may, 2020

22may10:00 am3:00 amWagga Quilts with Grace WiddersTextured Woolly Fun10:00 am - 3:00 am

Event Details

In this workshop Grace Widders will be teaching us all about making the Australian Icon the Wagga Quilt! Making a Wagga could be thought of as an Australian quilter’s rite of passage. It’s time to give it a go if you haven’t already! Bring your general sewing supplies as well and any wool scraps, clothes or blankets and turn them into something warm and cuddly. The technique lends itself to being made in lovely textural wovens and stripes in a range of moody neutrals, japanese fabrics, textured linens and linen blends as well as wool, wool suitings, Sue Spargo’s woollen felt and salvaged wool suitings from op shops. 

Grace will take you though her process for designing the quilt: making choices around how to best use the sizes and shapes of fabrics you have. For example do you choose a simple grid with appliquéd embellishments or do you make an improvised lay out or layer your ‘patches’? 

Sandwiching and quilting Waggas is often a challenge because of the heaviness of the fabrics that are often used. Grace will have plenty of tips for you when you get to this step, learned from her years of making Wagga Quilts for sale at the Hunters Hill Quilt Show Wagga Room. If you haven’t had a look at what the Hunter’s Hill Quilters get up to I discovered that their Blog is a wealth of information ad stunning quilt images from their members shows and meetings! 

Wagga rugs are Australian coverings made from four or five flour sacks or chaff bags, sewn together with a bag needle and twine. Modern wagga rugs are considered to be a form of patchwork rather than quilts. They were originally made by men working in the Australian outback to keep out the cold.

The name originated in the late nineteenth century from the town of Wagga Wagga, in a wheat growing area of New South Wales. Poor women made wagga rugs for bed coverings with sacks or old sheets as backing, worn clothing and blankets as filling, and printed cotton cretonne or calico as top layer. It is often mentioned that they were in common use during the Depression in Australia but not exclusively! Have a read of this amazing article on the National Quilt Register Website about their use in the late 1800s and early 1900s

Grace ventured into our craft as a self taught quilter, beginning with a wall hanging kit, then a Mariner’s Compass. Joining Hunters Hill Quilters in 2000 opened new opportunities to Grace, inspired by the variety of talented group members to work with wool in to make Waggas quilts, to produce community quilts, join workshops, take up several committee positions and move into teaching machine quilting. Grace’s work has been displayed and has won awards in several quilting shows, including at the Sydney Quilt Show and the Modern Quilt Show Australia. Grace won a Berry Quilt & Co sponsored award in the Modern Category at the QNSW Sydney Quilt Show for her quilt Anyone for Noughts and Crosses pictured below. 

Grace’s current quilt designs grow from fabric that ‘talks to her’, enjoying the texture that wool and linen offer. Grace teaches beginners at the Material Obsession shop in Sydney and whilst she machine quilts for others, still loves the process and appearance of hand quilting her own quilts. You may have admired Grace’s beautiful hand quilting with out realising it in this year’s Raffle Quilt at the Sydney Quilt Show. In 2018 Grace presented a ‘Friday Showcase’ for Quilt NSW and presented a hand quilting workshop for members. She is a quilter who intuitively develops colour palettes from what is around. I look forward to seeing Grace help you develop your palette and learn some new skills. 

Grace is teaching with us for two days. The first day’s class is the Wagga Class and the second day is the Hurtling Through Time wedge ruler day. If you’d like to come for two days and continue to work on your Wagga instead of beginning the second project you are very welcome. Two days classes will cost $150 and each single day will cost $80. If you’d like to come to the two days and access the discount please book by Phoning the shop ph 4464 3387.

Grace surrounded by Woollen Waggas

Grace with a Wagga made from wool suiting scraps and some coloured wool highlights.

A modern style minimal Wagga

Silky Travels: An organic Wagga featuring a printed fabric.

A group of Waggas for sale at the Hunters Hill Quilt Show

Another group or Waggas for sale at the Hunters Hill Quilt Show

A Wagga by Grace in progress basted ready to go.

Another of Graces Waggas in the quilting process.



(Friday) 10:00 am - 3:00 am


Berry Quilt & Co.

Shops 4 & 5, 66 Albert Street, Berry NSW 2535


$80 per person. Bookings required. ($150 for two days-Phone to book deal)