The Cottage Orné Quilt

The Cottage Orné Quilt
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Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Between times

May I wish you all a very happy time over the holidays with a knitted toy I would love to own!  Just look at her dress with the dear little robins and the striped stockings!!

She was made by Julie of and I would love to own her - who wouldn't?

Julie's rabbits and other knitted animals are so popular that the name of a purchaser has to be selected by a random selector. Oh I do hope I have the chance to buy one soon! 

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Some EB for Christmas

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas for me without a new piece of Emma Bridgewater and here are two of my festive purchases -

This first picture is a personalised 1 pint mug.  The pattern is a special version of Joy and I chose to have the date 2012 printed on the base of the mug rather than on the body as I did last year.  This was because I preferred the space filled entirely with robins!

This second picture is a specially commissioned Waitrose mug which arrived this morning.  I was delighted with it and also the star box it came in!  I love nice packaging and EB do well in that department - just look at the lovely bag behind the mug which holds a yet to be opened present!

Here 's one I didn't buy but wish I owned - it says all I wish to everyone who reads this blog -

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Wonderful Needlefelt Animals

I recently discovered the work of Jenny Barnett when, with my friends Jilly and Pauline, I visited the Heart Space Studio in Bristol.  This studio is the brainchild of Janet Haig, a wonderful embroiderer whose work I have admired for years.  Anything Janet sponsors is OK with me and Jenny Barnett teaches at the studio.  When we visited there were some of her things which we could buy! 

Jenny is a needle felt artist and sculptor  Having worked for many years in the ceramics industry designing signature pieces for Wedgwood, Coalport and Genisis fine arts, she changed from working with clay to working with wool fleece and cloth.

Here are some of her animals -

I have one of these bears!
This is Merlin, the Welsh Terrier!
Isn't this cat adorable?
Bad Mr. Fox!
 Mad March Hares!
As it's nearly Christmas I'll end on a festive note. 

Aren't they all delightful?

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Chanel in Scotland

On a snowy evening last week, a magical show took place in the courtyard of Linlithgow Palace near Edinburgh - Chanel had come to Scotland!  Hundreds of invited guests, kept warm with Chanel blankets, champagne and whisky, watched the models parade the central courtyard of the palace in the light of flaming braziers.

Linlithgow Palace was the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots and this was the inspiration.

The setting, Linlithgow Palace.
The inspiration.

Some of my favourite outfits from the show - don't they all look nicely wrapped up?

Not clothes one could wander down the high street in and it would help if one was six feet tall and size 8, but oh how romantic.  I'm away to dig out my tartan and throw it all on!

Here is the link to the video - just settle down with a cup of coffee and enjoy!

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Welsh - I think not!

It's usually the other way around - a Welsh sampler mistaken for an American one!  This sampler is thought to be Welsh but I'm not so sure it is.  It was sold at auction a few years ago and I remember being mightily impressed with it.  Now it is appearing on Pinterest as Welsh, so I thought I would air my doubts about its origin.

This is the link where you can see more detailed pictures and read all about it - there's quite a bit to read so I thought this would be the best way.

Now I would love to claim it as Welsh but I just can't believe it.  Somehow it is all wrong.  I know Griffith is a Welsh name but that is all that is Welsh about it.

 If you read through the text on the website you will notice that whoever wrote it found it unusual and mentions that it is unlike other Welsh samplers.  Well I agree.  If I were to take a guess and bearing in mind that I am no expert on American samplers, I would guess at Pennsylvania being the place of origin. There are lots of Welsh names there I should imagine. But the style, format and detailed work on this sampler suggests American to me.

Though my new blog is dedicated to Welsh Samplers I still want to talk about samplers here, especially as this one is of more general interest.  Are there any experts on American samplers out there reading this who would give an opinion?  Wouldn't it be good to trace its source, because there must be more like it as it's very rare to find a one off!

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Quilts and Samplers

Quilts and Samplers seems to go together! They do for me anyway and it seems, from looking at other blogs, that many of you share this twin interest?

