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Red & White Strippy Quilt

Ref: 2002-12

2002-12 red and white strippy quilt
2002-12 red and white strippy quilt

This is a stripy quilt in striking red and white stripes which run the entire length of the quilt. As is usual for strippy quilts, there are an odd number of strips, five red and four white. The quilt was brought into the Minerva Arts Centre by a visitor and bought for £40 in 2002.

Stripy quilts were very popular in Wales and the North of England. Averil Colby writes about “strip quilts” in her 1958 book “Patchwork”, commenting: “The Welsh tradition in striped quilts is much the same as that in the North but the materials are more sombre in colour – purple, magenta and black are sometimes included in one quilt.” Unfortunately there was no history with this quilt so its provenance is a mystery. However, stripy quilts were popular between 1860 and 1930, and it is likely to have been made during this period. They were relatively easy to construct, and so often used as utilitarian quilts rather than for best.

The fabric is a cotton twill on the stripy side, with a plain weave white cotton on the reverse.

Traditionally stripy quilts were quilted in patterns running down the strips. However, here the hand quilting in a zig zag pattern is taken right across the quilt in a white thread. The border has been finished with 9 rows of machine stitching in white.

Strippy Art Deco Quilt (c1920s)

Ref: 2002-13

2002-13 strippy art deco quilt
2002-13 strippy art deco quilt

This quilt, from the Carmarthen area of south-west Wales, is made from cotton fabric with a central panel in a bold Art Deco style print in pink, white and black. Art Deco arose in the first decades of the twentieth century as design influences moved away from the organic forms of Art Nouveau. It was based on geometric shapes, and influenced by many art movements such as Cubism and Futurism. It influenced architecture and furniture design, but also inspired many very striking fabric patterns such as the one here.

This is not a typical stripy quilt, but the cotton plain weave fabrics have been machine pieced in long lengths or blocks. The quilt, which was made in the 1920s, is hand quilted with an undulating zigzag pattern in a cream thread. The wadding appears to be a flannelette sheet, and the quilt was completed with butted edges (the wadding is trimmed back and the fabric edges turned inside and sewn together).

Blue & Cream Strippy

Ref: 2002-18

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

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.

Red Floral & White Strippy

Ref: 2002-18-F

2002-18-F red floral and white strippy
2002-18-F red floral and white strippy

This stripy quilt (1990 x 1845mm) was made by Sarah Ann Davies (1862 – 1944), who was born in Pontrhydyfen in Neath Port Talbot, West Glamorgan, South Wales. Her mother died of tuberculosis when Sarah was two years old and she was lovingly raised by her step-mother. Poverty decreed that she left home at about ten years of age to become a dairymaid at Llangyfelach and later at Castell Nedd. On her rare days off she would return home exhausted. Her step-mother would greet her lovingly but having sat her near the fire and provided a cup of hot tea she would be handed a half knitted stocking or a piece of sewing to be getting on with. “Every stitch you do now, won’t have to be worked again,” – her step-mother would say.

Sarah Ann married David Davies in Aberdare and began sewing quilts for her own rapidly growing family. David, a gentle scholarly man, worked as a collier until, wearying of the continual industrial unrest in that area, the family moved from Aberdare to Abertridwr where he found work at the Windsor Colliery. In all Sarah bore eight children several of whom died in infancy. Throughout her life she battled hard against the crippling poverty that was her lot. Standards were upheld – the house sparkled, not a penny was wasted and every scrap of everything was put to good use.

Sarah made many quilts from “recycled” fabrics and pattern books from drapers’ shops in Abertridwr. As her daughters grew, Sarah taught them the craft of patch working. Her daughter Eunice recalled as a child being taught to sew the patches together and, when the faces were complete, the quilting frame being brought down from behind the horsehair sofa for the quilting process to begin.

The Quilt Association has several of Sarah’s quilts in its collection. They are “pattern books” in themselves and much may be learned of Valley life in the first quarter of the century by studying them.

Gold & Pink Strippy

Ref: 2012-3

2012-3 gold and pink strippy
2012-3 gold and pink strippy

This is a Welsh stripy in gold and pink cotton sateen. It is machine pieced, with seven strips of different widths, and is reversible. The quilt is hand quilted in red thread in a typically Welsh style. There is a central medallion with borders, and quilt symbols include spirals, fans and leaves. The quilt appears to be filled with a blanket and other scraps of material.

The quilt was originally bought at a street market in Newport, Pembrokeshire and the buyer was told it had come from Carmarthen.  The quilt may have been produced in the 1930s at the time of the quilting revival in South Wales, as promoted by the Rural Industries Bureau employment scheme. Quilting classes, exhibitions and financial support encouraged women living in rural areas to produce high quality quilted products, many of which found their way to upmarket stores in London. The RIB ran until the late 1930s and the start of World War II, but the legacy remains with exquisitely quilted pieces such as this.

