The Quaker Tapestry

The Quaker Tapestry

Whilst on holiday in Cumbria in our caravan we visited friends who are Quakers. Have you seen the Quaker Tapestry in Kendal? I was asked. I had to admit to never having heard of it let alone seen it. Knowing I was a sewing enthusiast Josie assured me that I would find it interesting.

The next day while exploring the town of Kendal we happened upon the Meeting House where the Tapestry is housed. Chas, my husband, was a little reluctant to enter (I can’t imagine why?!) but after my assurance that we wouldn’t take long and as Josie may well ask if we had seen it, he agreed to go in.

Well, suffice to say that we didn’t leave till closing time and it was a good job they had a café. What an absolute delight it is and the workmanship, design, stitching, everything to the way it is displayed.

As with so many of our quilts; from little acorns etc. In 1981 Anne Wynn-Wilson began teaching Quaker history to a class of 11 year olds in Taunton. Her intention was to make a time-frieze around the room. One boy, knowing that his teacher sewed, asked if they could embroider it. That was the beginning. People heard of the frieze that the children were making and came to see it and wanted to be part of it. The children and adults of Taunton made nine of the panels. In the end over 4,000 men, women and children worked on the panels in 15 countries around the world. It was finished in 1996.

There are 77 panels measuring 25”x 21” covering 350 years of social history through the eyes of Quakers since the founding of the movement by George Fox in 1652. The background woollen fabric was woven in Somerset and contains the merest hints of our West Country colours of nature that we love so much. More than 120 coloured wools were chosen along with the style and techniques to be used so that anyone could join in, no previous experience was necessary.

If you ever find yourself in Kendal do seek out this amazing art work, both you and your husband will not be disappointed. If you cannot visit in person then look online at

Susan Enderson

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