Sunday, 3 May 2009

Suffolk Puff Love - or make do and mend?

What a glorious May day! I love Spring and May in particular. My favourite month with its promises of long days, balmy evenings and natural beauty all around...

Anyway, changing the subject completely, I'm hoping that someone will see this and help me out here. I purchased this beauty last year not really knowing what it was but just loving the fact that it was made from little Suffolk puffs. I found it in an Antiques Centre in Horncastle just thrown across a chair and fell in love with the colours. I've photographed it on a white duvet cover here so that you get the full effect but don't have it on the bed normally as it is too fragile.

It was one of those things that I just had to have and I bought it there and then. I didn't even open it out to check the condition as I had thought to cut up little sections to use to decorate some cushions. (I certainly won't be cutting up now - I love it!).

I fell in love with the colours - it had an overall denim-y blue feel to it but with small splashes of deep red. When I got it home I laid it out on the floor and was amazed at the beauty of this "patchwork." Although there were almost 2000 patches (yes I counted!) in it there was actually a geometric pattern amongst all the myriad blue fabrics. There are also some plain cream pieces and a few black and russet pieces. You can probably see the pattern best in the first picture.

The next picture shows part of the reverse where you can see the actual patterns of some of the fabrics.What I'm hoping is that one of you expert textile ladies can advise me as to exactly what I bought - or at least from what period. I know its a single bed cover as it covers a single perfectly with the corners rounded as it fall to the floor.

The fabrics look to me like the sort of dress fabrics my mother may have worn in the 40s and 50s but it seems older to me. There are also lots of what would appear to be shirt fabrics in it. It must have taken ages to assemble all that fabric never mind make all the puffs! I would love somebody to hazard a guess as to its age as I havent seen anything quite like it before. I wondered whether it fell into the war time "make do and mend" timeframe?

Any ideas gratefully received!

Love Wend


  1. I'm sorry, I have no idea how old it is, but it is a thing of great beauty. A fantastic find. xxx

  2. That is so beautiful Wend, such pretty colours! I could hazard a guess as to its age, maybe 30s/40s? A real gem! I love the idea of shirting stripes t ease among the florals, that certainly gives it a 'make do and mend feel' or thrifty feel. I don't know much about quilts/quilting, but love the lacey delicacy and overall colour-scheme of this, as you say, it looks incredible against the white background. Thanks for sharing it!

  3. You may have found your answer by now but another site called them yo-yo's and said they were popular in the depression era.

    I have a bedspread made of these that my great-grandmother made. It was passed to my grandmother, then to my mother and now I have the privilage to display it on my quilt rack.

    I came on-line looking to find out what they were called and to see if I could repair a few that have come undone. Now that I know I may try to fix it up this summer.

    Mine is done in multi-color patterned pieces and is sectioned in 5x5 squares and outlined in white puffs. Very handsome looking.

    From Nova Scotia, Canada