Monday, December 20, 2010

The River Wey

Wey, a reproduction from the Moda collection A Morris Tapestry

Nature was William Morris's muse. His careful observation of plants and birds are one reason his fabric designs remain so current today. He captured the essence of the bloom and worked it into a complex repeat of layers of curving lines.

Design for Wey by William Morris

The lines in the repeat also reflected his feeling for nature with stems and branches standing for the rivers and streams of England. He created several designs named after waterways. The Wey is a river that runs through Surrey, Hampshire and West Sussex, joining the Thames River at Weybridge.

The River Wey

The interlaced lines in the pattern are thought to represent the river and its tributaries. The major line in Wey is a strong diagonal with stems interlaced behind it.

Morris's drawing for Wey,  partially colored

The Wey has long been a navigational river.

Wey was designed by William Morris about 1883, originally meant to be blockprinted on cotton broadcloth and on velveteen (the red piece above is on velveteen).
In recoloring Wey for A Morris Tapestry I toned down that diagonal line. Directionality that works well for upholstery and wallpaper is often too strong for patchwork.

For the border and setting triangles on my pineapple log cabin
 I'm using Wey in the damask black colorway .

Right now I am handquilting along the diagonal lines, the tributaries.

See more information about the River Wey by clicking here:


And see the Textile Blog for more information about Morris's other prints named for rivers---Windrush, Cray, Wandle, Medway, Evenlode and Kennet:

One can take a boat tour of the River Wey.  


  1. That first photo of the Wey is Farnham Maltings. Farnham is famous for it's pubs and lovely Georgian and older buildings and houses.
    The Maltings have an annual quilt fabric sale where all the quilt shops take a stand and sell off their fabric before replenishing their stocks in the new year. The 2011 event is 16th January if you come to England.

  2. Wow - I love the River Wey fabric - his and yours.

    I'll definitely be looking for it at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival in February.

  3. How gorgeous! Barbara, you are a wonder! These are must-have for me.
    Smiles, Julie in TN

  4. How fun to read about the William Morris Wey design and learning its connection to the River Wey and Weybridge. My family lived in Weybridge when I was a teenager back in the late 60's so I really enjoyed the blog about it.