The Cottage Orné Quilt

The Cottage Orné Quilt
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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."


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


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? 

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Edwardian Houses

I'm sorry to have been away so long!  I haven't been feeling like blogging and have been considering having a Facebook page instead!  Several friends have asked me why I haven't been writing here and there's no easy answer except that I couldn't think of anything to write about!  A writers block maybe?

I am having roof work done on this house which is quite unsettling, especially while typing this there is lots of banging going on just over my head!  A prior owner of this house, which is now 107 years old, had replaced the original slates with tiles and I have been having it re-slated in affordable stages.  We are on the last lap and I must say I am really pleased with the look and as slates are far lighter than tiles they are so much  kinder to the roof timbers of this old house.

Though I live in Wales and we are famous for our production of slate, I had to be content with Canadian slate because there is such a shortage of Welsh at the moment.  The resurgence of building after the economic downturn is being blamed and we had to wait in the slate queue quite a while!  It's absolute madness to think that I couldn't support my home country's slate industry but actually there is very little difference.  They look and cost the same as the Welsh, so it's our secret!  Annoying though, but thank you Canada for producing such good stuff!

When we first moved to this Edwardian house, I worked this sampler to celebrate it's 100th Birthday and I cheated a bit and gave it a slate roof because I always hoped that one day it would have one!  Now it has, so at least one dream has come true and it looks more like it's needlework depiction.  Sadly, Frank, my dear black cat, is no longer trotting up the path to the front door but is buried in the garden.  He is not forgotten even though I now have Bella and Wilfred!  

Since my marriage, I have only lived in two houses and both have been Edwardian, so I have become very fond of houses of that era.  I read somewhere that it was the high spot of building standards in the UK and I can quite believe it.  It was just before World War 1 and that was such a life changing four years for this country, things have never been the same since in so many ways! 

Edwardian houses were build to last and had high quality material, sadly though they are beginning to show their age and need a great deal of maintenance.  The good thing is that young people greatly appreciate them and I am surrounded by younger neighbours who have moved in and are busy restoring all the original features that were ripped out in the 60s and 70s.  Though everyone I know, who loves houses, seem to long for a Georgian house, Edwardian ones are perhaps more attainable and better build?

I have recently begun a board on Pinterest so if you would like to see and learn more, here is the link