About Deirdre Bond-Abel
Deirdre’s story: My quilting journey began 1982, I was in a shop and picked up a copy of American Country Living magazine, that magazine changed my life, I took it home and loved the houses on the pages but more importantly, what was in the houses, they were full of quilts, quilts on beds, quilts on walls, quilts over the back of chairs, quilts over stair railings, quilts everywhere, I fell in love. I had never actually seen a patchwork quilt before but something resonated in myheart and I knew I had to learn how to make a quilt.
I was very lucky because quilting in Australia was only just getting started but there was a shop in my neighbourhood, on the Gold Coast, Queensland, that had just opened so I enrolled in their traditional sampler class and learnt the basics of machine and hand piecing. I was hooked.
We moved from the Gold Coast to Warwick, Queensland and I did what so many quilters do when they relocate, join the local quilting group as a way of making new friends. I was by now designing my own quilts and was asked to teach some classes at the local quilt store. This gave me great pleasure, to see others start their quilting life was very rewarding. It also started me on a dream to have my own quilt shop so my growing fabric addiction could be satisfied. ?
Deirdre and Harry
From Warwick we moved to Tasmania and bought a small farm in the beautiful Coal River Valley, which we called Hat Creek, at the time I dreamt about having a quilt shop on our farm, however real life can get in the way so I continued in my trained career of nursing which did gave me immense satisfaction. Our children, Casey and Mitchell, grew up, got jobs and left home. This gave me the opportunity to take my life on a little detour and in 2004 I became a quilt shop owner at last in Hobart, this is where my love of reproduction fabrics started.
I am a home body and found being away from home six days a week a little hard to cope with so in 2014 I decided it was time to get back to my original idea of having a quilt shop on our farm so I started Hat Creek Quilts. I have set up an area of my house for classes and shopping and have local and interstate ladies call in and sit and sew as well as purchase goodies. I also have an online business so it goes to show, dreams do come true, I am loving being at home and sharing it with others. ?
Deirdre’s first book features 17 quilt projects
I am so lucky to live in Tasmania, it is one of the oldest places of European settlement and we owe so much to them for their hard work. We have an abundance of old buildings which I get to enjoy and take inspiration from. They also planted many species of European deciduous trees which I am so grateful for, I love their colours and shapes and take inspiration from them as well. We are very blessed with the most beautiful forests, lakes and mountains that Mother Nature could make. I would not live anywhere else in the world.
The main appeal that patchwork has for me is the history, we may do things differently to the quilters that have gone before us who did not have electricity or rotary cutting equipment but basically we are the same as those quilters for our love of fabric and thread and the need to express ourselves in the form of quilts and nurture our families with these precious quilts.
For over twelve years now the main focus of my quilt designs has been washed woven wool applique, it is the most beautiful and easy medium to work in, it is simply raw edge applique, I cut my shapes out and use a little bit of glue to fix them in place on my background and then hold them down firmly with paper staples – yes staples, they don’t mark the wool and keep everything in place beautifully and you don’t have issues with pins sticking in to you or losing leaves, I find it works brilliantly. The quilts I make combine traditional pieced blocks with my own applique. For my applique I take inspiration from pottery, tiles, iron work, wood work and so on and love to use reproduction prints because they give our quilts a genuine touch of history and are literally timeless.
For the last ten years I have been travelling to the United States to exhibit at International Quilt Market. Over these years I have gotten to know Carol Veillon, the owner and editor of Quiltmania Publications. In 2015 when I was in Salt Lake City she asked me if I would like to “make a book with them” of course I was thrilled, honoured, overjoyed – all of those good things – as I think their books are amongst the most beautiful in the marketplace. So I set about making the quilts and writing the manuscript, the book titled Hat Creek Quilts – A Perfect Ending to a New Beginning was released at Pour l’Amour du fil, in Nantes, France this April. I am thrilled with the way it has turned out, I hope it reflects me and some of my passions and style. Making this book with Quiltmania has definitely been the highest point in my Quilting life
I collect many things, porcelain, glass, things made of wood and metal and all of them are old, so starting a collection of antique quilts was a natural step, I am so very, very lucky to be able to combine my two great passions, antique collecting and quilting.
Today we are very fortunate in that we can replicate antique quilts with the beautiful reproduction fabrics that are available to us.
In August 2016 I met with Kevin Maartensz and Alan Oshlack of Leutenegger to discuss making our very own home grown Reproduction fabrics, taken directly from the prints in some of the antique quilts in my collection.
I am so very grateful to Kevin and the staff of Leutenegger for taking this bold new step in making REAL reproduction fabrics copied in pattern, colour and scale from actual quilts and not changed in anyway.
The first two collections, Cumberland County – 1860 to 1880 and Betty’s Pantry – 1910 to 1935 offer a beautiful variety of patterns and colours that are perfect for any new quilter to start a stash or for any seasoned collector to add to their stash.
To think that journey that I started on so long ago in 1982 has now bought me around to being able to not only make a patchwork quilt but to be able to make it from fabrics taken from quilts in my own collection, I am one very lucky quilter.