Featured Designer: Veronique Diligent of Wattlebird Designs April 23 2019 6 Comments
Please welcome our latest Featured Designer - Veronique Diligent of Wattlebird Designs. Ever since I found Veronique (@wattlebirdvero) on Instagram, I've been intrigued by her style. She takes traditional designs and incorporates various techniques such as embroidery, English paper piecing, appliqué and even broderie perse.
Veronique has even had several of her patterns published in Quiltmania and teaches regularly at her local quilt shop Sewn and Quilted near Melbourne, Australia.
Now let's get to know Veronique!
Jen: Where were you born and raised?
Veronique: I was born and raised in Geneva, Switzerland. Coming from a small country, I've always liked traveling. During one of my travels, I came to Australia, and it felt like home. I moved to Melbourne in 1990 and then met my husband who is French there. Having no family in Australia, and as we just had a daughter, we moved back to France in 1998. By 2005, we were missing Australia too much and moved back...my husband, daughter, son and I...and a few bolts of fabric.
Jen: Tell us about your stitching journey. How did you learn to embroider? and to quilt?
Veronique: Unlike a lot of quilters that I know, I had no idea what a quilt was until I lived in Melbourne as quilting is not a Swiss tradition. My mum was very good at mending and knitting, and she is an amazing china painter. I did learn to cross stitch at school, but it didn’t interest me.
While living in Lilydale, Australia, my neighbor invited me to her sewing group and showed me the art of teddy bear making and appliqué. I was hooked and have been sewing for the past 21 years.
When we went back to France in 1998, I wanted to start the same kind of sewing group, but ladies wanted to learn instead. Because there weren't any classes available in the village, I started teaching once a week to two groups of twekve women. I am thankful to them as they pushed me to learn new techniques and use colors I wouldn’t have otherwise. Embroidery came later after a class with a well known embroiderer in France...after that it was just a matter of playing with stitches.
Jen: How did Wattlebird Designs come to be?
Veronique: About 7 years ago, it seems that everybody around me was making a quilt about French icons ( especially the Eiffel Tower). Having lived in France and being married to a Frenchman, I thought it would be fun. So I made “ Oh la la, la France” and it was a success. I was also inspired working in a patchwork shop.
As for the name Wattlebird Designs, nobody could remember or even pronounce my name properly, so I choose the name of a common bird in Australian gardens. The funny thing is now that I am teaching more and more, quilters do know my name but don’t associate it with Wattlebird Designs, so soon I will be changing to Veronique’s Quilt Designs.
Jen: Tell us the process for designing your quilts. What are your inspirations?
Veronique: A fertile imagination is a good start, and the ability to draw ( we are good at drawing in my family) helps.
I am fascinated by Boutis, a French technique of wholecloth. The simplicity of design is always an inspiration. But also looking at antiques quilts, architecture, or shops inspires me...inspiration is everywhere.
Jen: Complete this sentence. When I am not sewing, I am...
Veronique: Definitely gardening...We have a beehive so spring is a "beesy" time of the year. Then, I always have chores like housework, cooking and baking.
Jen: What is your favorite thread?
Veronique: No doubt Aurifil. I used to have YLI silk, but it became harder to come by and also to thread at night!
Jen: What is your worst sewing habit?
Veronique: That’s a tough one. I think rushing into starting a new project, but then I decide it is too small. And maybe too not being able to make small quilts, they seems to get out of hand and have a mind of their own.
Jen: What is one sewing notion that you can’t live without?
Veronique: A good, sharp pair of scissors.
Jen: Any big plans for the rest of the year?
Veronique: It looks like 2019 is going to be busy. The clamshell quilt (Pele Mele) has generated lots of enthusiasm from quilters.
I will teach two classes at the Quiltmania salon “ Pour l’Amour du Fil” in Nantes, France in April. But the BIG thing for me is going to Houston in October...my first trip to the States. I am looking forward to Quilt Market and Festival although a bit scary as I have heard it is huge.
And, we are looking forward to having Veronique come and teach her clamshell quilt on October 29th, 2019 in Stuart, Florida so SAVE THE DATE! Details and registration will be posted shortly.