The Unveiling of Queensland’s Quarantine Quilt

July 20, 2020


Something many of us has been waiting for, the joint unveiling of Queensland’s Quarantine Quilt by 612 ABC’s Breakfast Radio presenters Craig Zonca and Loretta Ryan, ABC’s Weather presenter Jenny Woodward, representatives from Queensland’s Spinners, Weavers and Fibre Artists (QSWFA) and from State Library of Queensland (SLQ).

Back row L-R: Yvonne Ritson (QSWFA), Kelly Leahey (SLQ), Robyn Hamilton (SLQ) Michelle Hanley (QSWFA), Jenny Woodward (ABC) Front row L-R: ABC’s Craig Zonca (ABC), Kim Textor (QSWFA), Loretta Ryan (ABC)

Created by Queensland residents, it is exciting to see up to two hundred handmade quilt pieces released out of quarantine and finally bonded together. A team from QSWFA patiently hand stitched every single square together and fastened them on a large cream quilt backing. What an achievement! 

ABC Brisbane breakfast radio presenters Craig Zonca and Loretta Ryan


Thank you to all the team members, working together on the final layout

Each person was asked to tell their own special story in the creation of their quilt piece as well as write up to fifty words about what it meant to them when in lockdown. 

As expected the common theme evolved around the COVID19 pandemic and its isolation phase. Individuals created unique touching stories that are told in their craftsmanship and their emotions manifest from this quilt. 

Just seeing these picture, I am impressed by the diversity of design and materials used to produce beautiful quality workmanship. I have since discovered how the QSWFA arranged the squares. It had me intrigued how they would work the pieces together. 

They have laid the shades of colour out like the colours of the rainbow. What a fabulous way of presenting the quilt.  The whole is now the sum of the parts. Can you see your piece here? 

If not, then a visit to the 612 ABC Brisbane building at Southbank is a must where you can peer closely through their large glass windows. The completed quilt presently hangs in their foyer until 14 August 2020. Following this, State Library of Queensland will be caretakers of this wonderful display of woven history.

I am planning to meet up with my friend Sarah, who like me, submitted a soon to be piece of history. Her hand stitched story became a jigsaw as shown:

Quilt piece created by Sarah Perry

 And Sarah wrote: Figuring out how to put the old ‘normal’ into the new is like a puzzle, finding which bits fit where.  I turned to the things I love that encouraged me to slow down and appreciate what brings me joy, a good book and a cuppa, gardening, sewing and a beautifully mixed drink to end the day.

Jenny Woodward, a clever crafter in her own right, included her creation in the quilt and no, it is not a weather predictor!

Jenny Woodward’s hand crafted story

Along with Jenny, not only did I find my own piece in the photo below, but that of Loretta Ryan’s. Loretta made her square out of felt and said it was about her spending time with her border collie Timmy. He was enjoying the fact she was working from home because he was able to get more walks out of her and plenty of attention. But it also worked both ways. Loretta enjoyed his company too as he was a relaxing distraction from the Covid craziness. 

Loretta’s square features Timmy, her dog

My square (Ruth Greening), is appropriately located above “Keep Calm and Sew Stuff”. I have included a little green fabric book with pink hand beading that says My Book. I included a poem for my submission. It just came out of my head, a bit scary I know. So here is my poetic story up for scrutiny: 

“My soul is calmed as I knit for a while

Crochet, sew, bead, plant seeds to smile.

The words in my book continue to grow

Like the roots in my quarantine garden show.

ABC radio is my friend in the room

As I bake some cakes to help me bloom.”

When my grandsons can finally visit me from Melbourne I will proudly point out my piece and say “that was made by your Nanny Babe. I have left my mark in history boys and hopefully one day you can point this out to your own children”. 

For more information and photos, ABC Brisbane’s Jessica Hinchliffe has written a lovely article with some beautiful pictures included:

When the quilt relocates to SLQ I will be walking through their doors to see and read every story. I want to feel these heartfelt pieces speak to me. I cannot wait. This has been a special project for a special reason. 

On display in the foyer at ABC Brisbane until 14 August 2020, followed by State Library of Queensland

@ABCBrisbane @qldspinners @slqld @shesocietyau

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