Category Archives: quilting

Strictly Quilts

Wangaratta is known for its Stitched Up Textile Festival held every two years. The quilters in the Rural City of Wangaratta are so prolific that they can’t wait that long between shows and have held their Strictly Quilts Exhibition every year since 2007.

A friend and I caught the very early V Line train to see this year’s quilts and also Petite at the Wangaratta Art Gallery. We were both very impressed with the wide range of quilts on display, the amazing productivity of the various groups that jointly display. There is an obvious passion for quilting in the district.

Here are just a few of the quilts.

Margie Likes the Purple by Tania Mills of Dorcas Quilters. It is the most recent of her organic quilts made using techniques learned in a block of the month workshop held by her group.

French Chic by Helen Ellis of The Saturday Quilters. It was made for a black and white and another colour challenge. A simple quilt using some very cute fabric.

Gunitjmara is a whole cloth quilt based on the Gunditjmara possum skin rug on display at the Melbourne Museum. Made by Donna Hughes also from the Saturday Quilters.

I do like quilts based on grids and both of these are just my style. Kathy Bickerdike from Women in Stitches made her Japanese Inspired at a hand piecing workshop with Hiroe Mogi held at the local quilt shop. Boxes and Crosses is a Bemma Jean Jansen pattern made by Kerrith Bell of the Centre Quilters.

A framed needlework piece looked like an array of franking stamps. It is each of the Cottage Garden Threads in used in a design that includes the thread number. Stitched beautifully by Jean McDonald of Women in Stitches.

Suzanne Reid is the featured textile artist this year. Her work reflects her love of the mathematical. It was a very sunny day and light coming in above some of the works distorted the colour in the photos.

Its Only Mathematics. 

Two versions of a design based on an enlarged thumb print. both whole cloth quilts painted and free motion quilted. The first colour way is inspired by Hundertwasser and the second, with also includes machine embroidery, by Klimt.

 Tree of Life with leaves made using a deconstructed wall hanging purchased in India.

Strictly Quilts is always in the July school holidays and well worth visiting.


Not the Sydney Quilt Show

I now have a Gold Opal which means I can use public transport all day with a maximum charge of $2.50. A pretty good deal. I made the most of it today by getting my head around the bus network and going to Drummoyne. Not known as a tourist destination it is the place to go if you won’t be in town for the Quilt Show next week.

Easy for quilters to guess where I went. Material Obsession is a mecca for fabric lovers.

The corridors and many walls are hung with the latest quilts. Room after room is stocked from floor to ceiling with the most amazing fabrics, patterns and equipment.

This is just one of them.

Despite being flat out preparing for next week Helena and Kathy were most attentive and gave me lots of information and ideas.

So who needs to go to a Quilt Show?

Job well done

Being part of a Quilt Show committee involves a lot of planning and challenging but fun work. My quilt group Waverley Patchworkers had to move venue for our 2018 show. So my first task was to work out where the quilt stands would go. Despite all sorts of possible computer tools I found graph paper and a ruler the best way to go.

And once the stands were up, it was very satisfying to see that everything fitted perfectly.

Set up day was exhausting, I didn’t do the lifting, just checked and rechecked that every quilt went into its correct position, and then worked out the hanging height for each one. Fortunately we have a very experienced crew who not only know what they are doing, are happy to go up and down ladders doing all the final tweaking no matter how long it takes.

At the end of set up day all the decorations that hide ugly walls and enhance the environment get put in place and labels that I had printed go beside each quilt. Only one reprint needed this time, a record for me.

Then on Saturday the show opens and awards presented. Here is Marie a long serving member presenting her award to one of our newest Hilary who received a ribbon for her second ever quilt.

The challenge this year was very challenging and so I was happy to spot someone taking a picture of my effort.

I’m back at the show today, then at 4.00 pm it all comes down.

Wandin diversion

I have started the quilting on my Japanese Ginkgo, but the sashiko thread I thought would work is not looking good. Fortunately I remembered seeing various packets at the Lilydale patchwork and embroidery shop that is closing down. Quick check online. Yes, still trading until this Saturday. I found two options that I am sure will work and 30% off so buying both was not painful.

Then I remembered that the Warratina Lavender Farm Quilt Show to support the local CFA is on this month, until 27 May. Wandin is not that much further on, so I carefully hit the Warburton Highway. It has more speed limit changes than any other road I know. So it is a case of eyes on the signs.

The lavender has been cut and the remaining mounds put an interesting texture on the landscape. The white boxes to the left are bee hives. I guess they need lots of bees for the lavender honey.

The quilt show is in the drying shed, instead of bunches of lavender, quilts hand from the overhead grill. There are also table displays of quilts and quite a lot of framed embroideries as well.

Labels are minimal, the quilt below left is called The Laura Ashely Quilt by Sue Clark. I really liked the crazy mix of colours and free form spirals. Many of the quilts where large appliqués by Margaret Baker. Bountiful Baskets is a pattern I have seen at my Appliqué Special Interest Group, so I know that each basked contains the State Flower of one of the States of the USA. They are then repeated in the centre basket and border trails. Rivka’s version is quite different and will be on display at the Waverley Patchworkers Quilt Show.

This centre block also by Margaret is from Baltimore Spring by P3 Design. A perfect quilt for a lover of flower gardens. I looked up this pattern and found that it is also sold as a precut kit, for fusing. But this version is all needle turn with delicate embroidery.  If you don’t want to do appliqué the designers are selling a printed panel of all the blocks. One way of making the most out of your design I guess.