In the past, when I have suggested to a publisher that a book combining them would be a good thing, they weren't keen at all!  I am not sure why?  Maybe they think that one subject dilutes the other, or maybe they think we can't cope with two specialties?

The fabrics in the central area date from the 1820s, whilst the outer pieced squares frame dates from the 1840s. There is a cross stitched name and date 'I (heart shape) M March 8 1844'. Quilters' Guild of the British Isles Collection.
I own a sampler very similar to this one and I believe it was worked near Richmond, Yorkshire.

I pursue both with a passion but I don't sew samplers anymore. My sampler interest is now mainly research.  It isn't of an academic standard,  it's making an attempt to record the content of Welsh samplers and drawing conclusions on what I find.  I do this by trawling the internet auctions and with the help of an antique dealer friend who has access to private collections.

I also like to think that my experience of teaching the subject for many years gives me an insight into the thought processes of  female stitchers, which may help a little to understand how certain designs evolve. After although our lives are so very different, human nature hasn't changed much?

All of this is by way of a trailer to my other blog Welsh Folk Art Samplers you can click on it here or access it regularly from the picture of its header at the right hand side of this page.

WARNING - I am having major problems with my computer and there maybe a break in this blog.  If this happens, please keep tuned in as I will return as soon as possible. 

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Another great British Patchwork.

Following on from a wonderful American quilt, here is a fabulous unquilted patchwork coverlet, most probably English, but now in New York in the collection of the Metropolitan Musuem of Art.


here is the link if you want to zoom in on the fabrics.

What intriques me is what the museum says about it -  

Patchwork quilting is usually associated with America, but it also has a tradition in Europe, particularly in Germany and England. The number of differently patterned printed cottons used in this quilt top, ranging in date from the 1790s to the 1820s.

Now how can I say this without causing any offence, but Germany doesn't spring to my mind as a cradle of traditional patchwork and quilting?  Can anyone reading this fill this gap in my knowledge - I can't find much on Google? Could the Met. have got it wrong and meant Holland?

A Quilt for Thanksgiving.

As it's Thanksgiving, I thought I would celebrate with you all by showing this wonderful American quilt which I found on Stella Rubin's site -

Click here for the link.

It was made in Pennsylvania around 1860.  I just love Pennsylvanian quilts and other folk art items, they have an exuberance that reminds me of  Welsh folk art, but this isn't really surprising given it's long standing Welsh connection. This quilt however, isn't like any Welsh quilt I know but it does have tremendous exuberance!

I do wonder at the placement of some of the applique panels however?  I wonder why she didn't design the central block so that the basket was vertical and not tipped?  It would have looked so good with the flowers flowing out of a basket placed in the bottom corner?  Perhaps she didn't have such a pattern or had already made the block before deciding to put it in the centre of a quilt?  This isn't a criticism, I love these quirks and enjoy trying to work out the thinking behind them.

Here are some close ups -

I made some of  these ruched flowers once - I had forgotten the quilt - must look it out!

To my friends in the States - have a lovely time over the holiday!

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Martha Edlin's Casket.

I haven't posted much on 17th Century British Embroidery but I absolutely love it and only wish I could afford one tiny piece, but it's mega bucks, so that's only a dream.

I recently found a video about this stupendous casket which is in the British Galleries (Room 56d, case 6) at the V&A. These galleries are an absolute must if you visit London and are interested in our decorative history - don't miss them!  They are full of the most glorious things but they take some time, make a day of it!

Here is the link to the video - I hope you enjoy it?

The panels forming these caskets were sold drawn in outline on silk or fine linen and the girls worked them in their chosen coloured silks, using different techniques and sometimes adding beads and spangles.  They were then made up into caskets, or mirrors etc., by professionals.  Prior to working such a masterpiece, the girls would have made smaller items culminating in a band sampler. Unusually Martha Edlin's are still with her casket which makes it a unique object.

