The Cottage Orné Quilt

The Cottage Orné Quilt
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Monday, 30 December 2013

Fabulous quilt - what does it remind me of?

It is only in recent years that I have appreciated Amish quilts.  In my early quilting years, though I appreciated their impact and workmanship, I really preferred mixed print quilts, as not only do I love mixing prints in the quilts I make, but enjoy studying them in old quilts.  I still feel this way and think that imaginative use of printed fabric is under-estimated. Now of course, with the proliferation of specifically designed fabric ranges, quilters can take the easy option and don't have to cudgel their brains which I am sad about!  Mixing prints yourself is the best fun!

Ah well, off the soap box, let's just look at this beauty!

It's recently sold at auction, listed as an Amish 16 patch and my first thoughts on seeing it was that it reminded me of some of my favourite Welsh blankets -

The above is one in the Jen Jones Collection on display at the Welsh Quilt Centre in Lampeter.  The one below being used on a chair is in the Welsh home of the Prince of Wales -

His decorator is his sister-in-law, Annabel Elliot, whose work I admire tremendously.  She has a great love of old textiles and uses them extensively in her work. HRH has some nice examples in his Welsh farmhouse, both quilts and blankets, sometimes, as here, covering a chair and sometimes a table or bed.

Welsh blankets are fashionable at the moment.  Many new designs are being produced as they seem to chime with the spare look that many designers are favouring now and you see them appearing in decorating magazines in differing ways.

While I was doing picture research for this post, I came across these beautiful old ones -


Wishing you warm greetings and a happy and healthy New Year from a wet and windy Wales!

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve in Wales is very stormy, as I believe it is in the rest of the UK?  However, far too much food has been bought and stored away - well it wouldn't be Christmas without a panic shop in M&S would it?  Today I'm going to have a catching up day, but before I start anything, I am taking a quiet moment to write to you all and wish you a healthy and happy time where ever you are and which ever way you celebrate.

We haven't had any EB for a while, so here are a few of my Christmas pots to help spread the message -

and here's part of a little Christmas quilt I made many years ago -

Lastly - just remember -

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Christmas Quilts

What makes a good Christmas quilt?  They have to be red and green don't they?  Well I'm not so sure, but they certainly need to make an impact - something like this one maybe?

It's called Amish with a Twist and was designed by Nancy Rink and you can get the pattern and details here.  I just love this quilt! You would necessarily want to look at it throughout the year, but to bring it out and display it for a few weeks, it's just magic?

When I first began quilting Quilters Newsletter Magazine was my bible and I eagerly awaited it's monthly delivery from the USA.  The Christmas edition was special and I was intrigued by the idea of having one special quilt to display over the festive season.  I resolved to make one!  Sadly I haven't got much to show, as I have only made little quilts which don't make the same impact!  However, now with the Internet I can cruise through hundreds and here's a few more I would like to share.

It's dated 1880 from Virginia and for sale  - here are the

Then what about this one -

It's in the collection of the American Folk Art Museum

I first saw this on the Pine Ridge Quilter blog a few years ago but it is still one of my favourites.  I love the Feathered Star block, but have never made one and this is one of the most beautiful I have seen, combined here with Redwork embroidery.  It's featured in Texas Quilt Museum My Stars! A Constellation of Star Quilts 1845-1993, curated by Sandra Sider, December 2013.

You can't go far wrong with a Star of Bethlehem quilt, this one was made in Kentucky circa 1840 and is in the Collection of Waveland State Shrine, Lexington, Kentucky.

Lastly this one with appliqued holly in heart shaped wreaths.  The green has faded somewhat but it is still a very pretty quilt -  more details

Hope you have enjoyed my choice and there are lots more on my Pinterest board.  Do go and have a look!  You will find the button on the top right hand side of this blog.

Since posting the above I have just found a not very good picture of a quilt I have always liked. I saw it in a "That Patchwork Place" catalogue and thought one day .....!  I would make some changes if I ever did make it because it is a little bit fussy for me, but I still like it!

I think it comes from "Country Threads Christmas" by Mary Tendall and Connie Tesene, but if anyone can confirm this and point me in the right direction, I should be most grateful.

Yet another add on!  Thanks to Susan's comment I have now ordered from Amazon - we have it on the UK one too!

You never know - I might actually make it!

Thursday, 28 November 2013

A Quilt for Thanksgiving

Last year and I really can't believe it's a year, to celebrate Thanksgiving, I posted a picture of a wonderful American quilt.  So this year I'm going to do it again -

It's part of the collection in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, donated by Elizabeth Day McCormick, who I've written about before.  Everything that she donated is of the highest quality, so it is no surprise that this wonderful quilt is one of hers!

They obviously don't know much about it as it is described on the museum website only as American, early 19th century, but what a quilt!  I think it showcases everything wonderful about American Medallions, which are much more thought through than the majority of British ones. A superb piece of work - a very special quilt for a special day.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends across the pond!

Friday, 22 November 2013

Is this the end of the beginning?

