Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Turkey Red mania - a new project

As part of the Autumn 2008 and Spring 2009 Grosvenor Exhibitions quilt shows, a selection of antique and vintage British quilts belonging to various private collectors (all well known in the quilting world) toured alongside the modern quilts. Jane Rollason curated the exhibit, if I remember correctly, with some of the quilts coming from her collection. One of my favourites is this extravaganza of Turkey Red prints (above), a quilt from the collection of Pippa Moss, made in Newcastle Emlyn. I like the quirkiness of its fabrics, arranged in a traditional symmetrical medallion format but veering off into asymmetry where one fabric is substituted for another. The big part of its appeal is, of course, those Turkey Red fabrics.

Pippa has kindly allowed me to show you some photos of it here, so (hopefully) some of you might see why I liked it so much! I've added links via the fabric swatch images too, so you can track them down if you like them.

Seeing the Turkey Red exhibition at the Quilt Museum in York reawakened my taste for this solid, pure red. Earlier this year, I collected several quilt fabrics in a Turkey Red print style, from the Quaker Quilt range by Judie Rothermel for Marcus Fabrics. As it says on the selvedges, they are inspired by the Heritage Centre of Lancaster County Collection. A fat quarter bundle from Rustic Angel at Quilts UK, Malvern, in May was my starting point, adding several other prints from the same range from Hancocks of Paducah's summer sale (sadly, no longer available from them). The colours and motifs are perfect, with only one problem - all the prints are quite small. They would be fine for some miniature Turkey Red quilts (perhaps a 1/12th scale quilt or two there?) but not like the large, bold prints on Pippa's quilt, which also have touches of blue in them.

Recently, a new range called "19th Century Reds" has appeared, and this has a paisley almost exactly the same as the one across the top and bottom of the Newcastle Emlyn quilt, even including those blues.

I was encouraged to look out for some other fabrics that would work with these, and the new "Rouenierres" collection by French General for Moda looked promising. However, like many of Moda's vintage inspired fabrics, many of the reds are toned down for a faded look. If there is one thing that Turkey Reds don't do it is fade like that (with the exception of items like the bathing costume in the Quilt Museum's exhibition).

There are a lot of reproduction fabric ranges produced for quilting at the moment, but sadly there aren't a lot of quilt shops in the UK that specialise in them - The American Quilt Store do specialise in reproductions and Rustic Angel have quite a lot, mixed in with their American country style. Despite having a good look around at Malvern on Sunday, I didn't spot much that would work. Rustic Angel had this print, "Midnight Magic" by Exclusively Quilters, which will. I saw a fabric that would have worked perfectly for the brown geometric panels at the top and bottom of Pippa's quilt in a sale last summer, but when I tried to buy some it had sold out. Although this isn't a geometric design, it has a similar motif size, colour and overall weight to the design. If anyone knows of a fabric that is a better substitute, please let me know - this has been a difficult one to find in a modern equivalent and I would love to find something that had the tesslated squares on point effect of the original (I thought about piecing this section to look more like the original, but decided that wouldn't be appropriate).

This is the print I am going to use for the outer strips. Although it doesn't include those blues in the original chrysanthemum design, it has a similar feeling of boldness in the design. I considered using "Paquer Turkey Red" from the Rouenneries collection, but it really needed some colour in the floral design, even though the motifs were fairly similar. This is from Moda's "Portobello Road" range (remember, you can click the swatch pictures to get a shopping link). I found this, and the following three prints, on eBay.

Two paisleys, for the narrow borders inside the outer columns - the first is "Cambridge" by Judie Rothermel for Marcus Brothers and the second is "Collections Heritage" from "Collection for a Cause" by Howard Marcus for Moda.

For the large square section inside the medallion frame, also from the "3 Sisters Favourites II" collection, also from Moda -

Windham's "Folklore" range has this print, which I will use to substitute for the feather print at the bottom of the side strips.

At least the patchwork will be quick to do!

I can't decide yet what to do about quilting. The original seems to have been quilted from this side, but the busy prints mean the quilting pattern is almost illegible. I don't know if it is any more visible from the back. I can see that there are leaves and scrolls (perhaps hearts) quilted in white thread. If I can't decipher anything much, I may devise a simple quilting pattern in the Welsh traditional style, and quilt using white coton a broder, big stitch style.


Lis Harwood said...

What an inspiring post! I shy away from red but have recently received a great selection of scarily red batiks from a quilter friend and then last week saw the Turkey Red exhibition in York so I'm starting to cook up a quilt in my brain - but definitely for after Christmas!

carrie said...

Those are lovely fabrics.