Rye Harbour Quilt 2020

, 27 March 2020
Rye Harbour Quilt 2020

UPDATE 27th March 2020

A huge thank-you to everyone that supported the Rye Harbour Quilt project. It has raised nearly £5,000 for the Discovery Centre. 

All 50 prizewinners have been notified and chosen their prize, but it may be several weeks before we can hand over some prizes.

The quilt has very kindly been re-gifted to the Discovery Centre for occasional display there.


The raffle being drawn by Cliff Dean, chair of the Friends of Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

The fabulous, hand-crafted quilt of 30 squares, depicting wildlife and local landmarks of Rye Harbour was created to celebrate 50 years of Rye Harbour Nature Reserve in 2020 and to raise funds for our Discovery Centre.

Anne Yates, Amanda Martin and Jenny Willsher masterminded the design and the construction of the quilt, with many other volunteers providing the square images in various forms of needlework.

There was a raffle - 50 prizes were drawn on the 15th March 2020 - the anniversary of when the first Rye Harbour Nature Reserve warden started work in 1970. Prizes listed below. 

These are the individual squares and the stitchers who made them:

Rye Harbour quilt squares small 6

Shore Crab - by Kamila Breen - My favourite colour is red and I love the red roof of the hut in Rye Harbour. I wasn’t as brave as other clever quilter here and went for the red crab instead.

Rye Harbour quilt squares small 25

Camber Castle and sheep - by Roz Foad

Rye Harbour quilt squares small 5

Common Blue butterflies on Common Fleabane - by Anne Wall - We didn’t have a butterfly square for the quilt, so I decided to do one and chose the Common blue. The males are obviously blue but the females are very different and rather interesting when you look closely.

Rye Harbour quilt squares small 8

Flowers and insects - by Maureen Wilkinson - The inspiration for my embroidered panel was “The Shingle Shore” – a beautifully illustrated book about Rye Harbour Nature Reserve.  

Rye Harbour quilt squares small 7

Mary Stanford Lifeboat House - by Jane Taylor

Rye Harbour quilt squares small 10

Moths in meadow - by Mary Dawson

Rye Harbour quilt squares small 9

Lapwing - by Anne Wall - My son used to live at Camber and loved the birds, so I did an embroidery picture for him including the Lapwing, and decided to do a similar applique square for the quilt.

Rye Harbour quilt squares small 12

Red-roofed Hut - by Amanda Martin - An interpretation of a “drone’s-eye-view” of the Red Roofed Hut, the road way and the vegetation. It is worked in applique, kantha and seeding stitches with French knot and bead embellishment, worked over with machine stitching.

Rye Harbour quilt squares small 11

Yellow Horned-poppy - by Susan Prince

Rye Harbour quilt squares small 13

Umbellifers - by Leah Athol-Murray - My favourite time walking on the reserve is on a stormy day, but with sunshine. You get the most extraordinarily beautiful light. My favourite flowers on the Reserve are all the umbellifers, beautiful in flower and even more beautiful in seed heads.

Rye Harbour quilt squares small 15

Little Tern - by Ann Cowie

Rye Harbour quilt squares small 14

Romney Marsh Sheep - by Catherine Emmitt - I live on the edge of the Reserve surrounded by sheep. They act as a kind of seasonal calendar, from the big-bellied ewes of the winter, through the wobbly newborn lambs, to the smartly shorn summer sheep. I used straight stitch embroidery for the grass background, hoping to show all the many shades in a field, and knitted and crocheted the tiny sheep themselves. 

Rye Harbour quilt squares small 17

Goldfinch on Teasel - by Lynn Western - Sky blue linen background is left-over dress fabric from a local shop (Merchant and Mills). The Goldfinch on Teasel is a reproduction of an illustration for “The Lost Words” by Jackie Morris and Rob McFarland (with permission from JM) This is relevant to RHNR as the Sussex Wildlife Trust were involved in the donation of a copy of The Lost Words to all Primary schools in Sussex. The square is a combination of applique, fabric pen, machine embroidery and hand embroidery. It was inspired by the sight of Goldfinch on Teasels seen on one of the Warden’s wildlife walks.

Rye Harbour quilt squares small 18

Friends of Rye Harbour Nature Reserve logo - by Lewis Yates

Rye Harbour quilt squares small 19

Harbour Seal - by Pat Roberts

Rye Harbour quilt squares small 21

Shelduck family - by Anne Wall - I used to sail with my late husband and we always looked out for the Shelduck that nested besides the river. One day we were going out and the family came across our bow. They all ducked under the water as we passed and then bobbed up behind us. All ten came up again!

