North Country Quilting
whole cloth quilting is often referred to as Durham or North Country quilting.
Fine examples of whole cloth quilting can also be found in Scotland, Wales and Cumbria and Devon. Wholecloth quilts drew upon a vast quilting pattern library often inspired by nature, including feather ; rose; thistle and tulip.
The heyday for whole cloth quilts was the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century. Although a cottage based industry quilting provided a much needed source of income for quilters.
Amy Emms and the revival of quilting
Learning the art of quilting from her mother Amy was at the forefront of the revival of quilting in the 1970s. An enthusiastic teacher and quilter right up until her death at 94. Her book : Amy Emms Story of Durham quilting is a classic book on the art of whole cloth quilting.
Quilt stampers drew out quilting patterns using a blue coloured pencil onto fabric. Quilters would request a particular design on a particular fabric or the would send their own fabric to be marked up.
Although now regarded seen as the preserve of women in the Middle East it is men who who are noted for their textile skills.
There have been notable male quilters in the past. Joseph Hedley of Warden, Northumberland, a tailor by trade soon acquired a reputation for fine quilts.
A Broadsheet report on Joe Hedley’s murder in 1826 stated “He was quite a genius in his line, and the taste which he displayed in the inventions of his figures, and the care and dispatch with which he drew them, were very astonishing”.
I like to concentrate on hand quilting as I find the textures of a whole cloth quilt speak for themselves without the need of patchwork.To see some of my work visit at home.
You can discover more about the fascinating art of quilting by visiting museums such as Bowes Museum and Beamish Museum. Here are some books you may want to request from your local library:
Colby Averil. Quilting. Batsford. 1972
Hake, Elizabeth. English Quilting Old and New. Batsford. 1937
Osler, Dorothy. North Country Quilts: Legend and Living Tradition. Bowes Museum. 2000.
Osler, Dorothy. Traditional British Quilts. Batsford. 1987.