Cable designs are popular as they are easy to work and can be used to cover large areas with considerable speed. When working in a large quilting frame, eight needles (one for each line of the cable) could be taken across the quilt in parallel. The Welsh trail illustrated here is a widely used traditional cable design. This particular motif seems to have been unique to Wales until it was published by the Rural Industries Bureau in the early 1930s. It was one of very few Welsh designs to be included; most patterns featured were feather patterns from the North East of England.
Rose shapes are universally popular, and templates can easily be made by folding and cutting paper. They are often used to fill small spaces and can be combined with other motifs. For example, a rose could replace the spiral on Mrs Thomas's paisley to create a new motif.
Fans feature in many Welsh quilts as this motif is very useful for filling corners. It can also be mirror-imaged and manipulated in a variety of ways; for example, rotated around the corner to form a chrysanthemum shape.
Welsh quilts seldom have unquilted areas. Spaces around the main designs are usually filled with curved lines which echo the motif outline, or with simple shapes such as clamshells. The other alternative is to use some form of straight line which acts as a counterpoint to the motif. These lines can be vertical, horizontal, diagonal or chevron and are often doubled to form either a grid or square diamond filling.