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Nov 1, 2012

First Quilts on the First: Bern of Spoilt Dog Quilts

Nov 1, 2012
Pin It Can you believe it's November 1st already?  We are recovering from a candy-coma after trick-or-treating in our new neighborhood last night.  Each year the boys are getting older and are bringing home even more candy.  This means mom has to exercise some serious self-control when it comes to all that chocolate staring at me all day.  Better to focus on quilts...

So a new month brings us another First Quilt feature!  Please welcome Bern of Spoilt Dog Quilts, an art quilter from Australia.  She has some neat quilts dedicated to honoring the military.  Let's learn about her first....

Hi, my name is Bern Johnson (I’m a proud Aussie) and my blog is called Spoilt Dog Quilts. Thank-you so much to AnneMarie for hosting the First on the First series of blog posts. It is quite an honour to to showcase one’s quilts especially on a blog that I greatly admire. As I write this post, I am sending my prayers and positive thoughts to the people of New York City and the east coast states of the US who are currently enduring super storm Sandy.

I first learned to sew as a child on Mum’s old Singer treadle sewing machine making doll’s clothes. Fast forward to two weeks in November/December 1991, when I got married, was promoted from a primary school (elementary) teacher to being a Teaching Principal in a small isolated one teacher school and moved house. This meant moving 2 000km+ (to Wyandra, a very small isolated town, population maybe 60) along with a husband who is physically disabled. That was a huge challenge! I then had to sew a houseful of curtains on Mum’s treadle machine. I developed very strong calf muscles making those curtains! I vowed that the next Christmas holidays, I would do something for me. So I went to a class and learnt to sew a patchwork quilt and was bitten by the patchwork bug!

My first quilt is actually a reversible QAYG log cabin with leaf prints in the centre of the blocks and on the border.

My quilts are very eclectic – I love traditional quilts, I love art quilts, I love memory quilts, I love landscape quilts and more modern quilts. I love designing my own quilts. Patchwork and quilting is such a passion for me.

Fast forward to 2012 and I have been retired (medical grounds) for 10 years. My dear husband Barry and I have moved house 3 times since then and I have had three operations on my right hand in the past 15 months. A badly broken hand really stops one from doing a lot! This includes slowing down establishing my Spoilt Dog Quilt patchwork pattern design business but hopefully the next few months will see that come to fruition. This first pattern is military-related (my husband and I volunteer a lot within the ex-service community and also with Variety, the Children’s Charity). I will donate part proceeds from the sale of my military-related quilts to charities supporting ex-service people and their families.

Here are a few of my past quilts:

My Birdsville quilt (almost finished after 17+ years): My husband and I moved to Birdsville (home of the world famous Birdsville Races) on the edge of the Simpson Desert in 1993. The sand dune strips were all done on Mum’s old Singer treadle and the billabong block (2 nd left) is all hand-appliqued.

Alaska 2005: My husband and I visited Alaska. The photos are mostly from that trip; the animals are from other sources but the quilt design is my own. We will definitely go back to Alaska in a few years’ time as hubby and I have become Alaskaholics!

A2 10-22 – One Hell of a Huey: The quilt was commissioned early this year, by the Caloundra Returned Services League (RSL) Sub-Branch to commemorate their acquisition and restoration of one of the Iroquois helicopters used in the Battle of Long Tan (1966), the most famous battle in the Vietnam War that Australia was involved in. Members of 9 Squadron and 6 RAR (from that battle) have started signing the quilt, making it a “living” quilt.

Hoo’s watching? The wall-hanging below was made for a recent challenge with a bowls theme. One of my friends thought that lawn bowls might be the theme (hubby is a lawn bowler) so I decided to combine the two. I do so love a touch of whimsy or quirkiness in my quilts.

My next quilt is a quilt for one of our Australian troops on the HMAS ANZAC (Australian Navy). We have an organisation called Aussie Hero Quilts (similar to Quilts of Valor) which make quilts and laundry bags for Aussie troops overseas. Pin It


  1. Love the bowls in the Hoo's Watching Quilt... your work is Amazing!


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