Colour and Comfort

01 February to 08 May 2019

A collaborative exhibition with the Quilters Guild exploring rural quilts and quilting. An exhibition 19th and 20th century rural quilts and quilted clothing from the Yorkshire Dales, including examples of frame, mosaic, applique, wholecloth, patchwork, recycled and repaired quilts. See those made for richer households alongside those created and used in traditional Dales cottages.

Striking homemade quilts – which covered the beds of Dalesmen and women before the coming of the duvet – are to go on display at the Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes.

On display is an 1890 Swaledale farm quilt saved from being used as a cover for a tractor; an unusual patchwork coverlet made in the mid-twentieth century by Norah Worth of Gayle; and a 120-year old black cotton quilted skirt worn by one Mary Metcalfe of Stalling Busk.

Museum Manager Fiona Rosher said: “The variety of patchwork and quilting styles in this exhibition shows the changing fashions in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

“Some pieces are purely decorative, made from expensive materials and indicate the type of patchwork that would have been made in higher class households of the Yorkshire Dales. But many of the pieces on display are practical quilts and demonstrate the need for a warm, comforting layer to soften the harsh conditions of rural, working life.”

What is a Quilt?

A quilt consists of three layers: a top layer that can be plain or pieced, a central layer for warmth, and a backing. These three layers are joined together by stitches, either decorative or simply even spaced knots, known as quilting.

References to quilts can be found in inventories and wills of the wealthier classes from the 13th century. They were treasured possessions in a household, often worth more than the bed itself.

In the 18th century there was a move away from the use of silks towards the new and fashionable cotton fabrics used for both dress and furnishings.  By that time, quilting was being used for fashionable garments such as jackets, waistcoats, nightcaps and hats.  The wearing of quilted petticoats may have been quite commonplace in winter in the Dales, perhaps long after the general fashion for wearing them in more urban areas had gone.

Event venue/meeting point:
Dales Countryside Museum
Station Yard
North Yorkshire

Directions to venue/meeting point:
Dales Countryside Museum is housed in the old railway station at Hawes, just off the main A684 in Wensleydale.
Grid reference: SD 876898

For further information or to book, contact:
Tel: 01969 666210