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2002-18-E blue and cream strippy

2002-18-E blue and cream strippy
2002-18-E blue and cream strippy 1 2002-18-E blue and cream strippy 2

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This strippy quilt was made by Elizabeth Morgan of Carmarthenshire who worked as an itinerant quilter in south west Wales. There are three horizontal strips in blue sateen cotton, and four in cream plain weave cotton. Both fabrics are printed, the cream cotton with brilliant pink roses. There is some fine hand quilting in white thread, with spirals, arches and chevrons all featuring.

Elizabeth Morgan (1856 – 1945) was born at Llanrhystyd in Carmarthenshire. The 1881 census shows her as a “quilter” and her widowed mother (also Elizabeth) as an “eggs gatherer”. Neither of these occupations was lucrative, but the name of their tiny cottage laughed in the face of poverty. They called it “Thimble Hall”.

The older Elizabeth kept house while her daughter travelled the neighbourhood farms sewing quilts to order. Her quilting frame was usually collected by farm cart but Elizabeth and latterly her apprentice, Jane, walked to the farm where they would stay until the work was complete. The quilts they made were usually wholecloth but occasionally strippy. Now and again a patchwork quilt would be assembled though Elizabeth thought little of them. She conceded that it was better than letting good materials go to waste, but she was a quilter at heart.

In later life when she had married and moved to Park Place, Gilfach, she continued quilting to supplement her husband’s meagre wage. Her son remembers having to thread 20 or more needles before leaving for school because Elizabeth’s eyesight was beginning to fail even then. She drew  out quilting patterns on to the cloth using white string and a piece of chalk. Spirals and beehives were quickly outlined and swiftly quilted onto the fabric. Elizabeth’s career demonstrates how a quilter could support her own life style and that of a dependant and make a considerable difference to the standard of living of the family.