An Inspiration! Linda’s Replica Quilt Story

Published: Monday, 8th April 2013 13:45 PM

An Inspiration! Linda’s Replica Quilt Story

The Quilt Museum and Gallery houses The Quilters’ Guild Collection of over 800 historic and contemporary textiles, ranging from the early 18th century right up to the present day. With so many years of history there is plenty to be inspired from, and many visitors to the museum are astounded by the beauty, skill and time which have gone into producing these objects of social and historic interest.

When Linda Byrne visited the museum in 2009 she was immediately taken with a printed cotton frame quilt, made in the late 19th century which featured striking Turkey Red stars in a centre surrounded by frames of pretty cotton prints. After her visit she requested a digital image, and from that image, sketches and her memory alone, she set out to reproduce her favourite quilt in the exhibition.

This is Linda’s story.

“My first visit to the Quilters’ GuildMuseumwas in March 2009. I was completely in awe of the quilts on display, many around 100 years old or more. The Cockermouth Frame Quilt particularly caught my attention as the red squares throughout the diagonals gave the quilt a real dimensional force. As photography is not permitted I tried to memorise what I had seen but had to return the following day to have another look. I sketched each border o the quilt as best I could as I was very keen to make a replica of this quilt.

On my return home I started with the centre square and after numerous trials with card, paper and scrap fabric I was ready to start. I had soon completed the centre square which I had hand pieced. In an edition of, I believe, Patchwork and Quilting magazine there was a review of the exhibition and a small photograph with a section of the quilt. After contacting the magazine to see whether they had a larger photograph I was advised to contact the Guild.

The Guild were very helpful and offered to send me a digital image which helped me enormously as the sketchesI had made were very basic. I purchased Lecien fabrics as I felt they had an antique quality about them and therefore would be the best choice. There was a considerable amount of maths involved in working out the border measurements and small block sizing to make sure that everything would fit. Many trials with odd scraps of fabric were made with each new border presenting a different design. From very early on I could not help but to wonder how in the early 1800s these quilters managed to produce such excellent work. They did not have the luxury of rotary cutters, special rulers or particularly very good lighting conditions in which to work. I am so full of admiration for their dedication.

It has taken me nearly 3 years to complete the quilt but I have worked on other projects during that time. I machine pieced the quilt, but all of the quilting was done by hand and mostly during the winter of 2012. A total of 100 hours. I am very pleased with the finished result”

In February 2013, Linda came to the Museum and brought her replica quilt to compare against the original – the inspiration and the inspired piece side by side. The two quilts looked great together, and Linda was thrilled to see the original again after several years working from an image and a memory.

It was a privilege to meet Linda and see her replica quilt, which is a testament to her drafting and sewing skills. We were so pleased to hear from her, and we hope that many more visitors will be inspired by what they see to create their own replica or inspired by pieces from our historic collection.

If anyone else has any similar tales to tell then please get in touch, we love to hear from you and post your images on our website!

Linda and Quilts side by sideLinda and Quilts side by side