Wednesday, 15 September 2010


When I was little, I remember my favourite thing to play with was Sindy. It probably won't surprise you to know that I used to spend my pocket money on little squares of remnant fabrics and hand sew them into outfits for her. I was also quite partial to Lego. I loved board games and absolutely anything arty and crafty. As for reading, it was Enid Blyton all the way, which eventually gave way to Jackie magazine and Nancy Drew. When I was even littler, my favourite thing was my Tiny Tears doll. I vividly remember getting her for my birthday, she cried "real" tears and did something else in her nappy which we won't mention! One little chap who somehow passed me by, however, was Rupert bear.

Recently though, I spotted a set of fabric squares for sale which depicted scenes with Rupert bear in. Each of the nine squares was part of a sequential story. They were oh so cute. I was sold!

That square with the cute country cottage with its latticed windows and pink limewash exterior, surrounded by a cottage garden with picket fence, was undoubtedly my favourite. It was looking as if Rupert was my kind of bear!

I decided I wanted to know more about Rupert and so began a search for a Rupert annual. But I had no idea they are so collectable! A trip to Totnes yielded my first Rupert annual in Lesley's lovely shop, This 'n' That. Blow me if the next day at the car booty, I didn't find another. Published the year after my birth. Not that old then. Ahem.

In fact, Rupert bear was "born" in 1920, when he appeared as a comic strip character in the Daily Express newspaper. An annual has been produced every year since 1936, even during the War. Apparently, Rupert lives in the village of Nutwood and his adventures often encompass magical far away lands. Rupert is thought to be the epitomy of traditional public school values. Most of the characters in Rupert's world are "anthropomorphic", the animals take on a humanoid form. So there is Bill Badger, Rupert's best friend and Dr Lion!

Indeed, I could be quite happy in Rupert's little world in Nutwood. He has a wooden bed with an eidy, pink walls in his room and some fetching flowery curtains.

A gypsy caravan. Well, I'd get excited about that, too!

Mummy Rupert is right up my street. There she is, sitting doing her needlework, wearing a rather fetching frock, in a lovely flowery armchair, standard lamp providing what would nowadays be referred to as "task lighting".

Her bedroom is pretty enviable, too...

Ah, a woman after my own heart, she even has the same wicker shopping trolley as me!

So what to do with the precious Rupert squares?

A bit of log cabin...

Some red spotty binding, of course...

The result: one large, fetching and rather cosy patchwork quilt.

Quite a project this was, too. All those strips of fabric surrounding the nine individual log cabin blocks, some green dotty sashing, and top and bottom borders of strippy, jolly fabrics. Double quilted around the inner and outer borders of the pictorial squares.

What to do with the Rupert Story Quilt, the quilt where Rupert finds a cloud in the garden?

Where Rupert takes the cloud inside to wash it then eventually puts it into his kite and sends it back into the sky.

And of course, there is a happy ending as the kite comes back minus the cloud, but with a thank you note and a gift inside! I was struck by the desire to be able to look at the Rupert Story Quilt, not to just fold it up and bring it out now and then. There's a small amount of wall space on the half landing at the top of the first run of stairs, outside my den. A couple of drawing pins and a set of steps and Rupert is now displayed in all his glory. Such a heart warming project! Rupert has certainly captured my heart and my imagination. Although I love Golly dearly, I think his days in this spot are numbered as I look for a real Rupert bear to finish this little scene!

Edit: These lovely squares of Rupert fabric came from Sandie at Rag Rescue. She has both a shop and a blog and is a regular at many of the big fairs.


  1. Helen, that is just fabulous. Yes, it is so nice to be able to look at something you love rather than just have it folded up and put away.
    Carol xx

  2. What a lovely post today. I was aware of the character of Rupert only in the past few years, although I didn't know any details about him. I sure did learn heaps here, and I'm glad for that. I believe a an animated cartoon program featuring Rupert has been playing here in the States for the last couple of years, but not previous to that. Your quilt is absolutely gorgeous. Those Rupert squares are just darling, and you picked a wonderful spot in your home to hightlight him.

