The Patchwork and Quilting Group meets at the Community House every Thursday between 10:30am and 2:00pm.
Group Leader: Anne Turville
Phone: 0474 269 863
It all started with a small ad in the paper many years ago. Pat Moroney, the previous Group Leader, had found out Avenel had a Patchwork and Quilting group and thought to herself ‘if they can do it, why can’t we?!’ It should however be said, that it was rather unexpected for Pat to be the one taking this kind of initiative. Previously, she had told her two patchwork interested girlfriends, she didn’t at all understand why in the world you would cut up good material to sew it back together again. As it turned out, Pat caught the sewing bug and the rest is history.
The earliest examples of patchwork can be found in Egyptian tombs, and in China, about 5000 years ago. It has also been used in the construction of armour, where layers of quilted fabric were used to keep soldiers warm and protected. It wasn’t however until the 11th century that the need for bed quilts arose and with that, the practice of embellishing a simple cloth with different patterns and designs. The tradition of making quilts in this fashion was later taken to America by the Pilgrims…
“It was the Amish women who gave us patchwork the way we know it today”, Pat begins to tell me. “If you ripped a dress but the material around the rip was still good, or you ripped your shirt which was made of quality material, you could cut it up and use it again. It was a way of recycling. It was all hand sewn back then of course…”
After Pat put the ad in the paper, a few local ladies showed up, although many of them had at that point never sewn before. “All you have to do is sew in straight lines, so everyone can do it,” Pat reassures. “And once you try it, you get hooked!” And as it seems, the group of now friends did get hooked. They have been meeting for close to a decade and show no signs of slowing down.
“Patchwork, Pat explains, is the part where you sew the small pieces of cloth together. Quilting is when you sew the three layers together.” (Top fabric, batting and backing material). But it’s not just about the sewing… “The best thing is just having a chat and sometimes I think there’s more more talking than sewing,” Pat concludes with a heartfelt chuckle. “It is really great to have someone to ask if you get stuck on a project. And many of us live on our own, so it’s also an opportunity for an outing with likeminded people.”
“The first thing you do”, Pat explains, “is pick out a pattern, because you don’t want to end up with too much material you won’t use. Then you work out how much fabric you want and pick your colours. And then you think, ‘Crap! Did I really spend that much?’ And you’ll end up with too much in your stash you won’t use. There is currently a race on to see who will die with the biggest stash! Really, it’s often better to buy a kit where someone’s put the colours together with the pattern…”
The group has both done individual quilts but also some mutual projects. “We have made arm cushions for breast cancer patients, which helps patients to heal from surgery. We’ve also made quilts for premature babies and some quilts have been made to give to different community groups for fundraising raffles.”
If you are interested in giving patchwork and quilting a go or just want to come and see what they do, you are most welcome to come to the Nagambie Tennis club at 10.00am on Thursdays. They even have a sewing machine and some material for you to try, before you make any bigger investments.