Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Sew I travel (Outback Water)

I started this quilt in a workshop in Peace River with Susan Purney Mark. It was a great opportunity to finally use my Aussie fabrics and some of the hundreds of pictures we took in Australia in 2009.

Here's the legend for the quilt. And what they help me remember.
Outback Water
(Memories of Australia)

Pademelon: Kata Juta (Valley of the Winds). After watching the sun rise over Kata Juta , we hiked through the valley of the winds. It was early spring and over 30 degrees as the sun was rising. We were at the front of the group and surprised two little wallabies at breakfast. These ones are called Pademelons.

Lizard: Willie Gordon north of Cooktown, Queensland, taught us the importance of water to all creatures. A few drops of water on a leaf and this little lizard was prepared to come right into our hand to lap at the water.

Rock Wallaby: Walking into Simpson's Gap, west of Alice Springs. We were walking along the dry river bed that had had 6 feet of water rushing down it in the wet. Up in the rocks was one shy rock wallaby watching all the tourists.

Parrot Flower: Macca graciously showed us the delights around Exmouth even though we didn't make it to Ningaloo Reef. Driving along the dirt road, he stopped to show us a parrot flower as well as more Sturt's Desert Roses. We later discovered that just about everybody with a "Mac" in their last name is called Macca :)

Gnarly Trees/Painted Desert: Wayne picked us up from our hotel in Cober Pedy and took us for a full day 4X4 tour to the west. Through huge cattle stations (where every month one of the husbands picks up the wives by plane and flies them to Adelaide for shopping). Fencing not required as the cattle stay pretty close to where the windmills pump water from wells. In Australia, even trees that look dead are just waiting for water to give a rush of leaves before the water disappears again.

Fifi: On our Alice Springs/Uluru tour, we stopped at Wallace Rock Hole for our last night. The morning started with a tour by Nigel and his faithful tiny white terrier, Fifi. He admitted that she was an inside dog - either the aboriginal dog/dingos or the King Brown snakes would have made a meal of her. As Nigel was explaining the rock paintings– which we were encouraged to touch - Fifi was doing her bit to show off bones and things from the waterhole.

Pinacles: Closeup of rocks on our hike around the Pinacles just outside of Perth. Definitely outback, but not Red Center.

Emu Family/On the Road: A bit of quilty playing. The road is actually the main highway from Uluru heading west and north toward King's Canyon. The soil in the Red Center turns rock hard when you apply water (one reason why irrigation isn't an option), so roads are created with a grader and then smoothed out every three to six months. We had been driving for a couple of hours seeing nothing but the occasional vehicle when Migs stopped for a break. To the left was an elevated outhouse (spotlessly maintained by someone) and on the right were a few bushes of Sturt's Desert Roses. These seemingly delicate flowers grow just about anywhere and are the Territorial Flower. The emu family were actually hanging out at our hotel in Exmouth for the water from the garden hoses.

Cober Pedy: This is a close up of the wall of our hotel, the Desert Cave. Many of the homes and businesses are underground, dug with mining equipment used to mine opals. The texture is from the drills that are used. In the early days, miners lived underground because it was cooler (steady 20 degrees even when it is 40 or hotter above ground) and because there was no money to build a house. The aboriginal people refuse to live underground and Cober Pedy is translated as "white man's holes".

Aboriginal Fabric/ Flower Motifs: The designs on the aboriginal fabric are all dot designs typical of the red center. The idea of creating designs is a new one for aboriginal peoples. The flower design is from the Northern Territory Flag - Sturt's Desert Rose adapted to seven petals to represent the six states plus the northern territory.

Other fabric: With one exception, the other fabrics are from Reece Scannell, an Australian photographer and fabric/clothing designer. He had a booth at the outdoor market held every Saturday at the Rocks in Sydney. The only non Australian fabric is the teal and ochre borders - from the Stonehenge collection but just the right colours.


  1. Oh my goodness, was this post an exercise in patience/frustration. I scanned the information as text....but then it took a huge amount of work to get blogger to "see" it right. Trust me, it is a great quilt full of wonderful memories :)

  2. Cleaning out my sewing room today and I bumped into my notes from a workshop with Sandra Meech at Quilt Canada in Calgary. The genesis of this quilt started then - have a theme and bring some pictures. Her project was to make a book of ideas that might some time down the road become a quilt!