Have you heard of Manx quilting? I learned about it in the funnest way this past fall and I’ve been wanting to get around to writing this post forever.
Before we talk about Manx Quilting, I’m assuming we need to talk about what the term Manx means. It is the name of the native Celtic people from the Isle of Man with additional Norse (Viking) and English influences. The Isle of Man is an island located in the middle of the Irish Sea between England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. The Isle of Man is a separate country with its own laws and government though it does have a crown-appointed royal Governor and some protection from Great Britain. (I’m probably not explaining that well, but that’s the gist.)
You may remember I shared about my trip to England last fall. While over there, I also flew to the Isle of Man for a very brief (and soggy), but wonderful weekend visit. We were able to get an inexpensive flight direct from London on one of the European budget carriers.
I lived on the Isle of Man for 6 months when I was 21 years old while serving as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and fell in love with the place.
I’ve only been back to visit twice since then – 4 years ago with our family, and this past October. This time I went with friends who were flatmates when we lived in London 25 years ago, and I was SO excited to introduce them to this place that still holds a piece of my heart. Here I am in front of the flat (3rd floor) that I lived in in 1995.
(Notice the authentic windswept look I’m sporting in the picture on the right – no spray bottle or fan required!)
Well, turns out we arrived for the very soggiest of Saturdays. But this also turned out to be serendipitous. Here we are in front of Harry Kelly’s cottage. (And, you now you have confident and awesome travel friends when they wear plaid pants.)
One of our planned stops was Cregneash Folk Village – a Manx National Heritage site – with historic homes and other buildings – including this beautiful church (and post box from Queen Victoria’s time!) I’d been to Cregneash and walked through the village, but never actually gone inside any of the buildings because the setting and the view of the sea from the village was charming enough. (No sea view this day though!)
Well, as I mentioned, because of the rain we actually went inside some of the homes. Don’t you love this scene with the cozy fire in the hearth and a real Manx cat? (Manx cats are famous for having no tail.) The setting reminds me of a scene from a Beatrix Potter illustration. And do you spy a quilt?!
But first here’s a close-up of the Manx cat for all you cat lovers.
And now a close-up of the quilt!
Turns out this farm home was hosting a demonstration on Manx Quilting. In my love of all things Manx, I had no idea there even was such a thing as Manx Quilting! This discovery was meant to be.
At first glance these blocks look like traditional log cabin quilt blocks. But their construction is different, in a foundation-pieced quilt-as-you-go method.
This method is ingenious-ly resourceful for a group of people with minimal access to supplies because of their remote location. The traditional block they came up with is simple and inexpensive and did not require any fancy notions – only what was had on hand: scraps of fabric from worn-out clothing and bedding, a needle and thread. No batting, no rulers, no rotary cutters, and often no scissors!
Here’s one of the volunteers at Cregneash Village sharing what makes Manx quilting unique. (One of these days I will remember to video horizontally.)
Ever since seeing the demonstration I’ve been wanting to try this method, so I broke out some Gretel scraps to give it a whirl. I thought I’d just make one block for the experience, but I loved it so much, that now I want to make more! (And I mean, how cute is Gretel in this log cabin design?!) It’s a fun handwork project to carry around.
Want to make your own Manx Quilt Block? I walk you through the steps I learned to make your own Manx quilt block HERE!
A few last pictures from the Isle of Man. Because it’s a beautiful spot. This is the Calf of Man (a small island at the southern tip of the main island).
For years it was expensive to get to the Isle of Man – either flying or by ferry – but with the creation of the budget airlines like Ryan Air and EasyJet, it’s relatively inexpensive. If you’re ever visiting the UK and want a charming island experience, than I say go! You can find more pictures and information about the Isle of Man here.
The town of Peel – home to an almost 1,000 year-old castle built by the Vikings and Snugglebunny Cottage. (Personally, I think I’d prefer to live in Snugglebunny Cottage.)
Click here for Part 2 – How to make a Manx Quilt Block!
How interesting Amy! Never heard of Manx quilting.
Oh my goodness. How fascinating. I’ll look forward to your next blog entry! (Love the photographs!)