  3. Oh Sindy and Tiny Tears and Rupert all childhood companions. Love the quilt it is really wonderful.

  4. We had similar reading tastes! I used to love looking at the Rupert pictures, but the little stories in verse used to set my teeth on edge! I ignored them and just enjoyed the pictures - which means your quilt would be ideal for me! It's lovely.

  5. Gorgeous quilt, I got a Rupert Annual every year for Christmas when I was little. I loved his adventures and all the little animal folk in Nutwood.

    Even when I progressed to Sindy (and Tressy) I still collected the Rupert Annuals.

    I love that you've got the quilt on display, things should be used and admired rather than just stored away.

    Sue xx

  6. What a wonderful post and quilt! I loved all the things you did too, although I had a Pippa doll before Sindy. Also the Lego, I had a brother who spent all his saved money on it then I played with it for free! Remember Weeble Wobbles? and they don't fall down!

    I quite liked Rupert as we had 'copied' Rupert stuffed toys but prefered Paddington. Can you remember one Christmas, around 1984 The Frog Chorus came out, Paul McCartney, starring good old Rupert. That song will go around my head all day now.

    Very nostalgic, thanks.

  7. I used to love the Rupert Annuals too!
    I reckon,with a bit of thought,you could make a Rupert
    Bear!! ;-)
    After all,you do have loads of spare time...LOL!!


  8. Having much older siblings, I had an enviable collection of Rupert annuals as a child going back to 1945 - added to every Christmas until I was about 10, I think - wish we still had them! I think the quality of the illustration was lovely - even if the rhyming text gets a bit tedious after a while. The stories were sometimes even a bit frightening. The quilt is wonderful and looks so good on the wall.

  9. Really beautiful quilt. I know where there is a Rupert but somehow I don't think I will be able to get him to part with it, and guess what he is in his twenties!!! Lovely post
    Jill x

  10. You have done a wonderful job of displaying Rupert and friends. I used to get the annual every year at Christmas and I think they are all in my Mum's loft. I used to like the magic painting pages where you put water onto the page and colour would mysteriously appear!

  11. That's an adorable project Helen. Great finish and a new family heirloom for sure.

  12. Your post bought tears to my eyes. Like you I made clothes for Sindy, read Enid Blyton and played with Lego (my Great Uncle George made the presision tools to make the Lego bricks we know today) Like Floss I just looked at the pictures of the Rupert book and it wasn't until they made TV series in the eighties which I watched with the boys did I really enjoy the stories. Correct me if I'm wrong but is that the copy of the Rupert Annual with the magic painting pages? If it is I had that one! What year is it?
    Your quilt is absolutely Stunningly
    beautiful and I think Golly should share his seat with Rupert after all Golly is in the Enid Blyton books!!!!
    Julie xxxxxx

  13. Oh, what a lovely quilt! I had a Rupert annual every Christmas when I was little and if some kind person had made a Rupert quilt for my bed, I would have been over the moon!

  14. What a lovely quilt!
    A great find with the fabric, I have all my old Rupert annuals from when I was little, I would never part with them!
    My children are now enjoying them

  15. That is so lovely - you are very talented. I love your patchwork, your choice of colours and fabrics. You must have so much patience and time!!
    It's such a novel way to use the Rupert squares - I'd have just sewn them into a cushion! How boring is that?

