Tuesday 14 May 2013

Patchwork quilts

Patchwork quilts - like lace - are enjoying something of a renaissance of late. Their history is well documented going back hundreds of years to the early settlers in America. Originally the concept came from thrift, sewing scraps of fabric together, using embroidery and applique to personalise events such as marriage or birth and even sometimes death hence the term 'comforter'. And a way of keeping warm during the bitterly cold winters and often brutally spartan living conditions.

They also provided a very important social function for the women who were often left for long periods of time while the men were away looking for work.  These social gatherings were called 'sewing bee's' where the women sat around exchanging gossip and news whilst busily stitching away, keeping their spirits high.

A patchwork quilt as well as being timeless in design makes a change of decor in the bedroom easy -  being multi-coloured -  as there are so many colours to pick out for a different scheme. Teamed with white lace pillowcases and flat sheets conjures the quintessential cosy cottage image.

American sampler New England style quilt
 One of my favourite designs, American Sampler using Primitive Art as it's theme. Appliqued roosters, flowers, cats, dogs, sheep, baskets and many other symbolic designs used to stunning effect in this glorious vintage New England style patchwork quilt.

The look is more country cottage than loft though abstract designs can look stunning in a modern interior setting such as the vibrantly coloured geometric design of the quilt below Solid Magic in Vibrant Solids.

Solid Magic Vibrant Solids

Wedding Ring
Wedding Ring is self-explanatory and a popular classic design. These would be made in anticipation of a daughter's marriage and an important part of her 'bottom drawer'.

Zig Zag
Zig Zag has glorious feather edging with intricate quilting detail around the border. 

Trip Around the World

Another hugely popular patchwork quilt design and instantly recognisable.

Stamps and Log Cabin
Stamps and Log Cabin often just referred to as Log Cabin, another beautiful example of a traditional American New England patchwork quilt using hundreds of small squares of fabric that would take many months, years even, to make.

Artists such as Grayson Perry have taken this concept further with his magnificently thought-provoking Right to Life quilt at the V & A quilts exhibition to great acclaim and raising it to a contraversial art form.

Today all the designs and many more are available to buy from The Linen Lace and Patchwork House set in the beautiful grounds of Jean Gibson's house in South Benfleet, Essex. Tel: 01268 793336

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