Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Report on Kerry Easton's QSG of NSW talk on Sewing Tools

On the 13th of February 2016, Kerry Easton gave an outstanding and fascinating talk for the Quilt Study Group of NSW on sewing tools used in the past. 

Kerry is an ex-CSIRO researcher and currently the NSW convenor of the Needlework Tools Collectors’ Society. Her interest in this area started when she decided to restore an empty 1820s Palais Royale workbox, thus kick-starting a ‘restful passion’. This involved using her husband’s woodworking tools, including his new oscillating spindle sander. She did say that her work background in particular has helped her pursue her interest in all sewing tools and we were very lucky to be the beneficiaries of her passion.

Kerry started her talk by discussing early embroidery frames and took us through a series of photos of paintings and illustrations to show how the basic design has not changed in 265 years. We were led through the various types - embroidery frames, tambour frames, circular hoop frames and triangular table frames – and methods of tightening them, before she moved on to cover quilting frames. She is especially fond of padded silver hoop frames, and showed us a beautiful American example she has restored.

Kerry then covered the topic of clamps (also known as sewing birds or third hands), and showed how they were used to tension fabric for sewing. The variety of designs was mind boggling, ranging from simple G-clamps to the most ornate animal, insect and bird-shaped metal clamps doing double duty as pin cushions and tool box holders. Of course, sewing machines made them obsolete. Kerry brought along some collectors’ sewing birds to show us and warned us against buying any Charles Waterman (USA) gilded sewing birds from the 1970s as they are modern copies.

Kerry then talked about the more common components found in sewing baskets or etuis (scissors, thimbles and thimble holders, thread holders, pincushions, needles, needle and bodkin holders), as well as thread spinners, swifts or thread winders, reels and reel stands, tatting and other types of shuttles.

We learnt about the fad for parfilage or drizzling (recycling metallic threads and lace) in the court of Louis XVI and the beautiful sets that can now be bought for large amounts of money, before Kerry showed us a range of portraits including all these items.
Finally, Kerry covered the types of containers for these needlework tools. This included work baskets, etuis, chatelaines and work tables. She showed us a wonderful selection of etuis made from exotic materials, such as one made from a giant shell.

We finished by looking at all the sewing tools Kerry had brought along to show us, as well as the treasures that had been brought along for show and share. It was a wonderful and detailed talk.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

23rd July 2016 'Unstitching Quilts Symposium' bookings are now open

In conjunction with the opening of the 'Making the Australian Quilt 1800 - 1950' Quilt Exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, there will be a one day symposium on the 23rd of July 2016. Speakers from overseas and Australia will talk between 10am and 3pm.

See for more details of speakers, topics, venue, costs and to access the Book Now link to buy tickets online.

Friday, April 1, 2016

QSG of NSW talk by Rhonda Pearce on 30th April 2016

On Saturday the 30th of April 2016 Rhonda Pearce, who owned Post Office Patchwork at Glenbrook for many years, will give a talk for the Quilt Study Group of NSW. 

Rhonda has made and designed many award-winning quilts, including the famous “Insanity Quilt” exhibited at the 2007 Sydney Quilt Show, and “Baltimore Classic” which won 1st prize in the traditional appliqué section at Houston in 2013. We will hear how she designed them, the steps involved and details of the particular techniques she used.

The talk will be held at 2pm on Saturday the 30th April 2016 in The Meeting Room at The Glover Cottages, 124 Kent Street in Millers Point. Entry is $5 for Guild members and $10 for non-Guild members. Afternoon tea is provided.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Report on Lisa Walton's QSG of NSW Talk

At the end of November 2015, Lisa Walton spoke about her quilting journey at the Quilt Study Group of NSW meeting. Most of us first met Lisa at her ‘Dyed and Gone to Heaven’ stalls at the quilt shows where she sells her hand-dyed fabrics and books, beads, fabric paints dyes and markers, and kits. Her quilts have won prizes in Australia, Paducah USA and Birmingham UK.

Her topic ‘Leap and the Net will appear’ became clear when she stated at first that her motto is ‘failure is an option’ and then recounted how many ‘leaps’ have been responsible for the development of her different skills and business opportunities taken.
Lisa’s first quilt made 20 years ago was a traditional quilt made from charm squares that ended up as the dog’s quilt. Her next one was made from Laura Ashley squares in a Mariner’s Compass pattern but unfortunately she ‘missed the quarter inch seam allowance’ – hence her ’15 minutes of traditional quilting’. At a SCQuilters Christmas Party her Secret Santa gift was a pack of hand dyed fabrics. She was fascinated by it and this led her to a class in USA in fabric dyeing - thus starting her journey in making hand dyed fabric and using them in her quilts. 

When others wanted to buy the fabric her dyeing business started. Then when they wanted patterns to use, the first leap in her career started. She made a quilt using her fabrics but when it was rejected by a well-know quilting magazine as being ‘too contemporary’, she decided to follow her heart and, rather than produce what was then ‘commercial’, put together kits of her own fabrics and her own style of pattern and sold them direct.  

When Quilters Companion asked Lisa to contribute to their videos she took a leap to putting herself out in front of the camera. At the same time she started producing associated simple kits for each of the projects. When her husband retired she was still working fulltime so when he offered to help in her business by cutting fabric and dyeing it, she ‘leapt’ at the offer.

Her next leap occurred when commercial batik fabrics became popular and the market for hand-dyed fabrics slowed. She changed the business accordingly to producing custom ordered fabrics, stocking Australian-made fabric paints and dyes, selling beads, and value-adding fabric by over stamping.  At this time too she started using more textured fabrics, playing with beading, paints, surface design and stencilling on her own quilts.

