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Tumbling Blocks (c1880)

Ref: 1999-4-A

1999-4-A Tumbling blocks
1999-4-A Tumbling blocks

This patchwork tumbling blocks quilt was donated by a residential care home in Bishops Castle upon the death of the owner, Emily Matthews, in the late 1990s. Emily formally lived at Woodbine Terrace, Church Lane, Bishops Castle and became a resident at the care home in 1989.

It measures 2083 x 1990 mm, and is made of silks and velvets. There is a huge variety of silks including figures, printed, twills, ribbed, plains. Some of these have degraded over the years – the piece probably dates from about 1880 – but considering its age it is in good condition.

The filling is a woollen black fabric which could be a blanket. There is a red and black border which may be a later addition. The reverse red cotton sateen was certainly added later – it has been machine stitched but the stitching does not come through to the front.

The tumbling blocks quilt has been exhibited at the Minerva Arts Centre during a summer show, and also at Ludlow, Shropshire and Holyhead, Anglesey.

Suffolk Puffs Table Coverlets (c1940)

Ref: 2004-1-B

2004-1-B suffolk puffs table coverlets
2004-1-B suffolk puffs table coverlets
2004-1-B suffolk puffs table coverlets

This is a pair of Suffolk Puffs table coverlets made in Trottiscliffe (pronounced ‘Trosley’), Kent, south-east England, during the Second World War (1939 – 1945), probably in an air raid shelter. The coverlets were donated to The Quilt Association in 2004.

Suffolk Puffs are gathered circles of fabric, sometimes known as yo-yos. They were very popular during the early years of the 20th century and are named after the Suffolk sheep wool which was often used to stuff them. The puffs were ideal for using up small scraps of fabric, or recycling old clothes and could be made by children or beginner patchworkers.

The first coverlet measures 715 x 715mm, and the second 414 x 965 mm. The puffs are 25mm in diameter, and made of cotton and rayon fabrics in various colours. The patterns have been planned to a degree, with plain puffs dividing the patterned blocks, almost like sashing. The puffs have been hand sewn together on each of the four edges.

Red Cross Quilt (c1940)

Ref: 2007-4-A

2007-4-A Red Cross quilt
2007-4-A Red Cross quilt

This is a Canadian Red Cross quilt (Petrolia branch) which was given to a family from Kent during the Second World War. Doris Evelyn Jones (3.6.1913 – 20.1.2007) lived in Beckenham, Kent, and the area was bombed several times. Doris was eventually evacuated with her baby son Brian to Yorkshire. Doris had married her husband George Ernest Jones on 20 January 1940. George was in the army but did not serve abroad. As an artist and draughtsman he spent the war drawing maps. The work was highly secretive. He died aged 54 years in 1971.

Doris was sleeping in an air raid shelter with her son Brian when they were bombed. The family had to be dug out of the shelter. Their house was destroyed. Doris went to a centre to get food and help, and all they had left were “bloomin’ quilts.” Doris said – “I don’t want a quilt, I just want something to eat.” But all the others were taking them, so she took one too. Someone took her in and she was evacuated to Halifax on a train, wearing a label.

The quilt (2105 x 1710mm) is a nine patch piece, with 30 blocks made of various cotton fabrics. It has cotton wadding, and minimal quilting around and across the blocks to hold it together in a white thread. The reverse is a blue striped flannelette sheet, with a Canadian Red Cross label in the bottom corner.

Red & White Block Patchwork

Ref: 2011-2-A

2011-2-A red and white block patchwork
2011-2-A red and white block patchwork

This is a block patchwork quilt made by a Welsh woman returning to her homeland from America in the late nineteenth century.

It was completed in Ceredigion in west Wales, in a hill farming area known as “Soar-y-mynydd,” several miles south-west of the market town of Tregaron. The great-great-great-grandmother of the donor travelled to America in the 1860s, hoping to start a new life. However, she later returned to Wales. It is believed that the quilt was cut out in America, and then pieced during the long return voyage.

The patchwork is typically American, and probably influenced by the quilter’s short stay overseas. The block is known as “Birds in the Air.” Friends would often share favourite quilt blocks, by letter or when meeting up socially. By the mid 19th century popular patterns were being published in magazines and made available to an even wider audience.

This red and white patchwork quilt is made of cotton fabrics in a faded red and also white, and hand quilted in a white thread in a medallion style. Three Welsh woollen blankets make up the wadding. The reverse fabric is made up of three strips of cotton fabric, featuring sprigs and spots. 

