The Cottage Orné Quilt

The Cottage Orné Quilt
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Saturday, 21 June 2014

A temporary blip?

So sorry I have been absent for a few weeks.  I haven't been feeling at all creative, though I am trying to finish a few projects!

I think that's the trouble frankly.  The excitement for me is when I am designing, planning and sorting through fabrics.  At the moment I'm feel guilty about all the unfinished things that are piling up and every time a spark of an idea comes to me I feel I must stifle it. I know that if someone was telling me this about themselves I would tell them not to be so silly.  I would say that unfinished projects are not a sin and in the event of them not being finished by you, someone else may finish them for you!  However, I'm not in the mood for taking this on board and am feeling rather down!

It's not helped by warm weather!  I know we are all supposed to like hot, sunny weather, but I'm a true North European and I don't.  In fact my spirits tend to plummet when the temperature rises!

On a more cheerful note, I'm still deeply into EB and have had some lovely visits with EB friends and have acquired one or two new treasures!

Though I do buy new pieces from Stoke, I tend to buy older pieces on eBay.  The large cup and saucer on the right of the picture is a rare piece and was spotted on eBay by an eagle eyed friend, who bought it on my behalf. 

I visited with this same friend last week and here is her lovely lunch table filled with assorted EB - she apologises for the trailer in the picture but if we had cropped that we would have lost the beautiful view - she lives in the midst of wonderful Welsh countryside.

Sunny days are delightful on times and this was such a day!

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Three little Welsh Quilts

I came across this photograph in my files, it must have been taken one September judging by the garden?  Not sure which year though?

These three little quilts had been on exhibition and I was giving them an airing before storing them away in the quilt cupboard.

The cow quilt is my version of a wonderful folk art one belonging to Ron Simpson which is presently forming the central part of the current exhibition at the Welsh Quilt Centre in Lampeter.

and in the picture below, at the top, second from the left, is the original Ceredigion basket quilt which inspired my little basket quilt also on the line, together with a doll sized basket quilt from my book LITTLE WELSH QUILTS.  This  can be ordered from my publisher from the link at the side of this blog.  It can be downloaded in seconds from anywhere in the world and stored on your iPad or other tablet.  It's then just like a book, only a moving one as there are videos of me demonstrating my way of doing things, especially the way I mark out quilting patterns.

On the right hand side of the above picture is a Welsh wool version of Mariner's Compass blocks!  I have seen one of these before and have a picture somewhere, but can't find it at the moment.  However, if there are two surviving there must have been a few made?  Of course we use the name Mariner's Compass now, but this pattern is to be found in many early British quilts, so not new, just re-invented, given a name and marketed?

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Pretty, flowery quilts!

The Chelsea Flower Show is upon us and as usual I'm in my annual gardening mood.  I'm not a proper gardener, but I love visiting gardens and am interested in garden design which links in well with designing quilts. So this time of the year I like working on something pretty and flowery and putting aside the richer, bolder colours of winter. 

Usually I have an ongoing project as most of my quilts take several summers to complete and I find inspiration from studying old English quilts.  I say English, they may actually have been made anywhere in the British Isles as the same fabrics were available to all, so let's say made in the English style?

I have been searching through my Pinterest boards to show you what inspires me.  The original source of many of the pictures are difficult to credit, but many were from auction catalogues and others from museums.

As you know, I enjoy doing Broderie Perse applique, though I do find it time consuming because I do it using herringbone stitch, one of the traditional ways of attaching the cut pieces.  Of course I could machine it, but I like the process of hand sewing and rarely use my sewing machine.

This week I have returned to a piece I started last year, which I showed you then.  It was to be a teaching aid for my class at the Welsh Quilt Centre, but sadly we had to cancel through lack of students, so obviously it isn't that inspiring as I thought!

In this last picture I am auditioning fabrics which may form the outer borders and corner pieces, but there will be quite a bit of applique on the striped inner border which I have yet to decide upon!

Ah well onwards and upwards!  It's certainly easier to do than working in the garden!

Monday, 12 May 2014

Keep Patching!

Have you heard of Boro?  I had vaguely and now there's been an exhibition at Somerset House in London all the great and the good will be now be fully aware of them?  It was also a selling exhibition with pieces starting at £5,000, so probably too late to start a little collection?

These are the pictures that first caught my eye and encouraged me to follow up the many links in search  of something new to me in textiles - maybe they will spark your interest too?

Boro can be translated into English as ‘rags’ and is the collective name for items, usually clothing and bed covers,  made by the poor, rural population of Japan who could not afford to buy new when need required and had to literally make ends meet by piecing and patching discarded cotton onto existing sets, forming something slightly different each time they did so.

