Sunday, 27 October 2013

Another Textile Jaunt

Some very enjoyable textile stuff has been happening recently here at Textile Treasury. We've had the Kentucky Quilt Collection at Fakenham the other week. Then during my time in Wales came the visit to Lampeter to see Jen Jone's Welsh Quilt Collection with the Kaffe Fassett Exhibition. On my return I went to Swaffham to see Liz Nally's North of England and Welsh Antique Quilt Collection - coincidentally meeting up again with Jane Clarke, whose Open Studios I visited last year. More of Jane's exploits in an upcoming post! And to cap the month off I spent a brilliant day yesterday with Stitch and Bitch friend Yvonne at a very special studio over the other side of the county.

First, though, I'd like to tell you about a Blog Swap I made with lovely Els from the Netherlands. Els liked my wool pincushions and asked about doing a swap for one of her mandalas. I thought this was a Good Thing so the swap was a done deal. I think  the pincushion I sent to Els is the one in my header photograph.

 This is my mandala which Els drew and coloured - can you see the fiddle, and the singing bird - the Firebird, and some folky flowers, and journal flowers. And also a little image of - yes! Me!! So a very personalised mandala which I love - thank you so much Els.

So, back to Saturday's Textile Jaunt. Yvonne belongs to a group of Rug Hookers who meet monthly in a little village over the more easterly side of the county, called Swanton Novers. Meetings are hosted by Jane-Ann at her beautiful home and studio on the edge of the village. I had met her and one or two of the group at Yvonne's Open Studio earlier this year, and had been invited along to a meeting. Now I love rag rugs. You know I do. You've seen my attempts and my two purchased items. I fully intended to spend the day getting to grips with my 'bird' seat cover. I'm so embarrassed to admit - I can't find it anywhere! The bird has flown! However, I was allowed in and permitted to stay, and got on with some other stitching, but oh! I must find that bag before next month's meeting!

I know. Aren't you jealous? I'm so green I could run for parliament on the ecology ticket! Here you see, l-r  Jane-Ann, Yvonne, Red, kettle in hand, and Nadine.

Everywhere I looked there was evidence of Jane-Ann's prolific talent in many crafts, particularly textile-based, but with special emphasis on rug-hooking.

Sorry, this photo does not want to right itself; it is the seat cushion partnered to the next photograph.

This wonderful old hexagon quilt top was purchased by Jane-Ann at a textiles fair recently. Isn't it fascinating? There was much discussion on how/whether to launder it. The brochure reading  "FRAYED" above relates to an exhibition showing in Great Yarmouth between now and March, I'm hoping to get along to see that.

And look what I spied hanging on the wall near the door ...... a genuine Janet Bolton! Yes. and no, I didn't walk out with it!

All in all it was a very productive day for everyone. Much of the talk centred around the forthcoming craft fair "Made in Norfolk" at Swanton Novers Village Hall on Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th November 10-4 and 11-4. The post code is NR24 2RB and this is its third year. The work of the group will be much in evidence, and I think Red in particular was instrumental in getting the fair up and running in the first place. (Correct me if I'm wrong!) I'm under the impression that the craftspeople will be displaying and hopefully selling quite high-end items, so if you are within driving distance, do pop along, you won't be disappointed.

                                        Jane-Ann completed her hooky bird in the day.

                                                            The group hard at work.

                                 Yvonne dashing away at her sunflower - isn't it gorgeous?

And I completed three pincushions to 'stuffing level' and worked on my up cycled cardigan. I've become quite excited by 'altered clothing' at the moment - probably started off by my Boro-style Molly Coat - and I have been embellishing this 6-7 year old cotton cardigan. I think I might change the elbow patches a little, but I'm quite pleased with the felted diamonds. The cardigan is a lovely soft green, which unfortunately hasn't photographed in true colour.

Here it is at home, you can see the shade a little better perhaps. I think it is my habit of mending moth holes in woollens with velvet patches which has led me down this 'altered' path. I've seen some very exciting examples on pinterest. Watch this space!

So thank you Jane-Ann and everyone who made me so welcome, and big thanks to Yvonne for taking me. I promise to be hooking next time!

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Liz Nally's Antique Quilts

This beautiful antique quilt is called a Sanderson Star, because it was designed by Elizabeth Sanderson, a quilt designer from the North East of England.

Yesterday I went to the Assembly Rooms in Swaffham with a couple of Stitch & Bitch friends, to listen to a talk by Liz Nally about her collection of antique quilts, from the North of England and from Wales, all made between the 1850's and the 1940's. I took over 200 photographs and held my breath when I thought I'd lost them AFTER DELETING FROM MY CAMERA as my lap-top complained about uploading them, and they got waylaid somewhere between 'photo stream' and 'events'! Phew. 

Liz gave us an excellent talk, and most exciting of all she had brought with her a large part of her collection. Beautiful, beautiful quilts, a few purchased from shops, but the majority from ebay! Yes, Liz took the plunge and has become the very Mistress of the Last Second Bid. I shall never bother attempting to buy a quilt this way as I know I will be outgunned by Liz or Pippa Moss, another English quilt collector. 

Liz does not claim to be an expert, but she does know a lot about antique quilts, believe me! You can contact her, as she runs workshops and gives talks, on - should you wish to learn more. Now, there are so many photographs, I am just going to let you look at them and enjoy their faded splendour.

                         I thought myself, that these looked like reproduction feedsack fabrics.

       Below are a few other items Liz has been unable to resist whilst searching for quilts to purchase.

                                                               I WANT THIS BAG!!!!

           Now the following quilts came out of cotton bags, as there wasn't room to hang them all.

  This was one of my favourites. The border fabric was exquisite and the quilting so clear and intricate.

Unlike American quilts of the same era, English quilts were unbound, and you can see how they have frayed at the edges here.

 This was a smaller Canadian Red Cross quilt, and judging from the audience response to it, it clearly struck a chord with many of us. A real mixture of fabrics has been used.

This quilt includes lots of Turkey Red fabric, which has rotted in parts. There are many holes and damaged patches, but it was another favourite with today's audience.

                This hexagon quilt has certainly seem better days, but lives to tell its own tale.

This reversible quilt is one of the earliest machine quilted pieces, very heavy, according to the two ladies who were doing a grand job of showing the collection!

 And back to the original blue and white Sanderson Star, such an incredibly wonderful quilt, feast your eyes on the quilting motif details. Excuse the odd blur here and there.

I hope you've enjoyed seeing this wonderful collection, and thanks to Liz for providing us with such a great spectacle. Though I've run through the spectrum of quilt making myself, hand and machine quilting, hand-dyeing, folk quilts, Art quilts, experimental textiles, I keep coming back to those gentle, hand stitched, largely utilitarian household objects which so capture our hearts and imaginations in this age of machine made, speedily constructed, quickly forgotten equivalents. I am also thrilled to be able to show the world that here in the UK we do still have an unbroken link to our textile roots; I hope these, and quilts from similar collections will remain here, on our own shores, for future generations to enjoy and appreciate.