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 email@example.com - 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 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!
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.