Red & White Patchwork

Ref: 2011-6

2011-6 red and white patchwork
2011-6 red and white patchwork

This is a red and white patchwork quilt made in Wales featuring the Churn Dash block. The surname Davies has been hand stitched  in red in one corner of the quilt on the reverse side.

The Churn Dash is a traditional nine patch quilt block pattern, originating between 1800 and 1849 in America. The block is said to resemble the stick or “dash” which was used to churn butter. However, it is just one of many names used for the block, others include: Monkey Wrench, Broken Plate and Hole in the Barn Door. Friends would often share favourite quilt blocks, by letter or when meeting up socially. By the mid 19th century popular patterns were being published in magazines and made available to an even wider audience across the Atlantic, including Welsh quilters. When Welsh families emigrated to America the keen sewers probably sent quilt patterns back to family members still at home.

In total there are thirty blocks in red and white cotton twill. The triangles, squares and rectangles have been hand pieced in a white thread. A red and white frill has been machine stitched around the edge. The quilt has been hand quilted in a white thread. There is a central medallion featuring circles, then around this further circles in two sizes and lines.

Towyn Red Cross Quilt

Ref: 2013-3-B

2013-3-B Towyn Red Cross quilt
2013-3-B Towyn Red Cross quilt

This large patchwork quilt was made in Canada and sent to Britain with food parcels by the Red Cross during the Second World War. It eventually ended up in Towyn, a small seaside town in mid west Wales. The quilt was originally documented at The Quilters’ Guild British Quilt Heritage Project in 1990 in Shrewsbury, and became part of our collection in 2013.

Quilts made for the war effort were put together quickly and simply using everyday fabrics and basic techniques by Canadian women using the sewing rooms of their Red Cross branches. The effort was co-ordinated by the Standardised Workroom – and then the quilts distributed on a massive scale in Britain to people who had often been bombed out of their own homes.

The patchwork features nine patch blocks machine stitched and joined to form five main strips. These are each divided by four narrow strips of fabric. There are various floral fabrics, checks, and some recycled children’s clothes featuring bicycles, fish and children. The wadding consists of two light blankets  made of mixed fibres. The quilt has been hand quilted in a white thread in chevrons on the blocks. The narrow strips are quilted in long lines.

The reverse is made of unbleached cotton feed sacks which have been joined together – recycling of the sacks was common by North American quilters. 

Knitted Quilt

Ref: 2008-5

2008-5 knitted quilt
2008-5 knitted quilt

This is a knitted quilt believed to have been made by Miss Charlotte Stonebridge, known as Lot and Lottie. She was born in 1898 and died in 1989, and lived at Bryn Awel, Castle Road, Rhayader, where she worked as a hairdresser. Charlotte courted a man for many years, but they never married, perhaps because she looked after her parents. When he became very ill she nursed him in her home until his death. Charlotte used an upstairs room at home for her hairdressing. She carried jugs of boiling water, from the open fire of the kitchen range, upstairs. The pungent smell of methylated spirits, from a little burner to heat the curling irons, permeated the house.

The quilt top (1680mm x 975mm) is made up of knitted shapes - triangles, rectangles and diamonds. 4 ply and double knitting wool have been knitted mainly in stocking stitch, with some moss stitch. There are a mixture of plain wools and marls. The wadding is a hand-woven woollen blanket. This is an appliqué piece rather than patchwork, as the shapes have been sewn to the blanket.  However, it has been done in a patchwork style with a central medallion and borders. It has been backed with a floral cotton plain weave, a furnishing fabric, possibly from the 1940s. Then all three layers were tied together with a white cotton thread.

The knitted quilt inspired a contemporary piece, 2009-8, now also in the collection, made in Spring 2009 by the Llanidloes Knitting & Crochet group. Both quilts were exhibited at the Minerva Arts Centre in the 2009 summer show.

Corded Cushion Covers

Ref: 2003-11

2003-11 corded cushion covers
2003-11 corded cushion covers
2003-11 corded cushion covers

This is a pair of 1950s unfinished corded cushion covers in vivid pink sateen, plus accompanying patterns, booklet and woollen cord. 

The covers were rescued from the Oxfam shop in Llanidloes in 2003. The items were originally bought from G Jones Dressmaking Shop of Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, Mid Wales.The fabrics for the backs, zips and threads are all included.

