West Cork stitchers share their passion for fabric

Patchwork 2

Posted on: 6th October, 2014

Category: Arts & Entertainment

Contributor: West Cork People

Above: Some of the Patchwork and Quilting Group, Skeagh.

An exhibition of locally made patchwork quilts, in all their intricacies and colour, will be on display from  Tuesday, October 7 to Sunday, October 12 at the Old Skeagh Creamery, Skeagh, Skibbereen. The show is being hosted by Marie Sprott, who set up a group of stitchers in 2012 and now gives instruction two mornings and two evenings a week to West Cork women where chat, coffee and sewing all vie for importance. Marie originally came from Birr in County Offaly  but is now firmly established in West Cork.

The custom of patchwork quilting is still carried on all over Ireland, turning necessity into invention. These beautiful heirlooms continue to be created using scrap materials, or perhaps treasured old frocks that have long been outgrown or pretty fabrics found at charity shops and jumble sales. More frequently, however, they are now made from newly purchased fabrics of every hue and pattern.

Many quilts are made to traditional patterns and Marie’s first quilt was called Grandmother’s Country Garden, which is made up of hundreds of different little coloured and patterned hexagons of fabric, stitched together to create a sheet, which is then layered with wadding for warmth and backed with another fabric. For the past six years, she has been going to a retreat, run by the Quilters Guild of Ireland, to learn even more complex skills to enhance her work — all of which she generously passes on to her groups.

Historians have found evidence of patchwork — piecing small scraps of fabric together to create a large piece, then quilting layers together for warmth — throughout the ages.  The earliest examples have been found in Egyptian tombs and in China as long as 5000 years ago. Quilted materials were found in the construction of armour in the Middle Ages to keep soldiers warm.  As the European climate became colder around this time — 11th to 13th centuries — so bed quilts became more common, often embellished with more fabric pieces in pretty patterns, called appliqué.

Although patchwork quilts demonstrated admirable and frequently essential frugality, more than anything it was, and still is, fun to sit and chat with other women while you sew; having help when layering the batting; making decisions about colour or pattern and generally enjoying the company of others while creating something practical but also beautiful. Patchwork quilting has almost become an art form in itself and some of the shapes and patterns can take your breath away.

The Exhibition of Patchwork Quilts at Skeagh shows quilts made locally and some by members of the Quilters Guild of Ireland who were kind enough to lend the group display stands. If you want to find out more, have a look at their Facebook page for more information on quilting.  For information on the exhibition telephone Marie on 086 3774686. Open Tuesday, October 7 to Sunday, October 12, 10.30am to 4.30pm at the Old Skeagh Creamery, Skeagh. This is a free event but donations will be welcome and will all go to the Baltimore Life Boat fund.

How to get there? Half way between Skibbereen and Ballydehob is Kilcoe Church. If you are travelling west turn right with Kilcoe church on your left and drive for approximately two miles. You will find Skeagh Creamery on your right.

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11th October, 2017  ·  

Submarines, American Sailors, and the Underwater War in Irish Waters, 1917-1918
by Dr John Borgonovo in The Parish Centre, Clonakilty
on Thursday Oct 26 2017 at 8.30 pm

In 1917, unrestricted submarine warfare by German U-boats brought the United States into WWI and created a crisis in Britain. To defeat the submarine menace, an American naval fleet was dispatched to County Cork, bringing about 10,000 sailors with it. This talk will explain the circumstances of this extraordinary event, and how Cork residents dealt with their unexpected American guests.

Dr John Borgonovo is a lecturer in the School of History at UCC. His publications include Spies, Informers, and the 'Anti-Sinn Féin' Society: The Intelligence War in Cork City, 1920-1921; The Dynamics of War and Revolution: Cork City, 1916-1918; Exercising a close vigilance over their daughters: Cork women, American sailors, and Catholic vigilantes, 1917-18; Something in the Nature of a Massacre: The Bandon Valley Killings Revisited (with Andy Bielenberg). His latest publication (with co-authors John Crowley, Donal Ó Drisceoil and Mike Murphy) is the highly acclaimed and magnificient Atlas of the Irish Revolution. In July of this year, he organised a very successful conference on Winning the Western Approaches - Unrestricted Submarine Warfare and the US Navy in Ireland 1917-1918.
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11th October, 2017  ·  

Apple Juicing Day in Clonakilty next Sunday Sept 30th. All welcome to bring their apples from 2-6pm to the Clonakilty Community Garden (on entrance road to Clonakilty Lodge).

Building on the success of its inaugural 2016 event, local voluntary environmental organisation Sustainable Clonakilty invites people to bring along their apples and press them to extract their own juice to take home, using the group's Apple Press.

Volunteers will be at hand to assist in the procedure. Bring along your apples washed; clean containers to freeze your juice (milk/juice bottles or cartons, plastic bottles with caps); clean, sterilised glass bottles to pasteurise with swing caps or suitable for 26 mm diameter metal cap.

A limited number of new 3 litres juice bags that are suitable for freezing and pasteurising, can be purchased for a nominal fee on the day also.

This is a free community event and donations will be welcome to cover costs.

For further information, please contact Xavier at xavierdubuisson@gmail.com or text at 086/0476124.
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26th September, 2017  ·  

Dúchas Clonakilty's first lecture for the Autumn promises to be of huge interest to all: Emerging from the Shadow of Tom Crean – The Parish Centre, Clonakilty, Thursday September 28th 8.30pm.

Lecture by Aileen Crean O’Brien & Bill Sheppard

In May 2016, Kerry man Tom Crean, along with Ernest Shackleton and four other crew members, landed the James Caird lifeboat on the rocky isle of South Georgia. The navigation of that small boat, across 1500 km through icy winds and towering seas, is regarded as the greatest ever feat of navigation. They then trekked across the forbidding and inhospitable mountains and glaciers of South Georgia to seek help for the rest of their crew, who were left behind on Elephant Island after their ship, the Endurance, was crushed by the Antarctic ice.

One hundred years later, Crean’s grandaughter, Aileen Crean O’Brien, set off with her sons and partner to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps. Join Aileen and Bill to hear of their adventures (and misadventures) on the Southern Ocean and the island of South Georgia.
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7th September, 2017  ·  

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