If you are as interested in this as I have become, here are two really good videos that explain and show examples -

I would like to think that the trend for re-cyling fabric grows and becomes fashionable, because, apart from it's green credentials, it seems to draw people to the craft.  It's a very appealing concept, but newcomers then come up against the commercial might of the fabric, gadget and machine manufacturers and cannot always find their way to like minded folk.

I myself feel very out of step these days. I won't bore you again with my opinions, but it was inspiring to learn how old, distressed, but still beautiful things are so appreciated.  I only wish that our own Welsh quilts were so venerated and granted an exhibition at Somerset House! 

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Miss Anne Pritchard's Patchwork Bedspread

Sorry it has taken so long to keep my promise of more pictures of the early 19th century bedspread which I posted a little while ago.  I was hoping to have done a bit more research, but sadly I have been caught up in other things.  However, I will tell you what I know.

I was wrong calling it a coverlet.  It has been described as a bedspread and though it has some outline quilting, which you can see in some of the close-ups, it looks like just two layers, so not a quilt?

As these pictures came from several sources, there are some repeats of certain interesting bits, but I thought I would include them as they show different surrounding fabrics.

I greatly enjoyed looking at the fabrics and though I am no expert on old fabrics, they looked like a mixture of soft furnishing rather than dress fabrics?  I was pleased by this  because I use many such fabrics in my work and can't understand why they are considered unsuitable.   I love the fact that they introduce a larger scale of pattern to the patchwork, which I think makes it more interesting?

Though the sewing was competent, it wasn't highly skilled, as you will be able to see in the close-ups of the patches. Like much of the patchwork of that era, fabrics either had been sewn together to make a patch or cut from a previous incarnation.

This bedspread was given to the Museum in 1962.   The records simply say that it was a patchwork bedspread made of cotton prints, both glazed and plain with a linen backing.  It was thought to have been made by Miss Anne Pritchard of Collena "about 150 years ago"  (1812 by this calculation).

The Pritchard family lived in Collena House, Tonyrefail, a three story mansion originally built in 1093, which overlooks the village.   In the early 19th century it would have been an important house and the major one in this area which eventually was surrounded by industrial South Wales.  My next task is to find out if it is still there and do a bit more digging!

I know some of you reading this are experts at dating fabrics, so please do comment and give us the benefit of your knowledge!


Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Kaffe at the American Museum again!

Last week I visited the latest Kaffe Fassett exhibition at the American Museum in Bath!  I will spare you the details of our journey, suffice to say that the roads leading in an around Bath were gridlocked, which perhaps didn't help my mood.  It was also a rather dull grey day!  Nevertheless I was greatly looking forward to my visit as I am a admirer of Kaffe work and have seen most of his many exhibitions over the years!

Colourful it certainly was!

I was really pleased to see on of my very favourite things of Kaffe's -

Photography wasn't allowed, so the above pictures have been taken from the Internet which makes it difficult to credit each source!

Despite visiting in Easter school holidays, the Museum was very quiet.  In fact I don't think I have ever been there when it was so deserted.  Mind you I haven't been there for a while because they now don't do regular quilt exhibits, so no reason to go!

Things have changed and not for the better.  The refreshments are now served in a newly built cafe which would have been wonderful, as it has been angled to make the most of the stunning views, but it is a terrible mishmash of styles.  The ceilings and windows are modern and cutting edge but someone has then decided to give it a Greek Revival touch and rather nasty pillars and architrave have been added.  Then to cap it all it has been filled with really awful brown wooden tables and chairs!  Also the lovely array of American cakes and cookies are no longer and neither do you queue up at the old fashioned window and deal with the jolly ladies in the kitchen!  Now it has a more professional look and food is served within the new cafe with a more limited choice of quite ordinary British things, not American at all!  Ah well, that's the way things go these days!  The old fashioned looks and ways, that were so charming, all swept aside in the name of progress!  Grrr!

Apart from grumbling about the above, did I enjoy my visit?  Well to be perfectly truthful I came away feeling rather flat.  Maybe I have seen too much of Kaffe's work and it was all becoming just too familiar.  There is no doubt that an awful lot of stuff was there, many of it familiar from other exhibits, but it felt like a small exhibition!  It was wonderfully co-ordinated and staged and the colour hit you from the start, but I toured it in less than 15 minutes and didn't return to have another look, as I usually do!

If you would like to hear and see Kaffe talk about this exhibition, here is a link to a very interesting video - click scroll down and enjoy!

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Happy Easter

After having a lovely sunny week here in Wales, today when my next door neighbours are having a family egg hunt in their garden, it's cool and cloudy with rain to come.  Such a shame! 

Sending you all a few Spring and Easter like pictures from inside and outside my house -

Have a Happy Easter Day everyone.