The cover fabric is a vivid pink cotton sateen overlaying a muslin foundation fabric.

On one cover, featuring a trellis design with a Japanese woman, the cording quilting is finished, but the cushion has not been made up. The second cover has had a design of a crinoline lady drawn on, but no cord has been threaded through. It is stitched in four corners only.

The booklet is “Quilted Cushions” and cost 1/6d at the time. It features commercially printed patterns.

Embroidered Bedcover

Ref: 1999-4-B

1999-4-B embroidered bedcover
1999-4-B embroidered bedcover detail

This embroidered bedcover was donated by a care home on the death of the resident who had owned it.  It is made of three joined widths of hand-woven cotton fabric with a deep gold/orange coloured background fabric and is embroidered with chain stitch embroidery in various colours of woollen thread.  There is a 55mm fringe all the way around it.  1990 x 1570mm.

Indian Textile

Ref: 2000-3-C

2000-3-C indian textile
2000-3-C indian textile detail

This piece is from India and is made from cottons in maroon, mustard and green.  The fabric has been printed with wooden blocks and hand stitched with decorative running stitches (kantha) except on the edges where cross stitch has been used. There is also some  reverse appliqué with shisha mirrors which were to ward off evil spirits and the zigzag patterns were meant to confuse them.  2106 x 1420mm.

‘Cymru Fydd’ Blanket

Ref: 2001-9

2001-9 welsh blanket
2001-9 welsh blanket detail

This blanket was probably produced at Trefriw Mill near Llanrwst in North Wales between 1927 and 1950.  It would have been made on a Jacquard powerloom and is a copy of a design on a quilt which was presented to King Edward VII when, as Prince of Wales, he opened Caernarvon Waterworks in 1876. 


The original quilt was made on a sixteen-shaft handloom by John Roberts, a Caernarvon hand weaver.  It is a coverlet in red and white which shows representations of Caernarvon Castle, entitled ‘Cymru Fu’ (Wales Then) and University College, Aberystwyth, marked ‘Cymry Fydd’ (Wales Now).  There is a border above and below the buildings each with a picture of two Welsh Dragons flanking a picture of three leeks Which from a distance look like the fleur-de-lis – the Prince of Wales’ feathers.  1798 x 1500mm.

Coronation Fragment

Ref: 2001-11

2001-11 coronation diamond

This is a diamond-shaped panel featuring Edward VII and Alexandra probably made for the coronation of August 1902.  Made of cotton, there are signs of stitching around the edges. It could have been the centre of a table cover or coverlet.  The image has been printed on. 670 x 360mm

Rayon Sample Corded Quilting

Ref: 2002-5-A

2002-5-A silk corded quilting
2002-5-B silk corded quilting

A pair of rayon sample corded quilts, probably done in the 1920s or 1930s. The fabric is a peach rayon, and depicts a pair of birds and flowers. The flowers are outlined in red, the leaves in green, the tendrils in brown, and there is black and blue whipped stitch for the birds’ bodies on top of the corded quilting.  1710 x 805mm & 1715 x 803mm.

Dieuwke Philpott’s Quilt

Ref: 2003-13

2003-13 dieuwke philpott's quilt
2003-13 dieuwke philpott's quilt detail

Entitled Swatches this contemporary quilt was created for the Laura Ashley Exhibition Inspirations in 2003 and donated by the maker afterwards.  Made from Laura Ashley fabrics spanning two decades in a variety of textures, patterns and colours the maker has used several techniques including appliqué and log cabin.  The quilting patterns on the front and reverse are different – the front is quilted in parallel lines, the reverse in straight lines. 1525 x 1280mm.

Table Runner

Ref: 2004-1-D

2004-1-D table runner

Made sometime before the Second World War, this is a table runner with canvaswork running through the middle.  It was donated as part of a collection of small textile pieces.  The canvaswork is in blue, red, green and black.  It has two borders above and below it, the first made from a brown patterned fabric, the second from blue ribbons.  Around the edge of the whole thing is net curtain lace and there is cotton net on the reverse.  634 x 389mm.

Tidy Bag

Ref: 2004-1-E

2004-1-E tidy bag

Donated as part of a collection of small textile pieces, this is a tidy bag, possibly made in the Edwardian era.  It is made from plain weave silk and has a silk satin lining the flap and a silk ribbon handle and edging.


