Clarence Valley Coverlet No. 2

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This  coverlet from Clarence Valley,  New South Wales may possibly have been made by the needlewoman who made the coverlet that I documented in the previous post. I purchased this from the same Ebay seller who had bought both of them.  Unfortunately, no other information is known. But what we do know is that the coverlet was designed and stitched by an experienced seamstress who had a good array of fabric scraps available to her. Most likely the fabrics were saved from dressmaking.

The coverlet is double sided.

Reverse side of coverlet

The coverlet measures 178 x 105 cms. The hexagons measure 7 cm through the centre and 4 cm on the outside edge. The fabrics used in the coverlet include cotton, silk, furnishing fabric, taffeta, sateen and figured satin. The cotton fabrics include many textured weaves and floral prints. One print in particular resembles a Liberty design. The background fabric used on the reverse side may be a wool/rayon mix. It is a heavier weight fabric with a sheen to it.

Fabric detail – side 1

Fabric detail – side 2

The quilt maker had a flair for colour and design. The colours are very typical of mid 20th century styles and decorating colours. The golds, greens, yellows and browns are artistically used throughout to define the lay-out of the designs on both sides of the coverlet. Side one is pieced with hexagons stitched to form diamond and rosette shapes. The second side uses hexagons stitched to form a large rosette which is stitched to the centre of the brown stripe background fabric. Side one includes the use of brown toned prints to create a border and side 2 makes use of green and orange prints to create the border. The edges of the quilt are neatly whip stitched together to finish the coverlet. There is no batting. The coverlet appears to have never been washed or used.

Detail of side 2.

Without further information I can only speculate about the maker of these two exquisite Australian coverlets. They are much treasured by me and I feel very lucky to have them in my collection. Australian quilts are  rare and the two Clarence Valley Coverlets demonstrate fine needlework skills and a great flair for design and style. I wish there was more to tell you about the coverlets but sadly their story has been lost.

Thank you for stopping by,  Janette, The Plain Needlewoman

Clarence Valley Coverlet No. 1

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The maker of this coverlet clearly had a vision of her finished design. The hexagons which measure 2 cm on the outside edge were cut with a 2 cm seam allowance. The seams were neatly stitched into place so there was no wrong side of fabric showing.

The rosettes consist of 6 hexagons stitched around a solid colour hexagon.The hexagons measure 2 cm on the outside edge. The rosettes measure 10.5 cm. The maker stitched 340 rosettes and set them together in rows of 20 x 17. Two rows – row No. 7 and 14 consist of hexagons stitched in solid colours. These two rows add definition to the design of this lovely scrappy and colourful quilt. The rosettes are joined together with a whip stitch similar to the construction of a yo-yo coverlet. The finished coverlet measures 178 cm x 198 cm.

The coverlet appears to have never been used. It is beautifully constructed and a work or art. It is one of my absolute favourites and a cherished example of an Australian quilt. I purchased another coverlet from the same seller which I will write about in my next post. I can only speculate on the maker of this quilt but one thing that stands out to me is her great collection of scraps and her fine needlework skills.

Happy stitching, Janette The Plain Needlewoman

My Wagga Quilt

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Wagga quilts are an Australian style of quilt born out of hard times and limited resources.
Originally waggas or bush quilts were a hessian sack or chaff bag filled with anything that would provide warmth. They may have been covered with an outer cotton fabric.

During the Depression Era waggas pieced from woollen tailor’s samples, remains of worn out clothing and dressmaking scraps emerged. The woollen fabrics provided much needed warmth during a period when houses were unheated. My mother recalled her mother making heavy, woollen quilts from tailor’s samples. These were used by her brothers who slept on the back verandah. They were a large family and very poor. I’m sure they appreciated their waggas.

I purchased my Wagga on eBay. It was found at a church sale in Charleston, Lake Macquarie, New South Wales. It is in very good condition. I think it may have been placed in a cupboard and forgotten until the church had a big clean up. It appears never to have been used.

Reverse of Wagga

The quilt is double sided and has an inner layer. It is very heavy. The quilt is in very good condition. There is some machine stitching used to hold the three layers together. There is no binding, indicating the quilt was layered wrong sides together, stitched and turned.

There is a great variety of woollen fabric scraps used in the quilt: including tweeds, suitings, khaki army uniform, herringbone, plaids, stripes and checks.

