Tuesday, 17 May 2011

American Quilt

Although Welsh quilts are my first love, I also appreciate and collect quilts from other countries; I have quite a few North Country/Durham quilts from England and several American quilts.

This is the first American quilt that I bought and it is still one of my favourites. A classic Dresden Plate.
  I`m sorry I can`t get a better picture of it, but it is a large quilt and it`s far too rainy to photograph it outdoors; so I had to drape it over the sofa.

It looks like it dates from the 1940`s or later,  I can remember reading that the black blanket stitch outline dates from that time. There are some wonderful prints used in the plates.
It has some beautiful hand stitching, which is not shown to best advantage by my picture. The wadding is quite thin and the whole quilt is very light. I love having this on my bed during the summer.

The maker has used a lovely violet fabric as the centre of the plates and tied the quilt together by using the same fabric as a double border.

I have a few more American quilts but I collect more quilt tops as they are easier to find and the postage is a lot less.

I will post more tops soon.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Utilitarian Quilt

This is a day to day quilt made primarily to provide as much warmth as cheaply as possible. The maker has used scraps and offcuts of furnishing fabric and quilted it over a coarse blanket. This quilt is heavy!

And yet the quilter has taken the time to produce a pleasing design and although the quilting must have been hard, she has stitched a pattern of Welsh spirals across the whole top.  
She has used the smallest pieces to construct the blocks, here you can see a half inch section at the top of the left hand green patch.
The top is in poor repair, you can see the coarse weave of the blanket wadding here. It is quite soft to touch otherwise I might have mistaken it for sacking.
The reverse is a beige material that unfortunately is starting to disintegrate in places.  
The thickness of the three layers means that fine stitching is out of the question. I love the mix of red and black threads that you can see here and which recur all over the top. 
It has been repaired a few times in the same black thread. The maker having no truck with invisible mending.

It`s a very common or garden bed covering but still one that it`s maker took pride in and in its way quite a rare quilt. The 'best' quilts are preserved and quilts like this are used until they fall apart and are thrown away. Even the owner of the antiques shop that I bought this from was puzzled why I would want such a shabby old thing rather than a fine antique quilt.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Well Loved Crib Quilt

In the next couple of posts I`m going to be featuring quilts from the more downmarket end of the quilting spectrum. Quilts that were not really intended to show off the makers needleworking skills, or her appreciation of colours or large stash of beautiful materials. These quilts are made for a purpose as a bedcovering, sometimes from whatever material was easily available,  pieced together quickly and quilted minimally.

The first is a rather worn and stained crib sized quilt.

One side has this rather wonky frame patchwork. I`m not sure if it has been cut down from a larger quilt as the two side panels don`t seem to fit with the original design.  The patches also appear to be a mix of different periods. Some look quite old but the pink pieces are a kind of flannelette and the red patches look 1930`s or later. They may be later repairs.
One thing is clear though. This has been a well loved and extremely well used quilt. A few of the patches are threadbare and because of this you can see at least two older layers underneath the top.

If this side has a cut down appearance, the reverse is much more in proportion.
What a lovely little design. The central patch is made up from shirting fabric fragments
Some of these pieces are very small indeed.
The patchwork pieces here are about an inch wide.

Even the background has been carefully patched at one point.

You can just make out the repaired section here. The fabric is a very dirty and faded green sprig.

The quilting is machine quilted zig zags and probably added later.