Introducing Helen Dalgleish

I have been fortunate enough to see many different quilts and styles of quilts, since I moved to Perth. It has also been a joy to meet the makers.  I have seen a few of Helen’s quilts in the last few years. I am intrigued when I see her quilts, as each one is of such a different style, that sometimes I find it hard to believe it is the same person who has made them.  I was delighted to meet Helen at a Contemporary group meeting a few weeks ago, and the rest is history!! Thank you for sharing your story Helen.

I was born and bred in Perth and have lived most of my life in WA with the exception of a working holiday in Sydney when I was 21 years old. I started full-time employment when I was 17 years old and finished in 2015. My main career was lecturing in business. Working with adult students was very stimulating, busy and satisfying but it left little time for sewing.

I share my small home with a bossy Burmese cat called Ziggy. She is quite entertaining. My love of cats began as a child and cats have featured in several of my quilts.


My mother was a professional dressmaker who set the bar high on how garments should be finished. She was a perfectionist and her dressmaking and embroidery skills were exceptional.  When Mum passed away in 1998, I inherited her Bernina 830 which I still use for day-to-day sewing.

Have you always been creative?

Yes. I remember making dolls clothes from garden leaves when I was young.  My first sewing project was embroidering pockets and a band on an apron for my mother when I was about nine  years old. It was a school project and my apron was chosen for display at the Perth Royal Show.

Over the years I have enjoyed embroidery, pottery, furniture-making, beading, dressmaking and now quilting. I sold most of my pottery thinking I would continue that hobby at a later date but never did.  The most useful piece of furniture I made is a six-foot bookcase in jarrah with double-depth adjustable shelves. It holds several hundred books.

I studied classical piano for 12 years from the age of 8, gained an AMusA in Pianoforte and taught piano to children privately over a number of years. When I am sewing at home, I tune into ABC Classic FM radio.

I have been a volunteer with various community groups over the past 50 years including Lions Clubs.  I have created many designs for badges, brochures, banners and flyers using desktop publishing software. Recently I created a logo and pin design for the 2022 National Lions Clubs Convention.   

Your first foray into quilting?

I visited my first Perth Craft Fair back in 2016 and collected a flyer in the Quiltwest exhibition for the 2016 WAQA Open night. At that time I was unaware that quilters and quilting groups existed in Perth. Curiosity got the better of me and I ventured north-of-the river on a winter’s evening into the Adriatic Centre to learn more. I recall seeing colours everywhere, happy people, quilt demonstrations and fabric. I had stepped into another world. A Kaffe Fassett quilt “made from scraps” was the clincher. I joined WAQA that evening and have never looked back.

Your first quilt?

One month after becoming a WAQA member I visited Fukuoka, Japan and filled my luggage with traditional Japanese indigo quilting fabrics.  I wasn’t brave enough to cut into them for my first quilt so I designed a simple pattern in pink/green fabric from Textile Traders.    


My second quilt was a two-sided, simple “brick” design using my Fukuoka textiles


helen3Have you won any local, national or international prizes?

Equal third in the 2019 Challenge

Quilt:  “Fantasy Garden”


Best first time entry – Covid Quiltwest 2020

Quilt:  “Natasha and Annabelle”


What else do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I enjoy travelling, swimming, lawn bowls, music, dressmaking, gardening and reading.

Favourite movie?

The British comedy “Death at a Funeral”

Family, are they supportive of your love of quilting?

I have one son who is based in Asia with his partner and two daughters.  In June 2019, my son’s family moved into my small home so my younger granddaughter could undergo medical treatment at the Perth Children’s Hospital. My sewing room was emptied to make room for them and 18 months later the family is still here and I am still looking for sewing items stashed behind the sofa, on cupboards, under beds and other safe places.  

My son probably thought I needed professional intervention for hoarding when he saw my craft stuff. The penny dropped when he visited the Covid Quiltwest exhibition and saw my quilt featuring his two daughters on display. There were pop-up shops, colourful fabrics for sale, eye-catching quilt creations and many participating quilters like myself at the exhibition. He is now very supportive telling me that I should keep my quilts and not give them away.

Do you belong to any other quilting groups?

I am a member of the Contemporary Quilt Group and I enjoy helping at the Community Quilts’ busy bees. In June, I joined the Alexander Park Craft House Management Committee as Secretary.

Favourite place to holiday?

