So, as we mentioned previously, it's an exciting time for us nerdy quilters, what with the V&A exhibition breaking all box office records for advanced sales and fab new books on the subject springing up all over the place (see our We Are Reading list). And at the weekend, when in Wales we came across another amazing quilt exhibition tucked away in rural Lampeter, the newly opened Jen Jones Welsh Quilt Centre, with it's cute shop and simply stunning collection of antique Welsh quilts.
Jen and her architect husband have refurbished the old town hall in Lampeter to provide a proper home for the Welsh quilts she has been collecting and championing since her move to the UK some decades ago (She originally from the US and moved to the UK in 1971). You can eat in the sweet little restaurant next door too.
She charts the importance of (very high quality) quilting to the local Welsh woman as a source of much needed income (albeit a small one) in the 1800s, when there was very little to do BUT sew in Wales. Fabric from the East India Company would find its way via the busy Welsh docks to quilters, who would sew complex patterns around the strongly coloured paisleys and prints. A cooperative would then take the quilts to London and other big towns to present to retailers.
There are simple patch quilts here too (surely the ultimate in recycling projects?) which are made of dress fabrics and shirts that would have been cut up when worn through at the elbows and collar and given a new lease of life as a quilts. It made us want to dash home and start sewing.
And as if this wasn't enough, Jen is also one of the world's leading experts in Welsh blankets, which she sells in her specialist shop down the road from the exhibition or (and this is where it gets nerve-wrackingly exciting) ON LINE, where there are many gorgeous antique ones to choose from, try resisting photos like this….
There's a huge amount of quilts for sale too, for those who can't be bothered with the patching and sewing bit. Altogether an excellent place to visit. We're hoping to get to the V&A exhibition this weekend, so quilty nerds, watch this space.