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Sunday, 1 November 2009

A patchwork and quilting extravaganza

(Falling behind again!  I’m up in Inverness this weekend visiting my friends Janet and Ray.  Just doing this a bit at a time to keep it going.  I’ve posted a piece already today, about my visit to downtown Toronto.  Scroll down and take a look!)

Back in Canada….

Jean was very keen to take me to Millbank about an hour out of the city to see the Mennonite community out there.  The Mennonite people  - from whom the Amish have devolved - have chosen to live in an old style of life, without modern conveniences of electricity, cars,mennonite travel telephones, etc. and dress basically in what you would call a uniform, The men wear old fashioned suits and big black hats, with their hair cut pudding-basin style, and they sport beards and no moustaches! The women and girls all have their hair parted in the centre and scraped back  off their faces.  They wear little white bonnets from a young age, and very plain blue  dresses with white aprons over them.

  mennonite farm The guys farm maize






mennonite farm3and keep a few animals; some are also beautiful wood workers; the women look after their homes and families and make patchwork quilts which they sell to help the family income.  The day we visited a few farms were open to the public, so we went specifically to see the quilting.  I was allowed to take photos of any amount of quilts but not of them or their homes. 

So let me show you some of the exquisite quilts….. mennonite quilts general view first a general view of a room decorated specially for the open doors day,




and now some closer up views.mennonite quilt detail

….the centre of the quilt in the middle of the above photo….





mennonite quilt detail corner


….and its corner.






Patchworkers will recognise these traditional patterns:

mennites millbank and st jacobs 049


the maple leaf




mennonite two quilts


don’t know the name of this design,




mennonite quilts




but there were others, and I include some close ups next……

mennonite quilt close detail4a






st jacobs quilts13

I love the quilting that fills the plain background.  I took lots more photos but I can’t show you them all



mennonite quilt panel on treadle2


This is how a lot of the sewing is done, on a treadle sewing machine – no electricity, remember!




mennonite farm and quilts

At this farm the farmer was also a woodworker who made cedar chests – storage boxes, etc – which he also had on display in the garden.  I wasn’t keen on them myself, though I could appreciate the inlay work he had done on the fronts.  Sorry, no pics of those!  I forgot!

mennonite farmhouse


This is the other farmhouse, where the big display I showed you earlier was laid out, and where the sewing machine was.


st jacobs shops After leaving the Mennonites, we headed for St Jacobs which turned out to be a very attractive town with lots of interesting little shops, which sold …… quilts – among other things.   First of all though

 st josephs quilts2we visited a small shopping mall where we found a small exhibition of more modern patchwork and quilting.

It was superb!



st josephs quilts


Look at those 3D monarch butterflies…..


mennites millbank and st jacobs 097

st josephs quilts1

I love this one.





st josephs quilts3




This is unusual  and rather clever, made up of  all these little squares!

st josephs quilts3a






st josephs quilts5




This was a method I hadn’t seen before…. stamps sewn into a felt quilt under a layer of net!




Oh I could go on and on, but enough’s enough for now!


Talk again soon.

1 comment:

Mary said...