The Cottage Orné Quilt

The Cottage Orné Quilt
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Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Welsh Kerchief Quilts

Wearing a patterned kerchief around the neck, as a head scarf, or to keep a hat in place, is a feature of peasant costume in many countries, not just in Wales - but we used them in our quilts too.  Did other countries do this, or was it just us I wonder?

The patchwork has been dated 1890 but the backing fabric (therefore the quilting) is about 50 years later.

The two pictures below are both sides of  a wonderfully quilted one.  Not sure which one you would treat as the reverse?

Believed to have been made by Bariah Adams Lewis of Penybach,  Llanboidy or one of her associates. c.1885

Wouldn't it be lovely to have either of these glowing on your bed over this winter season?  Not that I would of course, even if I owned them, as both are  far too precious for constant use - maybe on a guest room bed?  They are part of the Jen Jones Collection and featured in her second exhibition at her Quilt Centre in Lampeter.

This poster gives you a close-up of the wonderful quilting on the second quilt

Here's another - an early 19th century one -

This is another favourite of mine from Jen's collection.  There is just something about it that appeals, probably the glorious chintzy fabrics and the fact that it's yet another lovely one made in God's own county, Pembrokeshire!

I made a my version using some of my treasured vintage Laura Ashley fabrics to try and capture the rich patterning of the original quilt. 

Because it was so much smaller, I had to cheat a bit to get the right sized kerchief.  I cut down a table napkin which had been printed in India - it so difficult to source this very bright bluey pink now and this napkin was a find.  Then, as on the original quilt, I  appliqued a rose motif at the centre. There are instructions for making this little quilt in my new e-book "Little Welsh Quilts" - see the sidebar for more details.

Somewhere in my stash, I have a Liberty of London fancy hankie together with a selection of fabrics which I would like to turn into another little quilt.  For one fleeting moment I thought that I might include a picture, then I realised that finding them would be a day's work, so sadly no picture for the moment!

Kerchief quilts are very dear to my heart as I own one which was made at the end of the 19th century by my Great Great Aunt, Elizabeth John, who lived in our home village in Pembrokeshire. The quilt had left the family's possession, but on hearing of my interest in patchwork, the family friend who then owned it, returned it to me.  It is a humble quilt, as most kerchief quilts were.  They were not intended for best but for everyday wear and because of this, few have survived.  Unless of course, as is the case of those in Jen's collection, they have stupendous quilting which puts them above average!

For my friends in the USA, an Emma Bridgewater Turkey Platter to wish them a 
Very Happy Thanksgiving

1 comment:

Vivienne at Vivebooks said...

Joyous reds Mary - just the thing for this gloomy day. I've been catching up on your entertaining blogs this morning. A guilty pleasure as I should be doing domestics!