Monday, April 25, 2011

Anzac Commemorative Quilt

My maternal Great Grandmother, Martha (Mattie) Ellis, was known for her fine crochet work. During the depression she crocheted doilies for her children to sell door to door. She had twelve children and loved to thump out a tune on the piano and play the harmonica.
Her fine craft skill can be seen in this First World War commemorative quilt - I don’t even know how this quilt ended up in my hands! It’s made up of panels that are incredibly detailed with pictures, patriotic phrases and dates of battles.

"Our Hero, We're proud of him. Anzac 1915"
 It was getting ruined and I showed it to my good friend, Calamity Sue, and she recommended I contact the Australian War Memorial Museum. I emailed a description to them and they rang me straight away and said they were sending a courier!!
So Great Granny’s quilt is now in part of the collection there - the second largest textile piece they have. They museum already had some similar panels as smaller items like tray cloths or jug covers, but they had not come across someone who had done so many panels and attached them this way. The curator is trying to find each pattern my Great Granny used, which would have been published in magazines and newspapers.
The curators are also trying to find out if any of Great Granny’s loved ones went to war. She certainly had brothers of an age that could have. The quilt always had a very sombre feel to it (which is why it has been up in the cupboard for many years!) and I do wonder if Great Granny’s industrious crocheting was done whilst grieving.

"Dardenelles 1915 Our Heroes"

"Success to the Allies for Freedom"
"For Freedom. Yes we will defend it to the last"

This is one of the largest panel. The ship is very detailed.

This is my favourite panel. It shows a woman tending  a grave with birds flying overhead. It says,
 "Anzac Day APL 25 1915 Lest We Forget
   Lord Bless Waiting for the Dawn of Peace.
   Our Brave Sailors"

posted by sister outlaw Julianne


  1. J, I wonder whether Mattie Ellis might have created these designs herself - no pattern? What do you think? L xx

  2. Well she was clever Lynne, but I'm certain she used patterns for most of them - the museum has some identical patterns crocheted into smaller items. But never one put together like this. She crocheted a crown and fleur de lis border around it which was perhaps her invention. It's very fine work!