Detail of fabrics

 

A few little moth holes, stitched down pockets and darning all add interest to this unique Wagga. It measures 165 cm x 150 cm.

Detail of a stitched eyelet

I admire the makers flair and technique in putting together all these pieces.

Australian quilts are rare and wonderful and I love having this one in my collection.

Thank you for visiting my blog. Happy Stitching – The Plain Needlewoman Janette

Fancy Work

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My d’oyley collection includes many embroidered pieces worked by my Mother, Aunties and a Great Aunt.

Auntie Joan’s old d’oyley

This old d’oyley embroidered by Auntie Joan became the inspiration for my latest hooked rug design ‘New Beginnings’.

New Beginnings

I hooked the rug in hand cut woollen fabrics purchased at Op Shops.

The long, cold nights during Winter provided more time for hand quilting. I completed my Peony Rose quilt and added Prairie Points for a fancy finish.

Prairie Points pressed ready to stitch together

Prairie Points in place ready to add to quilt

The pattern for this quilt is from the book In The Beginning by Sharon Yenter Evans. I made Ferol’s Peony Rose in French General fabrics and used a vintage sateen for the lattice.

I have stitched two more quilt tops which are now ready for basting and hand quilting. I hand pieced the Old Fashioned Spools top and machine pieced the medallion quilt.

Old Fashioned Spools

Medallion Quilt

Spring has arrived here with an abundance of golden wattle and thankfully some much needed rain.

Happy Stitching and take care, Janette The Plain Needlewoman

French Coverlet

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Soft, muted colours were used to create this hexagon and diamond coverlet.

The maker had a large collection of the patterned and plain material available to work with. The fabric is a heavy weight cotton, possibly furnishing fabrics.

The maker arranged the plains and patterned fabrics to create a medallion setting and fussy cut her pieces. The colours in the coverlet are subtle and beautiful. The quilt is finished with a French braid. The use of the braid to finish the edges of a hexagon quilt is worth noting.

The quilt was pieced using the English paper piecing method. I found small traces of papers in the corners of the quilt, which unfortunately were too small to provide any information.

 

Detail of fabrics

Fussy Cutting

The quilt was purchased at an auction in country Victoria and it was stated that it was bought in France. The fabrics verify this. My research on the fabrics used in the coverlet suggest it may have been stitched between 1920s to 1950s. This is also the opinion of two textiles specialists that I consulted.

The hexagons measure 3.5 x 4 cm with an outside edge of 2 cm. The diamonds are a tiny 2 cm x 3.5 cm. The coverlet measures 220 cm x 150 cm.

There are some unravelled seams that need attention and are on my list of repairs to be carried out. Winter has arrived in my part of the world and it is perfect weather for stitching. I hope to finish quite a few quilting projects during the cooler months including repairs to some of the old quilts in my collection.

Centre of the coverlet.

Take care and Happy Stitching, Janette – The Plain Needlewoman

One Patch Quilts

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Diamond Quilt

One patch quilts have been a mainstay of quilters since people picked up needles, thread and scraps of fabric.

Squares, triangles and diamonds or more complex shapes such as hexagons and clamshells have been used time and time again to create sophisticated designs.

One patch quilts can follow a formal layout of scraps and colours or can be randomly pieced out of the scrap basket.
Either way they make wonderful quilts.

Some of the one patch quilts in my collection include squares, triangles, tumblers, hexagons and apple core shapes.

Diamonds circa 1960s.

I purchased this quilt top at an antique market and hand quilted it in the Baptist Fan design. The maker had some great fabrics in her scrap basket including one with the American State flags and the year the states joined the United States of America. The last two to join were Alaska in 1958 and Hawaii in 1959. So we can presume this fabric was purchased in 1959 or later.

The quilter used great skill in her fabric placement. Solid colours are used for the diamonds in one direction and patterned fabrics in the other direction.

Detail of quilt and vintage fabrics used for the backing.

Old Fashioned Spools

Work in Progress

This is a quilt that I am presently hand piecing. I prefer the name Old Fashioned Spools but it is more commonly called Apple Core or Double-Bitted Axe. I am alternating light and dark fabrics throughout.

Vintage Tumbler

This quilt top contains shirtings, mourning prints, florals, plains, stripes and checks. Two cheddar yellow tumblers and the use of red and white spotted fabrics brighten up the sombre tone of the quilt. The top is hand pieced.

Tumbler Quilt top circa 1900s.

