Quilting – some things to think about

Desley Maisano of Addicted to Quilts gave a most informative talk to our members on Monday and she has kindly allowed us to publish a summary here for those who could not make it on the night. She also provided some links to designers and tools that she referred to during her talk, just click on the name.

Desley’s reference sheet as supplied at the meeting  Waverley Reference sheet 2017

The photographs of quilts were taken at the meeting and do not do justice to Desley’s quilting, however they are useful in illustrating the particular points made.

The key message provided by Desley is to think about the quilting at the very beginning. She spoke from the perspective of long arm quilting done by a professional quilter, however many of the messages are relevant for those doing their own quilting.

Ruled by Chocolate All meanings that can be made of the quilt title are relevant. This quilt was pieced in a day and took three weeks to quilt. The quilting designs came first and they dictated the width and length of the strips. Then the hunt was on for the right fabric. The backing in red provides a different image of the quilting as the bobbin thread matches the top thread.

Feather Rose This quilt was made so that feathers in the corners and setting triangles could be featured. A border fabric with broadly scattered flowers was chosen so that the swags can be showcased. Ditch stitching needs to be on the cream to be seen, so when piecing press seams to the dark fabric. The second quilt is the same pattern but no feathers in the quilting. The quilting design is inspired by the Secret Garden colouring book.

All over or edge to edge quilting vs custom quilting. The quilting design does not show on busy fabrics so the quilt on the left is suitably edge to edge quilted. Plain fabric shows off quilting, so the quilt on the right with its large sections of cream and pink solids is suitable for custom quilting.

Custom quilting is the most expensive option. An allover pattern of dense feathers randomly placed can be a good substitute as shown in this group quilt.






Light or dark fabric. Custom quilting does not show up on dark fabric. Also think about your backing fabric colour.

This is the back of a quilt where the centre is quilted with a dark thread and the border, showing to the left, is quilted in a bright yellow thread. As illustrated in Ruled by Chocolate Desley matches the bobbin thread to the top thread. To avoid this showing she has used a busy dark grey and pale yellow print for the backing fabric. You can possibly see the feathers on the left of the photo where the black thread is used, but the overall look on the back is an even texture rather than a quilted pattern.


Thread choice. The modern quilt has vast areas of white which have been quilted in a strongly contrasting blue thread (too difficult to see in this photo). The brown top will be quilted with a cream thread to make the dull background more interesting.

Almost any batting can be used in long arm quilting, Desley prefers Matilda’s Own 60% wool 40% poly because it is medium loft, quilts and washes well. An exception is with the quilt on the left. The bright white background called for a white polyester wadding, the cream of the wool would have dulled it. It also has a high loft to really plump out the quilted shapes. In this example the quilting is an extension of the piecing.


 You should also think about who the quilt is for when choosing the type of quilting. Less quilting makes for a soft and cuddly quilt that drapes over the body. This is young Xavier’s bed quilt from the back. A pieced back is fun, but keep it asymmetrical as it is not easy to get a backing perfectly centred.

The McTavishing around the flowers in the quilt below left is very dense and makes the quilt stiff, suitable for a show piece that will hang on the wall. This stitch does not work well next to feathers so Desley has done some pebbles in between.

The dense quilting adds interesting texture, but needs to be spread evenly across the quilt. Straight lines can give the idea of more piecing. Close spaced double lines add contrast to curved elements like feathers.

This quilt was designed around the diamond quilting element that Desley had used in a customer’s quilt and liked very much. The quilting takes the place of piecing that may have been done in these alternate blocks.

Windmills of My Mind Piecing and quilting work together perfectly in this stunning quilt.

New Challenges: Metro Hoops Modern quilt designs call for modern quilting patterns rather than the feathers Desley loves. Lots of straight lines work in their place to create interest and complement the piecing.

Until recently all Desley’s quilts have been quilted on a hand guided long arm machine. This includes her commercial work the majority of which is all over or edge to edge designs. She has had one of her machines retrofitted with a computerised unit so that she can continue quilting and place less strain on her body. The quilt on the left is her second practice piece, it took far longer to set up and program rather than do it free hand, but that is what learning is all about. The pebbles are free hand quilted.

Waverley Patchworkers are very grateful to Desley for all the time and thought that went into her presentation. We hope this small summary will be useful for you as well.