You will see other things inside the box!  Enjoy!

Here is the link to the full band sampler.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Latest discovered patchwork coverlet

Lately I have been spending far too much time browsing online and pinning but good things do appear -

I found this on the Bonhams website which doesn't have a very good facility for saving pictures or pinning but if you click this link you will be able to zoom in and have a better look.

It was sold last year for £936 and it's obvious that they didn't know much about it as it is just described as -

A  very large early 19th century cotton chintz patchwork quilt featuring a Mariner's Compass and star centre surrounded by a deep border of hexagons, smaller Mariner's Compasses and diamonds, of cream cotton and printed cotton chintzes of many colours and designs, backed with bue cotton, 285 x 328cm.
It doesn't appear to be quilted and doesn't look in particularly good condition but what a tour de force?  I am always delighted to find one of these early patchworks and am facinated by the intricacy and marvel at how long it must have taken to make one.


Saturday, 3 November 2012

A Welsh Country Quilt

While browsing my pictures I came across this image -

I can't remember when I took it but it was on a visit to Jen's little Welsh cottage (see below) which is now her shop.  Isn't it the perfect setting for this unpretentious quilt?

These simple country quilts were made of large patchwork pieces quite quickly sewn together, but then came the long laborious but wonderful quilting that simply transformed it!  Just zoom in and examine the patterning.  I just love these quilts!

There's a great article about Jen and her quilts in the current edition of  HOMES AND ANTIQUES  magazine.  Follow the link and here.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Christmas has started - ugh!

Christmas is a difficult time for many people. I could cope with it more easily if it didn't start so early.  It spoils - no actually it overwhelms the Autumn.  Instead of savouring the gradual change of season, enjoying Guy Fawks, then at the beginning of  December starting thinking Christmas!  Forget that - it has started already!

Actually on the Emma Bridgewater Facebook page they have been planning and practising their Christmas displays since about JULY.  It drives me mad!  This year we haven't had the Mince Pie Plate debacle of  last year.  No EB has learnt her lesson - all is calm and organised and I have just received mine. -

EB asks everyone who orders online to submit a review and gives a monthly prize.  I was lucky enough to win one with my Jubilee mug and it helps if you send picture.  So here I go falling into the Christmas trap but not for long.  This cute little mince pie plate will be packed away until the 25th when it will hold my breakfast toast!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Staying in a Duchy Cottage

Last week I was in Cornwall staying in a Duchy of Cornwall cottage with two friends.  As well as a holiday it was a research trip, as one of the friends has just bought a holiday cottage business in North Pembrokeshire and as we consider Duchy cottages to be at the top of the tree holiday cottage wise, we thought we would try one out.

We stayed in Pawton Mill Farmhouse, near Wadebridge -

It  was quite small for a farmhouse and I would consider it a cottage; extremely comfortable and nicely furnished - a little home from home really, which is the best I can say about a holiday home.  It wasn't perfect - I haven't stayed in a perfect cottage yet, but it came close and we left a list of recommendations to make it perfect! 

If you would like to browse the Duchy Cottages and choose a favourite click here.  Restormel Manor is the largest and the Prince and the Duchess stay there when in Cornwall.  I believe the Middletons have also rented it for a family holiday!  I wonder if they got a discount?

My friends know Cornwall better than I, so they took me around and we visited both the north and south coasts.  There are so many lovely places that we only scratched the surface but here are a few where I got my camera out - I am not a very enthusiastic photographer but this blog serves as a spur!

Trerirce, now owned by the National Trust.  An Elizabethan manor and a Cornish gem.
For all Doc Martin fans, Port Isaac.
More of Port Isaac - I believe Doc Martin's surgery is in this picture?
I can't resist taking pictures of little cottages!

On the last day we went to St. Mawes and had lunch at the Hotel Tresanton.

This was our view from the terrace.
Some of the pretty houses in St. Mawes with a wonderful view across the bay.

