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Log Cabin Quilt

Date made: 1870-1875

Description: A heavy log cabin patchwork quilt made from a mixture of heavy cotton and woollen fabrics. The woven fabrics are plain with the occasional tweed, stripe and check. The colours are browns and greens with a limited number of reds, blacks, blues and greys. The brown border around the top edge of the quilt shows considerable wear and several holes. These holes seem to reveal an earlier patterned fabric underneath since covered up, perhaps because of damage.

The quilt is backed with a brown and red floral or paisley print cotton fabric and is hand-quilted in brown cotton thread. The quilt is heavy weight and contains wadding.

'There is no trace of the influence of the elaborate quilting of American tradition, but it is perhaps significant that this is the only example of the very practical log-pattern quilt in the [Manx] Museum's collection. Since the patches are narrow and are sewn to the backing it is possible to use fabrics of different weights together and very narrow scraps can be incorporated'. (Dr L.S.Garrad, 1974)

The quilt was made in the USA in the early 1870s by the donor's grandmother, Mrs John Benjamin Cowley, nee Dinah Killey, who died 1st May 1874, aged 45. John Benjamin Cowley was born in Ballabeg, Lonan on 15th September 1834 and emigrated to the USA in 1856, where around 1860 he married his cousin, Dinah Killey (daughter of William and Mary Killey). William and Mary Killey had emigrated to America around 1825, settling first in Cleveland, then in Wilmington, where there was a community of Manx people.

The quilt was taken to the Isle of Man in March 1879 by J. B. Cowley (with his second wife and three children), and left with his cousin, Mrs Jim (Eliza) Skillicorn in Laxey. When the donor, Mrs Blanche Young, visited the Isle of Man in 1925, Mrs Skillicorn gave the quilt to her, and, prior to it being given to the Manx Museum, had been in her possession in the USA.

Measurements: overall: 208 cm x 188 cm

Materials: cotton, wool

Object name: quilt

Collection: Costume & Textiles Collection

ID Number: 1962-0168

Subject tags : #MM100


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