I have travelled extensively since I was 18 years old. I have family in the UK and Asia and on every trip I try to see something new. My last overseas trip in late 2019 was around-the-world and included the Houston Quilt Festival, London, Iceland and Thailand. I used to coordinate a youth exchange program between Japan/Australia for Lions Clubs Australia and after five visits to Japan, it has become a favourite destination. When Covid is a distant memory, I hope to re-visit the Tokyo Quilt Festival.  

Favourite quilting/sewing tool you can’t live without?

Two favourites:  my Juki 2010 semi-industrial machine, which is great for straight sewing and quilting, and a silicone applique mat.

Something else you can’t live without?

Music, a sewing machine and a pet cat are necessities for a good life.

Follow patterns or prefer to make your own designs?

I prefer to create my own designs. It’s the expectation of what the final design might be that I find exciting. Start with an idea and see what happens. If I sew a commercial pattern, I feel that I have just copied it. Developing an idea creates a new design. In dressmaking, I always change the original pattern in some way. The recent Rajah quilt challenge was interesting because we used a commercial pattern but could include our own colours and theme. I chose a nautical theme in bright pink to represent the female convicts who sewed the original quilt.  


Your favourite part of the whole quilting process?

Sewing on the binding. I know the quilting (the least enjoyable task) is finished and the quilt is coming together.

How much for you , has quilting changed for you over the years?

Quilting has given me a wider interest in sewing, a wonderful creative outlet using colour, an artistic boost to my retirement, a reason to travel to Tokyo and Houston to see their quilt exhibitions and the opportunity to become involved in the craft scene in Perth.  

Your number one tip to pass onto another quilter would be?

Try new techniques. Quilting offers so many opportunities to try something different. I trialled thread painting to depict four endangered animals for the Spring into Parks banner and was surprised and pleased with the results.

Helen Dalgleish - Spring into Parks (1)

Do you have a preference for any particular form of patchwork/quilting/ or what do you enjoy doing the most? 

Boro and applique have become a bit of an addiction. I am keen to try more techniques. Not sure if hexagons will ever grab my attention.


Do you have a fabric, ribbon,thread, button stash?

Yes – fabric stash, thread stash, buttons, patterns, lace, ribbons, Japanese haberdashery. You name it, I have it. I probably need another life to get the stash down to one storage box.

Are you lucky enough to have a designated sewing space, where you can just close the door and leave the mess behind you?

After my son’s family moved in and I gave up my sewing room, I have managed with a 3m x 3m area in the dining room. Not ideal but all I need is an idea, fabric, my Juki, music and a cup of tea to keep sewing.

Do you prefer working on bigger or smaller pieces?

I definitely prefer smaller quilts because I can move onto new projects more often.    

Helen, thank you so much for your time, it was wonderful to learn more about you and your quilts.

Posted in ABOUT, Contemporary Quilt Group, Exhibitions, Rajah quilts, Sewing Day & Nights, WAQA Quilters | Leave a comment

Lots of Inspiration

Thank you to Tiiu, WAQA member who took all of these photos. The quilts are beautiful and were shown at Sewing day. As always, if your quilt is shown here and you would love our blog readers to know who you are, drop me a line at,I am then able to acknowledge you or your quilt pattern.


To the person who made this quilt, it really brought a smile to my face.!!

Enjoy the rest of the quilts!



















Posted in Sewing Day & Nights, WAQA Quilters | 2 Comments

Lyrical Stitch

This fabulous exhibition features the wonderful work of Marjorie Coleman with over 100 quilts on display.

Now in her 90th year the solo exhibition spans five decades and celebrates the creative life of Majorie.

The exhibition finishes on Saturday November 28th. Please note the gallery is not open on a Sunday or a Monday. Open Hours are 11am-5pm

Admission is free.

Held at the Holmes a Court Gallery at 10 Douglas Street, West Perth. There is ample parking in Newcastle Street, which is just around the corner from the gallery.

More images of the exhibition can be seen by following the link:


marjorie 1

Cherry Johnston, who has been instrument in helping to assist with the Lyrical Stitch exhibtion, donates a copy of Marjorie’s book to WAQA President, Lesley Clugston.

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Cockman House – you are invited

Take this opportunity to visit the historic Cockman House and gather inspiration for the 2021 WAQA Quilt Challenge. Bring your camera, sketchbook and picnic and enjoy the morning in the picturesque house and gardens. Please note no refreshments are available on site, please bring your own along with your chair or picnic rug. This event is FREE for all WAQA members but bookings are essential.

