Saturday 3 July 2010
Red Paisley Welsh Quilt
The Welsh were fond of their paisley fabrics, especially in dark, rich colours. Red paisley was a particular favorite. Red was supposedly a warming colour, and it was a favoured colour for children. It was also thought to have healing properties, thus was often used to surround those ill in the sickroom. Remember those red underwear sets of red cotton flannel...?
This quilt is rectangular, 65 x 85 inches. It is a very heavy quilt as it has an old blanket as a filling. It is nicely quilted - but - the design is hard to see as the fabric is so lively. In fact, the design is the four lobed flower design, one I call "orange peel" - I wonder what their name for this pattern was? The panels are set together on the sewing machine and the edges neatly finished off by hand.
It is said by many that the love for paisley and other printed fabrics caused the demise of Welsh quilting as the elaborate stitching was not very apparent on patterned and lively fabrics. It is hard to know now if this was so.
This quilt has no provenance but was originally bought from a Decorative Arts Fair in Bristol many years ago and then sold to me by its owner in Wiltshire. It probably dates from the turn of the century.
Notice that the two sides are made of different paisley patterns - there seem to have been a great variety of these fabrics available and few seem exactly the same. Turkey Red, a process for dying cloth and fibres, was very popular as it was the first red to be fast, ie it did not fade like the earlier madder reds and also was a bright true red. You can find more about the turkey red process in the Quilt Study Journals - see Deryn O'Conner's article in Volume 1.