Welsh Quilts

What a lovely day I had yesterday…

Some weeks ago Sue (Going Batty in Wales) mentioned to me that she wanted to go and see the summer exhibition at the Welsh Quilt Centre in Lampeter, and suggested that we go together. So, we met for coffee and then visited Red Apple Yarn before having an unexpectedly large lunch (the café we went to had run out of the soup I wanted) and then going to the exhibition.

The quilts on display represented the past ten years of summer exhibitions at the Quilt Centre and so we had the opportunity to see a wide variety – from Kaffe Fassett creations to Victorian quilts made from tiny scraps of reclaimed fabrics. There were examples made with flannel, beautiful cream coloured quilts made for Claridge’s in the 1940s and marketed through the Rural Industries Bureau, a single printed tree of life panel made in 1810 and paisley scarf quilts.

Whilst it’s hard to single out any one quilt, I did love the creations where the quilting itself was the star, and the cream Rural Industries Bureau quilts were perhaps the epitome of this, but I particularly liked the yellow quilt that I have featured some corner detail of above. The pattern in this demonstrates the traditional Welsh characteristic of a central design surrounded by borders comprising smaller motifs… or at least, so Sue tells me. The other quilt that really caught my attention was the Victorian patchwork one displayed on the bed… mainly because it featured a large mend (that I completely failed to photograph) where it had either been torn or worn along a fold. Several of the quilts had been repaired or had small unfinished sections and I was particularly drawn to these features that reminded me of the women who worked so hard to make and maintain these works of art.

Altogether it is an inspirational exhibition and we had a lovely day out. If you are visiting mid-Wales I highly recommend a trip to the Quilt Centre where the exhibition runs until November.

Thanks, dad

Earlier this year my dad died. He wasn’t an acquisitive man, so he didn’t leave possessions to inherit, but I do have some objects around the house that came from him and one in particular has been getting plenty of use recently.

When I was about 14 I became very keen on patchwork and I wanted a board on which to pin out my designs. In those days blocking boards were unheard of and I guess that most people just made do. My dad, being happy to make a variety of things for us (I have very fond memories of our sledge, which he made from old timber and which had metal curtain-track runners and his homemade table tennis table) agreed to make me a cork board for my crafty endeavours. At the time he’d just laid a cork floor in our kitchen and he had a few tiles left over. Those along with a piece of hardboard and some tile adhesive allowed him to create a board for me.

My patchwork board

My patchwork board

As you can see, he was using up scraps of tiles, so it’s a bit of a patchwork itself. Plus, to begin with it was a bit smelly because of the adhesive, but that has faded with the years. When I’m blocking crochet or knitting, I have to cover it with a tea-towel because otherwise it stains my work slightly. However, in combination with some map pins, it is still doing a great job… I’m sure my dad would be pleased.

In use for blocking some bunting

In use for blocking some bunting

A day in the life

Well, obviously you all like photographs: yesterday turned out to be a very busy day here on my blog. While you were all enjoying my post, I was generating even more pictures and having a ‘green’ day. This mainly involved cooking: I made a wonderful cake using Karen’s recipe on Sweet Baby Veg, but whilst she used gooseberries and elderflower cordial, I used raspberries and framboise… because that was what I had in the house. The framboise I have is British not French and I can highly recommend it (details here) – both for making Kir (white wine and fruit mixer) and in this cake.

Plus, I made some of the courgette mountain into soup. This time I chose to make courgette and carrot soup, which speaks for itself – the only other ingredients are onions, water and seasoning.

And, of course, my day wouldn’t be complete without something crafty. Despite the fact that my Masterpiece edging is calling, I have taken some time out to contribute to a yarn storming project (I don’t like the phrase yarn bombing). I was asked if I could make some bunting pennants for this: I managed 10 of them, which are now being blocked so that they actually are triangular. In addition, Kate over at Tall Tales from Chiconia is planning to make some quilts to donate to Australian sevicemen and women. When I was in my teens I started making a quilt, but it has never been finished, so I decided to drag out the blocks I had already pieced and send these to Kate for her to see what she can make of them. They’ll have to travel by sea, which will take a few months, but hopefully they will finally be transformed into something useful rather than sitting in a box in my loft for another thirty plus years. I’m going to send some of the fabric too, as I know that I will never use it myself.

Of course, there were less photogenic activities… cleaning out the laying boxes in the hen house, walking the dogs, cooking dinner (more courgettes!), harvesting… you know the sort of thing. All in all, quite a green day – I hope yours was too!

Cake and craft… and more cake

A good spread

A good spread.. and this was after we’d eaten quite a lot!

So, today we had our first Cake and Craft session at Denmark Farm. We are raising funds for the Shared Earth Trust, an environmental education charity, by meeting up to eat cake and have a lovely sociable time whilst using our craft skills to create some things that we can raffle off in the autumn. It all started with my masterpiece blanket… I thought – if people round the world want to contribute to a community craft project, why not people in my local area?

Everyone hard at work

Everyone hard at work (if you look carefully, you can see the Masterpiece lurking in the background!)

And so, we planned a few afternoon get-togethers. Today ten ladies arrived full of ideas and enthusiasm… and many of them brought cake. So, we chatted and we ate cake and we had some ideas: a blanket of six-inch squares; a community quilt; a needle-felted tree of life with all sorts of embellishments. Then we did some crochet and knitting and patchwork and ate some more cake (there was quite a lot of cake).

After two hours, we’d made a few things for our blankets, some of us had improved our crochet skills. And we’d had a lovely creative afternoon, full of positive energy and cake (did I mention, the cake?).

Some of the afternoon's creations

Some of the afternoon’s creations

We’re meeting again next month and we’re setting up a Facebook group so that we can share ideas in the interim… oh and we will probably have a stall at the Lampeter People’s Market, to get word out about our project and try to engage with lots more people.

Much of the impetus to do this has been because of you… all you lovely blog-readers out there who were so enthusiastic about my first community craft project and made my masterpiece into such a special creation (I took it with me this afternoon and it was much admired). So thanks to all of you… it looks like I’ve found a real way to build community and build a better world!

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