See and read more about Desley’s quilting work at her blog addictedtoquilts.blogspot.com.au

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February Guest Speaker – Desley Maisano

At our Monthly Meeting on 27 February we will have one of our own speaking. Desley Maisano is an extremely talented long arm quilter, she has also been a member of Waverley Patchworkers since 2003. She therefore has great insight on both the technicalities of machine quilting and the hopes and dreams of the typical patchworker who wants a beautifully finished quilt.


Desley has called her talk Quilting – some things to think about. During the talk she will be encouraging us to think about the quilting at all stages of the quilt making process, not only at the end once the quilt top has been made. She will be bringing a lot of quilts to illustrate her approach.

These two quilts by Desley are clearly examples of designs where the piecing and quilting work together to make a stunning end result.

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Spring Gathering

We are hosting the Victorian Quilters Spring Gathering on Saturday 12 November and we welcome all quilters to share in this fun day.

Venue:  Mulgrave Community Centre, 335 Wellington Rd. Mulgrave. Easy to get to from the Monash Freeway or Eastlink. The venue cannot be seen from Wellington Rd, it is entered via a driveway to the right of Monash Gardens. This map clearly shows the location.mulgrave-community-centre-google-maps

Doors open 9.30.  Admission $5  You will need to bring your lunch, a mug, hand sewing and show and tell.  There will be lots of scrummy things for morning and afternoon tea. Waverley members don’t forget your plate of goodies.


240720101175The invited speaker is Anna Farago, a Melbourne visual artist and teacher. Her current work investigates the use of feminist art making traditions including embroidery, quilting, natural dyeing, stitched text and patchwork within a contemporary art practice. The works explore my connection with memory and place. Read more about her here

Two beautiful quilts will be raffled as well as some lucky door prizes.

Shops in attendance: Sewn and Quilted, Lilypatches, Can Do Books, Craftpaks and Sewing Connection.

There will be lots of time for sewing, chatting, shopping and viewing the displays which celebrate the 35 years of Waverley Patchworkers.




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Community Engagement

From its very beginnings thirty five years ago Waverley Patchworkers has taken its place in the community seriously. Tens of thousands of dollars have been raised, thousands of quilts gifted and countless hours of time donated, all given with millions of smiles.

This month the Heartbeat volunteers at Cabrini Hospital are raising money for a new heart-lung machine. First prize in their raffle is a quilt donated by Waverley Patchworkers. Last year a similar raffle raised over $10,000 and we are very pleased that our work can be used in this way.




We also get out and about to promote quilting, as it is a passion we want to share with as many people as possible.

This weekend we will be stitching at Better Homes and Gardens Live held in the Melbourne Exhibition and Conventions Centre (Jeff’s Shed). Drop by and say hello.


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Anniversary Quilts

To celebrate our Silver Anniversary in 2006, 25 quilts were made for that year’s Quilt Show Challenge. After careful study of photos taken at various Waverley Patchworkers activities, a list of the quilt style most popular in each of the 25 years was drawn up. Twenty five members then nominated a year they would like to represent and so we had our “Twenty five quilts in Twenty five years”.

Here is the first decade. In later posts you will see the rest as well as the five added for our 30th birthday and the newest additions made for our 35th birthday this year.

All of these little quilts will be on display at the Victorian Quilters Spring Gathering which we are hosting on Saturday November 12, 2016 from 9.30 to 4.00. Entry is $5.00 and the venue is Mulgrave Community Centre, 355 Wellington Road, Mulgrave.

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Quilt fans form group

founding-article In late September 1981 the Waverley Council sponsored Intercraft newsletter and the local paper carried articles calling for patchwork and quilting enthusiasts to join a new group “Patchworkers of Waverley”.

The group was the brainchild of Dawn Burrows, who with the support of Morna Sturrock, a local embroiderer and Alycia Watson, the then Community Arts Co-ordinator of Waverley Council, undertook  the organisation of the original meeting.

Quoted in the press article Dawn explained the drive for the formation of the group. “Quilting is almost a way of life in America and we can see the influence of the craft growing here in Waverley. I’ve always been inundated with people wanting to learn patchwork and quilting.”

Thirty five years later the group formed by 30 ladies in 1981 is still going strong. Waverley Patchworkers will celebrate the occasion at our September Monthly Meeting.