Today I'm going to take an unusual step of posting about the same thing on two of my blogs!

Some of you may be following my Cottage Orne blog, which is about me making a tribute to the Sundial Coverlet in the V&A.  The blog began in September 2011 and if you want to read the full story click on this link or the header picture.

Well have I finished it?  Actually I am undecided?

I finished attaching the border by hand several weeks ago and have been waiting for a suitable day to photograph it outside ever since.  We have had such mixed weather, but today it is sunny though a bit blowy, but it isn't too bad a picture.

I feel that it should have have another border but I don't want it to get too big because I have to quilt it and though I have auditioned many fabrics I really can't find anything suitable.  So I am sticking to the old adage  - When in doubt, do nowt!

Any advice would be welcome as I have never been so uncertain about a finish.  Perhaps it is because this story has been a special one for me and has stretched my piecing and drafting abilities to the limit.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Another favourite Welsh Quilt

I have featured this quilt before on this blog but have since come across some better pictures of it -

It's in the collection of Ceredigion Museum and is in the group of quilts in their travelling exhibition.

Just after we has completed projects for Making Welsh Quilts, I came across a picture of it on the net in an exhibition of Welsh Quilts at the Green Mountain  College in Vermont.  I was very struck with the design and regretted that I hadn't seen it before as I would have like to have included it in the book.  Nevertheless, I decided to make a little version of it, but I didn't quite get the colours right!  Instead of the lovely dark green backing the central star, I used blue.  When I saw the original in an exhibition at Hereford Museum I was so annoyed because I loved the green, but it was too late as it had been quilted.

The picture on the Internet wasn't detailed enough to show the lovely crunchy swirly quilting on the original.  I had nothing to go on so I made up my own design, which I probably would have done anyway, because when you reduce the overall size of a quilt you don't have the scope for large flamboyant patterning seen on the larger quilts.  Now when I look at it I know that I should have put more quilting in one of the borders.  This annoys me every time, so maybe one day I will do a little filling in?

I have used an image of my version in this blog's heading and also for Christmas greeting, which shows that I am very fond of it -

Why do I like it so much?  It's simple design grabs attention and it is so Welsh in form and colour.  If I had to choose a pattern to represent Welsh quilts, I think would choose this one.  Oh I do wish I had known about the green!

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Disinterested Museum?

Well you know I am fairly critical of museums when it comes to textiles and this is a continuation of the story of the Elizabeth Jefferson coverlet.  I think it illustrates that textiles have a very low priority in the museum world.  

It seems to be a battle we can't win. Museums hold and manage important collections which are financed by us, the tax payer, yet we have no power to influence what they do and if we start making waves they will become even less helpful. They have the standby excuses of lack of public funds and shortage of staff to fall back on and we have no answer to this because it is true now and always will be.  There will never be enough funds and public servants will always use it as an excuse.

Just to show how popular this coverlet is I am including images of three Australian reproductions courtesy of Google images which are all quite different -

After posting  twice about this coverlet I wrote again to the museum in Manchester and append the correspondence -

Dear Dr. Lambert,

I have been doing a little more digging re this coverlet and found a b/w image of it in the Averil Colby Patchwork book (this is a standard work on British patchwork and quilting.  I must have passed by this picture many times and didn't associate it with the colour image of the coverlet in your collection! 

I also find that it is quite well known in Australia, as some clever person has made and sold a pattern of it based on the old image in the book and reproductions of it abound.  Of course the colours are different because they did not have a colour picture to guide them.  So there was great interest when I blogged about it.

Just out of curiosity I googled Elizabeth Jefferson, born 1801and only one came up and it was in the 1841 Scottish Census and Electoral Roll -

Elizabeth Jefferson Ages 40,
Where born, Angus, Scotland. 
Household members Elizabeth Jefferson Aged 40  Jessie Forrest, Aged 15. 

I could have gone further on but that would mean either paying a fee or having a free trial.  I have been in this situation before with absolutely no success and spent ages going around in circles so I asked my blog readers, who might have a subscription, to try for me.  No success so far though!

Why am I telling you all this?  Well I am hoping that now that you know of the interest you might try and get an image of the full sized quilt done and release it on the website.  It would also be great if someone could follow up my lead above? 
Thats if you have access to ancestry sites?


Mary Jenkins

This is the reply I received - 

many thanks again, Mary.

It does sound possible that our Elizabeth Jefferson is the one from Angus, but of course, we will probably never be able to be sure.

Very best wishes

I think this constitutes a polite brush off don't you?  Obviously he wasn't very interested and has no intention of updating the information or arranging for any images of the full sized coverlet.

I am rather disappointed that no one reading this blog has come forward to help!  I did bump into a friend in the supermarket a few days after my original post, who said she did have a subscription to and I tried to persuade her to help me!  Stephanie - are you reading this?

So this seems to be the end of the line re Elizabeth Jefferson  - for the moment anyway!

