01 June 2015

Things will be a little quiet around here...

Myself and approx. 25 other quilters are all furiously stitching to finish a very special art quilt project, to celebrate a very special anniversary.

This is the Ankerwycke Yew Tree, said to be at least 1,400 years old and possibly even older.
It is on the banks of the River Thames in Runnymede, close to the site of the ruins of St Mary's Priory, a 12th century Benedictine nunnery. The land is owned by the National Trust and is a couple of miles from where I live. There is a lovely walk there.
The tree is famous as it is reportedly the site where King John of England met the barons and sealed the Magna Carta in 1215. The Magna Carta was the first document ever imposed upon a King of England by a group of his subjects. The barons sought to limit his powers by law and protect their rights. The document is well known throughout the English speaking world and even inspired other constitutional documents such as the American Constitution.

This year will be the 800th anniversary and a group of us, who all live near Runnymede decided we wanted to mark it in a special way. We are making a series of eight quilts each measuring 60" x 80". Four medieval quilts tell the story in graphic novel style of King John.
 Four legacy quilts tell of the legacy of human rights that evolved from the Magna Carta. The quilts are machine appliquéd and embroidered both by machine and hand. This is a mock up of how they will hang together. The leaves on the oak trees will have embroidered portraits of famous human rights activists.
The back of the quilts will form a Thames Mosaic, showing a map of the River Thames from Windsor to the Runnymede Meadows
Full details of our group can be found on our website www.magnacartaquilt.co.uk. We are a not for profit organisation and we are offering the squares on the Thames Mosaic for sponsorship in order to defray some of the material costs; will will donate any profit to a human rights charity. Sponsors will have their name embroidered on a square. If anyone would like to support our group then a sponsorship form is available on our website HERE

The quilts will be displayed at the Great Charter Festival held at Royal Holloway University of London from 14th to 16th June, they will then spend a couple of days in Egham before hanging in Guildford Cathedral until the beginning of August. At the end of October they will travel to Houston for the International Quilt Festival, before returning to England to continue their tour. We hope to find a permanent home for them near Runnymede.

It is a very exciting project to be a part of, we cannot post pictures of too much detail until the quilts are revealed on the 14th, but we do have a couple of teasers on our Facebook page.

I am not very skilled with my machine so my contribution has been of the necessary hand stitching binding etc variety, along with an admin role as Treasurer/Banker. I have however stitched some of the lovely gold embroidery details and I am currently making honey bees to appliqué on! I will share photos of the quilts when we are done and show you the bits I did, until then I need to get stitching!


  1. What a great project. I do hope you find a permanent home for the finished work, as I doubt I will get to Royal Holloway, and I would love to see it!

  2. What a terrific accomplishment. I hope there will be lots of photos. Congratulations on your involvement in this super project.

  3. what a great project! I love that tree

  4. What an inspired project. I immediately went to the website and signed up as a sponsor...and I am here on Long Island in New York. I will be at Houston in October and will get to see this meaningfull piece of art...and my name will be one of many listed on it. How small our world has become.

  5. Anonymous2/6/15 08:20

    What an amazing project to be part of Elaine, the photos look great, I look forward to seeing all the details after the launch and will definitely try to go and see the exhibition in person. A big well done to you and your group of talented quilters.


  6. How cool is this!! A very exciting project indeed! Good luck with the finishing up!

  7. wow this is going to be amazing..............I do hope you can share some pics once it is finished............

  8. Oh how exciting and special....will be looking forward to the finished project, good luck with the stitching and finishing !!!

  9. Oh Elaine what a treasure to be able to work on and leave behind for many generations to enjoy, looking forward to seeing many more photos of this treasure up close in the future. Thanks for sharing and I did enjoy seeing the yew tree 1400 years old oh my and we live roughly 80 years old?????? Cheers Glenda

  10. I am going to Houston this year. So good to hear about this ahead of time! Exciting since reveal is so close