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New Pathways into Quilt History written by Kimberly Wulfert, www.antiquequiltdating.com

Antique Sewing & Needlework Tools
- Antique Embroidery Tools, pg 6
Text and Photos by Gloria Brunning, Needleworker

I have had a love of needlework from being a small girl, five or six years old. My grandmother mostly influenced my interest. She had made clothes and anything else that was needed during the war. She was also an excellent rag rug maker. I used to watch her creating some amazing rugs sitting in front of the fire in the kitchen come dining room and living room. They had another very large room, which was called the parlour, and I only remember going in there when there was a birth, death or marriage. The kitchen was the hub of the house. She showed me some very simple stitches and I was hooked. I think I used all of her scraps of thread and material up. My Mum was more into knitting. She showed me how to knit and I could do it but I didn’t like it very much, much to her disappointment. She could knit the most intricate patterns without looking at the needles, which constantly amazed me.

As I got older I bought my first cross-stitch and got in to patchwork, as they were both relatively cheap. All the cushions in my first house were patchwork and I even managed to find some inexpensive silk remnants for two of them. This was a great find as silk was very expensive in those days. I loved both cross-stitch and patchwork and continued to develop my skills over several years. Then work and promotion got in the way. I produced very little for a long time.

I kept up to date with new ideas through magazines and books, but never had time to do any actual sewing, especially after the children were born. I decided that I needed something for me, some time for myself, and a break from the routines of home and work and so I turned back to my sewing about ten years ago. It has been wonderful reviving old loves (but I have gone off the cross-stitch a bit) and learning new ones. The wonder of Gold Work, Montmellick, Trapunto, free machine embroidery, laid work etc has given me new challenges, greater skills and has kept me relatively sane. I have been going to an embroidery class on a Thursday evening now for three years with my friends Elizabeth and Charity. We have a great time and quite often we go along to a Saturday class, which introduces new techniques, e.g. Mola work, Rouleau, and Kantha work. I am also involved in a ‘Block a Month’ patchwork course.
I joined the local embroiderers’ guild, which has proved to be informative and very enjoyable.

The Guild often has competitions and I won the Rose Bowl last year with my interpretation of the after math of the San Francisco earthquake. It was a piece, which incorporated patchwork, quilting and appliqué. The theme was 1906 and the work had to be of an original design so I went for something different.

Quilts have always fascinated me and the work that goes into them is phenomenal. The quality of the quilts and creativity of many contemporary quilt designers and creators is fantastic, but they do have modern lighting, equipment and materials. I think that any antique quilt is a much better achievement because of the conditions their creators had to face. It is my ambition to own an antique quilt one day.

I will continue to look for more pieces for my sewing tools collection and one day I hope to inspire someone else with stories and anecdotes about them.

Gloria Brunning

Thank you Gloria for sharing your story and collections with us. If you would like to contact Gloria, she can be reached at brunning@tiscali.co.uk.

*I asked Gloria to tell us more about City & Guilds and her distance course in Embroidery:

“The actual course is run by lots of different establishments throughout the country as well as many other practical courses. I do my course as a distance learning course (7922-08 Embroidery) which also incorporates a certificate in design and craft. My tutor is independent of a college but has achieved the standard to deliver the course - this is very rigorous. She is based at the School of Stitched Textiles. The web address is www.schoolofstitchedtextiles.com if you would like to look at it. There are many other independent groups but mostly you would have to attend a college to complete it. I guess that as the need for part time courses/working from home has been addressed then this type of course has grown. You can go on to a diploma after this course. I know that there are a couple of American ladies doing it and I believe there are lots of students from Europe. It is open to any age. I have thoroughly enjoyed it so far, but I have to be disciplined about the time I set aside for it.”

Antique Sewing & Needlework Tools - Collecting Bone, page 1

Article text and pictures Copyright © 2007 by Gloria Brunning. All rights reserved.


* Women (and Men) at Work

© 2007 - 2015 Kimberly Wulfert, PhD. Absolutely no copies, reprints, use of photos or text are permitted for commercial or online use. One personal copy for study purposes is permitted.

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