The Cottage Orné Quilt

The Cottage Orné Quilt
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Thursday, 30 October 2014

Lucious stitching!

Sometimes you see something that is so wonderful that you simply have to share!

This is a detail of a portrait of Catherine Carey, Countess of Nottingham, who was a very close friend and confidant of Elizabeth I.

The detail in this portrait by Robert Peake is wonderful and you can click this link and zoom in to examine it more thoroughly.

Because the dress was so spectacular, it was thought for a while, that it was a portrait of Elizabeth herself, but apparently it isn't!  They were such good friends that Elizabeth lent her the dress for the portrait!  However, there is some doubt about Catherine's parentage.  Here is what Wikipedia says -

Catherine Carey was born in about 1524, the daughter of Sir William Carey of Aldenham in Hertfordshire, Gentleman of the Privy Chamber and Esquire of the Body to Henry VIII, and his wife Mary Boleyn, who had once been a mistress of the king. Catherine was Elizabeth I's first cousin. Some contemporaries also asserted that Catherine was an illegitimate child of Henry VIII which would make her Elizabeth's half sister. Although this was never acknowledged by the King, Catherine was given deference by the Court as she aged and came to resemble Henry.

No wonder Elizabeth lent her dresses?

Monday, 13 October 2014

New Project

Sorry about the teaser the other week!  It is so easy to press a wrong button on Blogger and I didn't realise I had until I got comments!

I got bored trying to finish things and decided that as I enjoyed working the Cottage Orné quilt so much, I would do another in the same vein.  I think this one will work out a bit smaller, only about 40 blocks and I am using a stronger colour palette.

All the blocks are taken from Georgian quilts.  Many are the same as in the Cottage Orné, which was based on the Sundial Coverlet, but there are different ones too, some I have come across since and wanted to try out!

I am using mostly Liberty Lawn fabrics because some of the pieces are so small that the fabric has to be quite thin but strong and these fabrics are certainly that.  I never ceased to be amazed at the sheer variety of patterns produced by Liberty.  You only have to look on eBay to get a inkling but the range is even bigger than appears there.  I have been collecting them for decades, so quite a lot of what I am using is vintage, but I am still buying bits on line.  I like to find the quirky stuff, because it can be cut into and makes interesting effects within a block.

Apart from the house at the centre, all the blocks measure 12 centimetres, because Georgian patchwork blocks  were small and this seems a good compromise size.   It is also easily divided by two, three and four which helps when drafting the patterns.

I am using my usual method of selection, getting a wide collection of fabrics together that seem to mix well.  Then I don't have to worry too much when choosing for individual blocks as I know that they will blend together whatever I choose!

I have done 20 blocks so far, so quite a way to go!


Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Eye on Elegance Exhibition, DAR Museum, Washington DC

Sorry about the last post, I was going to share a new project with you and accidentally pressed the "publish" button!  It certainly brought in more comments than I usually get, so maybe I should try a teaser more often?

I will return to it soon, but first of all I wanted to tell you about a new exhibition which is now open in Washington DC.  For those of us who can't get to see it there is an online exhibit and an excellent video - here is the link

I am particularly interested in early American quilts because they have such a strong link to British quilts.  Many have the same format as our frame quilts and use blocks found on our Georgian quilts.  This quilt being a prime example -

It has such a strong and simple form and I can see it made up in various ways.  It could be in plain vibrant colours and be Amish?  Or made in dark Welsh wool and be Welsh?   However, here it is in beautiful chintz, very carefully chosen and probably very expensive? The quilting on it is absolutely breathtaking, do look at the video on piecing which shows it in detail.  Of course if it was Welsh it would have different quilting, equally sumptuous but quite distinctive, full of spirals, fans and other wonderful Welsh patterning! Sorry couldn't resist getting that in!

This really is what the exhibition to about, it is demonstrating to us with wonderful examples, the trouble and expense women went to in the 18th and early 19th century, to make masterpiece quilts using high quality fabrics.  This is  something dear to my heart, collecting really good fabrics and using them imaginatively!
I do wish I could visit and drool over these wonderful quilts!
Go if you possibly can!

Here I must give this museum full credit for catering for those of us you can't visit in person.  Not often I praise a museum on this page!