The appliqué patchwork quilt of lost skills.

A ten week workshop from Heritage Plus Crawley Winter 2008

By John Cheves

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'The appliqué patchwork quilt of lost skills.' page

Photo from WRVS Heritage Plus Archive

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'The appliqué patchwork quilt of lost skills.' page

Photo from WRVS Heritage Plus Archive

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'The appliqué patchwork quilt of lost skills.' page

Photo from WRVS Heritage Plus Archive

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'The appliqué patchwork quilt of lost skills.' page

Photo from WRVS Heritage Plus Archive

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'The appliqué patchwork quilt of lost skills.' page

Photo from WRVS Heritage Plus Archive

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'The appliqué patchwork quilt of lost skills.' page

Photo from WRVS Heritage Plus Archive

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'The appliqué patchwork quilt of lost skills.' page

Photo from WRVS Heritage Plus Archive

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'The appliqué patchwork quilt of lost skills.' page

Photo from WRVS Heritage Plus Archive

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'The appliqué patchwork quilt of lost skills.' page

Photo from WRVS Heritage Plus Archive

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'The appliqué patchwork quilt of lost skills.' page

Photo from WRVS Heritage Plus Archive

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'The appliqué patchwork quilt of lost skills.' page

Photo from WRVS Heritage Plus Archive

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'The appliqué patchwork quilt of lost skills.' page

Photo from WRVS Heritage Plus Archive

Over a period of 10 weeks, the ladies from Age Concern Tilgate, Crawley, worked with textile artist Sandrine Case to create a beautiful patchwork quilt as part of a WRVS Heritage Plus Activity.

They began by discussing skills and job's the ladies used to employ. From these discussions each person designed their own appliqué square. Using bonda web and stitching, the ladies produced their images with recycled and remnant fabrics. They also used paper doyleys as stencils to screen print a border for the quilt.

Below the ladies who took part in the activity remember some of the skills they learned in their youth and the work they used to do.

Gertie Painter - Fish, kettle and cutlery:
Gertie married a Maitre d' Hotel and moved around the country with him, She was always employed with him in various situations including cooking and waitressing. One of her employers catered for up market functions and always had to hire the fish kettle and associated cutlery for these events.  The skills that she had learnt enabled her, at the age of 52, to join Union Castle Shipping Line as a waitress sailing from Southampton to Durban.  She was at sea for the next eight years!

Dorothy Jones - United Dairies milk churns:
Members of Dorothy's family, including her, worked for United Dairies in StreathamGardenVillage in South London. The Dairy owned the house they lived in and provided amenities such as tennis courts and play areas for the employees.  Her duties included, harnessing the horses to the milk delivery cart and ensuring they were properly stabled and fed at the end of each shift.  She recalls that during the war where they lived became known as 'bomb alley'.  However, the Dairy and was never hit despite having tall chimneys that were visible from a long way off.  It was believed that the German fighter pilots used the chimneys as a marker as they were often seen separating from each other at this point.

Jenny Goldsworth - Women knitting and sewing in her home:
Jenny was taught how to sew and knit, whilst she was at school.  Whilst at junior school, she made a pink nightdress for herself, which included French seams and contrasting coloured facings.  Today she still uses these skills, primarily to knit for her grandchildren.  Amongst the tools she uses for sewing are a thimble and a bodkin.  She uses the thimble to protect the pad of her finger, whilst pushing the needle through thick fabrics and the bodkin to thread elastic or ribbon trough garments.

Kathleen Scott- Kitchens:
"I used to bake cakes for the family. I was good at making sponges and pastry, but I don't bake anymore."

Hilda Tenwick - Washing:
"Monday was washing day. We did the sheets first. In the last rinse we put the small blue Ricketts bag. It helped to keep the whites white. We then did the shirts then socks. I had a gas boiler to boil the water. I was married for12 years before I had my first washing machine. There were two types of pegs-dolly and gypsy pegs.
Irons were put on the gas to make them hot. You spat on them so they hissed. Then you were ready to iron."

Joan Parish- Gardening:
"All the family was keen on gardening and had beautiful gardens. My husband was a commercial artist. We did art together. The square combines my two loves-art and gardening."

Doris Upton - Wash board:
"We used to use a wash board and soap to scrub our washing."

Alison Spackmen - Darning:
"We used to mend things when they had holes. This was done by using a wooden mushroom darner which was placed under the whole and then stitched over."

Elizabeth (Betty) Pegg - hats:
When Betty was growing up, hats were regularly worn by both males and females.  She remembers always having to wear a hat at school.  This incorporated the school badge and a band and was made of velour.  They were also always worn when attending church, even for regular services. Her real passion for hats started when she saw the 1st edition of 'Woman' magazine after the war.

Margaret Burt - Preserving:
"In the past we used to preserve the fruit from our garden. We picked blackberries once a year and made jam and bottled fruits in Kilmer jars. This preserved the fruit for a long time when it could be used for puddings."

To see more photographs of the finished quilt please click here to go to our Products section.

This page was added by John Cheves on 21/01/2009.

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