  16. Like so many other readers, I loved Rupert, too. When we moved abroad when I was 8, my granny used to send me my weekly magazine (every couple of weeks or once a month, first Judy then Jackie) with the Rupert cut-out strip from the newspaper tucked inside so that I could keep up with him. That old-fashioned appeal of the 30s was a hit with me then as now and like you, I was probably influenced by Mummy bear!! I had a few annuals - yes, with the magic painted pages! - and passed them on to my kids (aged 26-15) and now my grandson... My granny is still alive, she's 94 now, and introduced me to so many lovely things I'm still so fond of.
    Granny made me and all her numerous nephews and nieces Gollies and other stuffed animals, always beautifully dressed, often in outfits to match a dress she'd made for me (a grey bunny comes to mind!) and during my final Sindy stage when I was about 10 or 11, she made a fantastic little tailored trouser suit out of some scraps of crimplene, beige-gold coloured!! Wow, wish I still had that... however, that was when I started knitting in earnest!!
    Apart from my enjoying Enid Blyton and endless pony stories that have become classics, Granny introduced me to Angela Brazil and I named one of my daughters after a character in one of the school stories from about 1917 ;))

  17. I love it but how do you find the time to do all these wonderful quilts? It certainly eludes me..

  18. Lovely quilt - you did a super job on it!

  19. I never had TIny Tears, much as I wanted one, but I did get into Nancy Drew, since I went to a very American-influenced school and read everything I could get hold of. My husband knows that I still want a little blue convertible... ;)
    How disappointed I was to discover that Carolyn Keene wasn't a real person but that the books were written by a whole team of authors - I'd rather forget about that, MY Nancy is a sweet American 50s girl, more like a young Grace Kelly LOL

  20. I never had TIny Tears, much as I wanted one, but I did get into Nancy Drew, since I went to a very American-influenced school and read everything I could get hold of. My husband knows that I still want a little blue convertible... ;)
    How disappointed I was to discover that Carolyn Keene wasn't a real person but that the books were written by a whole team of authors - I'd rather forget about that, MY Nancy is a sweet American 50s girl, more like a young Grace Kelly LOL

  21. Well done with the quilt Hen - the borders are sublime. I think Rupert will be very happy hanging out there. I had a little crush on Rupert when I was little. I just thought he was so handsome and well dressed. Love Kate xxooxx.

  22. Awww that has to have been my favourite blog post it was a real joy to read and see the gorg pictures and the finished result. What a simply stunning quilt i love it and what a gorg piece of vintage history in years to come, it could even be on the antique roads show you should be very proud of it words have failed me ;-)) Beautiful.

  23. I used to read the same books as well. Gosh I haven't heard anyone mention Nancy Drew for years! I had a pair of 'Rupert Bear' trousers that my mum made me, but didn't really read the books. My hubby did however, and I've managed to collect several books for him in the last couple of years.

    The quilt is just lovely and too right it must be displayed.

  24. That is a fabulous story quilt! I was a big Rupert fan when I was a child, and I still have a couple of books (one of them is the same as one of yours I think) and a rupert soft toy, although they have been well loved and are looking a little worse for wear these days. Good luck on your hunt for a rupert bear!

  25. I loved reading this post, I had all those toys too - so many memories! The quilt is wonderful, I bet Munchkin loves it too. Did you ever read Mille Milly Mandy? I loved these when I was small. In one story she makes a patchwork tea cosy, so I just had to make one too - my mother (a non-sewer) had to endure me scrounging offcuts of fabrics from all her friends. It was certainly crazy patchwork, different colours, sizes etc., it wasn't very good but I thought it was great.

    Now I've stopped reminiscing ;) I also wanted to say that I really love your blog and it's great when I log in and see you have left a new post. I can't wait to read it.

  26. Hen what a wonderful treasure you've made! It must have taken you an age. Will you keep it?

    We were read a lot of Rupert stories when we were small but I do remember some of them frightening me ratehr a lot. I must have been a proper wimp!

    I too loved Tiny Tears but I think I was the only girl with a Sindy who came with her own bathroom suite! After years of asking other people if they has the same set I think I've reached the conclusion that this wasn't an "official" accessory. Bless my thrifty mum and dad and their creative presents.

    Happy Rupret hunting.

  27. So cute Hen.
    My parents bought me 'Sindy' dolls too, only because they thought she was far prettier than Barbie. I think they were right.

