So QuiltCon! I’m on my way, are you?

QuiltCon Because booking flights and accommodation wasn’t enough to convince me I was going, I need to pop a little button in this space to make it for reals!

And because registration is JUST TWO DAYS AWAY!!! I thought it was as good a time as any to remind myself of why it is I want to go again.

The people I met :: It’s the number one reason I’ll do this trip, meeting these incredible people who share this crazy quilty passion is worth every cent of the airfare.

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Lauren and me with our crazy eyes

Leanne and the LAMQG gals Lauren, Jennifer and Em were by far the “best country music dancers” on the floor that Saturday night (at least the beer had us believing so). Then there was Jenn and Lauren who I had been playing in words with friends for such a long time, it was great to use real words and hear real voices – even if mine was shouting “squirrel” in Starbucks…

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Anna Maria Horner and me in her “Composing a Quilt” class – total girl crush moment!

Classes with AWESOME tutors :: Even with the anticipated frenzy and the possibility of missing out on classes, I would go again (and again, and again). The classes I took were super fun and the lectures are inspiring, stimulating and thought provoking.

More people :: Class mates Lisa, AmandaCharlotte, Marianne, Ellen and all the others who contributed thoughts, ideas and fun to the time we spent learning from tutors who shared their knowledge.

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Malka working her magic

Food (with people) :: Beer and Barbecue with Carolyn, Cheryl and her champion of a husband, he was such a trooper all weekend!

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For the life of me I can’t remember the name of this place – all I know is it was THE BEST BARBECUE!!!

Volunteering :: This was by far the most rewarding aspect. I had the opportunity to assist in the hanging of the quilt show, work the MQG information stand in the show, assist on the registration desk and be a workshop assistant. So many good things came from volunteering, I would highly recommend it to anyone!

Food (without people) :: eating in a new country, city, suburb is my favourite way to discover a a place. I ate my breakfasts on my own in a different joint each day as a calm way of starting the day. Breakfast tacos in Austin? To. Die. For.

And have I mentioned people :: I can’t forget 80’s night dress up queens Felicity and Jaclyn. And bloggy and twitter and instagram mates who were just so lovely in person: EmHolly, Kim, Jen, Marci, Heather, GinaHeather, JacquieColleen, Amy, Catherine, Latifah, SusanneErin, Rossie and so, so many more.

So, back to the question that started this post. I’m going. Are you?

A Modern Show and a Proud Mama Moment

Some weeks back, Australia’s first modern quilt show was held in Berry on the South Coast of New South Wales. Hosted by Wollongong MQG, it was a stellar event.

So many beautiful quilts on display (you can see more of them in my post over here) and a lovely day trip for me with fellow Canberra MQG members and my biggest small, seven year old Mollie (thanks to Monn, Liz and Gemma for such a fun day)!

The call for entries came out and when I was talking with the fam about the show and possibly entering one of my quilts, Mollie asked if she could enter as well. The organisers had included a Children’s Category so we agreed to finish quilting her quilt and submit it. I was determined that she should do as much of the quilting as possible (which was another lesson in letting go for me) and we worked over a few weeks to get it done. Much of the quilting was done with her little hands under my hands guiding her around while she pressed the foot full throttle – it was a challenge to remain calm but I’m happy that she was able to have so much input and feel proud of her work at the end.

When we submitted the entry, we waited a few days to hear back, she was thrilled that the committee accepted her quilt and we decided to take the trip to go see it hanging.

Image credit :: Amy of Badskirt

Image credit :: Amy of Badskirt

I’m so very glad we went. Miss Mollie was awarded best in show for the children’s category and won a sewing machine from Bernina! Such a proud Mama moment. I am thrilled that my incredibly creative daughter has had her work recognised. Not because of the machine (although that’s AWESOME) but because I love that her creativity has had such positive encouragement. People at the show took time to talk with her about her quilt, about the process and about her ideas (thanks Molli & Mr SparklesKathy, Amy and the many other folk who took time to listen to her). So often creativity is squashed to make room for more “studious” pursuits but this, this has been just the encouragement and confidence booster she needed.

So very proud of my big girl. And so very pleased that she is making the most of her machine! Just not entirely convinced that I’ll ever get my desk back now her machine is on it, she’s currently working on a new quilt for her next show entry!

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Faraway Fields :: A Finished Quilt

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So I had a finish! Some of you will have seen this quilt on Instagram and Facebook – I’ve been rather slow to getting it here!

This quilt feels like one giant material representation of my online experience, a place I’ve made incredible connections to inspiring, funny, kind and generous people. I am in love with it for its symbolic nature as much as for its beauty.

So, it’s a bit of wordy story but I’ll try my best to stay on track. I began making this quilt in a Denyse Schmidt class at QuiltCon in February 2013. The same class in which I met dear Charlotte. We were volunteering and it being the last day of QuiltCon, some participants left early to catch flights home. Fortunately for us, we were able to make a few quick blocks. I left thinking I might have just enough to make a lap quilt if I was careful about how I joined them. I was clearly overly optimistic about how much I’d done that day!
Procrasticraft_Improv_DSWhen I got home and tried to piece the blocks together, I discovered a mini-quilt, maybe a baby size, was all I would get if I was to make a top from blocks alone. Given that’s all I had, I popped the blocks on the design wall and pondered the placement. For many months, I fiddled around with it almost every time I went into my sewing room but I just could not commit to stitching it up, something was missing. As we were about to move house, I posted a picture of my (lack of) progress on Instagram:

That proved to be a fortuitous move on my part. The ever inspiring Cheryl Arkison (have you seen her gorgeous book, A Month of Sundays) saw that photo. Cheryl is one of the lovely friends I have made online who I met in person at QuiltCon. She was also in the DS class and had grabbed a couple of orphan blocks at the end of the day and she was willing to share her leftovers! They arrived along with the most generous parcel and sweet words I think I’ve ever received. When I opened the box, I was super thrilled to see that Cheryl had made some of the blocks into inset circles (check out her Craftsy class to see how to do these, it’s pretty clever). So, those circle blocks up there came to me via Calgary.

As soon as I had those extra pieces, I knew exactly how to make the quilt. I pulled out my Essex linen, laid out a king size piece on the deck and literally threw the blocks and fabric scraps into the air to see where on the quilt they landed. Of course, some landed on top of each other and some were either too far apart or not far enough so I played around with placement just a little and then stitched them up.

The impetus to finish was the Modern Quilt Show held on 3 & 4 May. Thankfully, another gorgeous friend I’ve made online (who I also now see regularly in person) is an AMAZING long-armer and she agreed to getting this one done in record time for me. Heidi has done the most incredible job with the quilting on this. My photos simply can not do it justice, it is spectacular

In the end, I have a king size quilt for our bed in our new home. It is spectacularly large, the biggest quilt I’ve ever made and I’m so damn proud of it!

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The Quilt
Blocks :: Scraps provided by Denyse Schmidt and Free Spirit, made by Julie McMahon with blocks contributed by Cheryl Arkison.
Background :: Essex Linen (purchased at QuiltCon from the lovely Tammy of Marmalade Fabrics who supplied me with a whole bolt to bring back to Oz)
Quilting :: quilted by the uber talented Heidi (Jeanette)
Binding :: Shot Cotton (from Addicted to Fabric)
The Name :: Started in Austin with fabrics from a studio in Connecticut (USA) and sewing time with a friend from London (England), blocks from Calgary (Canada), made in Canberra (Australia), quilted in Bombala (Australia) :: truly an effort from Faraway Fields.

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