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Armagh - The Loose Thread Quilters

The Loose Thread Quilters are a small group of quiltmakers drawn from all over Northern Ireland.

Armagh County Museum

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Armagh - The Loose Thread Quilters

(To access audio and video you need RealPlayer)


The Loose Thread Quilters are a small group of quiltmakers drawn from all over Northern Ireland. Examples of their work are on display at Armagh County Museum in an exhibition called Ancient Ireland Comes of Age , which runs from 15th September 2003 until 10th January 2004. A dazzling array of colours, shapes and patterns, each quilt or wall hanging in the show reflects a personal interpretation of the exhibition title.

An enthusiastic and busy bunch of people, the Loose Thread Quilters meet up every month in Belfast to hold demonstrations, attend workshops, listen to speakers. You don't need to be an expert to join the group, just share their common love of fabric. Since 1996 their aim has been "to promote the practice and art of patchwork, applique and quilting for both the traditional quiltmaker and the contemporary fabric artist".

Armagh County Museum is certainly not the Loose Thread Quilters' first exhibition and the group's work has been on display in a number of towns around the Province and even further afield in Dundalk and Dublin. You may have seen their exhibition "My Lagan Love", which featured 40 spectacular quilts on this theme and which started in Belfast's Waterfront Hall and travelled down the Lagan's course to Lisburn, Dromore, Castlewellan.

1. Old Callan Bridge wall hanging 2. Photo of Callan Bridge in 2003 3. View of windmill and C of I Cathedral, 2003
1. Old Callan Bridge wall hanging
2. Photo of Callan Bridge in 2003
3. View of windmill and C of I cathedral, 2003
Margaret McCrory's contribution to the Armagh exhibition is based on a painting by John Luke which hangs in the museum. Entitled The Old Callan Bridge 1945 (exhibit no.23) it features a local Armagh landscape. When the your place and mine team were visiting the museum a party of P7 pupils from Mount St Catherine's Primary School, Armagh were looking around. As luck would have it, guess where their school is situated in relation to the scene depicted? A question their teacher, Anne-Marie McLaughlin, put to them...

Click Here to listen to Anne-Marie McLaughlin.

Amazing that if the same scene was painted today their sister school would feature in it. The Mount St Catherine pupils talked about what the bridge and surrounding area look like today.

Click Here to listen to the pupils talk about the Callan Bridge.

Certainly there are no longer the trees and green fields that feature in Margaret's wall hanging. your place and mine thought it would be fun to try and take a photograph of the area from the same perspective as John Luke's painting (and Margaret's wall hanging). But, alas, there were lots of houses in the way! You could get a nice photo of the Callan Bridge or a long shot of the windmill and cathedral, but not all 3 together.

Plenty of passion, skill and hard work went into these beautiful quilts and wall hangings. Some of the quilters spoke to Mary Ferris on BBC Radio Ulster's 'Your Place and Mine' programme about how the exhibition title had inspired them. Anne Marcus spoke first about her piece 'Connecting Threads' (exhibit no. 7).

Click Here to listen to the discussion.

Below are the 24 pieces that make up the exhibition. You can click on the link beneath each picture to view a much larger version in a new window and also to listen to an audio description. No doubt you'll have your favourites as the Mount St Catherine children did.

Click Here to listen to Lisa, Roisin, Megan and Benita choose their favourite quilt or wall hanging


Click on any of the pictures below to view a large version in a new browser window.

Quilt made by The Loose Thread Quilters
Quilt made by The Loose Thread Quilters
1. Celtic Twist -
Jacqueline Davie
2. Changes in the Wind -
Pat McFerran


Quilt made by The Loose Thread Quilters
Quilt made by The Loose Thread Quilters
3. Apple Blossom -
Hilary Simms
4. The Heavens Declare -
Margaret Woodside


Quilt made by The Loose Thread Quilters
Quilt made by The Loose Thread Quilters
5. Regeneration -
Jennifer Cullen
6. Celtic Circles -
Molly Taylor


Quilt made by The Loose Thread Quilters
Quilt made by The Loose Thread Quilters
7. Connecting Threads -
Anne Marcus
8. Double Irish Chain -
Sally Kerr


Quilt made by The Loose Thread Quilters
Quilt made by The Loose Thread Quilters
9. Log Cabin -
Sally Kerr
10. Red Baskets -
Sally Kerr


Quilt made by The Loose Thread Quilters
Quilt made by The Loose Thread Quilters
11. Birds of a Feather -
Margaret Mehaffey
12. Apple Cider -
Sheila Ferguson


Quilt made by The Loose Thread Quilters
Quilt made by The Loose Thread Quilters
13. Modern Celtic -
Heather Nicholl
14. Finnian's Rainbow -
Rosemary Brown


Quilt made by The Loose Thread Quilters
Quilt made by The Loose Thread Quilters
15. Starry Starry Night -
Ann Mitchell
16. Shades of the Burren -
Valerie Cooper


Quilt made by The Loose Thread Quilters
Quilt made by The Loose Thread Quilters

17. Back to the Future -
Elizabeth Lowry

18. Colours of Ireland -
Betty Pollock


Quilt made by The Loose Thread Quilters
Quilt made by The Loose Thread Quilters
19. Perfect Harmony -
Jennifer Cullen
20. Standing Stones to Stained Glass -
Anne Hardcastle


Quilt made by The Loose Thread Quilters
Quilt made by The Loose Thread Quilters
21. Flower Fairies -
Ann Scott
22. Three Green Apples -
Karen Robinson


Quilt made by The Loose Thread Quilters
Quilt made by The Loose Thread Quilters
23. The Old Callan Bridge 1945 -
Margaret McCrory
24. Weaving Threads in History -
Clare Loughrey

Click on any of the pictures above to view a large version in a new browser window.


In March 2000 members of the Loose Thread Quilters took part in BBC Northern Ireland's Country Times programme.
Click here to view the programme.


Do you know where the Titanic quilt that Ann Mitchell talks about in the programme is? It would be nice to track it down! If you have any information leave a message by filling in your comments at the bottom of this page or by e-mailing ypam-online@bbc.co.uk . ( Read more about the Titanic here. ) Have you a special quilt in your family that you can tell us about?

You can visit the Armagh County Museum website at: www.armaghcountymuseum.org.uk .
We would like to extend a big thank you to the museum for all its help in putting this article together.


Mary - August '04
Thank you for making this site available. My great grandparents are from Armagh. So, when I have occasion to see anything about it I go to the site. I have quilted too and wanted to view what you had to offer. Thanks Again.

Sally Jones wrote to us in April 04 to say:
Very interesting article. Interesting to be able to see the quilts and hear the descriptions of how they were made and the inspiration behind them.

Shirley Levine - August '04
I loved seeing your quilt exhibit. Thank you for posting the photos to this website - which I found while "searching" for information about weaving in County Armagh.

I am an American quilter. My maternal grandfather's parents emigrated from County Armagh in 1887 where my great great grandfather was a weaver.

I'd love to correspond with other quilters from County Armagh, if you could pass along my message to the Loose Thread Quilters group.


click to read onA very special quilt has been painstakingly produced by hand by a YPAM web visitor from America - a quilt remembering the NYC firefighters of 911. Click on the picture to read on and see this moving tribute by Mary Henderson.

 


 

 

 

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