Exhibition bliss

I’ve just come back from several days in Melbourne and saw two terrific exhibitions and withstood two days of torrential rain!

The first exhibition was Making the Australian Quilt 1800-1950 at the National Gallery of Victoria. As I’m a “modern quilter” I wasn’t expecting to totally love this show, but how wrong I was!  It was just stunning –  beautifully curated, and some of the quilts took my breath away, such as the one below.

This quilt was made by an unknown sailor on a voyage by ship form England to Australia in the 1890s.  It is absolutely beautiful and the workmanship was stunning, especially when you consider the circumstances of its making.

exhi038869-tiony-hexagon-quiltThen there was this one sewn by Prudence Jeffrey on board The Phoenix which sailed from Liverpool, England on 14 June 1857 and arrived in Melbourne on 26 November 1857. It is paper pieced and each hexagon is 1cm (.39 of an inch) in size. The stitches are exquisitely tiny.

There were over 80 exhibits and it was pleasing to see such a wide variety of styles on display.

exhi036910-red-embroidered-quilt

The Misses Hampson
who were active in Australia in early 20th century made The Westbury quilt (Sampler quilt) c. 1900–03 which is cotton (flannel) (embroidery and applique)
200.0 x 300.0 cm. It is hand embroidered with animals and scenes from life with matching adages and moral exhortations.

You can see the fine embroidery stitches in this close up.image

There were even quilts with cats in the border 🙂 . This beauty has 100 appliquéd cats and thirty -five appliquéd horses. It was created by Elizabeth Keen c. 1879 and consists of repeating blocks hand pieced over paper of squares and diamonds and made of cotton, silk and wool cloth. Elizabeth was a dressmaker and exhibited her quilts outside of the home. It seems that this quilt was exhibited at the Geelong Industrial and Juvenile Exhibition in 1879.image.jpeg

Then there were the Waggas which were rudimentary styles of Australian quilts. The term wagga was first used in the 1890s and refers to quilts, blankets and bedcoverings made from found materials such as grain bags and flour sacks and were associated with households experiencing poverty and hardship.  By the 1930s old clothing and woollen suiting swatches from salesman’s sample books were regularly used to make wagga quilts.

exhi039253-wagga-fraser

Agnes Isabella Fraser, Australia 1884-1956 Wagga 1930s – wool

The thriftiness and creativity of women knows no national boundaries and the wagga quilts reminded me of the much better known Gee’s Bend quilts of the USA, although they tend to be in brighter colours.

I also felt the quilts below  (c. 1920-1930s) reflected design sensibilities of Amish quilts, although I doubt that the quilters would have been aware of Amish designs at that time.  They also had a very “modern” aesthetic.

The book/catalogue from the exhibition is a treasure trove of historical information and details of styles and techniques, although I did find some of the colour plates disappointing compared to the quilts themselves. It includes a section on conserving quilts and  processes for revealing evidence of makers and their techniques.

It’s not too late to see the quilts, but you need to move fast as the show closes on 6th November.

As this has been a photo heavy post I’ll leave the 2nd exhibition until my next post.  Hope you are having a creative week.

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I’ve been stitching

It’s amazing what can be achieved  over a long week-end and I’ve been very productive over the past two weeks and have finished both baby quilts which need to be gifted in early November.

imageI finished the wonky star quilt  which I called “Starry, Starry Night”. I  quilted around each square and then echo quilted around each wonky star. This was the first time I had tried to do this and was very pleased at how it turned out.imageI also love the frisky foxes fabric on the back which came from my stash.  I tend to buy a few fabrics which I think will work for baby quilts and keep them in my stash for unexpected events!

Details for “Starry, Starry Night”:

  • A variety of fabric from the stash for the star points.
  • Mostly a range of Kona solids for star centres and the border panels.
  • The main backing fabric of the foxes was Urban Zoologie by Ann Kelle for Robert Kaufman fabrics.
  • 43″ square

I had planned to make the second one as a medallion quilt with a print of city terrace houses as the centre with some wonky stars as the sky above.  After working on it and piecing a roadway  for the bottom, it just wasn’t working – so I abandoned it and started again.

After digging  through my stash I found two fabrics which I thought would work – and “Zebra Stripes” was born.

imageI really love how this came together and how the pop of the Tula Pink fabric really lifts the front.

I also think the back is pretty cool (I’m obviously a cat lover 🙂 ).image

Some details for Zebra Stripes:

  • Zebra fabric is Mini Zebras – Michael Miller fabrics
  • Top and bottom fabric band is  Crush in strawberry by Tula Pink
  • Backing fabric is Cats and Dots -Michael Miller fabrics
  • 44″ square

I’m now looking forward to a short trip to Melbourne on 20th October to see the Making the Australian Quilt Exhibition 1800-1950 at the National Gallery of Victoria. It’s the first time that many of the quilts have been exhibited and it’s great to see quilts getting the recognition they deserve in such a beautiful venue.  I’m sure a little fabric shopping will be fitted into the itinerary as well :).