Red & White Strippy (c1880)

Ref: 2013-3-A

2013-3-A red and white strippy
2013-3-A red and white strippy

This is a Welsh red and white stripy quilt, dating from about 1880, hand quilted with distinctive Welsh motifs, including a central medallion, chevrons, spirals, and leaf shapes. The quilting does not follow the confines of the strips as is the Welsh style, unlike the Northern England stripy quilting style.

There is a Welsh quote, also sewn in white thread, which appears to read: Nac ymffrostia or dydd y fory Canys ni wyddast beth a ddigwydd mewn dirwnod. It is taken from the Bible, the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 6, verse 34: Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. The initials A.M., which could be those of the maker, are also embroidered below this.


Bible quilts were quite commonly made in the late 19th century throughout the British Isles. In Wales a massive expansion in nonconformist sects took place throughout the early part of the century, with about one new chapel being opened every eight days. Religion played a hugely important part in everyday life, even in isolated rural communities, with regular chapel-going being the norm. “These were pious people, living in a less secular age, for whom the use of such Christian texts was an integral part of their lives and an entirely natural form of decoration.” Quilt Treasures, The Quilter’s Guild Heritage Search, 1995.

The quilt was bought at an auction in Machynlleth, a small market town on the north-west edge of Powys, in the early 1990s, and donated to The Quilt Association in 2013. It is made of cotton twill strips, and filled with woollen blankets and worsted suiting material. The reverse fabric is a red cotton twill with purple spots.

Strippy Wholecloth Quilt

Ref: 2003-2

2003-2 pale pink strippy
2003-2 pale pink strippy detail

This quilt was donated to us in 2003 and had originally been bought in a London market in the 1970s for £20.  It was possibly made during the 1920s or 1930s and is possibly from the North Country.  The top is made from nine narrow panels of cream and pale pink cotton sateen, although the pink is now very faded. 


It has a reverse side of plain cream cotton and cotton wadding.  The quilt has been very finely quilted by hand in white thread, using a design of feathers, fans, cables, arches and chevrons.  2301 x 1806mm.

Child’s Flannel Quilt

Ref: 2003-6

2003-6 child's flannel quilt
2003-6 child's flannel quilt detail

This is a child’s quilt made from striped flannels produced in the Bridgend Mill, Llanidloes.   It was made in the 1930s by the mother and aunt of our donor, who remembers sleeping underneath it as a child.  It has a patchwork top and reverse made from variously sized pieces of fabric pieced together by machine.  The top and reverse have been quilted together (there is no wadding) by machine, in the ditch between the pieces and there is a wide flannel binding.  You can see a large ink stain in the centre of the quilt.   1640 x 1005mm.

Welsh Strippy Quilt

Ref: 2014-2

2014-2 welsh strippy
2014-2 welsh strippy detail

The donor of this quilt has family connections to Pembrokeshire and thinks that this is where it originated from.  It was probably made in the late 19th Century.  The top is made from six strips of cream plain weave cotton and five strips of red cotton twill which have been machine stitched together.  The wadding is sheep’s wool which has been teased out but not carded.  The quilt, which has a reverse is a cream cotton, has been finely hand quilted in white cotton thread. 


The central medallion has four petals filled with spirals and hatching in between.  The leaves are made of overlapping circles.  The quilting takes no account of the strips, as is traditional in Welsh strippies.  The double edge on the leaves is a typically Pembrokeshire style.  1902 x 1807mm.

Strippy Quilt

Ref: 2017-1-C

2017-1-C strippy quilt
2017-1-C strippy quilt detail

This Welsh strippy quilt was made in the late 19th Century in the St David’s area of Pembrokeshire.  The top is made from nine strips of red and white twill fabrics machine pieced together.  The reverse is made from a paisley patterned fabric. There is evidence that the wool wadding in between the top and reverse has ‘bearded’ through the fabric. That is to say that the needle has poked the wadding through the main fabric as it passed through (often owing to a blunt needle having been used).


Despite the possible use of a blunt needle, the hand quilting has been very finely done in white cotton thread. Each strip contains a specific pattern, which is unusual for Welsh strippy quilts.  Two strips have chevrons, two have leaves, butterflies, hearts and cables, and three have wine glasses.  There are cables in the two outer strips and a small border of cables. The use of many hearts suggest that this could be a wedding quilt.    2372mm x 2118mm.

North Country Strippy Quilt

Ref: 2017-2


Dating from the 1930s, this is a very pretty North Country strippy quilt with pink and white cotton stripes on the top and cream cotton on the reverse.  The strips are machine pieced. The good-quality quilting has been done in white and cream cotton thread with each strip quilted separately.  The design uses cables, flowers, feathers and wavy trails. 2390mm x 2000mm

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