Monday, 21 June 2010
Welsh Frame Quilt with Roses
Here is a frame quilt from Ammanford, S.Wales. Ammanford is in Southwest Wales, inland from Swansea. Other nearby towns are Llanelli and Llandeilo. This area must have had many experienced quilters as many of my quilts come from this general area.
The size of the quilt is 78 x 89 inches, not including the frill. The quilt was owned by Catherine Philips who lived in Ammanford until her death in 1975 at 85 years of age. The quilt was sold to me by her granddaughter, Ann Fairburn of Ammanford. The quilt is believed to have been made by Catherine's mother, but the exact age is unsure.
The front of the quilt is a frame format with pink fabric combined with a centre and borders of a red roses fabric. The reverse is a plain pink cloth. The reverse has both stains and fades - whilst the front is in pretty good condition - so presumably the patchwork side was considered the "best" side.
The quilting is the part of the quilt that appeals to me most - just look at the designs - hearts, beech leaves, spirals, and more. And look at the repeated block which has a four lobed shape - very effective. The stitching really is very good and looks to be the stitching of an experienced or professional quilter. And notice that the joins in the patchwork borders have been neatly and expertly mitred - not the more usual butt join.
The question of frills has interested me. Jen Jones in her little Towey book states that frills indicate a 20's or 30's age. Yet the Quilters Guild Quilt Treasures states on page 218 that ....a wholecloth quilt with a frill would indicate a date between 1890 and 1910. On BQHTL, I floated the question as to age of frills - and several came up with dated quilts with frills - late 1800's, 1908, 1880's -so some quilts with frills appear to be earlier in date. Certainly frills were popular in the 20's and 30's but the frill alone can not be used to assign that date. (By frill, I mean a ruffle - a seamed piece of cloth which is gathered or pleated and then inserted into the edge of the quilt and top sewn.)
Some of these Welsh quilts have a real personality, a liveliness, an individuality - this one certainly speaks to me. The fact that it has obviously been used and loved for such a long time makes it more special.