I learned all kinds of things here. I’ve never known much about the Isle of Man, so you’ve increased my knowledge there and this Manx quilting looks interesting. Looking forward to your next post.
I believe this is how I learned to quilt in the fall of 1976. Everything was done by hand. I love log cabin quilts and I had about 6 red, white and blue blocks, but I don’t know what ever happened to them. I need to do them again!
Thank you, Amy. It was realling interesting to see the video and learn more about the Isle of Man!
I can’t wait for the next post. I like the look of this and have never heard of Manx quilting. It also made me want to visit the Isle of Man. I have never been back to my mission area in France, partly because I know it just won’t feel the same and I couldn’t bear to be disappointed.
I hope you can go sometime! It will feel different, but still wonderful!
What an inspiring story. My mother, grandmother, and aunts got their fabrics for quilting in this same manner. I am fortunate to have several of these quilts and they are prized possessions.
Oh, I bet those are treasures!!
How very interesting! Really looking forward to part 2!!!
Thanks for sharing an interesting post to know about Manx quilting!
Totally new idea for me. Of course I’ll need to try it. How do you join the blocks?
I’ll walk through that in my post next week!
So looking forward to your next post.
I will have to remember to come back for part 2. I am working to clean out my sewing room so this might be a good way to use some scraps. No more cutting until I see what I need for this. Or maybe for a controlled scrap quilt. Fabric with no pattern with it. Happy Creating
I can’t wait to see part 2!
I have never heard of this style of quilting, very interesting. I’ll look forward to the next chapter in Manx quilting. Looks wonderful in your new line, I see a full quilt in your future.
Today’s post could not have been more charming! The scenery, the furry pet, and, of course, the quilting all shared with love and so enjoyable. Your video was much appreciated. I felt like I was in the room. I’m excited to try my hand at Manx quilting, too! Thank you, Amy!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it!
Why are there no instructions to build the block ???
I’m so sorry – I ran out of time this week to finish the tutorial, but thought I’d still share the introduction. Stay tuned – I’ll have the tutorial in my post at the beginning of the week.
Amazing how similar the quilt design is but so different in the making. Thank you for this interesting post. I appreciate the cat pics too – I’ve only seen them in books. Mini lynxes!
Thank you for the pictures. Have you read the series of mystery books from the Isle of Man Aunt Bessie by Diane xarissa. I ah e read them all and seeing your photos brings it together. There is a lot of history and landmarks that she incorporates into her books. I think you would really enjoy them. Gwen Krukoski
I hadn’t heard of them – thanks for the recommendation, Gwen!
I was going to tell Amy the same thing. Love the Aunt Bessie series, even though they are somewhat simplistic. The people are charming and I love learning about the Isle of Man. So great to see this quilting style!! Amy, I read them for free through my Kindle Unlimited membership.
I can’t wait for the 2nd part! This is my heritage, at least according to Ancestry. What a perfect project for these cold winter evenings!
You’re Manx! So cool!
Years ago, probably 2001 or so, I watched a quilt show on tv–maybe PBS? Anyway, there was a woman who demonstrated making a log cabin quilt in this manner and she had iron on templates for sale. I ordered some. The process was to start with a muslin base, then iron on the template, which left the design for how far apart to sew down the strips. Then you would sew, fold and continue around. I think I eventually donated the blocks I make because they were laborious to make. I’ll have to see if I still have them!
Hi Amy, thank you so much for your very kind words and lovely photos – I am absolutely thrilled that you have enjoyed your time on our wonderful Island! Your Gretel fabric Manx Roof Pattern/Log Cabin example is beautiful and I am very much looking forward to seeing next week’s blog.
Please feel free to contact our Mannin Quilters sewing group next time you are over – we would be delighted to welcome you at our weekly Tuesday evening and/or Wednesday afternoon sessions.
Gura mie ayd, Pat xxx
PS I will have a word with the new Snugglebunny Cottage residents – I am sure they would be more than happy to welcome you in for a nice cup of Fairy Bridge tea and a piece of Manx bonnag x
Thank you, Pat!! I would love that! Clearly I need to come back again soon! (On a sunnier day. 😉 ) A piece of my heart still lives on the Isle of Man. xx
oh this is interesting! I knew about Manx cats but not the quilting! Looking forward to next week’s post too.
