VOLUNTEERS at Hardy’s Cottage near Dorchester are always looking for ways to make the place feel more homely and lived in, as if perhaps the Hardy family have just stepped out for an afternoon walk.
Dorothy Maggs, a regular volunteer for the National Trust at the cottage, noticed the patchwork quilt cover which had been on Thomas Hardy’s parent’s bed for many years was faded and damaged by the sun. She suggested approaching Dorchester Stitchers to see if they were interested in making a replacement.
They accepted the challenge and spent more than 100 hours completing the quilt – they sourced fabrics similar to the original patchwork, cut out 296 triangles, 168 octagons and 82 diamonds. The finished cover measuring 5’7” x 6’8” is now displayed on the bed in Hardy’s Cottage.
One of the patchwork pieces was made by Rachael Raine, visitor experience officer at Hardy’s Cottage. She says: “It is much more difficult than I would have imagined. I have no experience with a sewing machine so I was impressed that I managed to make an octagon for the patchwork! The Stitchers were very patient with me and even though my piece was a little wonky, they still included it in the final quilt.”
Dorset Stitchers’ leader Alison Blacktop said they were thrilled to be given such a project. Dorothy Maggs will be taking close care of the new quilt, and turning it over regularly so it is not damaged by the sun.
A second patchwork quilt is currently being made by the Hardy’s Cottage volunteers for another of the beds. Hardy’s Cottage is looking for new volunteers at the cottage. If you would be interested in joining the team, please email email@example.com
Pictured: Alison Blacktop and Dorothy Maggs holding the finished quilt © National Trust/Tony Gill; and the new quilt © National Trust/Rachael Raine