1910’s Triangles

The maker of this quilt planned her use of fabrics carefully making sure she had enough of each one to stitch a row of triangles across the quilt. The fabrics used are typical of the 1910’s but the indigos appear to be from earlier. The indigos are patterned with white and cheddar designs.

Simple shapes make wonderful quilts

I hope you enjoy seeing some of my one patch quilts and may be inspired to use your scraps to carry on this lovely quilting tradition. Happy Patching and thank you for visiting, Janette – The Plain Needlewoman

Dressmakers’ Quilts

Hexagon Quilt circa 1970s

Prior to the influence of the revival of quilting in the 1970s quilts would predominately have been made using dressmaking cottons and the scraps remaining from home sewing. The majority of these quilts would have been Hexagon quilts stitched over paper or simple shapes machined stitched together.

I attempted a hexagon quilt in 1973 having found a pattern in an English Womens’ Weekly magazine. I used scraps from dressmaking and fabric cut off from shortening hems of bought clothes. The Mini skirt being the fashion of the time. This piece remains unfinished but it is interesting for the fabrics it contains.

Hexagon Quilt Top

This hexagon quilt top contains myriad fabrics obviously saved from dressmaking. The fabrics were probably saved over a number of years. The maker fussy cut many of her fabrics to create a wonderful time capsule of the fabrics used by modern dressmakers.  

Fussy Cutting

The quilt was stitched over papers and the papers still remain on the outside edges. The papers have been cut from recycled paper. Wrappers from many household items can be seen such as loose tea wrappers, cigarette wrappers, labels from cans and letters and note paper.

Papers still in place

This quilt was found in an op shop in country Victoria but unfortunately no other information is known. I am happy to leave this quilt unfinished as a document of the times.

Hexagon Coverlet

This coverlet contains a great collection of dressmaking fabrics including some brushed interlock. The pieced section has been hand stitched to a new cotton sheet. Fortunately the maker left the label on the sheet which states Made in Australia. The maker positioned a row of hexagons to sit over the pillows when the coverlet is placed on a bed.

Detail of hexagons

One Patch Coverlet

This patchwork coverlet is pieced of squares in two sizes. Small squares measuring 7 cm are centred between larger squares measuring 14 cm.

The fabrics are cottons in plains, florals and a good selection of seersuckers. The border is a buttery yellow cesarine and is applied to the front, folded to the back and top stitched through all layers. The corners are neatly mitred.

Pretty scraps

The quilt was made in country Queensland. It measures 87 cm by 160 cm and may have been made for a small single bed. There is no batting and the backing is an open weave cotton. Very neatly made and so pretty.

Little Cot Quilt

I purchased this cot quilt at an antique market and all the seller knew about it was that it came from Mildura, Victoria. It is a simple quilt made of randomly pieced squares stitched in rows of 6 by 6. Fabrics are typical of the 60s with plains, checks, florals and a juvenile print. The pieced binding serves as a narrow border on both sides of the quilt. The backing is a very nice floral that appears to be an older fabric.

Pretty backing fabric

The quilt is not quilted but does have an inner layer of an open weave cotton.

These pieces of patchwork are not remarkable in their execution, style or design but they are special because of the time and place of their making. They are very special to me and I admire the women who made them.

Thank you for visiting and Happy Quilting.

My Year of Repairing

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img_5160Patchwork Strippy Quilt

 

First on my New Year’s Resolution List for 2017 is to carry our repairs and restoration on quilts in my collection that need a little TLC.  Armed with the excellent book ‘Quilt Restoration – A Practical guide’ by Camille Dalphond Cognac, I feel confident in tackling the intricate work needed to repair the quilts and to do so in such a way as to preserve their future.

img_4850Quilt Restoration – A Practical Guide by Camille Dalphond Cagnac

 

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This beautiful English Patchwork Strippy Quilt is a stunning quilt displaying a great assortment of scraps tied together with a Turkey Red Twill. The red has held up well but some of the patterned fabrics have worn.  Fortunately the white fabric is in excellent condition.

I purchased the quilt from the Antique Textile Company and Christopher Wilson-Tate provided me with information on the quilts provenance.  The quilt is from a family in Alnwick, Northumberland, circa 1880’s and is a great example of North Country English Quilting.

 

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Back of Quilt showing the cable quilting design.

To undertake the repair of the quilt I have cut squares of reproduction and vintage fabrics.  Placing right sides of fabric to butter muslin, I stitch around the entire patch.