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Country Medallions

I love many different types of quilts but am especially fond of Medallions or Frame quilts, with a special weakness for the unsophisticated ones which can look a bit unplanned.  I categorise them as Country Medallions and would like to share a few with you.

This is the one that started me thinking -

It's a fragment that was sold on USA eBay.  Not sure where it's from but I was inspired by it.  I am working on samples of Broderie Perse at the moment and this came up on my Google search.  I love the lovely faded look of the squares and if I didn't have so many projects on the go I would love to make up something similar and extend it.

Here are some more of my favourites -

This one I discovered recently, it's from Weardale in Yorkshire and it has a lovely folk art look -

The one below I particularly like but I don't know whether it is old or new.  It was a pattern from Patchwork at Stonleigh called the Cotswold quilt.  I don't know if it was based on an original old quilt or anything about its history.  If anyone knows, I would be grateful for any information.

Lastly here is one on a bed -

This is a bedroom in the country home in the Cotswolds of Stanley Falconer, who was a senior designer at Colfax and Fowler.  I found pictures of it in an American magazine and thought it was a dream house - I loved every room in that house!  Now when I look at it I am not so enamoured, my taste must have changed and I now find this bedroom a bit too fussy! The quilt probably wouldn't have been made for such a sophisticated room, it is Colfax and Fowler introducing a little bit of dressing down country charm into their rather expensive decoration - something of trademark of theirs! 

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Domestic Life in Needlework

Though I adore 18th century British quilts I am not so keen on our 18th century embroidery.  It's a bit fussy and flowery for me and hasn't the charming naivety of 17th century embroidery. However, the two pictures below are an exception.  They are believed to tell a  story of a family and were worked by a lady in the family.

The first one is dated 1738 and the second 1746 - so what happened in that eight years?  Well they may have moved house, as the first house is rather grand with a formal garden at the side and a park with deer and  peacocks.  There are nine figures, all engaged in interesting activities and one empty cradle indicating the death of a child.

The second picture has less content but tells a different tale.  The houses are less grand, the three ladies are still engaged in same same pursuits as before, but now there are three empty cradles, one indicating the death of twins.  All rather sad, but very typical of family life in the 18th century.

Both needleworks were auctioned in Sotheby's New York this week, both had a high estimated value, the first 60 to 80 thousand dollars and the second a bit cheaper 50 to 70 thousand.  Only the first one sold, for $53,000,  the second was withdrawn as it obviously did not reach it's reserve. Such a shame if they are go to different collectors, but maybe a deal was done after the auction?

Though I love these wonderful embroideries I really prefer woolwork 19th century pieces, something like this one -

It is so bright and jolly I would smile every time I looked at it!  Not sure which side of the pond it hails from and I suspect it is in a different price bracket from the previous pictures.  I love it though!

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Staying at Sissinghurt!

I spent a few days last week staying with two friends in the Priest's House over looking the White Garden at Sissinghurst!  This is one of the most magical and famous gardens in the world and we had a wonderful few days with the most perfect autumn weather, warm, sunny and golden!

Sissinghurst is a garden that looks good whenever you visit because it is the National Trust's jewel and has 8 permanent gardeners, which is the highest number apparently.  These are supported by a band of dedicated volunteers as well as trainees and contractors, so it is kept in wonderful order.  I have visited it many times and there is always something to inspire, it never disappoints.

We arrived after dark, but in the morning just before breakfast, we opened the kitchen door and walked into the White Garden - in our night attire!  The place was deserted, just the birds and a little tabby cat darting about the borders!  We strolled the lawns from one garden to another, gazed at the tower - there were sounds of hoovering echoing down the stairs - just a touch of reality!  Then back to our house for breakfast with the door open to the garden!  Absolutely magical!

We had three days there, but was it all wonderful, sadly it was not!

The Priest's House where Harold and Vita once lived in now a National Trust Holiday Cottage and is fully booked all through the season.  We were lucky to get a slot and it was expensive because it is such a unique house in an incomparable setting.  However, though the setting was magical the interior the cottage was mundane.  I have stayed in NT cottages before and have not been impressed with their decor, despite this I was hopeful that in this stellar property all the stops might have been pulled up.  They were not!  It was gloomy, unimaginatively decorated is the kindest thing I can say.  I won't bore you with a list, but suffice to say that we have one and will be sending it to the National Trust!

Surprisingly, when we read the Visitors' Book everyone had penned fulsome praise.  There wasn't one negative comment!  Surely we weren't the only ones to find it wanting?  Are people so bowled over by the setting that they overlook the discrepancies within the house?  Well we three weren't, we were annoyed that this wonderful place wasn't achieving its full potential, it just needed a good designer and a modest budget to make it live up to its surroundings!

There is one thing that says it all and I still can't get over it!  Usually when you arrive at a cottage there is a bunch of flowers somewhere and very often there are nicely arranged and come from the garden!  Well there was a bunch of flowers, but they were the type that are bought on a garage forecourt,  you know the sort, small white chrysanthemums, some dyed green!