There are two commercially produced embroidered motifs which have been appliquéd onto the front and flap. There is also an outer ‘frill’ of chemical lace around the edges.  Chemical lace is a form of machine-made lace also known as Schiffli Lace because it was made on a loom invented by Isaak Gröbli in 1863. Schiff is the German word for boat and the loom used a boat shaped shuttle. 407 x 250mm.

Happy Birthday Minerva

Ref: 2004-2

2004-2 happy birthday Minerva detail

This is a contemporary quilt made by Diana Brockway in 2004 to celebrate ten years of exhibitions by the Quilt Association in Llanidloes.  It features Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom and the arts.  Diana said that Minerva “is identified with Athena and so also as a goddess of war.  She is generally shown wearing a helmet.  I have used gold leaf for the helmet attached to the silk with Bondaweb. 


The figure was stencilled with Markal paint sticks and overlaid with silk.”   The figure of Minerva has a metal “Happy 10 Birthday” badge pinned to her shoulder.  The figure is appliquéd onto the background with machine stitching in blue and gold threads and the quilting is free machine embroidery in gold thread.  835 x 336mm.

Indian Embroidery

Ref: 2006-6

2006-6 indian embroidery
2006-6 indian embroidery detail

This is a piece of Indian embroidery on a woollen fabric.  A band of pink silk fabric is heavily hand embroidered into the design which is done with gold thread.  There is also some couched metal thread, some of which is padded.  There are also some flowers made from metal thread couched with silk floss.  It has been commercially produced. 2630 x 405mm.

Unfinished Covered Quilt

Ref: 2006-11

2006-11 unfinished covered quilt
2006-11 unfinished covered quilt detail

This is a remnant of a commercially produced quilt which has been covered with pink floral nylon and quilted.  The original quilt is made of green cotton sateen with crepe on the reverse and was quilted in chain stitch on a machine.  The new cover is made from pink rayon which is wrapped around the whole original quilt plus a nylon, floral printed fabric on one side.  The whole thing has been quilted by hand in pink mercerized cotton thread.  The tacking thread is still there and there are knots on the surface so is unfinished.    1030 x 1895mm.

Floral Layered Cot Quilt

Ref: 2007-2

2007-2 cot quilt
2007-2 cot quilt detail

This small cot quilt appears to be several quilts which have been covered and requilted.  The printed floral fabric with a black background which has been used for the layer on the top suggests that this layer was added during the 1940s.   The same fabric is used on both sides but one is wholecloth, the other consists of six pieces joined together.  It has been machine quilted in lines of (probably) cotton thread.     1295 x 794 x15mm.

Marie Roper’s Quilt

Ref: 2007-9

2007-9 marie roper's quilt
2007-9 marie roper's quilt detail

Entitled Following Paths and Strands this contemporary quilt was created for the Laura Ashley Exhibition Inspirations at The Minerva Arts Centre in 2003 and donated by the maker in 2007.  It is made from Laura Ashley fabrics which were donated to the Quit Association.  Marie took a bundle of these and produced this quilt which is made from bright reds and greens on black. It is constructed using strips and the log cabin technique.  The quilt is made using hand quilting in black thread and free machine quilting of leaves and writing in cerise thread on the border and sashing.  There is a pieced reverse of Laura Ashley fabrics machine stitched in mid-green thread.   975mm x 895mm.

Faux Patchwork Coverlet

Ref: 2010-2-B

2010-2-B faux patchwork coverlet
2010-2-B faux patchwork coverlet detail

This is a late 19th Century coverlet, made in North Wales using faux patchwork cotton.  One side has a central strip of this with two panels on either side.  The other side consists of fine wool paisley shawls joined together to make four panels.  Some of the borders are of a different fabric, probably where the maker ran out of fabric.  The paisley fabric itself has printing faults running in strips along the length of the pattern. 2045 x 2218mm.

Crocheted Bed Cover

Ref: 2011-1

2011-1 crocheted bed cover
2011-1  crocheted bed cover

This is a crocheted bed cover made in North Wales in 1916.  The cover has been made from 7inch square blocks which have been sewn together.  In the centre is the Lord’s Prayer and there are swans around the edge.  The initials AVH and the date 1916 are worked into the bottom central block.  The top central block is a cross.

