yesterday launched a new range of pots which will be on sale for six months.   EB does commissioned ranges for other retailers and of course they are eagerly bought up by us potty people!


It is a version of the one they did for Persephone Books a few years ago which is a proven favourite -



here's my two precious jugs -


There has been rumours that this pattern was going to be produced in more shapes and we have been teased by seeing pieces being used in EB advertising displays -


and in this picture of Emma with a cup, which I particularly lust after -


Well it doesn't look as if it is going to happen and thinking about it, it isn't the way EB operates.  They always keep the copyright of a pattern but rarely reproduce it exactly, especially if it is commissioned.  We collectors have also come to the conclusion that they like to tease us and of course we fall for it every time!  We are hooked and they know it!

So there was great excitement yesterday for those of us who had ordered online, because of course most of us weren't able to get up to London for the launch!  We shared our experiences on Facebook - yes I know, we are all completely potty!

Mine arrived yesterday morning!  Well actually the cake plate isn't mine, I ordered it for my friend whose internet connection was down!  I just bought the teapot!



It was so sunny when I took this picture, but isn't it weirdly wonderful? 



Friday, 19 September 2014

Not English?

I recently found this quilt online in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.  I am delighted to say that I have actually visited this splendid museum which has an outstanding collection of textiles, sadly not on show, but at least they do have some of them on line.  Regular readers of this blog will know that I am very often irritated by museums, but occasionally something good does surface and we must savour the moment!


Since I pinned it on my Pinterest Board it seems to be regularly re-pinned so I know that it must appeal to lots of you out there.

I came across it by typing "English patchwork" into the museum's online search box.  This quilt was the only result with the following information - 

Patchwork quilt in four-patch combinations and variable star motifs of English printed cottons. Polychrome pattern on predominantly brown grounds. Backing of printed cotton with design of oak leaves and roses arranged in vertical stripes in shades of brown, red, black, white and blue. Embroidered on back in white thread "Nancy Richardson. Age 68. 1857" and "John Richardson."

Inscription

"Nancy Richardson. Age 68. 1857." and "John Richardson" embroidered on back

Provenance

Given to the Samson family of the North Shore, Massachussetts; to Dr. Herbert Harris; gift to MFA

 

Well it might have English fabrics but I don't think that it was made in England?   Even though the predominant star pattern is to be found in so many early British quilts it wasn't used in quite the same way.

I was recently reading a research paper written by a member of the British Quilt Study Group which explored the link between UK patchwork and the block patterns that developed in North America and it is fairly obvious that there is a very strong possibility that UK patterns were the forerunners of the American block.   Of course this star pattern is seen in so many other  guises, tiled floors being the most obvious?   It is regularly seen at the centre of Welsh quilts as well as some of our English 18th century coverlets, so it's been around a long time!  It really is an international pattern and no one country can claim it.  In this quilt I think it is used in a very American way.  I'm not sure of why I think this and would be interested in what you think?

It is true that early American quilts are very often similar in style to British quilts, in fact some may have crossed the Atlantic with their owners.  It's actually amazing how many objects have and still do cross the ocean, some several times.  Maybe someone brought English fabrics with them when they sailed to the New World, though it's far more likely that they were imported when trade bans existed!  Politics get into everything!  I prefer the first option because I like to think that someone carried their precious fabrics with them as they embarked on their journey to a new life!

Wouldn't it be nice to know?