Quilt that 'memorialises' lockdown life looks set for entry into Suffolk Archives

The Pins and Needles WI group have created a lockdown quilt tha is going to be on display at the lib

The Pins and Needles WI group have created a lockdown quilt that is going to be on display at the library and then into the Suffolk archives at The Hold. L-R Emma Crowhurst, Ingrid Forsdike, Sue Rowland, Kerry Donovan, Harriet Jondorf, Elizabeth Smith. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown - Credit: Archant

A quilt made by a Women's Institute group during lockdown is set to be deemed an item of historical importance by Suffolk Archives.

Harriet Jondorf, who joined the Suffolk East's Self Raising Flowers WI group in early 2019, said she wanted to propose a group project "pretty much as soon as lockdown started". 

She said the support of friends and the distraction of hobbies was especially important in the confusing days and weeks at the beginning of the pandemic.

The Pins and Needles WI group have created a lockdown quilt tha is going to be on display at the lib

The quilt represents the lockdown period for this group of women in Suffolk Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown - Credit: Archant

She said: "We'd already created a sourdough group, so there was a lot of back and forth and we were really sustaining each other and keeping each other going. 

"I thought about doing a quilt because it's something I've always wanted to do and it felt like if not now, when? 

"There's a whole history and tradition of friendship quilts where people work on squares together and put it all together for a gift. 

"I was thinking of the commemorative AIDS quilt in America in the 1980s and how it's part of the national response to that epidemic. 

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"I was thinking very much of the future life of this quilt, that it would memorialise this time.

The Pins and Needles WI group have created a lockdown quilt tha is going to be on display at the lib

The quilt is made in the WI institute colours, with plenty of purple Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown - Credit: Archant

"As we went into lockdown we didn't know how long it was going to last and I thought it was something that would keep us bonded together and give us something to concentrate on. 

"It took off. People were very committed to doing it.

"One member, Elizabeth Smith, took all the squares and sewed it into one big piece, backing it and assembling it, which really was a transformation."

In the end, 13 people contributed to the quilt project. And already the group, which meets weekly near Christchurch Park in Ipswich, has evolved with one person moving away and one person deciding to leave. 

This constant change is part of the quilt's story, representing a very specific point in time. 

The Pins and Needles WI group have created a lockdown quilt tha is going to be on display at the lib

It will be displayed at Ipswich County Library and then at the Suffolk Archives Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown - Credit: Archant

Harriet added: "I did hope we could get it into the Suffolk Archives when I proposed the idea and I got in touch with them last week and they're really keen.

"I think people are pretty excited about the fact it could be part of the archive. They realise they'll be part of a collection of hundreds of years of Suffolk history."

The quilt will be on display at Ipswich County Library for four weeks from April 4 to May 4.