North Country Quilts

I have been thinking a lot about North Country Quilts at the moment. I recently had the pleasure of teaching two groups of people (via Zoom) about North Country Quilts. It was wonderful to introduce them all to the quiet pleasures of hand-quilting and to share a little of the quilting tradition in the North of England. Hand-quilting in traditional patterns on quilts is strong in the area around Durham, where I used to live and these quilts are often referred to as ‘Durham Quilts’. However, the same quilting patterns are seen across the Pennines in the North-West of England, so ‘North Country Quilts’ is a more accurate term. I have written in a previous post about the beautiful quilts in the collection of Beamish Museum in County Durham. You can see that post here.

white quilting on a white background on a traditional North Country Quilt in which the stitches make the pattern.
Hay spade pattern quilt at Beamish

The Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle, in County Durham is currently showing an exhibition entitled ‘North Country Quilts: In Celebration of New Acquisitions’. One of the exhibits is the beautiful hand-quilted double bed quilt seen below. The exhibition runs from 17 May 2021 – 9 January 2022. You can buy tickets here.

Photo credit: The Bowes Museum

If you are elsewhere in the world, you’ll be pleased to learn that an online tour of the exhibit is available. You can see it on the Museum website here.

I will be at the Bowes Museum myself on Friday this week, teaching two quilting and patchwork classes, both of which employ hand-stitching (with all the benefits that activity brings!).

To comply with current government restrictions, each class will be taught in a deliberately small, socially-distanced group. Careful attention will be paid to ensure that materials and equipment used are only handled by the one person using them. Once the precautions have been put in place, each session will be a calm and relaxed introduction to the subject.

In the morning, we will be doing hand-stitched patchwork over papers, a traditional skill, which also offers the enjoyment of hand-stitching.

In the afternoon, the class will cover crazy patchwork, again a traditional technique but with plenty of opportunity to improvise. This will include an introduction to various different embroidery stitches used to decorate the seams.

Here are the details of the classes.

Hand-stitched Patchwork Workshop

25 June, 10.30, Included within admission – £35 or £65 to include crazy patchwork afternoon workshop, Booking essential

Discover how to make your very own hand-stitched patchwork quilt, based on one in the North Country Quilts exhibition, in this small group session being led by the textile artist Amanda Jane Ogden. This is a great recycling way to use small pieces of left over new or recycled fabric. Amanda will give you lots of tips, advice and ideas on what you could do with the finished piece. All materials will be provided for you.

Crazy Patchwork

25 June, 2.00 – £35 or £65 to include hand stitched patchwork morning workshop, Booking essential

Have you ever wanted to have a go at making crazy patchwork? If you have, then this fun small group session is for you! Textile artist Amanda Jane Ogden will show you an adaptation of the traditional ‘crazy’ technique, in which small pieces of fabric are pieced onto a background like crazy paving before the seams and pieces are embellished with embroidery. You will construct the piece in strips, to complement the strippy quilts in the North Country Quilting exhibition, with suitable embroidery stitching to cover the seams. All materials will be provided for you.

If you would like to join a class, as well as seeing the exhibition, check availability like this: the links for both workshops are within in the Events section of the website here. (The events are listed in date order. These classes are on page 3 of Events at the time of writing)

‘Summer Bouquets’ quilt – adding the sashing

The 'Summer Bouquets' quilt on a bed

‘The Summer Bouquets’ Quiltalong continues this week with the addition of sashing strips. All the fabrics used are from the ‘Summer Bouquets’ collection by Amanda Jane Textiles on Spoonflower. For information about the Quiltalong and about the quantities of fabric required, see the post here. To find the other Quiltalong posts, use ‘Summer Bouquets’ in the search box.

Last month, the blocks were joined together to make columns. Now the columns are going to be joined with sashing strips.

1 Join two fabric B strips at the short end. Add this long strip of fabric B to the left of column 1 as follows.

2 Find the centre of the length of the strip and insert a pin.

3 Find the centre of the length of column 1.

4 Place the fabric B strip, right sides together, on top of column 1, aligning the central pins and the ends.

5 Then pin the strip and column together, in between the pins, without stretching the fabrics.

6 Stitch the strip and column together with a quarter-inch (6mm) seam, removing the pins as you go.

Stitching the fabric B strips to column 1, ensuring that where seams meet, the seam allowances go in different directions as shown in the photo above.

7 Press the seam allowances inwards towards the fabric B strip.

8 Repeat steps 1-7 to make another long B strip and attach it to the right of column 1.

A fabric B sashing strip stitched to the left of column 1 and another sashing strip stitched to the right.

9 Attach the B strip made in step 8 to the left of column 2 in the same way,

10 Repeat steps 1-7 to make another long B strip and attach it to the right of column 2.

11 Attach the B strip made in step 10 to the left of column 3 in the same way.

12 Repeat steps 1-7 to make another long B strip and attach it to the right of column 3.

Press well and set aside until next month!

The quilt top with completed sashing strips

The weather here in Kent has been sunny for the last few days and I’ve swum in the sea twice this week! My ‘Cornish Sandcastles’ fabric pays tribute to the pleasures of being on the beach and you can find it here.