Friday, May 12, 2006

Welcome to Waggas.

A couple of photos of Sarah's Wagga class that started last week. The girls are all beavering away on their first embroidered flower and have made a great start. I bet some of you are wondering though - what's a Wagga?
A Wagga is basically a wool quilt. In the USA they have a different name, but here in Australia they are called Waggas because frequently the backing chosen was flour sacks from the mill at Wagga Wagga. Wool quilts in Australia date back to very early settlers, who recycled military uniforms and woollen coats etc to make ulitarian quilts for warmth. In the 1920's and 30's, the quilts enjoyed new popularity due to the Depression, and were being made from old suiting and recycled clothes by homeless men and thrifty housewives.
We make alot of wool quilts at Material Obsession. We stock wool by the metre for piecing and applique, we sell packages of suiting samples to make traditional waggas (mainly black and grey), and then there's Sarah's Wagga, which is something different altogether!
The quilt is made from old blankets and clothes, and then hand embroidered and appliqued with 3D effects. Sarah made the quilt in a workshop with Robyn Melia in Melbourne, and has gone from there to make other Waggas and develop her own techniques. She teaches a block of classes once a year - only in the Winter, embroidering under one of these in the Summer is only good if you want to sweat half your bodyweight!