I absolutely enjoyed reading this! The video was so interesting. Thank you Amy. I want to try it!
I have made quilts replicating this style of ‘Manx’ quilting using Donna Poster’s Foldy Stuff Quilt patterns (https://vimeo.com/35897054). The method is especially nice utilizing miniature blocks made from silk tie fabrics. I made a small quilt to celebrate a dear friend’s life, using his ties, in the Sunshine and Shadow Amish pattern. Donna discovered the technique in a very old quilt and figured out how to replicate the blocks. I wish I knew the origin of the quilt.
What an awesome idea! This technique lends itself so well to using other kids of fabrics – I love the ideas of the ties!
I love this so much! You should travel the world making videos of all the different quilting techniques. I can’t wait for your tutorial! I want to try them all!
You’re right! I should totally get that gig going! One of my favorite shows right now is on Netflix called Somebody Feed Phil about food in different countries. I think I need to get Netflix to let me travel around the world trying quilting techniques… I’ll keep you posted!
I love Phil, that’s a great show! “Somebody teach Amy” would be amazing! Can’t wait to watch!
I love this idea!!
This was great! I can’t wait for next week. I want to try this as well.
Thanks for this post! I am part Manx (maiden name Quayle) and tried my hand at this when I was on the island a few years ago. I should get back to it and make a whole quilt! Thanks for the inspiration. And, yes, it is a beautiful island.
Quayle is a proper Manx name, for sure! How fun that you learned it there!
We tried this technique in our guild in St. john’s Newfoundland after a member discovered in while on holiday. Very productive use of time and resources!
Kim Baker Sassi
Amy — what a wonderful post, sharing this beautiful place that holds such a special place in your heart because of your own personal history there thanks to your church, the fun that you got to back and share it with friends, and then what you discovered inside, so cozy and inviting! Those blocks are so interesting — and now the sweet quilters from the Isle of Man have invited you to join them next time you’re back! Lots of fun, thank you for writing this up and sharing the photos (and of course there was even a cute kitty involved!!).
Thank you, Kim! And wasn’t that the sweetest invitation? I guess it means I need to go again soon!
Laurel Lee's Blog
My nephew served his LDS mission a number of years ago there! Amazing to see these pictures, the cat and the quilting! So very interesting – thanks!
No way! That’s so cool!
I’ve been to the Isle twice and going back next year. I’m afraid it’s for the TT motorcycle races, but Man is a wonderful place with wonderful people. Don’t miss a chance to visit.
Oh, that is a fun reason to go too! And you’re right – such a wonderful place with wonderful people!
Thank you for all the pictures and the great history lesson! I am very intrigued and can’t wait for your next posts!
Thanks, Amy, for sharing your quilting and travel experiences on the Isle of Man. I learned the “folded log cabin” technique a few years ago in a Boise Basin Quilters guild workshop taught by Rena Hastings. After learning the technique, I found that it’s much easier than it looks! The variation & arrangement of fabrics/colors make beautiful wall hangings.
This video on Manx quilting was so interesting. I’m excited to see your tutorial next week. Thanks! (BTW My family is planning a trip to Scotland & Ireland next year. I’ll have to see if a visit to the Isle of Man might work out.)
Manx quilting looks intriguing. I’m looking forward to seeing your tutorial next week. Thanks
Susan Youngblood Bacon
I so loved this post! I cannot wait for the next post. Thank you for sharing your adventure.
I loved the video of Manx quilting. I look forward to learning more next week! Thank you for sharing.
Thank you so much for sharing this style of quilt. It’s incredible how resourceful the islanders were. It is amazing that there are many keeping up the tradition and passing it on to the next generation. I would love to see your tutorial some day when it’s ready. I think that I understand how it’s made but i’ld love to review it step by step. You are so lovely for taking us on a virtual trip with you to the quaint Mann island. I also love that Victorian mailbox. I hope they never trade it up for a current one.