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August Meeting

There was a big turnout for our Monthly Meeting where Cathy Barbagallo from the Melbourne Modern Quilting Guild gave us her take on this strand of quilting. Her slide presentation, “Modern Quilting, What is It? How do I know it?” stepped us through the origins of the style, the relationship to both traditional and art quilting and showed lots of quilts from inspirational practitioners and guild members. From the questions and after meeting discussion Cathy certainly encouraged our members to explore Modern Quilting.

Cathy Barbagallo

Cathy Barbagallo

Show and Tell

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Skills Day and Children’s Workshop

Once a year Waverley members volunteer their skills to run short tutorials for both beginner and experienced quilters. There are so many talents within our group, it a great way to pass on tips and to ask questions. While this happens all the time on an informal basis, the skill’s day gives the tutors get a chance to really think about how they do things, plan a short presentation and then teach a small group. Many of our newer members got to know a few more members as of course it was a very social occasion.

This year the topics were Felt Medallions, Embellishing with Embroidery, Quilt Borders and Quilt-As-You-Go Hexagons.

The tutors Julia, Christine, Naomi and Joyce had as much fun as the participants and it was a challenge to move everyone on to their next session.



Fun with Felt

On the Sunday  we ran a half day children’s workshop, the participants had to come with an adult and so there were also 8 grandmothers and 12 children ranged in age from 6 to 12, four were boys and the rest girls.

The class discussed the properties of felt, made some felt with wet felt process, added embellishments and more wet felting and then sewing with commercial synthetic felt.

First we made small felt pieces using merino slivers inside a sandwich bag.  The photo shows the card that was covered in wool at the start, and the finished piece after felting and fulling. They were quite amazed at how much their piece shrunk.

img_3312    img_3308

Then one big piece was created on a sheet of prefect with wool slivers, silk and other bits and pieces. Then it was all hands in to massage the wet felt. They took turns at the rolling stage while they worked on their sewn piece.

The sewing choices were two styles of pencil case or a brooch. With the assistance of a grandparent they all quickly got on with pattern cutting, adding decorations and stitching. Many quickly they got up to speed with blanket stitch. Notice that some of them are fully lined as well. The little flower brooch is an original design as is the truck on the yellow case.



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Visitor to the Appliqué Special Interest Group

Waverley’s Applique SIG meets once a month and in August we were very fortunate to have Veronique Diligent of Wattlebird Designs visit us.


Veronique started quilting about 10 years ago and has developed a passion for needle turn appliqué. She has many original designs and loves dots, so lots of tiny circles appear in her patterns. During the visit Veronique showed us so many beautiful quilts and happily talked about her design process, fabric choices, colour layering and trapunto.

IMG_3264    IMG_3248

It was wonderful to get up close to such beautiful work and Veronique was also very interested in the members work.





Lyn and Veronique inspect Jan’s machine applique blocks started in the Michele Hill workshop.


IMG_3244 Le Jardin The centre is inspired by a trivit and the border by the back of a kangaroo chair.

IMG_3261Isabelle inspired by an antique quilt


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Ribbons for Waverley Members

While we know that every quilt is special, some quilts receive extra recognition and quite a few of the winners at Victorian Quilters Quilt Showcase are Waverley Members.

IMG_3223Runner Up to Best of Show is A Time for All Seasons by our President, Linda Steele. This quilt also received the Excellence in Embroidery and Embellishment award.

IMG_3228The Janet O’Dell Award – Retaining the Tradition was given to Sandrannie by Anne Andrews.

Category Winners

IMG_3193Runner-up Traditional Amateur Texas Star also by Anne Andrews

IMG_3273Highly Commended Tradational Professional Star Medallion by Desley Maisano

IMG_3257Highly Commended Traditional Two Person Amateur-Professional The Pleasure of Patchwork pieced by Darelle Castelow

IMG_3233Runner-up Mainly Appliqué Amateur Water Lilies by Suzanne Moore

IMG_3255First Mainly Appliqué Professional Please Find My Home by Eileen Campbell

IMG_3315Encouragement Awards in Student Quilt – Primary to both quilts entered by our youngest member Hamish. My Car Park is designed to keep his cars in line on the shelf.

IMG_3224First Anything Goes category A Time for All Seasons by Linda Steele (detail shown)

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