Category Archives: Luminary Quilters

Australian Quilt Convention 2015 – Part 1

Do you attend your national quilt conventions? I’m lucky enough to live in the city (Melbourne) that hosts Australia’s premier quilt show – The Australian Quilt Convention (AQC), so a quick trip on a tram right into the city gets me to the historic Royal Exhibition Building where the show is held each year.

Royal Exhibition Building

Royal Exhibition Building

As usual, I always attend seminars to learn about new techniques and products, or have a refresher from an expert. This year there were no qualms about listening to Leonie West of Westalee Rulers, as she elaborated on the new ruler foot for domestic sewing machines. As I have tried it out on the ‘Crooked Path’ runner, it was enticing to see what other quilting patterns could be done by combining this foot and other rulers in the range. I think that for lots of ‘block’ style quilts, this is going to be the method I may use for quilting.

Deb Layt, a ‘luminary quilter’, released a book that explains the technique she used for award winning innovative quilt ‘Connected’.

Deb Layt

‘Quilting Analysis’ by Deb Layt.

She also gave a talk about a new product for appliqué – ‘polystick’ – a sticky paper that can be repositioned. Deb used it in these quilts with a turned edge technique, before machine appliquéing with a ‘blind’ stitch, or elongated zig-zag. Having bought a sample, I’ll give it a try on a ‘UFO’ – as an incentive to get moving on one of the many that got away! Let you know how it goes later.

Deb Layt

Made by Deb Layt using ‘polystick’ paper.

Deb Layt

Made by Deb Layt using ‘polystick’ paper.

The joy of attending national quilt shows is viewing the quilts entered into competition or for an exhibit. This year the theme of the international ‘AQC Challenge’ was ‘True Blue’. A stunning array of interpretations and the outstanding quality certainly made for interesting judging. It was hard not to touch these textured and dimensional works of art.

True Blue Jacko

Winner ‘True Blue Jacko’ by Jeannie Henry.

Really True Blue

Second place ‘Really True Blue’ by Jan Clark.

The machine stitching, or machine thread painting, on the Blue Heeler caught my eye on this entry – very fine yet dense thread made it look like a photograph, it was that realistic.

True Blue Mates

‘True Blue Mates’ by Yvonne Chapman

This one evoked a quiet reflection – it was so quintessentially Australian, drought, rusty cars and abandoned farms. Although it depicts the time from 1937 to 1947, we’ve recently experienced another ’10 year drought’ in our ‘Sunburnt Country’.

The Big Dry

‘The Big Dry’ by Camilla Watson

The Australian love of beaches and surfing offers a total contrast to inland drought, in the depiction of the oceans that surround our continent.

Girt by Sea

‘Girt by Sea’ by Sue Broadway

No wonder we spend hours at quilt shows, there’s so much to take in!

More to come …


Amazing ‘kasuri’ quilts by Shigeko Asada

Japanese quilting

Close up of sashiko stitching by Shikego Asada.

‘Yes, you are allowed to touch them, and yes, you are allowed to photograph them’, said the Red Cross ladies.

Japanese quilting

‘Memories of Childhood’ by Shikedo Asada.

How gobsmacked were the hundreds of visitors at the exhibition to be able to handle the worn and battered indigo ‘kasuri’ quilts. Usually ‘Quilt Angels’ in white gloves  monitor the movement of the public to prevent any ‘touching’. There were no ‘Please do not touch’ signs at this event – it was heartwarming to be encouraged to feel this tactile art form. After all, that’s what a quilt is made for – to wrap around you, to hold, to comfort and keep warm!

Japanese quilting

‘Playing with indigo dyed cloth’ by Shigeko Asada.

Lovingly made entirely by hand and embellished with sashiko stitching, it was indeed  wonderful to experience this unique exhibition, as the quilts were only in Australia for three days.

Japanese quilting

‘Stencil dyeing’, a patchwork ankle-length kimono by Shigeko Asada.

Millrose Cottage hosted the exhibition of 29 works by Japanese quilter Shigeko Asada on March 20th – 22nd, in Ballan, Victoria.

Japanese quilting

A close up of sashimi stitching by Shigeko Asada.

Although this small collection of photos is not the same as seeing all the quilts in person, they do give an insight into this remarkable woman’s lifetime passion for recycling traditional indigo cloth into works of art.

Japanese quilting

detail of ‘Warrior banners’ by Shigeko Asada.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this small glimpse of ‘eye-candy’ Japanese sashiko quilting!

Japanese quilting

‘The Heart Sutra’ by Shigeko Asada.

Does sashiko quilting appeals to you?


How do we celebrate our amazing quilters?

I came across an article about Sue (Gruber) Poser, being awarded the 2015 Quilter of the Year for Minnesota Quilters Inc., and it started me wondering about how patchworkers recognise the inspirational leaders of their craft.


An individual’s work is shared at local guild, State, or National exhibitions. Work can be recognised by a Viewer’s Choice, or judged entry. Sometimes an award is made in honour of a past member.

A solo exhibition can highlight the body of work by an outstanding quilter, at an exhibition, or in an art gallery, or museum.

However, being named ‘Quilter of the Year’ is aligned to the person, not an item, and this celebrates both their work and their contribution to the craft.

Does your State or local guild celebrate a member? Annually, or biannually? Is  common criteria used and shared between guilds?

Read the full newspaper article here, or visit the website for ‘Gruber’s Quilt Shop’ here.

photo credit: Letterpress Hero via photopin (license)