Hoping you all have something interesting planned – happy stitching until next time.

I’ve gone all wonky!

I’ve had a wonky start to September. One baby quilt has been pieced and I’ve just started on the other.

The first one is all wonky stars on the front. It’s my first time making these and I really enjoyed piecing them.

I didn’t know when I started if the baby was a boy or girl so tried to stay gender neutral in colour and fabric selection.

When I finished piecing the stars the square measured 39″ which I thought was too small.  After pondering what to do I decided to add a solid border matching the centres of the stars. It’s now around 43″ square and I like the extra colour too.

imageThe back has been pieced so almost ready to start basting, quilting and binding.

I found out tonight however, that the other baby quilt has to be complete by 3rd November (yikes), so I’ve moved onto making it. Given the short time-frame I’ve decided on a simple medallion style which was also a good excuse (!) to buy Gwen Marston’s Liberated Medallion Quilts book😊.

The centre is printed houses so I’m adding a night sky with a couple of additional wonky stars .image

I hope to finish the top this week-end as working 50 hour weeks is not leaving much time for mid week stitching.

Hope all your stars are looking bright.

 

 

Time flies

Hi there – it seems ages since I have had time to  write a post. A bout of pneumonia, a trip to Canberra and a starting a new job have all  conspired from keeping me from blogging and stitching.

None of the above have stopped me doing some spending though, especially on my trip to the Quilt Exhibition in Canberra where I purchased quite a bit of fabric for my stash and several beautiful books.

Canberra stashThe stash purchases included some Anna Maria Horner, some Amy Butler and various other prints in a similar colourway.  I have a vague idea in my head for a future project for these.

Although I have just found out that another two of my young work colleagues are expecting babies in December and as it has become a ‘tradition’ that I make a quilt for the first baby, it looks like I will not have much time for new personal projects in the coming months.  I hope to start on the baby quilts this week-end when I  go to our monthly SydneyModSquad meeting.

Bold Blooms

Books included this beautiful eye candy from Kaffe Fassett. It combines needlework and quilt inspirations and the photography is stunning. It also gives some background to the design inspiration.

PiecekeepingAnother book purchase was Piecekeeping by Amy Butler which also has some beautiful photography and some interesting projects apart from quilts. i hope to make some Christmas gifts from this one.

My big news  though, is that Anna Maria Horner and Carolyn Friedlander are coming to Australia in November and I was lucky enough to secure a place in a one- day workshop with each of them!

I’m really looking forward to it – I’ll be doing foundation piecing with Carolyn which will be a new technique for me and Anna Maria’s workshop is called Mod Corsage and will involve some patchwork and fussy-cutting floral fabrics.

Speaking of things floral, Spring has arrived in Sydney which is always welcome news although I read in the paper today that they are predicting an extreme pollen alert which is bad news for allergy sufferers like me.  Looks like I will be sneezing my way through til summer.

Cosmo and Pepe are already shedding fur to get ready for the warmer weather and are looking very sleek.  I wish I could say the same 🙂

I hope all is well in your world and you are getting some time to relax and create.

A finish and a happy recipient

Sydney has finally had some winter weather weather over the past weeks, all the better for sewing (too little), eating (too much) and curling up with “the boys” (impossible to avoid).

Front of Sal's quiltI did finish the birthday/retirement quilt for a colleague that was a joint project of my friend Anne and I.  We got together after work on an assembly line for a few evenings, one cutting and one sewing.

It was pieced from jelly rolls and a pattern from a library book which has long since been returned, so unfortunately I can’t credit the pattern maker.  Although it was a different style to my normal quilting I really loved the way the white stars pop!  I also added two borders to make it slightly bigger which I also think enhanced the overall look of the front.

Back of Sal quilt

 

 

I just improv pieced the back.

I even made a quilt bag for future storage and it saved on wrapping paper. Our colleague really loved it and shed a joyful tear when she received it.  It’s always such a pleasure gifting quilts.

Cosmo on sal's quilt

 

Of course “the boys” had to lend a paw in the process so I took some photos which were also passed on as part of the gift.

pepes Sal quilt

Group

 

The annual state Craft and Quilt Fair was held last week and my modern quilting group won a prize for our group quilt this year which has spurred us on to to designing our next group project. We raffle the group quilts that we do for the Fair each year and then donate the proceeds to a women’s charity.

Scrap quilt

 

 

 

I’ve also taken on a role of coordinating making charity quilts from our combined scraps.  I suggested we make the first one as a quarter log cabin. We finished nine blocks yesterday and have now done 20 blocks.

Strips

 

 

 

I cut the strips before our get-togethers  and then we each do some charity quilt sewing for 30 minutes at our monthly meeting. Five more blocks to go before I piece the top together.

More on the Fair at my next post.