10-12 Saturday 28th November at Cockman House, city of Wanneroo. Ancestor Retreat, off Woodvale Dr, Woodvale WA 6026

You can read more about this on my previous blog post here:-

cockman house

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Introducing Lesley Warren

Lesley has a cheery disposition and every time I see her at meetings or events, she is always  busy lending a helping hand.  It is wonderful to have people like Lesley within our Association for whom no job is too big or too small.  I hope you enjoy her story.

Lesley has been a member for approximately ten years and has been involved with Community Quilts, Sponsorship and Member Services plus Vice President under Gwen Parry, nine of these years have been served on the Management Committee.  Her involvement commenced on her very first visit to a Sewing night where she volunteered to deliver a couple of quilts to a neighbouring suburb.  The rest is history.

lesley 1

Have you always been creative?

Gosh no – it was a mid life crisis of “what will I do in retirement” that made me do something! As a financial planner I saw a lot of folk retire just to clean and shop, walk and read books, which I knew wouldn’t be enough for me.  I wanted to balance my analytical brain, searching for my creative side! Its way out of balance again but the other way!!

Your first foray into the quilting world?

I’d always admired the “wiggly texture” on quilts (now known as stippling!)  I called an unsuspecting quilt teacher in Willetton, Gilly Marshall, who ran classes in her converted garage.  Poor Gilly had no idea what she was letting herself in for!  I had no pattern, fabric, thread nor a machine.  She provided a sampler pattern, picked the fabric for me (mainly Jan Mullins) and loaned me a machine.   What a woman! I am forever grateful for her kindness (and tolerance).

Your first piece of work was?

The quilt sampler I made under Gilly was for my Mum.  Unfortunately she had a bad fall and died from consequences whilst I hand appliqued the seagull block.  So its always been mine and has never been used.

lesley 5


Have you won any quilt awards? Locally or nationally?

Ha ha, that’s funny…no the most I’ve pushed myself is through Contemporary Group
and the WAQA challenges. I don’t like competition. Having said that, I was in a
womens accapella group (Perth Harmony Chorus) and won a world champion small
chorus award in America one year!



Lesley’s entry into the WAQA Challenge quilt (2018). ” A curio/curiosity” came 4th place.

In your spare time you enjoy?

Sewing, every single second of it – but mainly in 10 minutes blocks every day.

Favourite movie?

Difficult but I would have to say Sleepless in Seattle…or You’ve Got
Mail…or Love Actually – you get the gist of my favourite genre!

Favourite book?

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens…a recent favourite,having
taken over from Jasper Jones by WA writer, Craig Silvey.

Perth born and raised?? Or was born and raised somewhere else and came to Perth when?

Long story short. Essex in England born and raised. Married young, my
brothers’ family emigrated to Perth (to play soccer) and we (somewhat reluctantly at
the time) followed in 1982. The dramatic change of lifestyle and innocence of youth
left me as a divorcee at age 27 and life got real…. Single, travel, career
orientated…amazing and lucky lifestyle. Met Jon Warren and remarried in 1993,
inheriting 2 sons and now 5 Grandies. Retiring at age 54 I would not have wanted to
spend life in any other place but Perth.

Do you belong to any WAQA small groups or any other craft groups.

I am in a small Tuesday night group with other WAQA members and love my Contemporary Quilt Days. I also meet each Wednesday morning with a group of buddies in Fremantle (or on Zoom) – they also LOVE retreats, so that works really well for me!


“Little guys” I spied this quilt hanging at the Boddington Field Day of quilts in October.

Favourite place to holiday?

Oh well – can’t beat a river cruise in Europe! Was due to go to Portugal and Spain June 2020 – still got that to look forward to…2023??
I do also have a buddy who also likes to do textile tours – India and Japan ticked off so far…long list to tick off yet.

Favourite quilting/sewing tool you can’t live without?

My Bernina 570QE. Im a fairly recent convert. Its awesome..oh backed up by the Sweet 16 of course!

Can’t live without?

My Thermomix – oh my lordie how do you feed a family everynight without one? Ive just upgraded to the TM6 and its been like a revelation…Just ask me if you have an hour to spare!

Follow patterns or like making and designing your own things

Quilt patterns are for guidance only – I’ve never bought a kit….bag patterns (with which Im obsessed) must, however, be followed for a successful outcome!

Your favourite part of the whole quilting process?

The planning and the quilting…I’m not a piecer…and certainly not a handworker, but I am trying to get over my aversion to picking up a needle.

Your number one tip you can pass on to another quilter is?

Never start a new project without finishing the last. Ive never had a UFO.

