March 18 -24, 2012: Issue 50


Above: some of the quilts on display at the recent Avalon show

Above (l to r): Margaret Kench, Trish, Jane Kingston, Carolyn Jones, Anne Perry, Avalon Quilters at their recent Show

Above: Sandy Caller

Michael Mannington’s Volunteer Photography Public Gallery: HERE

Above: Maureen Powers and Foundation Piecing. Below: Mascot !

 Avalon Quilters 

On Saturday the 10th March, 2012 at Avalon Uniting Church the Avalon Quliters held their bi-annual Show, exhibiting 75 works that had taken months and in some cases years to create. Some on display were antiques while others were reproductions of famous quilts, such as that made by Anne Perry of Francesca Josephson’s 1800’s quilt. Avalon Quilters is 28 years young and one of the oldest quilters groups in Australia.

Quilting is an ancient craft that dates back to Egypt and China. Ostensibly created to provide layering for warmth the forms and fabrics and the way pieces of material are cut to form a feature in a quilt, such as cutting pieces to create another flower, or utilising stripes in a fabric design to create a secondary pattern, elevate this ‘craft’ to an artform. 

Creating a flower from the way fabric is cut

Clam shell quilting (rounded edges made by hand and an old English method), Foundation piecing (cutting ½ inch hexagons from card, sewing fabric to these and then these to a backing cloth, another old English method) and Generational Quilts, where succeeding generations of women within one family add to a quilt are just a few examples. The stitching is so fine in those seen on Thursday that it cannot be seen. One girl is making what is termed an ‘embroidery section’ and is stitching shoes, clothes and handbags onto separate pieces that will be then be put together for a June birthday present for a sister in the UK who loves shoes, clothes, handbags. Another girl is making a traditional Hawaiian quilt from her own design based on grevilleas. Hawaiian quilts have been made since missionary times, prior to then these islanders used tapas cloth.

Hawaiian Quilting and Jane's Grevillea design

Three layers of fabrics (top, batting for warmth, and backing) are first tacked then stitched together to keep the middle layer from slipping and clumping. The fabrics too are beautiful and the ladies seek out French, English and American traditionals to make their quilts from. Most of these 100% fabrics are hard to come by now and must be sought from speciality shops. In Pittwater we have one at Warriewood, Cottage Quilt Works, who also can put quilters in touch with well known tutors, and Patchwork on Pittwater, which is at Mona Vale.

The Avalon Quilters began in 1984 and has 22 members who meet weekly in Avalon’s Uniting Church. Each year they make and raffle a quilt for the Mitochondrial Foundation ( Last year a member took 24 quilts to Japan for those affected by the earthquake and tsunami. Each year they participate in the Biggest Morning Tea to raise funds for Cancer research.

The girls also meet to chat and because, as one lady stated during the week, it’s ‘totally addictive’. It’s a ‘downtime’ few hours where they can exhale, speak of their common interest in quilting and apply themselves without distractions. Besides working on their own quilts the members all contribute to what they call ‘Friendship Quilts’. In this each lady designs a quilt and all help by making and contributing patches to this quilt (some are flowers, some are layers of houses in just one ‘patch’ !) so that by the end of the year each member ends up with a quilt.  They all sign their patches so the owner can trace each contribution and appreciate what a combination of beauty women can produce together.


Avalon Quilters on Facebook:

Cottage Quilt Works at Warriewood:

Patchwork on Pittwater:

Upcoming Events and Exhibitions:

Contemporary Quilt Textiles - a biennial juried exhibition of contemporary quilt textiles presented in partnership with the Manly Art Gallery. The next exhibition will be held from 27 April to 4 June 2012.

Sydney Quilt Show – the biggest in Australia - presented in conjunction with the Craft & Quilt Fair at Darling Harbour. The next exhibition is 13-17 June 2012.

Above: Avalon Quilters, March 2012 . Below: Anne's Clamshell quilting