Rye Harbour quilt squares small 20

Camber Castle - by Nancy Rankin - My square is made up of bits of material left over from other quilts. Camber Castle is small pieces of tweed from a cape I had, the lace effect on the lake tries to capture movement. This is one of our favourite walks with our old dog

Rye Harbour quilt squares small 22

Sailing boat - Jenny Willsher

Rye Harbour quilt squares small 24

Shingle flowers - Mary Dawson

Rye Harbour quilt squares small 23

Wind farm - Amanda Martin - My second square is inspired by the wind turbines over the river which provide a distinct horizon, as viewed from the reserve. This is worked in applique with hand and machine stitching to add balance and texture. I have used fabrics from dresses made for myself and my grandaughter, and trousers that were my daughter’s. I have used many threads and beads, including some from my late mother-in-law, so I am pleased with the memories as well as the re-use of the materials in my squares.

Rye Harbour quilt squares small 27

Oystercatcher - Anne Wall - A pair of Oystercatchers nested on the warehouse buildings across the river from our mooring at Rye. When the chicks hatched, I was worried they would fall off the roof before they were able to fly, but all was well and they fledged successfully.

Rye Harbour quilt squares small 26

Map of the Beach Reserve - Lynn Western - All hand embroidered on calico. Inspired by the map on sale at the nature reserve Information Centre.

Rye Harbour quilt squares small 29

Brown Hare - Kate Breen (aged 9) - I chose the hare when looking at the lovely book about Rye Harbour. As soon as I saw the photograph I knew that’s what to make.

Rye Harbour quilt squares small 28

Red-roofed hut and shingle flowers - Kathy Rumsby

Rye Harbour quilt squares small 30

Wasp Spider - by Pat Roberts

Rye Harbour quilt squares small 2

A pair of Mallard - by Anne Yates - These Mallards are re-cycled from some bedding given to us by my sister-in-law, many moons ago. I find it very difficult to throw out material and so I was happy to re-use a little in this quilt. Pam, my sister-in-law, is very proud of her brother and his achievements here on the Reserve. It feels right that she has some connection with the quilt to raise money for our new Discovery Centre, even though she is very far away in Texas.

Rye Harbour quilt squares small

Shingle truck - by Jane Taylor

Rye Harbour quilt squares small 3

Salsify x Goatsbeard Hybrid - by Veryan Pollard - From a photo I took. This flower is found in very few places, as is the picture-wing fly which was conveniently resting on it.

Rye Harbour quilt squares small 4

Gull and sailing boat - by Hannah Andrews

Rye Harbour quilt squares small 16

Wheatear - by Teresa Madden - I had an old book with illustrations of birds which I used for inspiration for the square. I drew the outline of the bird and used embroidery – very basic! - to do a sort of kantha stitching. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I really loved the finishing touches of painting the background. I had some chalk paints and used these to bring the image to more of a 3D life. I was so happy, I wanted to do another.

The quilting stitches have created a fine patterning on the reverse side:

Rye Harbour quilt squares small reverse


1 - The Rye Harbour Quilt

2 - Quilt Square cushion - Robin

Quilt prize 7

3 - Quilt Square cushion - Hares

Quilt prize 2

4 - Quilt Square tote bag - boat and lifeboat house

5 - Quilt Square tote bag - saltmarsh weaving

Quilt raffle prizes 8

6 - Swarovski CL Pocket 8x25 binoculars donated by Feathers Optics and Swarovski


7 - Painting by James Tomlinson - hut, mustard and Goldfinches

Quilt prize 3

8 - Box of Wine - 12 bottles of London Cru 

9 - Dinner and wine for two - Brickwall Hotel, Sedlescombe 

Quilt raffle prizes 2

10 - Viking Swallow 12-36x50mm spotting scope donated by Feathers Optics and Viking Optical

11 - Champagne Breakfast for two - Jeakes House, Rye

12 - Private Group Tour of Camber Castle for up to ten with mocktails/cocktails

13 - Opticron Oregon 4 PC Wildlife Trust 8x32 binoculars donated by Feathers Optics and Opticron

14 - Voucher for £25 for flowers or refreshment at Café des Fleurs at Rye station