  28. I don't comment very often, but I do very much enjoy reading your blog, and I love this quilt. You've done a brilliant job on it, and it's so lovely to see it hanging on the wall where it can be admired all the time. I also loved Enid Blyton, Nancy Drew and Sindy!

  29. That quilt is fabulous!

    All I remember about Rupert the Bear is the Frog Song! I think that was one of the first records (oh remember them!) that I owned.

    Victoria xx

  30. My childhood friend's brother is called Rupert and his parents must have bought every item of Rupert merchandise as his room was a shrine to the bear! I don't ever recall him having a quilt though - that is something really special.
    A very nostalgic post this ... my brother had that Rupert and the Mermen book from your photo and I had Sindy, Tiny Tears (and Teeny Tiny Tears and Teeny Weeny Tiny Tears too!)but my favourite was lego ... loved it then and still do!


  31. Gorgeous quilt, my 4 yr old daughter has a Rupert bear, which goes nearly everywhere with her. She has just started school & I am told every morning what games I have to play with Rupert while she is out!
    Yvonne x

  32. I will add my voice to all the others. The quilt is quite beautiful, lovely colours and your childhood favourites are so similar to mine but I preferred Trixie Belden to Nancy Drew. I still have my Sindy doll, do you?

  33. I love rupert, they use to play it on Nick jr. what a darling cartoon but your quilt is beyond cute!!

  34. I've so enjoyed reading all about Rupert Bear and the story of your lovely quilt. He's always been one of my favourites, I think because of all the cotagy stuff and fair play and Enid Blyton like qualities he has too. And his car!!! We refer to "Rupert cars" in our family, and my son buys Rupert the ber trousers from op shops if he finds them. Apparently he's going to wear them with the braces. (Yes he is a bit non conformist, but with Rupert as your style icon, how could you go wrong?)!!

  35. I had to come over from Rag Rescue and say how beautifully you've used these - with a slight tear in my eye, as I was on the verge of buying these myself, before they were snapped up! I would not have made anything as lovely as this with them though, so they went to a better home.

  36. hi love your post - your quilt is beautiful. Could you tell me what the spotty binding fabric is called/or who it is made by i bought some at Festival of Quilts and i need some more for binding a quilt - i have trawled the web but cant find it. help.

  37. this blog is m-a-g-n-i-f-i-c !!!

  38. Wow. No, make that at SuperWow. A gorgous quilt and a lovely post. Kim :)

  39. What a lovely quilt! Well done you! And thank you for your kind comments about mine. Quilting certainly is fun... and soooo addictive, don´t you think?

  40. You have made something really special out of those Rupert squares - what a fantastic quilt. Rupert always promised more than he delivered for me but I still have a soft spot for him. I think I was given an annual once which I did enjoy. My daughter had several Rupert bear books. I'm not surprised you have given your quilt pride of place there, it's brilliant! Enid Blyton was number 1 for me and my daughter. They are just so exciting and give you a zest for books that nothing else seems to. So many 'literary' authors seem to have started off on her too - so all that silly snobbery is so silly. You don't stay with her for ever and move on to the worthy stuff - but she is no doubt what got us interested in the first place. Incidentally Bimbo and Topsy is my daughters absolute favourite - I used to read that to her so often! before she read herself. Someone has mentioned Milly Molly Mandy - loved her and Clever Polly and the Stupid Wolf not to mention My Naughty little Sister. All these books are still around even though some were written yonks ago - because they are good! Goodness, you have taken us all down Memory Lane with this post.

  41. What a fab quilt Hen! I still have my old Rupert annual from 19--
    Tamzin used to love Rupert when she was a little girl too.


  42. I just love your quilt, and I have just bought 9 Rupert squares from Rag Rescue, I would love to copy yours as I am a beginner quilter and can't imagine any design better. I have to hand sew as am living in rural Provence for a couple of years and most of our things are back in Australia. This should keep me busy during winter evenings by the fire.


You are warmly encouraged to leave a comment here. Your comments are emailed directly to me so rest assured I read and treasure every one. Thank you for supporting my blog with your comment. X