Tag Archives: Australian Quilt Convention

Australian Quilt Convention – Part 3 (Last part)

There are two major displays of award winning quilts at the Australian Quilt Convention each year. One is the ‘Rajah Award’. This is named after the historical quilt,  The Rajah Quilt, which was made by female convicts on the ship ‘Rajah’, as they were transported from England to Van Dieman’s Land (now called Tasmania), in 1841. Follow the link to learn more about the significance of this appliquéd coverlet, for it’s relevance to presenting the award, in recognition of the ‘outstanding contribution to quilting in Australia’.

Rajah Quilt

‘Rajah Quilt’ courtesy of National Gallery of Australia.

The displayed works of the previous year’s award winner are always a delight to behold. Michele Hill, the winner of the 2014 Rajah Award, is internationally famous for her William Morris designs and love of appliqué. These are just a few from her extensive body of work that were on display.

Michele Hill

‘William De Morgan Sampler’ by Michele Hill.

Michele Hill

‘Woven Morris Glows Again’ by Michele Hill.

Michele Hill

‘Thorngrove Manor Quilt’ by Michele Hill.

Then we come to the ‘Best of Australia” quilts. The ‘Best of Show’ quilts from the previous years’ major exhibition held by each State and Territory Guild, is displayed and judged for the ‘Best of Australia’ award. It must be a difficult task in deciding this award, as each quilt is both beautiful to behold and exquisitely constructed, as well as being so technically different.

I was fortunate to be on ‘Quilt Angel’ white glove duty, when one of the quilt makers visited her quilt with her daughter. Linda White‘s (Victorian entry), original design of Elenor Jean‘, ‘comprises approximately 22,500 1/4″ hexagons! While I have the utmost admiration for this Herculean task, there is no way I would ever contemplate even thinking about attempting such small hexagons. Little did we know that 24 hours after this photo was taken, it was announced as the winning quilt – well deserved for endurance alone!

Linda White

‘Elenor Jean’ by Linda White, winner of ‘Best of Australia 2015’.

Rose Lewis‘s (Australian Capital Territory entry) quilt was amazingly heavy to lift. The extensive trapunto brought to life the three dimensional trees, and the dense tiny quilting was appreciated more by seeing it from the back. Viewers had to peer closely to see the hidden creatures cleverly stitched in amongst the flowers and leaves.

Rose Lewis

‘Through the Garden Gate’ by Rose Lewis.

The hand quilting of Janet Treen‘s red and green quilt (New South Wales entry), was magnificant. I enjoy hand quilting with a 12 wt Aurafil thread and a utility stitch. I think that’s where I’ll stay – stab stitching I can do it much faster, than when I have a go at the ‘rocking method’ most likely used to get those amazingly tiny uniform stitches on this quilt.

Janet Treen

‘Coxcomb and Currants’ by Janet Treen.

The bright colours of Kaffe Fasset fabrics makes Joanne Johnson’s (Queensland entry), medallion appliqué a happy modern quilt. The eye travels around the quilt taking in the many fabrics used in the borders and comes to rest on the delightful Baltimore style vase of flowers.

Joanne Johnson

‘Summer Rhapsody’ by Joanne Johnson

With 10.000 1″ squares hand pieced, no wonder Melody Symes (Western Australia entry), named her work ‘Perseverance’. The unusual quilting method subtly complimented the quilt. A single embroidery ‘fly stitch’ in each square – so that makes 10.000 embroidery stitches as well! – kept the look and feel of the top without it being overtaken by lines of quilting.

Melody Symes

‘Perseverance’ by Melody Symes

Melody Symes

Close up of the embroidery ‘fly stitch’ used for quilting ‘Perseverance’ by Melody Symes

A work of art using multiple shiny and metallic threads over acrylic painted fabric, by Sue Domeney (Tasmanian entry) certainly made the connection to New Year’s Eve fireworks high in the sky over a city just near you.

Sue Domeney

‘Heavens Above’ by Sue Domeney.

Elizabeth McCallum (Northern territory entry), made clever use of a large print fabric as broderie perse over tea dyed fabric, for the ‘Chinese Coins for Tigers’. The browns and reds are so redolent of a camouflaged tiger.

Elizabeth McCallum

‘Chinese Coins for Tigers’ by Elizabeth McCallum.

This was a stunner! The back looked equally as good, if not better as the backing fabric was like a pale blue watercolour. Rachelle Denneny’s (South Australian entry) free motion machine quilting, using two different coloured threads and trapunto, gave the pattern an elegant lofty lift. Many viewers stood almost stunned at the amount perfect quilting repeated for every block.

Rachelle Denenny

‘A Touch of Blue’ by Rachelle Denneny.

Rachelle Denneny

Close up of the free motion quilting by Rachelle Denenny in her ‘Touch of Blue’ quilt.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse of the ‘luminary quilters’ of the Australian Quilt Convention for 2015.

Thank you for taking the time to read and share the works of our amazing 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 …