15 - Massage session with Jane Taylor of Taylor-made Fitness

16 - Painting of saltings by Cliff Dean

Quilt prize 2 2

17 - Bottle of Glenfiddich single malt whisky donated by Kathy and Rick Rumsby

18 - Customised stone house nameplate - by JT Stone Restoration

19 - Child's quilt c.140cm x 120cm - by Anne Wall

Quilt prize 6

20 - Tit nest box and robin nest box donated by Feathers Wild Bird Care

21 - Exploding Kittens card game

22- Cheese Hamper

23 - Voucher for £50 to spend at Feathers Wild Bird Care

24 - Painting by Robbie Gooders

25 - Archipelago Kingfisher wood carving donated by Feathers Wild Bird Care

26 - Shingle Shore book

27 - Bob Greenhalf limited edition print - Rye Harbour Oystercatchers

Xmas 1000

28 - Bottle of Welsh Penderyn whisky donated by Veryan Pollard

Quilt raffle prizes 7

29 - Hand Knitted socks, two pairs - His and Hers - made and donated by Amanda Martin

Quilt raffle prizes

30 - Guided Tour of a hidden nature reserve in the Brede Valley with Philip Newton

31 - Short Break at Rye Harbour donated by Park Holidays

32 - Sketch of RX60 fishing boat by M.Martin, donated by Alan Martin.

Quilt prize 4

33 - A pair of Zeiss Sunglasses donated by Roger Pope & Partners

Quilt raffle prizes 4

34 - Felt picture by Sue Prince

Quilt raffle prizes 5

35 - Canvas Tote bag with quilt square - wading bird

36 - Photo by Peter Greenhalf - reeds and Camber Castle

Quilt prize 5

37 - Bird Umbrella (large)

38 - Quilt Square cushion - bird

39 - Red-roofed Hut framed collage by Lynn Weston

Quilt prize

40 - Fauna Britannica book

41 - RHS Plants and Flowers book

Quilt raffle prizes 6

42 - Isles of Scilly - New Naturalist book

43 - Pair of Kilim cushions donated by Antiuque and Vintage Rugs and Carpets in Rye

44 - Bottle of English white wine

45 - Tea cup set

Quilt raffle prizes 3

46 - £200 voucher to spend on outdoor clothing at the Paramo shop in Wadhurst

47 – Electric Toothbrush Philips Sonicare 9500

48 – Pinky Botanical Vodka 

49 – Two Handmade Notebooks by Helen Hunt

50 - Bugs Britannica donated by Pat Bonham

If you'd like to read an interview with Anne, Amanda and Jenny, see here.

Thank you to everyone involved with the quilt, and those who supported us with prizes.

Whole quilt


0133, 1442, 2676, 3050, 1702, 0033, 1370, 3868, 6067, 1439, 2715, 6077, 0038, 5883, 0842, 1807, 0059, 0931, 1345, 0786, 4155, 3256, 2442, 2185, 1471, 2651, 0563, 0485, 3635, 3470, 3169, 2760, 3491, 5422, 1399, 2706, 0341, 1894, 0675, 5143, 2424, 5859, 5328, 3060, 0655, 0505, 3212, 3417, 4654, 5724.


  • caz honyben:

    The most lovely quilt I have ever seen. Such wonderfully talented embroiderers. A precious celebration of the work done by the Team and volunteers of Rye Harbour. Made my day you lovely people.

    02 Sep 2019 17:29:00

  • Malcolm Forsythe:

    This is absolutely brilliant and I can only hope that the lucky winner of the quilt will lend it to the reserve on a long term basis for thousands to enjoy.

    04 Sep 2019 06:56:00

  • Mary Davidson:

    I have seen numerous quilts in my 80+ years and this one rates among the finest. I wish I could see it in person but my miserable health says otherwise. I hope that the winner of this work of art will allow it to be shared with thousands.

    11 Sep 2019 20:58:00

  • Lynda Wood:

    A very beautiful quilt, who ever wins this will be very lucky!

    03 Feb 2020 14:49:00

  • Hilary Wilkins:

    Really looking forward to seeing this quilt on Monday February 17th at St Michael’s WI in St Michael’s Village Hall. Please join us if you would like to see it and to buy raffle tickets.

    12 Feb 2020 16:12:00

  • Anne Yates:

    Thank you so very much to everyone that has helped with this project: stitching, selling raffle tickets, hosting our visits to show the quilt to the many interested groups all over the county, donating such fabulous prizes and offering so much support and commitment to the new Discovery Centre. Thank you all!

    29 Feb 2020 10:31:00

  • Anne Yates:

    The quilt was won by a lady in Winchelsea who has very kindly donated her prize to the Discovery Centre. Thank you, you know who you are! This means that when we eventually open the centre later this year, we will be able to display the quilt for all our visitors to see. I hope you’ll all pop along for a looksee.

    19 Mar 2020 09:52:00