Sunday, 27 June 2010
Floral Bordered Welsh Quilt
Here is a quilt that was only the second Welsh quilt that I bought - to me it has all the ingredients - great quilting in traditional patterns, a striking format and a lovely choice of fabrics. And the patina of years use.
The quilt is 88 x 70 inches. It is from the Pontyberem area and was handed down in one family. Pontyberem is a village in the Gwendraeth valley between Carmarthen and LLannelli. It was a mining village, with four major mines providing anthracite coal from the South Wales Coalfield.
The quilt is worn but in good condition. It has a thin carded wool as a filling, which is bearding slightly [NB :wool and other natural fibres like cotton break off once they migrate through the quilt top, so bearding is less of a problem, unlike artifical fibres such as polyester, which are very strong fibres and do not break off; bearding is thus more evident and more of a problem].
The fabrics are cotton sateens in a beige colour and a cheerful floral. The quilting thread is red to match the floral fabric, which gives the stitching a lively air. Notice how one side of the quilt is the reverse of the other side in fabrics used.
The quilt is stitched with traditional Welsh patterns, inlcuding spirals, leaves, chevrons and diagonal lines. Notice corner fans which have radial spokes and arcs with a zigzag effect. The central motif is made of four lined hearts - notice how lopsided one of the hearts is - it doesn't matter - the spiral is just a bit larger here to compensate. As I've said before, these quilters were working fast, were marking as they went across the frame and just improvised when things didn't work out exactly. It all adds to the charm and authenticity. I think we get to bogged down in perfection these days....
Dates - obviously pre 1936 because of the cotton sateen, but this quilt strikes me as being older, perhaps 1880-1900. Any opinions on this?? A lovely quilt.