Issued: 27 October 2004
The Heat’s On At The Signal Tower
As the nights draw in and the heating goes up, it’s good to snuggle up under a nice thick quilt.
At Arbroath’s Signal Tower, a magnificent patchwork quilt has made an appropriately seasonal gift to the museum’s collection.
However this treasured quilt probably never kept anyone warm at night as it is made of hundreds of pieces of very fine cloth and was probably more decorative than functional.
The beautiful quilt is a fine example of a Log Cabin or Courthouse Steps patchwork.
It was hand stitched from pieces of patchwork collected by the late Mary Kennedy of Ethie Haven who died in 1963. Mary Kennedy was a cook in several of the big houses in Angus.
Mary gave the squares to Elizabeth Anderson who pieced the squares together and completed the quilt some years ago. Miss Anderson has kindly donated the quilt to Angus Museum’s Collection.
Staff at the museum believe that the material to make up the quilt was collected from remnant pieces from garments of clothing and furnishings.
This particular quilt is made mostly from silk. The squares were sewn together with half the strips in light tone and half in dark the strong contrast was required to emphasize the pattern.
Patchwork or piece work has been an ancient way of recycling rich fabrics that were too valuable to be discarded for hundreds of years.
A Quilting Bee was a gathering of ladies that would stitch and talk which became quite a social occasion.
Often the quilt was a gift possibly for a bride or birth and in some instances they have been used in burials. This example would have taken months or even years to complete - a real labour of love.
The art of quilt making has been with us for many generations and in Victorian times it was an established art form in many households.