Manx Patchwork - Sometimes
referred to as Roof Pattern
made by Jo Thrussell
bound by Charmian Perston
The Earliest known example
of Manx patchwork is about 1820. Traditionally the
fabric was torn, not cut (probably because scissors were
expensive and rare); hand measurements were used, the base
equalling the span of a hand (tip of thumb to tip of little
middle square was the length of the middle finger and the
‘strips’ were the width of the inner-thumb length from its
base to the base of the nail.
The centre square was
usually bright – either red or similar, representing the
hearth with the sides being dark and light (the dark and light
side of the room).
Sometimes the centre square would be a very special
piece of fabric – silk, velvet, and satin.
Each round consists of 2
dark strips and 2 light strips which are tacked onto the
backing square with a small ‘pleat’ left when folding back
each strip. This
hid the large stitches and also made extra layers of warmth or
Squares were joined either
into blocks of four or strips to make a quilt. All types of fabric
were used from cotton to tweed.
This is a very quick easy
method of making a quilt as, during sewing, the needle is
dropped to the back of the work on each round instead of
having to finish off and re-start. These quilts would
have been made by candle or lamplight, the women being too
busy to sew in the daytime.