I’ve made a quilt that way….a pineapple quilt….but I didn’t know that’s what it was called. Used twice as much fabric, if I’m remembering correctly, but oh, what a cool quilt! Looks like a fabulous trip. I’m envious of your opportunity. Great post.
Absolutely delightful post, and I can’t wait for the tutorial. Thoroughly enjoyed the video, and all of the pictures. This had to be an amazing trip for you and your friends. Thanks for sharing.
Love that! Will be waiting for the next step. Thanks for sharing.
I have always wanted to visit the Isle of Man, so this was a fun post to read. If you have a Kindle, you might want to try the Aunt Bessie books. They are cozy mysteries set in the Isle of Man. Start with Aunt Bessie Assumes. Thanks for sharing!
THanks for the recommendation!
My 2nd great grandfather, John McNeil, immigrated with his wife to the United States from the Isle of Man. His story has always held a fascination for me. So reading your account about your recent visit was lovely. Look forward to reading the “rest of your story” and making some Manx blocks. I didn’t realize that the Isle of Man was of Celtic heritage. My grandfather was very dark and have thought he was a “black Irish” – whatever that means!! Guess I need to do a little more research!
Hah! That is so interesting!
Thanks for the video. It was very interesting. That type of quilt would make a good summer quilt. Can’t wait to see your 2nd post about the Manx quilt! Hugs, H
The lovely demo lady was wrong about American and Amish log cabin quilts! It is not continuous; We make blocks and join them in different ways to create the many variations. Wonder how this misconception originated? So beautiful….
I think what she meant was those American log cabin blocks can be built out to any size, with a variety of numbers of logs, depending on the number of strips the quilter wants to add. With the Manx method, the number of logs is always limited to only 4 on each side of the center block. (I kind of put her on the spot with my video, so I’m sure it wasn’t as eloquent as if I’d given her time to prepare ahead. Poor soul! She was a good sport.)
I would also love to know how the rug the cat is sitting on was made. It is hard for me to tell from the picture. Could it be a proddy rug? Intriguing!
What a beautiful place! Thank you for sharing it! The quilt is beautiful as well. I look forward to hearing more and seeing how you make this unique quilt!
I very much enjoyed reading and seeing the pictures of the Isle of Man. Just beautiful!
There is a store in Owego, NY named The Isle of Man which sells interesting and varied items.
Next visit I will ask what the link is to the Isle of Man which you visited.
Oh, that’s so interesting!
Loved this so much. I look forward to your tutorial about Manx quilting. I believe Pepper Cory teaches a hand sewing class using this method.
I enjoyed reading your blog post and watching the video. I loved how creative and resourceful they were. Thank you!!
elizabeth a hinze
Wonderful! Thank you for sharing : )
So interesting. Anxious for your post with all the deets
Hi Amy, I am a novice quilter and love that you shared this. Thank for the charming story about Cregneash and the history behind the Manx quilting. I am definitely going to try this!
Enjoyed this very much,it’s always fun to see new places and learn a bout new things, I am going to look for the mystery author Diane xarrissa too,besides quilts I love mystery series,so looking forward to the tutorial your creating for all of us ladies waiting in anticipation the internet sure has helped broaden our lives and given us senior citizens who stay home something beyond our imagination to use to continue to learn and not be so isolated,it’s a wonderful time to be alive,THANKYOU for all of your sharing and the work of putting the tutorial together,we’ re blessed!
I loved reading about this and the video, I can’t wait to try your tutorial next week! So interesting!
Amy, thank you for sharing. How fascinating about the Manx quilting, etc. I love this sort of old-timey stitching. So endearing.
Thank you for this interesting post! I can’t wait for Part II!
This technique is what I used thirtysomething years ago to make my very first log cabin block. In fact, my pre-rotary cutter quilt books imply this was the only way to make a log cabin quilt, but they never mentioned that the method had a specific name. I’m excited to learn more!
Building on what Valerie P and Rosalyn mentioned, the book “Folded Log Cabin Quilts” by Sarah Kaufman describes a similar method, but with much narrower logs.
