This in from Gill Rebelo:

One of the highlights of my trip to the 2011 South African Quilt Festival at Stellenbosch was the lecture given by Australian quilter Pam Holland.  Her blog is subtitled “Taking Quilting One Step Further” and Pam certainly does that!

Pam’s quilting life started when she found mentioned in a book the 1776 quilt from Sorbia, a region bordering on Germany and Poland. This quilt was made by Sorbian soldiers on the battlefield as Prussian troops marched into Bohemia around 1766.

The book Pam wrote about her quilt journey includes the emotional discovery that her own grandfather came from the area of Europe where the quilt was made.  The full title of Pam’s book is The 1776 Quilt: Heartache, Heritage & Happiness and it is published by Breckling Press.

1776 Quilt by Pam Holland

1776 Quilt by Pam Holland

The appliqué-type figures and motifs are made from pieces of the soldiers’ felted wool uniforms, using an old European method known as Silesian quilting.  We now know this inlaid method of piecing as intarsia quilting (also here).

Despite being a relatively inexperienced quilter, Pam replicated the 1776 quilt using modern methods.  The quilt later won Best of Show at the Houston International Quilt Festival in addition to several other awards.

Following the success of the 1776 quilt, Pam has made many more unique pieces.  She has now embarked on another incredible quilt project – recreating the Bayeux Tapestry – all 238 feet of it.

Detail of Bayeux Quilt by Pam Holland
Detail of Bayeux Quilt
Pam Holland's Bayeux Quilt Border Detail
Bayeux Quilt Border Detail

The original Bayeux Tapestry, made around 1070, was embroidered, not woven, on linen.  Pam is re-creating it in appliqué attached by fine machine stitching (1/16” satin stitch) which quilts the panel at the same time.

Eight panels will be assembled to make the finished quilt.  This one shows Harold, Earl of Wessex, with his hounds travelling to Normandy in France.  Pam takes this completed panel along to her lectures.  Having seen it in South Africa, I can vouch that it is an amazing piece of work.  A book and a film of the project will be launched with the quilt when it is finished.

Detail of the Bayeux Quilt by Pam Holland
Detail of the Bayeux Quilt

Pam is a prolific quilter.  She travels, teaching and lecturing, for eight months of the year and tries to quilt for six hours a day when she is at home.  If she spends less than six hours, she makes up for it the following day.

Check out her website and browse the archives – it’s inspiring and a joy to read.  If you are interested in a beautiful set of Pam’s original block-of-the-month designs, you can have them for free, providing they are for your personal use only.