Photograph of the Alveva Quilters' Millenium Quilt. (© Alveva Quilters.)
A Quilt is Born
It was in autumn 1997 that Alveva Quilters decided they would mark the new millennium with a commemorative quilt. So began a period of research and brainstorming to decide what to include in this historical record of Feltwell, 1000 AD to 2000 AD. Members of the Feltwell Historical and Archaeological Society were asked for their suggestions, and Alveva members sifted through the ideas in a bid to show as broad a sweep of Feltwell's history as possible.
Putting ideas into designs was the next hurdle, and the many people who have contributed are recorded here. The quilt design 'grew'. There was not a blueprint to work to, rather a feeling of what the group wished to express. This is reflected not only in the blocks themselves, but also in the colour and texture of the quilt that indicates the landscape of East Anglia, which is Feltwell's home.
With designs produced, it became clear that some members would experience a steep learning curve in order to master the techniques needed to do justice to the designs. There has been a tremendous sharing of skills and experience, and every member who has taken part has been rewarded with a sense of achievement to accompany the newly developed skills.
Within the quilt can be seen many styles of needlework, both machine and hand. There are pieced blocks, applique, reverse applique, three-dimensional work, as well as embroidery stitches and techniques such as couching. The individual blocks and figures were appliqued to the background fabric, and then hand-quilting began in earnest. The group met regularly in members' houses and stitchers contributed as much time as their busy lives allowed. The quilt was put on a frame in May 2000 for the final stitching and spent some weeks at the home of Kathy Lowery, the lovely 'Roseneath' cottage in Bell Street. This hospitable setting gave an added enticement for stitchers to crack on with the final quilting which was done to represent twining ivy branches and leaves with applique ivy leaves applied and finally the binding.
The quilt is made of 100% cotton, with other fabrics included in the embellishments. It has a cotton fibre wadding, and a cotton back. A preserving backcloth of cambric has been added to give further protection, though the quilt is hung proud of the North wall of St. Mary's church to avoid damp.
It is hoped that the Millennium Quilt will hang for many years in its very appropriate home of St. Mary's, a building which has itself seen the passage of Feltwell history over many centuries.
Contact details for the Feltwell quilt:
Yvonne Brown 01842 828 577
Contact details for St Mary's Church, Feltwell:
Christine Parker (churchwarden) 01842 827 152
St Mary's Church, Feltwell, NHER 4940