Monday, 13 January 2014

Welsh Quilting - Only Kids Aloud South Africa Charity Quilt

Strong geometric star block in red and green

I love quilting and patchwork and when I was asked to help out with some fund raising, my first thought was I’d do a charity quilt. The quilt will be raffled in support of the Wales Millennium Centre charity, which is sending a choir of young children from Wales to Capetown as part of South Africa's celebrations for 20 years after the end of apartheid. 

I am really looking forward to designing and making something that brings together Wales and South Africa. 

Or as some of the young Only Kids Aloud choir members are saying "Bringing the Land of Song to the Rainbow Nation."

You can read more about the Only Kids Aloud project and charity on my previous blog post - The Old Button Charity Patchwork Quilt - South Africa Project. And over the next next month or so, I'll share the quilt story as I make it and I'll be including some show-and-tell and tutorials about the fantastic pieced patchwork blocks and borders I'm thinking of using. 

But today I'd like to share with you my inspiration behind the first part of the quilt - the central panel. 

close up of Gettysburg Ohio Star quilt in blue and tan prints
Gettysburg Ohio Star Quilt
I started quilting a few years ago, but my quilts are usually based on pieced patchwork inspired by American quilts. I love designing my own quilt layouts and spend hours browsing the Internet and looking through books to find traditional quilt blocks. As an accountant by training and mathematician by inclination, I also love the challenge of working out my own sizing although I have to admit I seldom plan a whole quilt out from the beginning - I just let it evolve....  

Here is one of my current projects that I'm starting to hand quilt - Gettysburg Ohio Star quilt, which I created using Ohio Star and Nine Patch blocks in reproduction American Civil War fabrics in  blue and tan.

But I've always loved Welsh quilting and I really wanted to base my charity quilt around Wales so I decided it would feature a Welsh quilted central panel. Initially I thought I'd do a wholecloth style - a single piece of fabric closely quilted in traditional motifs - inspired by these beautiful antique examples. 

Close up picyure of three single colour quilts with fine stitching
Welsh wholecloth quilts with fine hand quilting in typical motifs

But the more I researched, the more I learnt. Welsh quilts were not always made from a single piece of fabric - there are strippy quilts where broad stripes of two or three colours are joined together down the length as well as quilts with big bold pieces of different fabrics joined together to create strong geometric shapes - such as the diamond within a square with a boxed border shown on the front cover of Mary Jenkins's fantastic book Little Welsh Quilts made the traditional way. 

Inspired by the gorgeous quilts in this book, I decided I would have to include a geometric panel. I wanted to use a central diamond shape with a star surround as variations of this design feature in quite a lot of the antique quilts in Mary's book and on display at the fantastic Welsh Quilt Centre in Lampter. 

As just love maths, I plotted out the design on an excel spreadsheet to work out the dimensions of each shape - sad I know. But it works for me. 

I've not managed to find out if this is a named quilt block  - I have a great book with hundreds of traditional American and British quilt blocks designs and the closest I can find to it is something called a Sawtooth Star - but the centre is a square not a diamond. If anyone knows what it is called, please let me know. 

And if you are interested in how the sizes worked out and how I put this panel together, I'll share that in my next blog post.


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    1. Hiya. I have removed a number of identical comments from my blog pages today - as they were clearly spam - text that had no relevance to the blog and backlinks designed to advertise a non-crafting company .

      I love hearing from readers of my blog posts and will respond to genuine comments and questions - it's great to hear from you - but I will always delete spam.