Are you lucky enough to have a designated space in your home, to be able to close thedoor behind you and leave the mess?

A few years ago we revamped the house layout as there was a lot of space not being used….well, I offered the front lounge to Jon as his office, but he said he liked his small man cave. Took me about ten minutes to pack up and move the whole sewing room !! I am lucky and love my space… Its not tidy, but I do know where everything is!


Thanks Lesley for taking the time to share your quilting journey with myself and our readers.

Posted in Committee, Contemporary Quilt Group, Sewing Day & Nights, WAQA Quilters | 2 Comments

Cockman House Challenge 2021

2021 marks the inaugural Indian Ocean Craft Triennial – festival of contemporary craft. WAQA members have been invited to exhibit quilts at Wanneroo Gallery and Museum as part of the festival. The theme in 2021 is ‘Curiosity and Ritual of the Everyday’ and the challenge will be based on Cockman House in the City of Wanneroo.

Cockman House is the oldest dwelling in Wanneroo, completed in 1860 and became a museum in 2009. As well as being an interesting building the house contains many objects from the everyday lives of those who lived there. There are also beautiful grounds and an heirloom vegetable garden. The City also has aerial photographs, maps and historic photographs associated with the house and its land. You can take a virtual tour of the house here:

We are planning a special opportunity for WAQA members to visit the house to take photographs and make sketches to inform their quilt designs. We will also provide inspiration photos for the challenge on the WAQA website for those who cannot get to the house in person. Stay tuned for details! In the meantime you can browse historic photographs from the house on the City’s ‘Picture Wanneroo’ website.

The exhibition will be held at Wanneroo Gallery in August-November 2021. Quilts need to be approximately A2 in size – 42 by 59 cm, 16.5 by 23.5 inches, with a hanging sleeve on the back. Please remember to attach you name, quilt title and contact details to the back. After the exhibition the quilts will be displayed in Wanneroo Museum before their usual journey to quilt groups around WA. The Quilts will be returned sometime in 2022.

This is a fantastic opportunity for WAQA members to get their work out into a real gallery so please consider joining in with the challenge. Further details will be available soon or contact Helen O’Hara at Contemporary Quilt group with any questions.

Please note Cockman House will also be the WAQA Challenge for 2021, and Meg Cowey will be giving us further information, so please stay tuned.

cockman house

cockman house 1

cockman house 2

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Sewing Day.. the more the merrier

NO Ticket Required for November Sewing Day

The attendance numbers for the last 2 Sewing Days has reached the maximum of 150 allowed under the SAC COVID Plan.  For November WAQA has hired the dining area as well as the hall, so we can increase the maximum attendees to 300! 

Hope to see you there, it has been one roller coaster ride of a year

Tuesday 17th November 10am – 3pm

Stirling Adriatic Centre, Jones Street, Stirling WA

Shared morning tea & Hostess group – Chatterboxes.


Posted in Covid 19 Virus, Sewing Day & Nights, Upcoming Events, WAQA Quilters | Tagged | Leave a comment


jude 1

Story of Family Boabs          Judith Wilton

This quilt was a 4 year journey from idea to completion. When my nephew announced his engagement I offered to make a quilt as their wedding present. I presumed it would be very modern with minimal colours and fabrics. How wrong I was! They searched the internet for potential ideas, with little guidance from me,  then the request came “large boabs in aboriginal fabrics”. Fortunately my husband and I had a trip planned to the Kimberley so many  photographs were taken. These provided the inspiration for boab shapes and the colours of the landscape. I think I collected aboriginal fabrics in the couples’ chosen palette for about a year, what a joy!

Fabrics for the boabs were cut collage style, and with a turned edge, appliqued to the full scale drawing on fine cotton. I did have a short respite as we awaited the birth of their 3 child …. was it to be another boy or a girl. Another boy!

I always intended to paint the sky and was very happy with the result. However, I have to give credit to my husband for the painted and dyed background. I had cut and placed the fabrics for about a third of the background when he gave an “honest opinion” of the progress. “Rubbish …. go out and paint the background” he said.  Thus I painted the background, but still it was not quite right. So following multiple samples I finally got the right colour and dyed the painted background to get that Kimberley red.

 The five boabs, representing the couple and their three small boys, were appliqued to the background. Additional small boabs were painted to represent distant relatives.  All fabrics in the boabs were used for the backing so that it is a double sided quilt.

The family live in Darwin so Covid has prevented them receiving  their quilt, however it  allowed me to show it in the exhibition.

