Alongside wholecloths, quilters used scarps for patchwork and applied designs in applique. Floral dress prints, spots and chintz were popular and a whole sample book of different colourways of the same pattern would be found in a quilt (often quilted by a dressmaker or one of their relations).
Mosaic patchwork was used to create a repeated pattern often with a hexagon or a diamond shape. These would have been English paper pieced. Squares and rectangles may have been sewn together with a sewing machine.
Mosaic quilt Reeth Museum, Swaledale
Medallion quilts were a little more complex, starting in the centre perhaps with a printed panel, frames of different patchwork patterns would be built up, sometimes over years and generations.
My own English paper pieced medallion quilt
Appliqued quilts often featured flowers, leaves, hearts and later flower baskets. A geometric red and white quilt with a stunning design from Rash Grange Farm, Muker in Swaledale.
This quilt was on display at the ‘Dales Countryside Museum’ at Hawes, Swaledale in an exhibition ‘Colour and Comfort’ (2019).
There was a lovely display of Northern Dale quilts and what was nice was the range of qualities from a machine pieced everyday quilt to a beautiful hexagon mosaic quilt which must have taken hours and hours.
This quilt was on loan from The Quilters Guild Museum Collection, for the exhibition
I liked the bold design and colours used in this one, and it has different colourways from a sample book.
Some of the applique designs came from America where motifs were exchanged with other European emigrants. Emigrants from the Dales returned from America bringing with them a wealth of new designs or sent them back to relatives in correspondence.
What astounds me is the quilting detail and design on some of these quilts, when today we would see it as unnecessary because of the busyness of the patterned fabrics and applique designs. This is the central panel of a quilt which is appliqued with the tree of life.
When I examined the back of the quilt it revealed a rich quilting pattern you would not see on the front.
The diversity and richness of the patchwork and applique quilts is well worth more investigation, from those created for everyday use to the professionally made intricate quilts.
Next week I will look at how to start a small project of your own.