The Turvey Village Quilt

Turvey Village Quilt 1995
Ann Boyle

It all started in December 1993 when Eve Kent, then editor of the Turvey News, had a meeting with Penny MacKenzie who ran the patchwork and craft classes in the evening at Turvey Lower School. She had been sent information about a quilting competition. This had been started by Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity in association with Eastern Arts Board and Mid Beds District Council. It was to be called ‘Our Village’ and had to involve as many people as possible. The prizes were as follows:

First £500 donated by Simon Whitbread Charitable Trust.

Second £300 donated by Bedfordshire Rural Communities Trust.

Third £200 donated by Whitbread in the community.

The finished Quilts would be exhibited and judged at Bromham Mill in 1995.

Penny arranged a talk to be given by Mary Mayne, an expert quilter who lived in Dunstable. Posters advertising this were displayed in the village shops, on notice boards, at playgroup and at school. An article, by Penny, was printed in the Turvey News and the making of the Turvey Quilt began.

At the first meeting the following people were present, and they listened to the talk by Mary Mayne:

Penny Mackenzie

Fay Gray

Jenny Lyon

Mary Smith

Barbara Gower

Ann Boyle

Jill Minskull

Jenny Skoines

Marion Nixon

Pat Cartwright

Robyn Pellew

Thelma Denton

There was an awful lot to do, forms to fill in, designs to be made, money to be raised and much more

  • A list of what should be on the quilt was discussed and Ann offered to take photos of all the buildings and points of interest around the village, accompanied by me, Mary.
  • It was agreed that a diary had to be kept which included the minutes of all the meetings plus samples of all plans, diagrams, fabrics used and photos. I volunteered to keep it.
  • All the photos had to be copied three times at the finished size.
  • Fabric samples had to be researched.
  • It was decided that the signatures of all the people who contributed, to the quilt, would be recorded on the back.

We decided to meet once a fortnight and tasks were allocated to various people.

Ann and I walked, with our husbands, the length and breadth of the village, in the freezing cold, over two days taking photos of buildings and other notable things of interest in Turvey. These included Jonah, Nell’s Well, the stone owls and Lancelot the donkey.

I agreed to open a Giro bank account and then visit all the shops and businesses in Turvey to ask for a donation in return for their logo being displayed on the quilt. Penny produced a design which met with approval and then started compiling packs for people who wanted to make buildings. These contained a photo plus a photocopy, pieces of suitable material, bondaweb, backing material plus instructions.

Other people started work on the flora and fauna to be on the quilt.

We held coffee mornings where people could come and see how the work was progressing and add their contribution by sewing or donating if they wanted to.

By September 1994 things were going well, the various organisations were all busy making their logos, the side panels were being planned and the points at the bottom of the quilt were made.

The crosses were made by Brother Herbert from Turvey Abbey.

The lace cushion with a lace motif and tiny lace bobbins, made to scale, was done by Jenny Skoines.

Ruth Clarke made a miniature copy of the Turvey News.

Penny MacKenzie made a miniature patchwork quilt.

I made theatre masks for TATS, originally ceramic, but replaced by felt as the ceramic broke.

Fay Gray, Doff Beattie and Caroline Evans made three tiny church kneelers.

The lettering on the quilt was agreed upon and the style chosen was Roman.

By February 1995 the tiny details were added; goats, a nun, bee hives, a fisherman, a person walking a dog and many more.

The quilt was ready to be assembled by March and this very precise work was undertaken by Penny MacKenzie, Jenny Lyon, Nicky Field and Fay Gray. Once assembled, the actual quilting was done, the edges were bound, the tacking removed and the tassels attached.

I completed the diary which had been kept throughout the time and it was checked and given its title –

The Quilt was finished.

Off it went to Bromham Mill for judging and exhibiting on 25th April 1995.

We came second and used the prize money to purchase a bench and plaque which can be found in the village cemetery.

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