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Signature Quilt from Tyneside

Pippa Moss, December 20, 2012

Our annual seminar was held in Burnley this year – we were lucky to find an excellent venue for the presentation of papers – the lecture theatre at Towneley Hall. Not only was it the right size, but access was easy, the cost was reasonable and there was a room nearby where catered meals could be eaten. Oh, and a fabulous museum to look around! Hopefully, the committee will be able to come up with an equally good venue for York next year….

One of the papers, which will be published in full in the upcoming Quilt Studies, was Anne Jeater’s paper giving the results of her research into this quilt owned by The Quilters’ Guild. We were lucky to have the quilt loaned for the weekend, so that we could see it up close. It is a signature quilt made as a church fundraiser in the 1890s. A large portrait of Queen Victoria is found in the centre of the quilt.

The patches have the embroidered signatures on them, many in family groups. The Primitive Methodist movement was an offshoot of the Wesleyan Methodists, and was largely working class people, so the donations accompanying the signatures were unlikely to have been more that a few pence each.

The quilting is typically North Country, with feathers and daisies and diamond infill. Anne was able to locate the archive for the Primitive Methodist Church and found minutes that mentioned the quilt. The money raised was used to buy a carpet and curtains for the church. Blueprints of the building plans for the church still exist, so by measuring the area carpeted and using average costs for carpets at that time, it was possible to estimate the amount raised by the quilt. A nice piece of research!