Embroidered Table Coverlet

Ref: 2011-2-D

2011-2-D table coverlet
2011-2-D table coverlet detail

This was made in the 1940s.  Our donor stated that ‘It was sewn in the war when material was difficult to come by.  Someone bought a check design teacloth and used the squares as a base for embroidery.’  The cotton tea towel has been embroidered in blu and yellow stranded cotton embroidery thread in a ‘spider’s web’ stitch that looks like small flowers.  A machine-made lace edge has been added and it has been backed with a piece of yellow cotton sateen. 510 x 480mm.

Army Fabric Coverlet

Ref: 2012-2

2012-2 army fabric coverlet
2012-2 army fabric coverlet detail

Our donor remembers this quilt as ‘always being around’ in his great uncle’s house in Manchester when he was a child.  He thinks his great grandmother may have made it.   It dates from the period of the First World War and is made from khaki wool army uniform fabric – possibly offcuts from the factory in Manchester that produced it.  Both the top and reverse (there is no wadding) are made of strips of fabric pieced together by hand with tiny stitches.  1645 x 1690mm.

Linda Kemshall Wall Hanging

Ref: 2013-1

2013-1 linda kemshall wall hanging

This is a contemporary wall hanging entitled Reverie 1 which was made in 1998 by Linda Kemshall, an artist, author, quiltmaker and teacher of design and textile arts. It is made from hand dyed cotton fabrics which are multi coloured – yellows, pinks and purples. It is wholecloth with some machine appliqué down the centre.  There is machine and hand stitching with beading and the piece is very densely quilted in vermicelli style. Embroidery thread has been used for hand stitching and there is use of some variegated thread for machine work. It has bound edges with some blanket stitch on the bottom left hand corner.

1449mm x 489mm.

Marie Roper Wall Hanging

Ref: 2013-2

2013-2 marie roper wall hanging_edited
2013-2 marie roper wall hanging detail

A small wall hanging by Marie Roper. Labelled as Resolved Landscape.   Made from cotton fabrics, mostly hand dyed with some commercial batiks, this piece uses her signature ‘free cutting’ style of patchwork.  There is a central tree with an abstract landscape background inspired by the Herefordshire/Welsh border. The piece is free motion quilted with a variety of coloured and variegated threads. 530 x 425mm.

Llandrillo WI Quilt

Ref: 2017-11

Llandrillo WI A
Llandrillo WI

This lovely quilt won first prize for the Lllandrillo WI in 1997, when entered into a competition run by the WI in Wales. There are twenty eight sashed panels, each beautifully hand quilted with either a flower or a Celtic knot design.  The panels are of a cream cotton fabric and the sashing fabric is a floral design in green and pink. The panels are enclosed within a hand quilted cream border using a Celtic knot pattern. The wadding is of thin cotton and the reverse is a plain cream fabric. The binding is the same fabric as the sashing.  2440mm x 1570mm.

Motorbike Quilts

Ref: 2021-4-A/B

2021-4A & B

Both of these quilts were made locally to Llanidloes by members of the same family.  They were probably originally made in the 1920s and 1930s by the donor’s grandmother and great grandmother who lived in Llawryglyn and Llanwnog respectively.  They were repaired by the donor’s mother in Caersws at some point using Laura Ashley fabric.


Both are in very poor condition – they had been used for years to cover Triumph and Harley Davidson motorbikes so are rather the worse for wear - but are interesting because of the insight they give us into how a quilt was constructed in three layers.  One has an older quilt inside as wadding and the other has both another quilt or coverlet inside as well as a piece of woollen tweed blanket.  One has been repaired using a cotton patch pocket.  These two items tell the story of a family making, repairing and passing down these quilts through the generations until, no longer used to keep them warm at night, they were still of use to protect cherished family possessions.  Quilt 1 1740mm x 1930mm.  Quilt 2 1830mm x 1590mm.

Quilted Cushion Covers

Ref: 1999-5

1999-5 pair handquilted cushion covers
1999-5 pair handquilted cushion covers

A pair of quilted cushion covers with pleated frills made in the 1930s or 1940s.  Possibly made from rayon, the original peach colour has faded to a coffee shade.  The cushions are wholecloth and hand quilted, with a small running stitch.  Cushion 1 measures 560 x 570mm, is in fair condition and has a wreath design on the front with buds in the corners. The reverse has a petalled flower design with roses and tendrils in the corners.  Cushion 2 measures 565 x 575mm, has a Martha Washington Rose on the front and a wreath design on the reverse.  It has, unfortunately, been nibbled in one corner at some point, probably by mice.

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