June Newsletter

Thank you to all the contributors this month!

Stop Press Elizabeth will be bringing the shop to the Summer Party on Tuesday so make sure you have plenty of money with you!

Morning meetings will now begin at 9.30 . It has been increasingly difficult to park so we hope the earlier start time will mean more available spaces.

Jennifer and Hilda have both been out and about looking at quilts and here are their reports.

Sandy Lush talk on Baltimore Album Quilts Hosted by Icknield Quilters

I took advantage of going up to Baldock community Centre to listen to a talk to be given by Sandy Lush – I was not disappointed. Icknield Quilters had kindly opened the evening to other local quilting groups and I joined an audience of about 70 other eager quilters who were keen to hear Sandy’s talk on Baltimore Album Quilts. Her presentation was more than just a slide show of some fantastic quilts; it was a history lesson including the social history and geography of the time.

The history lesson told us that it was only a short period – 1845 to 1855 – when what we now call Baltimore Album quilts emerged. The area in the United States known to be making these quilts was Baltimore City in Maryland hence the name and the geography lesson. Sandy explained her slides as they were shown, giving backgrounds to each quilt and detailing the likely date of their making, the likely maker and recipient, it was interesting to note that quite a number of the quilts were made for male members of a community. They often depicted items that were familiar to them at the time, for example, appliqué ships, animals churches or houses. Often the using of a picture of a ship would indicate that the quilt was being made for someone who was part of the crew of that ship. Animals and flora were also often found depicted in Baltimore quilts because of the familiarity of the subject. Sandy also covered the techniques employed and the fabrics used, they ranged from broderie purse work to 3D floral designs, including needle turned appliqué, snowflake folded patterns and raw edge appliqué., each block being worked and then sewn together into what we know now as Baltimore Album Quilt. Sandy was very knowledgeable about each slide of her presentation. There was also mention of well known more modern quilters for example the American Elly Sienkiewicz. The use of colour dyes was explained and where, in some cases ingredients used were quite often poisonous. Over time, colours have faded and changed from their original brightness but this didn’t detract from the fine work involved in the making. Mention was also made of how if you were less creative you would have been able to purchase a design ready to be worked on and how as fabric was scarce and expensive, every last piece was made use of by piecing scraps together to complete say a flower, leaf, etc.

The presentation was well researched, interesting and very informative. An enjoyable evening thanks to Sandy and also thanks to Icknield Quilters for opening the evening tomembers of other quilt groups. (There were also attendees from Amwell, Mimram, as well as Mead).

When I listen to descriptions of the making of quilts which were designed and constructed some 170 years ago it always makes me wonder how they were worked on – we are so lucky to have electric power, light, machine. machine made fabric, needles and threads. Their work needs to be venerated, enjoyed and held in awe. The following pictures show some of the types and styles of appliqué which Sandy herself had created, covered in her talk, and which she had brought along for viewing and touching!

Jennifer Shields

Icknield Quilt Show

A Saturday morning, what better way to spend it than travelling up the A1 to see a local Quilt Show. At a new venue for Icknield, we went to the Free Church in Letchworth and managed to get the last car parking space in front of the Church.

There was quite a buzz coming from inside the hall which was full of both quilts and people, we were given voting papers and asked to choose our favourite quilt and put our decisions in the box at the end of our visit. Then we entered the hall and were greeted with a table explaining their charity work and giving examples to look at, then there was a pre-loved book stall and a further stall with a selection of items for sale made by members of the group and a stall with the Trader The Crafty Quilter with a selection of fat quarters and other quilty items.

The quilts started with items on the stage, each numbered and with a small card detailing the maker, sometimes fabric used, or a technique. These items were laid out rather than hung but then we walked round the quilt stands, I lost count of how many stands were used, some of the quilts were hung from trouser hangers which seemed like a good idea, some were pinned to backing dividers but all were laid out well. Many of the quilts were completed during the period of the Covid lockdown and this was mentioned by the maker.

I loved the 365 day challenge quilt, particularly as I had only managed 90 days before I ran out of scraps of my chosen colours but I loved the way the maker had made some additional blocks of different sizes and incorporated all of her 4.5 inch blocks into a larger quilt. I took a photo. I often wonder if we become a bit obsessed with matching and contrasting colours and thinking blocks won’t look good although often quite unrelated colours and blocks can be mixed together and make an interesting quilt. Another quilt which took my fancy was a little quilt of four houses which encouraged the viewer to think about the occupants of each house. It was beautifully made yet quite simple in construction and there was so much detail in the blocks. Just before we reached the coffee stop we found a whole aisle of examples of the challenges which had been undertaken over the lockdown period.

THE Café area was quite small which didn’t do justice to the fantastic cakes on offer, we shared a table with two ladies who were neither quilters or sewists, but it was good to share a conversation with them and after several goes on the tombola to see the delight on her face when one of them won a prize of a small sewing kit.

Hilda Goddard.

Ginny Edwards has forwarded this message from Phil Townsend in the Chair’s report given at the Public Board Meeting atWatford Hospital on 31st May

Community News

Incubator Covers Donated to The Neo Natal Unit

Mead Quilters have kindly donated 10 beautiful quilted incubator mats and 20 incubator covers to the neonatal unit at Watford General. Each quilt is individually crafted and will make a real difference to the babies in the unit. We would like to thank the Mead quilters for their generous donation.

Have you come across the podcast “Haptic & Hue” , tales of textiles hosted by Jo Andrews who is a hand weaver. (I had to look up haptic in the dictionary- it means relating to the sense of touch). I have listened to 2 episodes lately, one about the quilts that were sent to Britain by the Canadian Red Cross during WW2 and one about the fabric tokens that were left by mothers with their babies at the Foundling Hospital in the 18th century. Both episodes are fascinating and there are many more. https://hapticandhue.com/tales-of-textiles-series-4/

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY

June 21st Summer Party

July 19th Penny Bicknell http://www.pennyquilts.co.uk/

August Summer Break, no evening meeting.