Her next leap occurred when she was awarded the Jewel Pearce Patterson Scholarship for Quilting Teachers in 2010.  As a result she developed new classes using overlay paint techniques. After she sat next to the C&T Artistic director in Houston she ‘leapt’ at the chance to write her first book – ‘Beautiful Building Block Quilts’ 

When her second book was cancelled, she leapt into the world of self-publishing and started the ‘Creative Journeys’ series which cover the different techniques she uses in her work. Another leap came when the Quilters Guild of NSW asked her to be a featured artist at the 2011 Sydney Quilt Show and her work to date was exhibited (You can see some of them at

Lisa is an active user of Facebook and contributes greatly to discussion on SCQuilters. She teaches classes on free-form fabric construction, indigo and shibori dyeing, fabric and thread dyeing, stamp carving, screen printing, beading, embellishing, couching and quilting around the world. She said she is inspired by her travels and continues to take tours of quilters to Italy, USA and Japan. All this while running her business ‘Dyed and Gone to Heaven’ with her husband, and working as Vice-President – Administration and Oceania representative for Studio Art Quilt Associates Inc. She is certainly a wonderful example of why we should take every opportunity to ‘leap’.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Wartime Quilts exhibition goes to Melbourne to the Australian Quilt Convention AQC April 2016

If you missed the exhibition at Manly Art Gallery in Sydney where 35,000 people viewed this stunning quilt exhibition of wartime quilts, curated by Dr Annette Gero, it will be on in Melbourne for four days in April.

These are extraordinary Woollen Quilts - all made by men from their uniforms, dating from 1800 to 1950, and pieced in a myriad of tiny pieces (some quilts have 15,000 pieces). A collection of such quilts has never been shown before and their design and colour are mesmerizing. Not to be missed.  Annette has written a book to go with the exhibition which will be on sale at the show 

Wartime Quilts from Military fabrics
Australian Quilt Convention AQC
April 14-17, 2016

Royal Exhibition Building
Carlton Gardens
Melbourne Australia
10 am to 4.30 daily

Friday, January 22, 2016

Australian Embroidery Exhibition at Government House Sydney in January 2016

From the 15th to 31st January 2016, The Embroiderers' Guild of NSW will hold an exhibition at Government House, Macquarie Street, Sydney. 
It features items (including quilts) from the Embroiderers' Guild NSW's Collection, highlighting Australiana and Australian Embroiderers and Textile Artists. 

Image:  "Channel Country" by Jean Vere from the Guild Collection.  Poster:  Yvette Stanton

The exhibition includes traditional and contemporary pieces in techniques such as whitework, quilting, surface stitchery, machine embroidery, and pulled and drawn work.  Items include table linen, infant's clothing, kaftans, quilts, fancy work, embroidered plates and framed pieces.  
 The exhibition can be viewed as part of a Government House Sydney tour.  Tours are scheduled on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, every half hour from 10.30 am to 3 pm.  Full details of tours (tickets, ID) are available under Visitor Information at  Special extended viewing on Australia Day.

For other events in 2016 planned by the Embroiderers' Guild, see Embroiderers Guild of NSW

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

QSG of NSW 2016 Talks

The Quilt Study Group of NSW have published their series of talks for 2016. Please put these dates in your diary.

Kerry Easton from The Needlework Tool Collectors Society of Australia will give the first talk for 2016. She will display some of the needlework tools that we all take for granted and are of special interest to quilters. The talk will be at 2pm on the 13th February 2016 at The Glover Cottages in The Rocks. 

For the 2nd talk of the year Rhonda Pearce, who owned Post Office Patchwork at Glenbrook for many years, will talk to us. She has made and designed many award-winning quilts, including the famous “Insanity Quilt” exhibited at the 2007 Sydney Quilt Show, and “Baltimore Classic” which won 1st prize in the traditional appliqué section at Houston in 2013. We will hear how she designed them, the steps involved and details of the particular techniques she used. This talk will be at 2pm on the 30th April 2016 at The Glover Cottages in The Rocks.

 The 3rd talk will be given by Megan Martin, Head of Collections and Access, at the Sydney Living Museums on Macquarie Street, Sydney CBD. Starting at 10am on the 21st of July she will talk to us about the identification of the textiles they found between 1979 and 1981 in the under floor deposits at the Hyde Park Barracks. The talk, “What colour was that girl’s dress? The archaeological evidence of fabrics from Hyde Park Barracks”, will be followed by a tour of their new exhibit ‘Female Immigration Depot 1848-1886’ at the Barracks.  Numbers for the tour are strictly limited to 15 people who are members of the Guild. Please contact the Quilters' Guild of NSW Office to secure your place for the talk and tour. Please note: access to two of the floors at the Barracks building is by staircase only.

The last talk for the year will be held at 2pm on the 12th of November 2016 back at The Glover Cottages. Kathy Doughty, who is well known to Guild members as a maker and designer of quilts, a judge at quilt shows, a quilt shop owner and writer of quilting books, has also designed three ranges of quilting fabrics - “Trail Blazing”, “Flock Together” and “A Wandering Mind”. She will talk to us about why she produced her own fabric ranges, the steps involved and her experience of dealing with this aspect of the quilt industry. 

 Anyone who is interested in quilting and quilt history is welcome to come along to The Quilt Study Group of NSW talks. The Glover Cottages is a beautiful light-filled venue for the talks and it is an easy walk from either Wynyard or Circular Quay train stations. Afternoon tea is provided and the talks start at 2pm. Check the Quilt NSW’s website or the latest Template Newsletter issue for more details.