The Quilters in the TRNC

It is nice to see that this skill is continuing through the ages and not being allowed to disappear

I have a friend who was attending a “quilter’s” group earlier in the year and thought I would go along and see how they were progressing.     The group was formed for those people who have a talent and desire for making things and can turn their hand to needlework etc. but this particular class was for those people who wanted to learn how to do quilting.   I remember friends in the UK who used to attend classes for quilting and patchwork and always envied their finished items which had been made so lovingly.

I went along to the Waterfront in Lapta where the classes were being held between 10am and 4pm on a Tuesday and discovered that it was the last class to be held until September so most of the learning samples were progressing well with some almost complete.  I was amazed at the results of their handiwork.  There was a break for the ladies to have lunch and I took the opportunity to look at and photograph some of their work.

Gloria Tattersall is teaching the ladies how to do quilting with the assistance of another experienced quilter  – Annie Mockridge.  Gloria told me that she first learned the art of quilting in the UK in 1981 under the tuition of Lynn Edwards who received an MBE for her services to quilting.  This first course has been to teach quilting and the ladies were all working on their sample project which will ultimately become a wall hanging.  The ladies bring their own sewing machines to the class but it is possible to actually do quilting by hand sewing, although I think there would be a lot of time consuming work involved in this, but thinking about it, before the days of the sewing machine, this is how it would have been done.

The intention for the next series of classes is to build on the skills already taught and to understand more about the art and the use of materials and how everything blends together

There are normally 8-10 ladies who attend the class and they really enjoy the tuition, the company and the opportunity to get together with a shared interest.  A lot of the work is also done at home but for those people who had no idea where to start on this type of handicraft the expertise of Gloria and Annie was so important to set them on their way and the results of their labour showed in the items they were working on.

I suspected that quilting is an extremely old tradition so looked for some information regarding this craft and this is what I found:

The word “quilt” comes from the Latin culcita meaning a large stuffed sack, but it came into the English language from the French word cuilte.  The origins of quilting remain unknown but the earliest known quilted garment is depicted on the carved ivory figure of a Pharoah of the Egyptian First Dynasty, about 3400 BC. Quilting origins can be traced to China, North Africa, and the near East. Quilted  clothing was used in China, where it was worn for warmth as well as protection in battle

The Crusaders brought quilting to Europe in the late 11th century. Quilted garments were popular in the Middle Ages. Knights wore them under their armour for comfort. They also used quilted garments to protect the metal armour from the elements.

So, quilting has been around for a very long time and is very popular in the USA, Germany, Denmark and many other European countries, including England.   It is nice to see that this skill is continuing through the ages and not being allowed to disappear like so many other handicrafts.  It is thanks to people like Gloria and Annie who are keeping these traditional crafts alive so that they can be passed down to other generations.

The quilting classes resumed in September and anyone interested in learning quilting and wishing to join the group should contact Gloria by email at gloriatattersall@me.com  There is a beginners’ group startimg on 23rd October.

By Margaret SHEARD