 The quilt was a true challenge but I’m thrilled with the result.  Over my quilting journey I have attended many workshops and I think I used skills gain from everyone in this quilt.  A big thank you to the Committee for putting the Covid Quilt West together and giving me an opportunity to share this wonderful project.



All images & wording provided by Judith Wilton.

Thank you Judith for sharing your story with our readers, an absolutely wonderful quilt that I am sure will be treasured and loved for many, many years to come by your nephew and his family.

You may also like to read more about Judith here, when I did a blog post in 2018

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Community Quilts Busy Bee


Delectable Destash

Sunday 25th October

At Alexander Park Craft House,

Clyde Rd, Menora.

11.00 – 2.00

All fabrics sold by weight-please bring your own bag


An opportunity to buy beautiful fabrics from the collection of a Quilter’s Estate.


All proceeds to support the WAQA Community Quilts Program

Stay a while and have a cuppa – see what we do!


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and … that’s a wrap! Exhibition -Part 3.

A message today from our new WAQA President who says,

“What an amazing weekend. Beautiful quilts, fabulous fare, our amazing retail sponsors and so many happy members.

This event was supported by an army of volunteers.  Thank you to all! 


Gwen Parry & Beverley McDonnell made everyone feel very welcome and kept a close eye on the hand sanitiser!!


Lesley Clugston ( WAQA President) pictured with Sharon, our new WAQA Treasurer.

Enjoy the photos!!

exhibition 9

“Cottage Garden” by Helen O’Hara.

exibition 10


“Maling Road” by Lauren Pinkster. Di Ford Hall mystery medallion 2014. Pattern from Quiltmania magazine over several issues.


exhibition 4

The very talented, Helen Sugar Duff pictured here with her quilt, ‘Beachcombing”. Helen tells me she made this quilt during a summer school in Albany in a class that was run by Phil Thomas.



“Cranes for Chris”- Helen Sugar Duff



“Barking mad”. by Helen Sugar Duff. Inspired by our many beautiful trees.



“True vision by Jocelyne Leath



“Hugs for Martin” by Judith Whitaker. Made for her brother’s 50th birthday using her collection of Civil War fabrics. Copyright “From quilts of love & valour” by Becky A Wright.



“Carol’s postponement trip” by Melodie Symes & quilted by Carol Brady. Copyright- Wendy Williams.



“Red shadow box” by Jay Gill & quilted by Carol Brady.



“Lockdown Quilt” by Carol Brady.



“It takes a village”. by Debra Costarella. Deb started this quilt at a retreat in Narrogin in 2019.



“Featherweight” by Debra Costarella. Copyright Laura Heine Design.



“Be like a tree” by Tracy Bareli.



“My sister’s family tree” by Jan Fisher.  Please note that is just s small portion shown here of a beautiful quilt.



“Coastline” by Denise Mallon. We visted the Horizontal falls, the journey back to Broome on a light aircraft hugged the coastline and gave us a birds eye view.   ( This is a close up of the detail)



“Beautiful invader” by Meg Cowey. Declared a pest in the south west of WA, the Calla lily is a threat to local flora and fauna as it spreads through many waterways, choking other plants.



“The Gap” by Meg Cowey.



“Blue Wren” by Pamela Mees. Quilt was painted and quilted by Pam, according to class instructions given by Helen Godden online. Copyright acknowledgement- Helen Godden.





“WA Honey Possum” by Lana Lefroy


“Memories of Mundabullangana” by Lana Lefroy





Quilt by Phil Thomas.


The lovely ladies from Loose Stitches in Quairiding.


The always smiling, Michelle from Handcrafters House


Cathy from Bizzy Bee was kept very busy!!


It was lovely to meet Liz Dawes from Woven Stories .


Carolina from Sew Mondo.


Susan York from My Fabricology

craft 3

Thank you Bernina, for being a part of our special day.


Faye from Ocean Keys Sewing Centre

Our two raffles were well supported.  The quilts had been donated to Community Quilts.   Lancashire Heritage Quilt, made by WAQA Life member Sheila Pye, machine pieced, hand applique, hand embroidery and machine quilted. 

It was won by a WAQA member Chris Walsh.


Sunday’s raffle was a Liberty pieced quilt made by a long time member, Val York.  The design, Magic Eye by Emma Mary Designs was machine pieced, hand and machine quilted.  The winner was Susan York from My Fabricology.




Posted in Committee, Community Quilts, Covid 19 Virus, Exhibitions, judging, sponsors, WAQA Quilters | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment