Mid 19th Century Quilts

19th century Welsh QuiltBy the mid nineteenth century, quilting had become a cottage industry. Most quilts were made by paid professionals such as miners’ widows or village seamstresses. Some were itinerants who boarded at a farm and stayed for the two weeks or so it took to complete a quilt.

The fabric and filling were always supplied by the farmer’s wife but the quilting pattern was chosen by the quilter.

These women were working alone or with an apprentice. It was not necessarily regarded as an opportunity to socialise but it was an event looked forward to by both the farmer's wife and the quilter.

The only totally indigenous Welsh quilt (i.e. front & back covers, filling and design) is the flannel quilt. The cloth for the front and back covers was made in the mills of Wales, the batting (middle layer) is either sheep's wool collected from the hedgerows or a worn-out woollen blanket, and the stitching patterns created and executed by its Welsh maker. The strong, geometric patchwork flannels are in our opinion, indisputably the most significant quilts to come out of the Welsh quilting tradition. Some of these date from well before the beginning of the 'cottage industry' period.

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  • History of Quilting
  • Jen Jones
  • The Quilt Centre
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