Thursday, October 1, 2015

Quilting: Learn by Doing!

Australian fabrics of wildflowers, some printed fabric with Aussie themes, and special wooden and ceramic buttons all came together to create a quilted wall hanging just finished called "100% Aussie." The name reflects the same printed words on a piece of fabric that was added to a block that features a koala bear in Redwork. The outline stitch koala design was a gift from an Australian friend who participated in a Redwork list I once administered on yahoo. I enjoyed embroidering the koala, a favorite animal since childhood. The (fat quarter) fabrics and embellishments were gifts from two Australian sisters who visited me in May 2002.

"100% Aussie" measures 25 1/4" x 27 1/4" and is an original design 

This quilt offers many images. The first block shows the Sydney Opera House. The second features a singular Redwork koala bear. The third block has a scene demonstrating sheep shearing. The fourth block displays dolphins jumping and two whimsical koala bear ceramic buttons. The center area has two separate blocks. The upper part has an appliquéd map of Australia and a wooden shape of the continent in the form of a button above which is an appliqué with the words "G' Day!" and directly below that area is an oval appliqué of "flannel flowers."

In the sixth block another koala bear is placed, along with a kookaburra bird, a native of Australia. Also featured are two buttons that have aboriginal art showing a hunter on one of them and a kangaroo on the other. Block 7 shows a "swagman" resting. The name "swagman" is derived from the "swag" consisting of bedding that men would carry through the countryside when they were looking for work during the depression of the 1920s and 1930s. Block 8 has a kangaroo appliqué, a kangaroo wooden button, and features a second applique of a rosella, another native bird. All three elements are appliquéd to a fabric with "Kangaroo Paws," a native plant. Block 8 features an appliqué of sheep being herded.

When I made this quilt, I had no idea as to the names of the birds, the names of the wildflowers, or the history of the "swagman." That information was shared by an Australian friend on Facebook. It is always delightful to learn new details, especially about something one has made. This quilt was a challenge because I had limited fabric and wanted to create a cohesive quilt. The designing took longer than the actual stitching although that took a lot of time as it was done mostly by hand. My motto is "learn by doing." I always learn something new with every project I do!

Happy Quilting!

Patricia Cummings
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