Wednesday, 23 June 2010
Geometric Welsh Quilt
Here is a very striking Welsh quilt. It measures 67 x 86 inches and comes from Cardigan, about 1880 (see below). Four offset diamonds or squares in blue are set against copper fabrics. The blue and copper fabrics appear roughly the same colour, but if you look closely at the textured fabrics, you can see that there is a great variety of pieces in different patterns - so a true scrap quilt, but one carefully made. The reverse is cotton sateen in a bright and intense yellow.
The quilting is fairly simple but there is the general Welsh format with borders, corner fans and a central motif. The central motif is a sunburst or pit wheel pattern. The wadding is a carded wool filling.
It is interesting to see that there are several areas where initials and perhaps numbers are embroidered in beige thread using a stem stitch. These probably relate to the family members or the quilters. I cannot make them out but one seems to be 80 or 08 - a date of '80?? The others seem to be initials, one is longer....might have to trace these...have a look yourself....Of course the embroiderer was Welsh and would not have spoken English so as I do not speak Welsh this complicates matters..
If only these quilts could speak - "Oh that... that's XYZ's initials, she...."
This quilt was one of several I bought from a woman who was downsizing her collection; of course the geometric and flannel quilts are the most desirable and collectable of the Welsh quilts, and its not hard to see why - very similar to the Amish quilts, isn't it?
Postscript - looking at the photos, I was struck that the signatures seem very fluid and wonder if they weren't done by machine stitching - not hand - treadle machine - what do you think? Looks like FMQ to me....and there is a loose end in one of the signatures. If by machine, should be able to work out direction of sewing, then orientation (so not reading upside-down) also study cursive handwriting styles of the period - it might become clearer.
PPS - this stitching is not quilting, it is embroidery using the sewing machine. You can tell this because the stitching does not go through all three layers, and, the quilting thread goes OVER the embroidery on the longer signature. the embroidery must have been done to the quilt top, or perhaps quilt pieces, before the quilt was put into the frame.