In the pre-dawn gloom on Friday Di B and I were grinning like cheshire cats as my DH drove us to the airport for our 7am flight.
In my bright pink coat, toting my selvage bag, and accompanied by that very colourful character Di B, we might have been just a little conspicuous on the plane amid a sea of dark suits hunched silently over their iPads reading the Sydney Morning Herald on their way to conduct business in Melbourne.
We were on our way to the Melbourne Quilt and Craft Fair for the day, and in particular to see the Victorian Quilters’ Guild Fabric of Society Challenge quilts.
This challenge involved making a quilt inspired by, recreated or adapted from any quilt published in quilt historian Dr Annette Gero’s book, The Fabric of Society – Australian Quilt Heritage from the Convict Times to 1960.
Months ago I had entered a photo of my Scrappy Hexagon quilt, a version of Kerry Dear’s Candied Hexagons, and was amazed when my quilt was accepted.
Long-time followers of this blog will recall that Candied Hexagons was inspired by the Frederica Josephson quilt (shown here) in Annette Gero’s book.
I’ve never entered a quilt in an exhibition before, so it’s somewhat ironic that my first entry should be a quilt that was not made for competition and was only meant to cover my knees as I watched TV on winter evenings. It’s not show-perfect, but it does fit the criteria for this challenge, and my highest hope was simply to see it displayed with others similarly inspired by antique quilts.
Consequently as I sent my quilt off I had visions of the lovely ladies opening the box, throwing up their hands in horror at my workmanship, and putting it quietly aside. Di B was the only person I told about my entry, and she insisted on coming to Melbourne with me to share the experience.
Best of all, good friend that she is, she promised not to laugh if my quilt wasn’t hung.
To see my Scrappy Hexagons (as I now call it) hanging in the exhibition space, alongside other much more exquisitely executed quilts , was an absolute thrill for this novice. Can you tell?
Does everyone who enters a quilt for the first time feel the same way, I wonder?
The winning quilt, and Best of Show in the Fabric of Society Challenge, was Dear Prudence by Linda White, and it was stunning!
Those are 1/4 inch hexagons, 17,977 of them, patiently stitched together with more than 500,000 stitches over 12 months. You can read about the making of this quilt on Linda’s blog here.
As I was taking this photo a lady beside me commented, “I don’t usually like machined quilts, but this one’s really good”. She was somewhat taken aback when I explained that it was in fact handmade. Congratulations, Linda!
The “icing on the cake” is that my humble Scrappy Hexagons quilt will spend next year travelling, with Linda’s magnificent Dear Prudence and the other beauties in the Fabric of Society Challenge, to the Australian Quilt Convention in Melbourne and then to the Quilt and Craft Fairs all over Australia.
Such exciting news inspired a little silliness *
We don’t get out much (lol!). My quilt, however, will make up for that next year.
And since we were indeed at a Craft Fair, we also managed a
little lot of shopping, lunching and meeting up with two dear friends that I’ve known for several years online but had never met in person – Lynda and Neroli. There were hugs all round, and so much excitement that I completely forgot to take photos before we had to leave on a jet plane to fly home again for dinner.
As you do.
* Quilt Police please note – It might not look like it, but in fact no quilts were touched in the taking of these photographs!