Lyonesse Quilters Show Work To Public

A selection of the work on display

Creative arts using the medium of fabrics are the focus of the Art Scilly festival yesterday and today.

The Scilly Stitchers have been showing what they can achieve with felting, quilting, sewing and knitting.

The group mixes stitching skills with the social setting of their Thursday sessions and Tania Weller says the group has expanded and diversified from the original Lyonesse Quilters, formed 12 years ago.

She says some of the younger members are into newer techniques such as felting, free machine embroidery and silk painting.

Tania says she’s pleased that the group is taking part in Art Scilly as more and more people are enjoying the creative side of stitching, partly because of recent TV exposure for the craft

And she says the hobby is very much up-and-coming, with plenty of younger people starting the craft. It’s also being seen as more of an art form these days too.

While TV exposure of stitching has helped draw attention to the pastime, long-time member Sue Williams isn’t a fan of how shows like Kirstie Allsopp’s series represent the craft.

She says Kirstie makes it look like something that takes minutes, but in reality it doesn’t, says Sue. It takes a long time to make something worthwhile, she says.

Sue says you have to plan ahead if you are a stitcher in Scilly because getting the fabric is difficult.

She has a huge stock and always buys lengths of fabric when she goes to the mainland.

Jill Wilson says one of the exhibits has taken half a century of work. It’s a table cloth started by Margaret Tiedeman’s mother-in-law, Violet, who was born 100 years ago on the day the Titanic sank. Margaret has been bringing the piece along to the group and has finally finished it in time for the exhibition.

A table cloth that's been 50 years in the making

Mary Humphries was a member of the original Lyonesse Quilters.

One of their first works was a quilt to mark the year 2000. It’s seen by thousands of visitors and locals each year at the airport.

Mary says it was a massive job and took the group around 6 months to make. Sadly, says Mary, it’s starting to look a bit ‘jaded’ but hopes they can get together to do some repairs soon.

Tania says the group enjoy working on special charitable fundraising projects. They’ve been making bags for the Vet Support Group to sell, and will also be taking part in the Linus Project again this year.

That project involves making quilts, which are given as comfort blankets to children at St Austell’s Little Harbour Children’s Hospice.

Mary says the group, who meet on Thursdays, are a friendly and supportive bunch. She says they’re never critical, but try to encourage every member, whatever their skill level.

Tania says a lot for people who admire their work and they’re particularly blown away by the intricacy of some of the pieces.