When Blueberries tutor Deborah Louie entered her vintage-inspired quilt at last month’s Quilt & Craft Fair at Darling Harbour, she wasn’t expecting the quilt to win not one but two ribbons. But, as is so often the case, it’s the unexpected that ends up happening.
Deborah’s creation picked up the Judges’ Choice Award, as well as being awarded third prize in the Professional Traditional Quilting category. Not a bad haul for something that only took her three weeks to complete.
“I made the quilt back in January as an 18th birthday gift for my daughter Claire,” she says. “The design was my own, based on a vintage quilt. It’s basically a whole cloth with white trapunto and five blocks of red and green whig rows.”
Deborah, who has been quilting for 20 years as well as teaching, says she tries to enter a quilt every year and has a number of ribbons from previous years as testament to her skills and tenacity. She believes the official acknowledgement of winning at the Quilt & Craft Fair has twofold value, as it’s very satisfying on a personal level but also important professionally as it raises the quilter’s profile.
And for all those novice quilters out there who regard the winning of an award at the Quilt & Craft Fair as something out of their reach, Deborah believes that there are many benefits to be gained by just entering your quilt, regardless of how experienced you may be.
“I’d like to encourage quilters of all levels to exhibit at Darling Harbour as it’s such a buzz to be able to stand next to your quilt hanging there on display at such a huge event,” she says. “Many people think they’re not good enough, but if it was only ever the best of the best who were displaying their work, then it would take about five minutes to walk around the entire exhibition, and that wouldn’t be much of a show. Everyone who’s a member of the NSW Quilters Guild is eligible to enter, and the more quilts that are exhibited, then the better the show is for everyone. After all, it’s about having fun and quilting is for everyone, not just the ‘elite’. We all have to start somewhere.”
Or, to put it another way – it isn’t just about the destination, but the journey as well. So novice quilters, start seriously thinking about next year’s Fair.