I make a small cut into the butter muslin, trim the seams and turn right sides out.  I ease out the corners using a stiletto and press the patches.  They are now ready to be carefully appliquéd onto the worn square.img_4873

Butter muslin

 

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Squares cut and ready to sew.

 

img_4876Turned patches

 

img_4879Pinned and ready to appliqué

 

img_4880Stitched in place.

The final step will be to replicate the quilting design over the patches.

To quote Camille Dalphond Cognac “Scrap quilts are a joy to restore because the fabrics are chosen to blend into the totality of as many as a hundred or more colours.” With many hours of joyous stitching ahead, I hope to complete this task so this beautiful quilt will be preserved for many years to come.

Hope your stitching brings you much Joy.

 

The Lost Ships – circa 1890s

img_4742Seventy-Two  Lost Ship Blocks are set diagonally with a red and black print to create this stunning quilt. The blocks are pieced using a different fabric design in each block.  These fabrics are complimented with a lovely cream and brown design.

 

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The quilt contains a block where the maker found herself short of one print and pieced a section of the ship with a different but similar colour.

 

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The fabrics used consist of florals, plaids, geometric designs and a few very unusual patterns.  The maker had a good supply of scraps as well as the red and cream.  The quilt displays 75 print fabrics. The scrap pieces may well have been dressmaking fabrics but obviously the red and cream was purchased for quilt making.

 

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The piecework and quilting is very well executed.  I presume this quilt was made by a talented and experienced needlewoman.  The quilt is finished with the quilt front neatly rolled over to the back to create the binding.   It is stitched in place with tiny, neat stitches. The backing is a plain homespun.  The quilt appears to have never been washed.

The quilt measures 66 inches by 84 inches and the  block measures just under  5  inches.

 

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In Ruth E. Finley’s book ‘Old Patchwork Quilts and The Women Who Made Them’ published in 1929, Finley refers to this pattern  “A pattern that was popular below the Mason and Dixon Line was called Rocky Glen though in the fishing villages of the Seaboard, where it was frequently employed, it was known as The Lost Ship.” So this is the name I shall use for this wonderful quilt which I am very happy to have to add to my collection.

Thank you for visiting and best wishes for your quilting endeavours, very warmly, Janette

The Plain Needlewoman.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Learning Curve

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Curved piecing is considered more difficult to accomplish than geometric designs. But with so many beautiful patterns to choose from it is worth attempting to learn to sew curves. There are many fine quilting books available that provide step by step instructions for piecing the curve.

I have made a few curved pieced quilts including two Robbing Peter to Pay Paul quilts, a Double Wedding Ring and a Mill Wheel quilt. I have recently hand pieced a quilt in memory of my mother which I have named “Marjie’s Star”. It is a six pointed star set with melon shaped pieces. It was a challenging design but enjoyable to hand piece.img_4676img_4681img_4677

Amongst my collection of old quilts, I have a Friendship Circle quilt.img_4641

This quilt is pieced from woollens, old suiting fabrics, velvets and silk. The block measures 17 inches. There are 16 full blocks and 4 half blocks to finish one side of the quilt. The seams are stitched with feather stitching and the quilt is tied. The backing is a paisley flannel.img_4685img_4684

Curved designs were popular during the 1930s and 1940s. These included the Double Wedding Ring, Drunkard’s Path, Fan and Dresden Plate quilts. Two unfinished projects that I have recently acquired both contain curves. The first project consists of 14 Dresden Fan blocks pieced and appliquéd onto a white background and set with hot pink. Also included with my purchase is extra hot pink fabric and the start of a scalloped border for the quilt. There is certainly enough to complete this 1930s beauty.img_4665img_4664img_4666

The Maker of the second project hadn’t progressed very far along with her piecing. There was a paper pattern with the partial blocks which I have identified as Mohawk Trail.img_4667

There are pieced blocks, partially pieced and many wedge sections cut.img_4668

I have re-drafted the pattern and will stitch a couple of blocks to see if it is going to work out. These sweet old pieces have sat undisturbed for many years and may have to wait sometime yet.

As this year is fast coming to an end, I will add these projects on my list of quilts to finish in 2017. Meanwhile I am busily hand quilting, and hope to finish a vintage Trip Around the World quilt before we bid farewell to 2016.

Happy Quilting, Janette – The Plain Needlewoman.