“Talent and individual expression are not qualities that just other people possess. You have it too! All of you have a capacity for creativity in your quilting. Let yours happen and realize there are no boundaries to your unique expression.” Anon
“The real wagga was a woollen patchwork bedcover or woolly sandwich.” Margaret Rolfe / Quilt Expert
RUDE Girl is inspired by the above anonymous quote. I am not a traditional ‘rule following’ quilter, and do not want to be known as such. My scavenger style quilt or wagga making reflects the ‘waste not, want not’ or making do tradition. This is evident where I use recycled woollen fabric rescued from landfill to make my daughter a lap wagga for the football or the car.
I have no quilting skills other than those I have taught myself intuitively or from books. And from asking talented traditional quilters some questions, and then once knowing the rules, setting out to break them. Why? When you work with new fabric and resources it is essential to follow good practice for the obvious reason that mistakes can be costly. It is my opinion, that when you work with recycled fabrics, and other resources like RUDE does, the beauty lies in imperfections, and the lack of attention to traditional quilt making rules. And therefore you do not have to be as focussed on making costly mistakes.
Photo below: RUDE’S acronym is REuse of Unloved Discarded Excess. The old blackboard is evidence that RUDE REuses stuff. Even the chalk is secondhand!
A wagga was a bush rug made from scrap wool. And this is my next quilt making project for the cooler Melbourne months ahead. I attended a workshop on wagga making and wool dying October 2014. I was able to eco dye the wool blanket patches provided at the course. However, I never did get around to making up the wagga. In the meantime I was given more woollen patches from a woman who had attended the course but was not keen to sew a wagga [thank you Sue for thinking of me!]
These patches came from numerous charity shops via the wagga and dye workshop. The workshop’s textile artist Robina, informed me that each blanket cost between $8-$12. And that she had been all over the place over several months collecting them. This labour of love, and with the actual total cost of the blankets, and then hidden costs like petrol and time, it is imperative that I create a tribute to all the people who have touched the parts of the blankets that I now have in my keep.
Photo below: 13″ square patches from woollen blankets that have been eco dyed.
Photo above: Preparing 6 1/2″ and 5 1/2″ squares for my wagga
Over the past six months I have also been collecting any woollen blankets that I come across. I will not pay anymore than $4, and oftentimes hope to get them for $1-$2. Usually they are in reasonable condition but are torn or stained which is perfect for patchwork, as you just cut around these areas.
Photo below: A piece from a woollen single bed blanket purchased for $4 from a charity shop in Leongatha. After felting it shrivelled up in certain parts.
Photo above: The piece of the blanket that shrivelled has been pressed and squares cut ready for use.
Australian waggas were used throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, mainly in the rural areas. Very utilitarian in purpose being used for camping, holiday shacks, in general, and where extra bedding was sought for guests.
As described in The Gentle Arts by Jennifer Isaacs 1987, generally waggas included some kind of sacking material, either corn sacks, wheat sacks or flour sacks. These were opened, the stitching removed and they were sewn together inside other covers. Extra wool would be added. often in the form of old clothing stitched together; this was then covered with blankets or some kind of fabric such a cretonne.
Photo above: RUDE’s very own book The Gentle Arts 1987 purchased from the local tip shop for 50 cents .