This year was my first year at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham and it was just a fantastic few days. The show is enormous and the display quilts were just astonishing. The best bit about being an exhibitor is that you can take a little time in the early morning to wander amongst the hanging galleries and just soak up all that creativity.
Thank you to everyone who came to my little stand and bought patterns and kits and said such encouraging things and filled me with optimism for the future of Ruby's little venture. A special thank you to the lovely young lady who came to see me and told me that she had bought my Regatta boat pattern at Alexandra Palace and then pulled out of her back pack an wonderful version of my design that she had made and what is more, she said it is the first quilt she has ever made. I was so overwhelmed and excited and we took photos and then I forgot to take her name or social media contact and felt awful because I would dearly love to have to have shared it with you, but feel that I can't do so without her permission. So, if you are out there and should happen to see this - please get in touch. It was a very special moment for me and I thought your quilt was beautiful and thank you for bringing it to show me.
So with the festival finished and everything back home in its place, it is time to start to think about new patterns and designs. I decided to start with a new quilt pattern and this time it was easy to decide what to do...it's been on my list for quite a while. 'Shoreham' is going to be a really pretty, fun project with a lovely seaside feel and it all stems from this photograph.
When I was a little girl, I grew up hearing stories about 'Aunty Heyer's bungalow at Shoreham and wonderful summer holidays filled with family and feasting. My grandmother is the toddler in the arms of my great grandmother Eliza Seppings at the far right of the photograph. I just think that this photo, taken at the beginning of the 20th century is dreamy. I love everything about it and it sort of encapsulates all those classic children's novels like Ann of Green Gables and Swallows and Amazons mixed up with seaside fun. In fact, the building was made up to two old railway carriages as were a lot of the little houses in what came to be known as 'Bungalow Town'. For some reason there seemed to be a supply of disused carriages in this area and people started buying them and using them for holiday houses. Gradually they started adapting and adding to them and when you start researching this there is a whole world to discover. You can see more images of how this was done and all about Bungalow town by following the link at the bottom of this posting.http://www.shorehambysea.com/last-bungalow-town-railway-carriages/
The little holiday town grew to become a sort of artsy bohemian holiday community for Londoners, who wanted to escape the smog of the city. They even had a little film studios there at one time. All the bungalows had names and our family one was called 'San Toy' a name that intrigues me. This happy holiday house became a central feature of the Seppings family life and as my grandmother and her four sisters grew up, it continued into the 20's and 30's to be a place for family gatherings. The little girl in this photo is my Mum and it was taken around 1928. Don't they all look amazing - when you think of how we dress on the beach today........
Unfortunately it all seemed to have come to an end by the time of the second world war. Fires and military plans at this time destroyed many of the bungalows and I feel as if the bohemian atmosphere vanished forever. Of course, I am ever the romantic, but I feel I should try and capture a little bit of this world in a quilt and as I love the idea of a quilt with little houses on, it was easy to use my photograph and see if I could devise a block that would represent it. The result is this little gem. It is 16" and has a few unusual additions to make it a little bit quirky.
I am pleased with the result and am working on the pattern writing now. As I retest the design and my quilt blocks grow, I can see that is going to be super pretty....I hope you think so. Watch this space to see the finished result.
Meanwhile, I am going to be at the Great Northern Quilt show at the Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate from 29th August - 1st September. I hope to see you there.
Toodle -ooo for now, Ruby x