Welsh Quilts

Welsh Quilt Strippy

Last Sunday I had the most brilliant afternoon viewing some old Welsh quilts in a private collection here in rural Victoria…and making a super new friend in the process.   The wonderful and gorgeous Sian emailed me last Friday to ask if I would like to see her quilts which have been in her Mother’s family for many, many years… she had found my blog, saw my interest in Welsh quilts and invited me over with the view to sharing all of these with all of you.  I told you she was wonderful.

Welsh Quilt Strippy

Welsh Quilt, alternating strips of plain red and red & black print.

This quilt has a typical Welsh quilting pattern, a large central medallion.

Welsh Quilt Strippy

Detailed view of the same quilt.

I took all my books on British and Welsh quilts so we could compare the quilting patterns.   Already Sian and I are planning a sewing day at my place and I’ll also sketch the quilting designs off all the quilts in detail.

Welsh Quilt whole cloth

Whole cloth quilt: Red with Taupe reverse.

Welsh Quilt

Whole cloth quilt detail

Welsh Quilt

Detail of the reverse.

Sian’s 80 yr old Mother is Welsh (southern Wales, around Swansea) and remembers some of the ladies in her village making quilts.

Two of the quilts are very worn, Sian is keen to learn how to slow the deterioration if possible.

Welsh Quilt

The reverse of this quilt is in good condition.

The Quilts are all very thick having wool batting, home carded.

Welsh Quilt

Edge detail showing the edges of the quilt turned in, a conventional treatment of Welsh Quilts.

Welsh Quilt

Corner treatment of turned in edging.

Welsh Quilt

Corner treatment of turned in edging.

Welsh Quilt

As a modern day quilter I am in awe of the quilting definition in these thick quilts.

The fabric in this one below is my personal favourite…but then it would be.

Welsh Quilt

Welsh Quilt

This diamond shape is similar to one I already had marked out for my replica Welsh Quilt so I was happy to see it used in an authentic quilt.

A big, big thank you to Sian and her Mum for making these fabulous pieces from Welsh history available to see, and also for making me so very welcome.   Sian lives in a very picturesque part of our state and has a fabulously huge studio space with a magical view…If she wasn’t so nice I’d be a teeny bit envious.

When Sian comes up we’d like to photograph them properly so that each quilt can be seen whole, but you can see that some we have to be very careful with and can’t put any stress on the fibres so we will evaluate how much we can do.

Stay tuned for more…

Works in Progress…and hand quilted to boot.

Making Welsh Quilts, Mary Jenkins & Clare Claridge

The reason for dragging down off the top shelf these two WIPs I’m going to show, is I have just been tripping around blogland and looking at this blog called Little Welsh Quilts and Other Traditions.  It’s the blog of Mary Jenkins, who wrote this book with Clare Claridge.

Making Welsh Quilts, Mary Jenkins & Clare Claridge

Making Welsh Quilts by Mary Jenkins and Clare Claridge

I found the blog through Penny Tucker’s blog and have checked in to take a look a couple of times in the last few weeks as Mary and Clare’s book (above) is one I’ve had in my quilt book library since 2007.

So all that reminded me of an unfinished quilt a la gallois (or should that be galloise…but that sounds like a cigarette) on my shelf and because I’m having a quiet day (not a lazy day…a quiet day, I am hanging a quilt exhibition tomorrow and I need to conserve my energy) I thought “I shall get that down and blog about it”  and while I was at it I grabbed another one too…the thing these two quilts have in common is that they are the only unfinished Hand Quilted projects I have.

I’m not saying they’re going to be the last two things I ever hand quilt, but it’s a distinct possibility.

After going to Wales in 2006 and buying Mary and Clare’s book (and Jen Jones’s) I started taking a real interest in Welsh Quilts and decided I would like to make a reproduction quilt in that style…right down to the knife edge finished…no binding. (But of course I’m not up to that bit yet am I)

My inspiration came from a quilt picture I tore out of an English ‘housey’ magazine and I also had some old Welsh and North Country Quilting patterns to inspire me.   I’ve added Jen Jones’s book to the photo, because it would not be right to have a post about Welsh Quilts and not mention Jen Jones (several times) and add a link.


Inspiration, and my 'working' drawings.

Welsh Quilt

Can you see the similarity...You can say "no", I won't mind...

…when you see the whole thing, when it’s finished, you might see it better.

Of course I had to take a bit of poetic licence with the centre as the magazine clipping didn’t give too much away.

Now for some lovely close-ups

Welsh Quilt backing fabric.

Here's the back.

I really wanted red paisley, but three years ago I couldn’t find the density of colour and pattern I was after

(actually this, in red, would have been perfect) but I’m happy with this blue from Corliss.

Quilting Pattern, Welsh Flat Iron

Welsh Flat Iron, traditional Welsh quilting pattern.

My old quilt patterns came in handy, plus there are a lot in Mary and Clare’s book.

Paisley Pear

Paisley Pear, another Welsh quilting pattern.

Oh, and there’s some of that favourite pink I blogged about on the 17th Oct.

Two long-time favourite Windham fabrics

Two long-time favourite Windham fabrics. The larger print is the background for my Connecticut Quilt.

Centre detail

Detail of quilt centre.

The quilting of the centre is complete but there is still a lot to be done in the borders.

Though I have mapped out what is going where, that’s half the battle isn’t it.

Pattern sheets

Welsh Quilt, quilting 'maps'

This is one that will be a pattern, though I really need to finish it first.

I really want to continue with the hand quilting of this quilt,

even though I now own a Long-arm quilt machine and could quilt those patterns on Violet, I want to finish this one with the vision I had at the start, so it’s going to take a while.

But, hey, it’s down off the shelf now and blogging about things can give us a a bit of a kick.

And here’s a section of the other (WiP) quilt.

1860 - 1880 quilt

Double Pink, Indigo, Chrome Yellow, Madder Brown etc. The fabrics of 1860-1880.

This is only small, 39″ square.  Started in 2006 (?) and probably a third of the quilting is  done.

I did a one day workshop with Jan Gessin Baker, a lesson in the fabrics of the era and searching through ‘the stash’ to find authentic reproductions to replicate one of her (many) antique quilts… Because Jan also has an extensive collection of vintage fabrics, it was interesting to analyse the real thing, find the reproduction equivalent (and sometimes you can see the absolute copy) and see how well the designers are reproducing them.

Not just that workshop day but also the eight years I was attending Threadbear and Jan’s Quilt History Study Group, was when I really started paying very close attention to the detail in the fabrics (Antique and Repro).

Sometimes I think a repro is just not a good enough match for me…(I was actually going to stop blogging and get some dinner but I’m going to quickly grab the camera, take a snap and show you a case in point)


Kashmir V by Sentimental Studios for Moda, This fabric in a larger scale...I would have nearly bought the shop out. Instead I bought 30 cm.

Maybe I should have gone and  got dinner and not got on my soap box about this but…

…the larger companion print of this fabric (not shown because I didn’t buy any) should have been perfect for Broderie Perse but it just does not have the definition or sharpness of pattern nor the intensity of colour that this smaller print has. It’s just plain fuzzy and, in my mind, not suitable for BP even though it is clearly trying to be a reproduction of fabrics which were used for Broderie Perse but the pictured fabric with the appropriate definition/intensity etc is just too small.

Maybe I’ll start drawing up my own fabric designs…

but for now, tummy rumbling

Thanks for visiting…