Its well established that we love the heritage of quilting. Nothing makes us happier than marrying quilting history with beautiful fabric, which is why we’re so excited about the new Elizabeth’s Dowry fabric collection from The Quilters’ Guild. The Guild are launching the new collection from Marcus Fabrics this summer – inspired by one of the treasures from their collection: the Mariner’s Compass Coverlet. The new line is set to include 23 fabrics and a complete Mariner’s Compass panel. Its due to be launched next month and will be available in quilt shops this Autumn.
The Mariner’s Compass Coverlet (1820 – 1829) has always attracted interest from the quilting community due to its historic design and it’s back story. It’s one of five quilts in the Collection from the Dennis/Cann family from Devonshire, England. Mary, a farmer’s daughter, married Richard Cann in 1828 and they had seven children together. Richard’s death, of Typhoid Fever in 1842, left Mary and her children no choice but to leave their farm and move to Hartland village, where they ran a drapers and grocery shop. Mary stayed running the shop for nearly 50 years before her death at the age of 92 in 1891.
Like Marcus and The Quilters’ Guild, Australian quilt and fabric designer Karen Styles of Somerset Patchwork & Quilting was inspired by the original coverlet. She used it as the inspiration for creating the individual fabric prints in the new range, including the Mariner’s Compass design, which in turn has it’s own story…
“We find evidence of the Mariner’s Compass design being used in patchwork in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, at a time when famous naval victories were at the forefront of public imagination,” explains Heather Audin, Curator at The Quilters’ Guild. “Its appearance tells us much about popular inspirations, and also points towards changes in women’s standard education happening at this time. By the late 18th century, women had increased access to geometry textbooks enabling them to draft, draw and make complex patchwork designs, including the compass motif.”
Keep your eyes peeled for the Elizabeth’s Dowry fabrics when they make their appearance later this year. And if you’re planning a trip to this summer’s Festival of Quilts, The Quilters’ Guild will be creating a brand new range of gifts inspired by the Mariner’s Compass Coverlet. They’ll be available at the Festival or online at www.quiltersguildshop.org.uk