Saturday 16 February 2013

Doll Quilt - Canal Roses

Karen in Ontario has just received the little quilt I made for her.  The theme on Doll Quilters Monthly for January was snow.  Karen posted lots of beautiful pictures of snow on her blog Bungalow Bay Quilts.  One look told me that wallowing in the mud that is England (2012 being our wettest year on record) there wasn't an awful lot I could tell her about snow.

Karen was delighted to discover that I grew up in Wolverhampton.  It turned out that Karen's mum had gone to Canada as a war bride and was from Dudley, about 6 or 7 miles from Wolverhampton, and Karen had been to Dudley a couple of times when she was young.

A while back I made a quilt based on Wolverhampton, which I posted here on the blog on 1st December.  Karen liked it, so there was my challenge - make a quilt for Dudley.  What was Dudley's claim to fame?  It has a famous canal tunnel.  Canals and tunnels aren't particularly pretty, but a narrowboat (barge) with the traditional painted decoration is a wonderful sight.

I needed to scour the internet for pictures, and spent ages looking at different sites.

Canal Art by Julie has plenty of pictures of her work (including a pub interior!) and an interesting video in which Julie explains the brushwork technique.

Canal Junction has plenty of information about the history of canal art.

Chester Canal Heritage Trust has beautiful photographs, and also shows how the roses are painted in layers of colour.  

Looking at all these photographs helped me work out a design with two layers of colour in the appliqué roses, and shaping the top layer like bold brushstrokes.  Fortunately I had plenty of gorgeous colours to choose from, having a bag of Oakshott Colourshott cottons to rummage through.

While I was working on the quilt, Karen posted on her blog about her mum being diagnosed with Alzheimers.  This made me want to make the quilt as beautiful as I could, and started me thinking about my own mum, who died in 1993.  I used three different machines on this quilt.  I did the binding on my 1927 Singer 99K hand machine.  The other two were connected with my mum; I did the machine appliqué and the stitched detail over it with my 1897 28K hand machine, which had been her machine and which I had learnt to sew on; I did the free motion quilting on my 1945 15K treadle, which my mum had bought for me from a neighbour. And the little infill flowers made with star shaped blue pearl buttons are forget-me-nots, which my mum loved.

So in the end the quilt was made in honour of Karen's mum and in memory of mine.

Thank you Karen for being my partner.  This quilt turned into a very special project.


  1. I adore this! You created a stunning, unusual quilt,and the stories behind it make it even more special. Love thethe layers, beadding, and the binding colors too. Off to follow your canal links!

  2. The canal roses are beautiful - a lovely tribute to both mothers. (I lived in Loughborough between the ages of 3 and 10 and for me Dudley was entirely about the zoo! It was the only reason we ever had trips there, and we had some really happy times.)

  3. Oh Muv, these are truly beautiful. What a wonderful way to remember your Mother and honor Karen's mother. *Brava!*

  4. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!
    My friend has just bought a narrow boat and I want to make him a quilt. This has inspired me.



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