Sunday, July 31, 2011

Di J’s and Di B’s Big Day Out

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.

The Fabric of Society

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.

scanned image 13 Fredricas quilt1850-1

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 Rolling on the floor laughing  *


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!


  1. Very cool :) I am wanting to break into entering quilts in shows but I'm a chicken. >Baw-gawk!!<

  2. Di, I don't blame you for being for excited about your quilt being part of the exhibition. It's a huge honor!! It's such a worthy quilt, absolutely beautiful!! I hope we'll get to see it at the Sydney show next year. I love your pink coat, and I hope got comments on your selvedge bag and broach. All in all it sounds like you and Di had a wonderful day!

  3. I DID see that one..I SAW it..but it must have been the ONE story I did not read....I am TOTALLY going back for another look read you little card and marvel at your amaingness...I have to agree about Dear Prudence .... it boggles the mind...BOGGLES the mind to the point of almost incomprehension..everything about it exceptional.

  4. Congratulations! I saw the quilts yesterday. It's a lovely exhibition, so I'm glad it will be travelling around for other states to enjoy.

  5. I can understand how excited you were and obviously still are! I'm excited for you, just reading your post. :)
    Well done, you!

  6. congratulations! Your quilt looks lovely. I think you are brave to enter a quilt show, I wouldn't even dream of it - too scary. Well done!

  7. Thrilled to bits for you.

    I was walking around one year head drooping thinking 'no work of mine will ever be good enough to hang here' when all of a sudden I saw a cheeky block I had made for the scquilty Tarts group....and of course it was in the Tarts quilt..
    I was in a hurry.....fancy that!!! Not Me!
    But I threw together a sunshade made of pointy Dresden's, with bare legs out of the base and a horrible pink bra and pants thrown either side of the covering shade.

    I was so chuffed. At least a block of mine had been hung.
    As for a quilt...well I shall just keep dreaming and one day sewing assiduously again.

    Congratulations to you and 'tother Di. What a great day out.

  8. Wow, how cool is that....congratulations! But that means you won't have your lovely quilt for a while year. You will have to throw a party for it when it comes home again *grin*

  9. I did see your quilt Di, I was a little foggy on Friday not enough sleep.
    Congratulations will see it at AQC.

  10. Di, I cannot begin to tell you how happy and proud I am for you, and how I am in awe of what you've accomplished. Who knew that your efforts on this gorgeous piece would take you so far!? I'm so glad Di B. was with you to celebrate and partake in your exciting news. It's simply wonderful. I quite lament that I haven't finished my own quilt, but there's no doubt now - so you musn't argue - whose is the loveliest. And thanks for sharing pictures of Linda's quilt. Goodness, who would have thought anyone would CHOOSE to make that quilt! What a bonus to meet Neroli and Lynda too. Now you've got me believing that not only are there lots of Di's in Oz, there are lots of Linda's too! Linda

  11. Di, your quilt is just lovely. Congratulations in having the honour of it travelling around the various Shows.
    THANK YOU so much for posting Linda's site, with her truly remarkable quilt. I just love it so much. I am in awe of her skill and effort.

  12. Congratulations on having your lovely quilt hung in the exhibition and taking part travelling around Australia. Happy stitching.

  13. I have enjoyed reading your story, and I am really pleased that you did enter your quilt, it was an amazing exhibition, congratulations.

  14. Congratulations I loved your quilt, went down to Melbourne and had a great time.

  15. Oh, Di, it's BEAUTIFUL! Linda's, too! I've never entered a quilt before, but I can imagine your delight!!

  16. Hi Di , you know me , i have beeen a bit slack as far as quilting and going on the net the quilt you made is lovely, i also have that book and was thinking of makeing that quilt but chaning it a little, i thought it would look nice in my cival war fabricks,as i have quite a few of them ,well congratulations on your quilt being being picked
    Sonja N


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