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Aberdare Quilt with Possible RIB connections

 Aberaman (Aberdare) Quilt

This quilt is said to have been made by dressmaker Mary Ann Jones in 1937, possibly for her daughter's wedding. Mary Ann who was born in 1869, lived in Gladstone Street, Aberaman, Aberdare, Mid Glamorgan with her husband William who was a checkweigher at the local colliery. They had three children, two boys and a girl and she died in 1954 aged 85.

The quilt is possibly made from a cotton poplin of a peachy pink on one side and a cream on the reverse, it is neatly stitched with a cream thread and has bold quilting patterns. A large central coin has four large veined leaves infilled with roses and spirals and is surrounded by two double-lined circles with single chains. The background infil is then of quite a large scale double-lined square diamonds with a fan in each corner surrounded by the same single chain design as the centre. The outer border is a fat chain with an unusual pointed corner part.

In the late 1920's - 1930's the Rural Industries Bureau (RIB) organised a scheme to help quilters in the rural areas of Wales and Northern England. They set up classes with the best quilters they could find in order to pass on their skills and help quilters to make a living. (For more information see the Quilt Museum page here http://www.quiltmuseum.org.uk/uploads/attachment/134/quilting-in-the-early-twentieth-century.pdf)

This quilt shows that the maker must have definitely seen the designs of the RIB quilters as it shows some similarities in the small half moons and double spirals used in the centre design to the school of Lala Leach, Aberdare where four quilters worked together putting the same patterns together in different ways. The corner cable with the funny point also shows similarities to the work of another well known quilter of the time, Irene Morgan. Many thanks to Jen Jones, Hazel and Clare Claridge for their help with this identification.