This is a wholecloth quilt finished in 1900 to commemorate the birth of Sarah Nicholas (neé Evans) of Aberdare, Glamorgan on 5 March 1900. Quilts were often made to celebrate special occasions, such as weddings, anniversaries, and here – the birth of a child. The quilt would then become an important keepsake for the rest of a person’s life, and then handed down to other members of the family. Clearly quilts were often much more than just utilitarian bedcovers, worked with love, and intended as heirlooms.
Aberdare is an industrial town situated in the heart of the Rhondda Cynon Taf area of South Wales. The family originally came from the Cardigan/Carmarthen area, but moved from the Pembrokeshire farms to go and work in the coal mines. High quality coal had been found in the Aberdare seams, and by the late 19th century production was at its peak, with wages being considerably higher than those achieved by farm labourers.
Furnishing fabrics with a cotton twill weave have been used to make the quilt. The widths have been machine stitched together, and feature pink chrysanthemums on the front with a formalised leaf print on the reverse which forms green and brown stripes. The quilt is probably filled with wool collected from the local hills and cleaned and carded.
The wholecloth quilt has been quilted in squares to create a patchwork effect with alternate closely spaced diagonally quilted squares and wider crosshatched squares. The edges are butted.