We also went to St. Ives, Fowey, Padstow and Rock, all delightful, but as well as having lovely natural features and interesting architecture there were also modern monstrosities built overlooking some of the most beautiful beaches.  Why oh why do planners allow this!

I have always been rather prejudiced against Cornwall, resenting it's popularity because my home county, Pembrokeshire, has a similar coastline and even more wonderful countryside, but isn't nearly so lauded. So many artists and writers have lived and worked in Cornwall, sung its praises, written books set there and made it into a romantic and fashionable holiday destination.  This hasn't happened with Pembrokeshire - there are no Hotel Tresanton type hotels there yet!  Perhaps this is a good thing and those of us who love West Wales can experience a quieter and less expensive holiday?

Just to give you a flavour of St. Mawes and how the British behave around Royalty, here is a link to a little video which begins just outside the hotel and ends at the harbour - such fun!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Medallions? Frame? What's in a name!

"Medallion" is a much prettier word than "frame" - a book with the title "Frame quilts" wouldn't have the same appeal.  I would buy either like a shot because I have always loved quilts with something in the middle.
However, I have decided that there are two other categories neither of which could be correctly described as Frame Quilts.

I have been searching hard on line for a nice example of a British Frame Quilt and chose this one -

I don't know much about it and I apologise to the person who took the picture because I have lost the reference.  It is well organised for a British Medallion and it looks as if it might have embroidery in the middle which was quite a popular thing to do. It has some interesting touches mixing applique with simple piecing.

Some of our earliest quilts can't really be described as Frames. What would you call the three below?

The Sundial Coverlet dated 1797
The Jane Pizar Coverlet - some confusion about this date but I think it is early 19th century
The 1718 Silk Patchwork Coverlet is one of the earliest known dated patchworks, and is constructed in the mosaic patchwork tradition of piecing over papers. 

None of the above images are that great and I apologise but they at least give you an idea of the layout of these 18th and early 19th century quilts with a large focus block at its centre surrounded by a field of small blocks.

These  British coverlets are really sampler quilts with a "medallion" in the middle, perhaps a new category, Sampler Medallion?  The Jane Pizar is certainly the best design - it works beautifully with its three borders all well thought through, no - oh well let's just finish it off quickly here - which is a great temptation after such a mammoth piecing effort.  Though I adore the Sundial, I think it falls short in this respect.

Then the other category could be Mosaic Medallion such as the Elizabeth Chapman coverlet -

This is just a part of the Elizabeth Chapman coverlet (it's  very big) in the V&A Collect dated 1829

A great many Dutch quilt fall into this category too -

A fabulous old Dutch Quilt in the International Quilt Study Centre in Nebraska.  It's early - late 18th century I think?

Medallions are so fascinating I think I will be returning to this subject sometime!

Sorry about my above spacing issues, I have been chopping this piece about and Blogger doesn't like that!


Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Dolly/teddy quilt and comments

I have given up on this  little doll quilt - I should really do much more quilting in the border and it grieves me to see it empty, but really, I am so fed up with this quilt!  You know how some quilts are easy and now and then you struggle - well this little quilt has been one of those!

I have photographed it with my 70's rag doll Jessamy.  The teddy was made by Nichola Dugmore who named her Kate.

I love teddy bears and still occasionally buy one though I try hard not to!  They are so difficult to resist, sitting on a shelf looking so appealing - I just love them!  This one was bought many years ago and is beautifully made with a little hand knitted dress - I had forgotten how sweet until I took these pictures!  

Now for comments!  Recently I have had great difficulty leaving comments on blogs. This seems to be the fault of Blogger as they have made the encrypted word that you have to type to prove that you are not a robot almost impossible to decipher and when you do, they reject it.  On several occasions I have given up entirely.  This is a shame for both readers and bloggers, because we bloggers love having comments, it helps the juices flow!.  I used to have a great many but I have noticed that they have fallen away of late which I find dispiriting.  I have now pressed the button to turn off this encrypted facility so please do try and leave a comment.