|Detail of a 1930s quilt made with an astounding array of dress making fabrics|
|Visitors to the Open Day|
|More visitors - isn't my studio really tidy for once!|
Here are some quick points we have learned:
- some of the ugliest quilts have the most brilliant stories behind them, like this Canadian Red Cross Quilt, which was given to a family who had been bombed out three times in World War II
|Canadian Red Cross Quilt|
- some of the hand-stitching is stunning, especially when it has been stitched by candle or gaslight. And if you look closely enough, not all the shapes are as crisp as they should be. So quilts were fudged years ago as well and we don't notice it on other people's quilts straight away, nor does it diminish our pleasure of them (there is a moral there!)
|One inch hexagon quilt|
- some of these quilts have their small pieces made up from scraps or they have used mended fabric, so nothing was wasted. I can't imagine piecing two bits of fabric to make a one inch hexagon.
- on the other hand, some of these quilts were made from new, good fabric as you can still see the glaze on the chintz, which would have washed off if it had been laundered.
|A hexagon quilt, which has been carefully 'fussy-cut'|
- you can learn a lot about printing techniques and chemical development over time by looking at the different printed cottons used. Green was hard to make, so blue was over-printed with yellow. Where it didn't line up, you can see the blue and yellow still.
- fabric doesn't last forever and decay depends on what chemicals were used to dye it.
- quilters have always loved the new and 'exciting'
|Two North Country Quilts. The one of the left must have been one of the earliest to use viscose rayon as the fabric|
- just because it is old does not mean it is very good - we shouldn't lose our ability to be discerning when faced with something that has been lovingly preserved over the years. However, this is a judgement call and we all have different tastes, thank goodness.
Two more of my C&G groups still have to see the collection before I return it. If you get the chance, I would highly recommend borrowing it and spending time with these historical objects.