Monday, June 27, 2016

Sydney Quilt Show

Well hi there! It's been almost 5 months since my last post. Life got a little, ah... well I won't say "busy" but a better word is "distracted".  My husband had a second hip surgery in early February and then had (and still has) some pretty serious complications, so there was that. And I started a new job in an entirely new field, so there was that too. And I'm running the house single handed and becoming a master of the meal prep, so again. And I entered the Sydney Quilt Show with a quilt that wasn't even a finished top yet.

(People (of the flummoxed type, I expect) sometimes ask why I enter quilt shows given that while I am obsessed with quilting, I don't take the whole exhibition and judging thing or even quilting seriously. AT ALL.  Look people - if you haven't worked it out yet, it's so I have a reason to finish quilts.)

So I entered the quilt show with an unfinished quilt, and I worked really, really hard to finish it. And it totally paid off, because not only did I get a quilt finished, I also got this!

Seven Garden Maze - second place

I got a phone call from the President on the Sunday morning before the show that I had won "something" and to say I was shocked would be an understatement. In fact, when I was standing with my friends at the awards ceremony last Wednesday I was convinced, after they had called out the judges commendations for the small or wall quilt (amateur) category, that they had made a mistake in calling me, so sure was I that it must be one of those awards. Nope. Second.

Being awarded second place, small quilts category.

Yep. Chuffed.

With my quilt, just after pinning it.

The quilt is called Seven Garden Maze and was designed by my good friend Cathy Miller, also known as the Singing Quilter.  She made hers originally in silk dupioni and it is STUNNING.  I decided to pick homespun for my version (solids, the cool kids call it) except for the ocean blue which is a Kaffe Fassett shot cotton. The borders of each maze are not black, but very dark brown (from memory Kona Espresso).

Pinning the ribbon

Each hexagon is 1/2 inch. I machine quilted each wedge from side to side to form it's own secondary labyrinth. I also faced it with 1/2 hexagons because quite clearly I was insane - just this sewing of facings took me a couple of weeks. I handed in the quilt to the person-before-the-dropoff-person just in time.

On the early morning ferry with Team Di

So Sydney! It was pretty spectacular. I spent 6 days up there, and unlike last year I didn't injure my back the night before, or get laryngitis while I was there. So this year I got to talk! And walk! And spend heaps of time with friends new and old. I had a fantastic time. I spent three days at the quilt show, mostly volunteering, with the highlight being day one. A group of us friends stood together at the awards ceremony, and then this happened (and this is only a few of us who won ribbons - aren't we a talented bunch?)...

Jennifer Davis wins second in Commercially Quilted category

Beth Miller wins first in Pictorial Quilts category

Rachaeldaisy wind first in Anything Goes Mixed media category

The biggest surprise though was when my lovely friend Rachaeldaisy won best of show! I've stolen this photo quite blatantly from the guild's Facebook page, because it is just so classic (and we were all a bit emotional!).

Rachaeldaisy winning Best of Show

What else about Sydney? Oh there is so much. I took photos of quilts but don't have permission from the makers to post them (because I forgot to ask), so instead if you want to see some winning quilts (including Rachael's amazing masterpiece) go to the QuiltNSW website.

Oh, and one last thing. I decided to start another new thing (all the other new things are meant to be in a post all of their own, there are so many) and this new thing is the Panama Pyramids sewalong. Linda Collins from Quilts in the Barn is running the sewalong and while she was working at the Quiltmania stand during the show, she brought along the original antique quilt that launched a 590 member sewalong. And I got to hold it and stroke it and really appreciate that amazing yellow. Aren't I lucky? It's absolutely beautiful.

Holding Linda's original Panama pyramids quilt

It was a fantastic show. Heck - it was a fantastic week! A friend came to stay for a couple of days early on and we went to the Isabella Blow and Collette Dinnigan exhibitions. I had dinner with friends, and the Sydney Spoolettes. I met up with my quilting friends at the show each day, met some online friends finally, had a little meet up with some beautiful women from The Applique Guild of Australia who were visiting the show and I got to take the first and last ferries from Circular Quay with my friends Di and Di most days.


By Saturday I was buggered and so ready to go home so I got to the airport a bit earlier and sat in the sun at Gate 19 and stitched some of Chester Criswell while watching the planes take off and land. That was nice. I might have snoozed a bit. And since I got home to Canberra I have been absolutely freezing after the warmth in Sydney. But I can't wait for next year.

I've entered the Canberra quilt show in August with another unfinished work in progress. I have 32 days to finish it. And it's queen sized. Ha.


  1. Congratulations Michele. Your quilt is absolutely beautiful and your work womanship is outstanding!! It would have to be to win a prize in such distinguished company. I am sorry I didn't cross paths with you in Sydney but maybe next year I will come down for the quilt show. I have done years ago and I loved it. Good luck with your quilt in the Canberra show.

    1. Thanks Marjorie! It was certainly an honour to be in such fine company!

      Next time we will definitely have to coordinate our dates better!

  2. I've missed your posts! It is lovely to see you again, and congratulations on your ribbon !

  3. Congratulations! Well deserved prize. It's absolutely amazing! Looking forward to your queen-sized one!

    1. Thanks Mela! Fortunately the queen size one has hexagons that are a gazillion times bigger than this little fellow!

  4. Well done! And well deserved- it is a lovely quilt. Sounds like you had a fabulous time!

    1. Thanks Lynley! It was the best time. I didn't get to do half of what I'd planned to do (which I'm only realising now) but I had such a packed, fun time I didn't notice at the time.

  5. Congratulations Michelle, I saw your quilt at the show and I loved it. I saw Cathy's quilt in Townsville a few years ago and was amazed with it.

    1. Thanks Nicole! Yes the Townsville SCQuilters retreat! That's when Cathy gave me the pattern with the strict instruction that I had to make it. I was sewing it at the Canberra retreat last year too, but I was too doped on painkillers to remember much about that retreat!

  6. I'm smiling so much reading this post, reliving all the fun. Congratulations again on winning such a big fluffy hot pink/red rosette to pin on your quilt. A very deserved win. You are such a classic for having a queen size quilt to finish in 30 days , lol, if anyone can do it, you can.

    1. A big fluffy hot pink and red rosette THAT MATCHED MY TIGHTS! What were the odds of that? A blue or lemon ribbon would have been inappropriate.

      It was so good spending time with you again this year. Next year will be even more fantastic!


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