Sunday, April 22, 2012

Report on Katrina Hadjimichael's March talk to the QSG of NSW


Katrina Hadjimichael spoke to fifty interested people at her talk for the Quilt Study Group of NSW at the Powerhouse Museum on the 17th March 2012. She told us about her background – studying archaeology at Sydney University and working as a research assistant for a variety of politicians over 15 years. Even though her mother and grandmother did needlework  (embroidery, knitting, crotchet, cross stitch, tapestry and later patchwork) Katrina hated sewing at school and only got hooked on quilting when she bought a small wall hanging kit in 1992. Her first quilts had a country look


She started teaching when one of her local patchwork shop owners noticed her work. From 2006 teaching her own quilt designs has become her full time income.

‘My main interest now focuses on reproduction fabrics from the second half of the nineteenth century and I make quilts that (hopefully) look old.  I am in the process of collecting a library of books dedicated to quilt history and I love to surf the net reading about others who work in this genre.  There are now quite a few websites of Museums and Quilt Study Groups which publish photographs of antique quilts.  Antique quilt dealers are also a good source of visual stimulus for antique designs.  A lot of quilters, including myself, are writing their own blogs to keep the public up to date on their latest endeavours’.

Katrina then took us though the detail of each of her quilts along with images of the quilts that inspired her. Here is the first one - 

‘That photograph of that quilt haunted my thoughts for a long time!  I had to make my own interpretation of it….This quilt has been the subject of an article in The Journal of the British Quilt Study Group, Issue 10, 2009.  The article by Bridget Long called “Sibling, Cousin or Friend?” compares the coverlet that I loved from the British Quilt Heritage Project with another very similar fragmentary coverlet now in a private collection in the United Kingdom’.

And the quilt she made was ‘Pemberley’. It is an interpretation of an old quilt, but designed with more symmetry in the components, simplified borders and a different centre to the original.

Because she loves English Frame quilts so much, Katrina then continued the Jane Austen series by working several of her favourite shapes into the framework of borders on her ‘Netherfield’ quilt.

Katrina described in detail the process she followed to come up with the final design and inspired fabric choice for this quilt.

The third in the series, ‘Longbourne’, went through the same process of design and fabric selection. It was inspired by Elizabethan crewel wool embroidery centres and Lucy Boston’s favourite shapes used for paper piecing.


We were privileged to see the fourth in the series, ‘Rosings’, which has just been on show with the three earlier quilts in the series. They were displayed this month in Melbourne at the Australasian Quilt Convention and it ‘Rosings’ is Katrina’s entry in the Sydney Quilt Show this year.

She reminded us that there are 3 other houses mentioned in Jane Austen’s books if she wants to continue with her ‘obsession’! To finish we saw eight of Katrina’s other quilts that show her continued love of reproduction fabrics. And she had also brought along some of her students’ quilts for us to admire and examine.

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