DEBI L ANDERSON
liked you article about Manx. My husband had a Manx cat when I married him. I had never seen a cat with a stubby tail but it never slowed him down much. He was a riot around the house. He also didn’t Meow like a normal cat, he squeaked instead. He was different in other ways too. But he was a lot of fun..
How interesting! I’ve never heard of that technique before. I heard a lot about the Isle of Man from my in laws who visited there often. I’m looking forward to the follow up post. Thank you.
I hope your sick kid gets better, but I selfishly can’t wait for the tutorial. 😉
At age 70, I’m not sure I’ll ever get to go there, but I have had a lifelong fascination with, love for, and yearning to see the sights and the people of the UK. Reading your posts about this place that also has your heart helps me live my dream!
So fun and interesting Amy — thanks for sharing!!!
I am from the Isle of Man, now living in the San Antonio, TX area. I’ve never made a quilt but I’m eager to try this. Thank you for sharing, I look forward to your post next week!
How interesting!! I made my first trip to Scotland/England last year, and my husband had so wanted to go to the Isle of Man. I wasn’t sure what all was there and we were limited on time – so we skipped it, but I promised we would try to go if we ever get a chance to go back and visit Ireland. I had NO idea I could learn quilting there! 🙂 Now, I will be looking forward to a chance to visit as well. Looks like a beautiful place! Thank you for sharing – looking forward to the tutorial.
Thank you for both posts re: Manx quilting. Loved seeing the history and video. That makes me want to thread my needle right way!
This is so interesting. My husband I served a mission on Vancouver Island and met a couple there who are now serving on the Isle of Man. That is one reason why I read this. What a beautiful place. I’m very interested in the Manx quilt blocks. We did have a Manx cat once, btw. Also, thank you so much for the Christmas tree quilt block tutorial. I love, love my Christmas tree quilt.
The rug under the cat is very interesting. Do you know how it was made?
I knew I had to try this as soon as I read it. Enjoyed the pictures from the Isle of Man too. I’m fairly new to quilting . Tjhank you so much Amy.
Thank you. I have made my first Manx Roof pattern pillow. It is very nice. I saw this pillows in “Cregnash” at the manx Grand Prix in 2014 and 2016. Greetings from Germany , near the town “Hanau”where “The brother´s GRIMM” come from. Best Regards, Eva Sturaro
That is fantastic, Eva! Thanks for saying Hello!
I am Manx, born in Douglas, but now live in the States. This was a wonderful to read. Touches my heart so much, and my heart swells with pride. I am so excited to try this pattern, especially in Manx tartan colours!! Thank you very much for sharing!
Oh, that’s fantastic, Trish! I love the Manx Tartan! I’m so glad you enjoyed it.
Joy Denver nee Daugherty
I too am from the BEAUTUFUL Isle of Man and have also made the Manx quilt .
Cregneash church is a must whenever i get HOME ,,read the emotional poem inside .
Loved the home interior …homesick for my birthplace .now residing in Adelaide South Australia where I continue my love of sewing .in a group of sewers that make charity quilts for oncology unit and Ronald Mc Donald House my e mail is all things Manx.
Loved your page Thank you Joy
Oh, how fantastic that you are from the Isle of Man! I can totally understand why you miss it so much. xo
Mary Lois Snow
Thanks for sharing this. My Cannon ancestors are from the Isle of Man. When I get home from my mission in New Zealand I want to make one of these.
That is so cool! I’ve been to the Cannon homes in Peel!
Thank you! Very interesting! I saw one made like this many years ago in an antique quilt show and done in dark color satins and backed with velvet. Was said to be English style piecing.
Margaret M May
I was thrilled to run across this information on the Manx quilt. My Dad’s family came from the Isle of Man years ago. Visiting there is on my bucket list. Thanks for posting this. I’m going to try making a block.
Oh, I that’s awesome! I love it. I hope you get to go someday!
I know this reply is 3 years after your comment, but I just wanted to say that I got my first inspiration and foray into quilting by seeing Donna Poster’s method, which is essentially Manx-style quilting. Thank you for mentioning her. Her patterns were so much fun to make with the caveat that they take about twice as much fabric as you’d expect to make the same log cabin style quilt. The payback on that is there’s no batting needed to make it a “summer” quilt.