Where to start?

My aim for the Amy Emm’s Bursary was to gain knowledge of the linear designs of the strppy quilts made in Northern England. By studying these quilts and doing extensive reading I have definitely extended my knowledge, although with this knowledge comes more questions !

I have created a collection of samples to be shared with the Quilters’ Guild Museum Collection. (which is recorded in previous blogs ) The curator Heather Audin has just posted an article about the work. http://www.quiltmuseum.org.uk/blog/quilt-history-articles/01493.html

I am very grateful to her support and can’t wait to be able to go to the museum again to study the quilts, photographs are of an excellent quality nowadays but it is not the same as the real thing .

Now to the next part of my project , to create a contemporary wall hanging using these designs. Where to start ? 

I wanted to use strips of  patchwork as my base fabric, I had in mind a pretty colour scheme of pinks with greens, reds and yellows as the pink and white strippy is popular in the North of England. I also wanted a rose theme, as I have seen rose printed fabric and quilted rose flowers used on the quilts.

Starting stitching is like starting a new sketch book, daunting. I decided to draw a strippy design with a single chain I had been sketching, but spent a while getting round to it!

  The single chain is yet to be stitched, I am not sure on the colour to make it stand out but not dominate . 

Meanwhile I am planning the other designs

As you can see I work with a background then build up the quilting and embellishment as I would do when I am  painting . 

I am still recording and researching strippy quilts so if you have any to share I would love to see them.



Pretty quilt

This pretty quilt from Liz Nally has 9 strips ,plain white cotton sateen alternating with a faded pink floral fabric.

It has cable strips, a worm with a single chain running through it with square diamonds, a double lined cable and interestingly a half fan which is quite large . It is 14″ wide, has 20 petals and is repeated 6 times along the length of the quilt.


I chose this motif to do as a sample and enjoyed stitching this pretty design .

Mauve and White Strippy

This mauve and white strippy is an unusual colour combination and the first I have seen in this colour way. I really like it and love that the lady wanted something a little different .The designs are well quilted and drawn out thoughtfully.

There are the popular North Country Quilting designs of running feather, plait and cables. The more original design is a repeated loop enclosing a leaf with square diamonds on the outer edges .

This is my sample, a design I will use in my own work.

I wonder where she got the idea from , a magazine, an architectural detail, a piece of fabric or braid  or just created it out of her imagination. It would make a lovely border design on a skirt. Quilted petticoats were popular in the 1800s and we have had such a cold spell in Yorkshire I am thinking of making one !


I found this delightful shell pattern on a strippy quilt in the book by R. Allen ‘Quilts and Coverlets’.

Shells have been drawn and sewn on quilts though out the north, this one which could be described as a fan as well, is in a diamond block shape with parallel lines to one side and square diamonds on the other.

The following shell embroidered motifs are also seen on quilts and make an attractive addition today on home furnishings for the bathroom.


They could be added to a small project quilted or embroidered.


The rose design is repeated over and over again in North Country Quilts and is an attractive motif used on any design. The templates can easily be  made by folding paper and cutting out an ice cream shape .The rose can be 8 petals or 16. Sometimes on quilts they have been drawn on freehand and in these instances you can get a different number of petals.

The design can have straight petals or curved ones and can have various circular centres .

This rose has concentric circles in the middle and surrounding it. The rose has 16 curved petals.

On the strippy quilt I was studying from the Beamish collection this motif is repeated  to create a linear design.

Another favourite !

33 strippy quilt


This pretty quilt has 33 strips!, but has the traditional 11 quilting designs as seen from the back. Each design is over three strips as seen in this square cable .The design is really hard to see on the front but is clearer on the back. I like this idea of a surprise on the back. I have come across it on other quilts were the patchwork conceals beautiful quilting patterns.



When studying the designs on this quilt I worked out they had all been constructed with three templates an oval plate, a 45% triangle and a diamond .

This diamond template was used to create the square cable.

The design below is made with the triangle and oval plate. I have drawn it freehand then drawn it out on squared paper to use for my quilted sample

These designs are quite unusual in being  geometric and very accurately drawn out, I wonder if someone in the family was a draughtsman. 

My set of samples 


The pretty fabric is a simple printed rose motif.

I am having difficulty dating this quilt any help with the dating of the fabric  would be much appreciated.

I have really enjoyed studying this quilt and again I have to thank Kate Smith for her generosity in trusting it in to my care.

Club Quilt

This bright bold colourful quilt is thought to be a club quilt, the motifs are quite large and spaced out and the stitching is not quite so tight as others of the same period. It is still beautiful work and it was nice to feel a connection to someone who for whatever reason needed to earn a living from quilting for herself or family. Ladies often took to quilting after their husband had been injured or had died in a mining incident.

The  motifs include a 12 petaled rose , a feather wreath,  geometric square diamonds and a combination of a diamond structure with lines and squares in .

The fabric has a lovely sateen sheen to it and all the stitching is of the same white cotton. The flowered fabric looks like it could have been a curtain fabric, but I need to investigate the dating of fabrics and styles available and learn more about this area of quilts to be able to say for certain. 

I enjoyed studying this quilt , thanks to Kate Smith who learnt it to me.

The next quilt I am looking at  is completely different , which is one of the things I love about strippy quilts, they are so creative and original. 

Strippy Quilt from The Beamish Museum

This striking peach and white strippy has a variety of motifs on including a horse shoe , which may have been for good luck . The quilt has not been used much and still has the blue pencil lines on. For the sample I chose the rose joined by cords .

Thank you for following my blog and my research into North Country Strippy quilts . I wish the best for you next year and I hope you will continue in joining me in my textile journey. 

Quilt Treasures

The Heritage Search of the Quilters Guild 

The Quilters Guild between 1990 and 1993 examined more than 4,000 quilts . Quilts were brought to centres dotted around the UK to be documented on by experts in the field. The resultant book has a wealth of information on the history of quilts, their social context and the different types made.  If you have not read it , it is well worth a look.


This salmon pink and gold sateen strip  ( 20 century ) took my eye and the photograph was clear enough for me to draw the patterns out. 

I chose the geometric design to do a sample of , the eight petalled rose is repeated in the bellow design and over all the quilt has been well thought out.


Strippy quilt by Mary Jane Wood

Photos of this beautiful quilt were sent to me by Liz Nally .It has nine strips of high quality  design and stitch work. It was made by Mary Jane Wood from the Durham area  (1861-1940), a coal miners wife who also acted as the village midwife.

The central strip is a running feather with diamonds. Either side were lined hammocks with a simple chain centre and a fill of square diamonds and diagonal lines .The next strips have a double row of smaller lined hammocks toped with petals . The following strips are bellows with a single chain and infill of diamonds .

This is my sample

But what I most enjoyed was working out the templates used for the last strips of curved feathers and small roses . 

Liz had sent me a photo of some templates of Mary Janes and it was with great affection to be following in the footsteps of such a beautiful quilter. I am now building up quite a collection of my own templates to use in my own textile work.

Mary Janes templates 

Thank you Liz for sharing this wonderful quilt.