There is also this lovely Patchwork of the Crosses, the Lucy Boston quilt made by Joy Lewellin. This is a fussy cutters dream quilt. I have had the book and window template for a while, and it may become my next handpiecing project. By the way, there is a version of this quilt too at the  Waverley Show. You would think I was on the committee or something it is all I am focussing on at the moment.

On the opposite side of the road is an apple orchard, all set for hail storms.

In the next paddock these beef heifers were enjoying their lunch. They also seem to be fed apples as there were a lot lying near the fence. A pair of willy wagtails were enjoying all the insects that must have been hanging around. You can see one just to the right of the post.

Which brings me to the challenge for the Waverley show. The theme is Birds of a Feather Flock Together. And as well as finishing my main quilt I have been working on my challenge entry. This is as much as you are going to see before June.


Appliqué – tick

My checklist for the upcoming Waverley Patchworkers Quilt Show 2018 is still very long. But I have got a bit closer to having my own entry finished on time.

Lots and lots of appliqué on this one. The ginkgo leaves are all in the Hawaiian or channel appliqué style. Then the bamboo on the setting triangles is all reverse appliqué.

Basting, quilting and binding still to do.

White glove duty

The Quilt Show that is a part of the Australasian Quilt Convention is managed by Victorian Quilters. They rely on volunteers to look after the quilts which are on display and field questions from the viewers. This is known as White Glove Duty, because each volunteer is issued with a pair of cotton gloves, so they can touch the quilts.

No one else can touch the quilts. Why would anyone want to do that? Lots try. They are so tactile. People want to talk about the design and construction and point out special features, with fingers really, really close to the quilt. And some people want to see what’s on the back.

I took my turn at white glove duty on Friday afternoon. But first, on the advice of a friend, I visited this shop at Emporium. And today I found out the name means “no brand”IMG_8552

It is not just clothes as I assumed. It has stationery and containers. Nuf said.

The various travelling exhibitions that were on display at AQC this year were fantastic. Some of the best yet. Here is my take on just a few.

The Cherrywood Challenge is sponsored by the fabric company. A theme, Vincent van Gogh, and fabrics, blue, are responded to by quilters from around the world. Lots of the famous works were given a new spin, and there were far too many puns on his name involving combie vans. Many replicated the painter’s distinctive brush strokes in various forms of appliqué.

But for sheer chutzpah, I couldn’t go past the quilter who called her work, If Van Gogh Could Sew!

Best of QuiltCon 2017 had many modern quilts that warranted a second and third view.

I really liked the balance in this improv pieced work and the use of curves. The artist said that ‘as it took shape it seemed to be a self-portrait and expression of my current frame of mind’.

Were were treated to two related travelling exhibitions from the Studio Art Quilt Associates.


Influenced by the conflict in Syria and the people caught between violent extremists and a corrupt regime, the quilter has used quilting lines to extend the constructed imagery. Then the whole design idea is repeated in small bursts of angry red stitching. It seems the violence reaches into every little corner.

‘A thousand snow geese taking to the sky all at once.’ The population ‘acts as one, preventing true turmoil in the face of apparent chaos.’IMG_8563

I love a quilt constructed with a rule. I think the algorithm for this one is – A white on white, or a black and white print rectangle. Add a black triangle to one, two or three corners. Assemble in rows.


The restrained palette and swirling quilting lines take you right to the water’s edge.

This quilt, by an Israeli quilter is her view of being in the silent emptiness of the desert. I missed this at first. Then someone asked me to show them the back. We got talking and the more we looked the more we saw. The entire work is made up of small fabric fragments fused so they blend so well there is no edge. The meandering quilting lines did not seem to relate to the textures or tones on the surface.IMG_8583

It is the back which holds the answer, the lines come from the hot spots on that fabric. So it must have been quilted ‘up side down’. I would have missed all this if I hadn’t been doing White Glove Duty.

a stitched, layered textile

The Yarra Ranges Regional Museum in Lilydale is hosting the Art Quilt Australia 2017 exhibition until 15 April. It has been on my ‘must visit’ list for some time and I finally got there today. Seems to be the easier it is to get the things, the easier it is to delay.



There are better images of the quilts at the Oz Quilt Network, one of the co-presenters along with the National Wool Museum, but here are ones that I lingered over.

Jill Rumble Walking in Circles, seen here in front of Yvonne Line Wool Man and a day at the Museum and Ruth de Vos This discovering 6. The long narrow work is a delightful trail through various bush landscapes featuring circular forms. The hand stitching emphasises the need to stop and ponder and observe closely.

Alison Muir Last Frontier is a large floor to ceiling piece imagining the depth of the oceans far below the penetration of light. Its beautiful line work is a combination of shibori, heat set images, lino cut prints, fused appliqué and machine stitching.

I hadn’t realised until I came to write this piece that another of my selected works was also by Jill Rumble. Telling Secrets III is a delicate triptych where photographs on paper are laminated with sheer fabric and strung together with minimal machine stitching. I found the remaining connection between the photographs across the leaf shapes added to the quiet mystery of the art work.

Finally Glad Howard Clothes Maketh the Man: The Inside Story. A patchwork of the front linings of men’s suit jackets. Repeated curves and rectangles are echoed in the quilting bringing harmony to the reused material.

The museum is an excellent exhibition space, with a second room devoted to the quilts in the upstairs chamber.