My Quilting Journey
My love of everything quilting has grown and nurtured from very simple beginnings. I was first introduced to quilting back in 1988 when a friend encouraged me to join her and enroll in a night course at the local high school in beginner patchwork. Over a term we hand pieced 12 traditional blocks using English paper piecing , resulting in a sampler quilt. We were only allowed three fabrics, a light, medium and dark and I can still remember drafting each 12 inch pattern by hand on thin cardboard. I dabbled in various small projects over the following years but with small children and working as a primary school teacher it was a hobby that was practiced occasionally.
It wasn’t until 2002 that sewing became an important part of my life. As a family we relocated to Switzerland with my husband’s work. He was immersed in his new position at work and the children were settled into school. I on the other hand knew no-one and didn’t speak a word of French. My saviour was the American International Women’s Club, an organisation that provides a lifeline for expatriates working overseas, especially the wives. It was here I found a small group of quilters who met every week, teaching each other skills and sharing friendship. This is where I found my happy place to a new life overseas. The friendships made there have lasted for nearly twenty years, even though most of us are now settled back in our home countries far and wide.
On returning to Australia in 2005 I wanted to find the same companionship in a local Quilting group. It was through the NSW Quilters Guild that I found such a group of likeminded ladies at Arcadian Quilters. Since then my husband and I have moved to The Adelaide Hills in South Australia, then the outskirts of Canberra and now the South Coast of NSW at Malua Bay.
In every instance I have sought out a local quilting group. Each time I have made lovely friends and enjoyed many hours of sewing, chatting and learning new skills. Along the way I have joined the local quilting guilds and participated in their annual exhibitions.
I have always enjoyed being creative, studying art and textiles at high school, then majoring in fine art while at Teachers College. This has developed with my love of fabric and I get so much pleasure from creating a very textured and tactile piece, be it a queen size quilt or a small wall hanging. I am mostly self taught as I try to work out a way to create the effect I am after.
I especially like needle turn appliqué and hand embroidery to enhance the detail of the designs. Most of my earlier quilts are hand quilted, but with the purchase of a dedicated quilting machine a whole new world has opened up. I have a Handiquilter sweet 16, which is my baby. I think the quilting is the most rewarding part of the whole process because it brings the whole design together, giving you the overall finished effect.
I find that machine quilting the piece gives the work a whole new dimension. I try to design the quilting to enhance and highlight the quilt pattern. It is only in the last few years that I have started designing my own quilts. Mostly the inspiration comes from our holidays or places visited. I collate photos which depict patterns and architectural features, then try to recreate them into a design that reflects the places we visited. One such quilt is ‘Utsukushi Omoide – Beautiful Memories’ which was made after a trip to Japan using all Japanese Yarn dyed fabric purchased on the trip. This quilt was awarded Bernina Best of Show at the Canberra Quilters’s Exhibition in 2019.
Other times it is the fabric itself. I loved the subtle effect of the Japanese Taupe fabrics and wanted to create a soft subtle piece. I also love the work of Yoko Saito, which inspired me to design and make ‘Subtle Japan’. Once the appliqué is complete the next exciting step is designing a quilting pattern that will make the whole project come to life.
‘Antique French Lace’ evolved from the fabric itself, beautiful fine French cottons and chambrays, along with the features of old French Lace Handkerchiefs…a linen centre surrounded by delicate lacework.
This is only a short outline of some of my completed projects. There are many others from wool felt embroidery to machine appliquéd wall art using pre printed linen. Who knows what the next project will be, but I am sure it will evolve and be just as rewarding in its designing, creating and quilting. I am lucky to have a dedicated quilting space with a beautiful outlook over the bush and great natural light. My husband, Peter, is my biggest fan, along with a supportive family who encourage and inspire me every day.
Quilters’ Guild of South Australia – Festival of Quilts
- 2014 – 3rd Place Predominantly Applique – Amateur category for ‘Australian Wildflowers‘
Canberra Quilters Inc. Members Exhibition
- 2016 – 1st Place Large Quilt – Non-Professional category for ‘My Visit to Michele’s Morris Magic’
- 2017 – 1st Place Large Quilt – Non – Professional category for ‘Fleur‘
- 2018 – 3rd Place Small Quilt – Professional Category for ‘Aunt Pearlie’s Supper Cloth’
- 2018 – Excellence in Machine Quilting – Domestic Award for ‘Aunt Pearlie’s Supper Cloth‘
- 2018 – 1st Place Small Quilt – Professional Category for ‘Subtle Japan’
- 2018 – Viewers Choice for ‘Subtle Japan‘
- 2019 – Best Use of Colour Award for ‘Utsukushi Omoide‘
- 2019 – 1st Place – Small Quilt – Professional category for ‘Utsukushi Omoide’
- 2019 – Bernina Best of Show Award for ‘Utsukushi Omoide’
- 2019 – 1st Place – Large Quilt – Professional category for ‘Flowers for Zoe’
- 2019 – Best Use of Batik Fabric Award for ‘Flowers for Zoe‘
AUSTRALIAN QUILT CONVENTION
- 2018 – Best of Best Exhibit- representing Canberra Quilters Inc. for ‘The Farmers Wife‘
- 2019 – Best of Best Exhibit – representing Canberra Quilters Inc. for ‘ Subtle Japan’