PATCHES AND PIECEMAKERS: Glenys Gaske in front of her incredible quilt.
PATCHES AND PIECEMAKERS: Glenys Gaske in front of her incredible quilt. Contributed

Patchwork group grows piece by piece

TWENTY-SIX years ago, Glenys Gaske was a local with a passion, one she was determined to share.

An avid patch maker and quilter, Mrs Gaske gathered about her a group of like-minded women and the Chinchilla Patches and Piecemakers Group was formed.

Fast forward to today - hundreds, if not thousands of patches later - the group is going strong, having just opened its biennial exhibition at Lapunyah Art Gallery.

For Mrs Gaske - president to this day - it's a fabulous acknowledgement of their efforts during the past two years.

This year's exhibition theme was "from little things big things grow”, a nod to both the craft and the group as a whole.

"(It) encompasses everything patchwork,” Mrs Gaske said.

"You cut small pieces and sew them into larger pieces.”

The group meets every Wednesday and two Saturdays a month and while members primarily work on patchwork and quilting, Mrs Gaske said their skills go far beyond.

"Some people just bring their knitting, some people bring their mending - it's more the social get-together,” she said.

"We still have members that were there from the start, during the boom we had big numbers but it's quite a small group now that meet and we encourage new members.”

For budding newbies or those casually interested, Mrs Gaske said they've got a cupboard full of resources, books and patterns, and plenty of enthusiastic members willing to share their knowledge.

"There's always somebody there that can help you with putting a quilt together or start small with a table runner or a handbag - we've made clothing in the past, we've done fabric dyeing, so it is a good place to start if you're keen,” she said.

"Some of the ladies are really good seamstresses, so there is an opportunity to learn dressmaking as well.”

But beneath the reams of fabric, needles and thread, Mrs Gaske said the heart of the group was the women that formed it.

"The social side of it is very good, we have a retreat every year, we go away for the long weekend in October,” she said.

"And we do road trips and all sorts of things.”

The fruit of those trips - not to mention countless hours of work at home and group meetings - was some stunning craft.

Mrs Gaske highlighted two quilts in particular on show this year, which were made as part of a 365-day challenge.

The two hard-working quilters - Mrs Gaske and Roz Youles - made a block of their quilts every day for an entire year.

"The majority of the blocks are only three inches in size, so they're quite intensive,” she said.

Other quilts on show include applique quilts, a charity quilt (to be raffled off at Christmastime in aid of Lifeflight), along with any number of other creations.

As for what she loved about the craft, Mrs Gaske's answer was simple.

"The social side is the big thing but just the traditional piecing, machine piecing and hand piecing, it's something that's forever, they're forever heirlooms,” she

said.

As for the future of the craft, she was optimistic.

"I think it's always a skill that people will try at some stage in their life,” she said.

"We do encourage new members to come and we've had a couple new members over the last 12 months and to see what they have achieved since they've joined.

"It's just incredible and it's only because of the guidance of the other members helping them.”


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