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Last Saturday I had a group that wanted me to teach them machine appliqué. I love teaching this class – appliqué is my great love (closely followed I have to admit by free motion quilting).

I thought it was an introductory class where the majority were newbies to machine appliqué with a sprinkling of those that wanted to improve their techniques. It wasn’t quite what I expected, most of them had quite a bit of experience and there was only one who was being introduced to it.

I teach this class quite a bit and have three wall hangings that I use to teach it. I have only just finished Confederate Rose but not in time for this class so I taught A Walk in the Park.

Confederate Rose

Confederate Rose

Confederate Rose is a very adaptable quilt, I would teach just one block and then the students could make that block into a cushion cover once they finished it. If they did three blocks to practice their newly taught techniques it would make a great table runner. If they were really keen 9 blocks makes a great quilt. It has all the elements that need to be perfected, innie points, outie points, curves and straight lines.

A Walk in the Park

A Walk in the Park

A Walk in the Park also has all the elements that need to be practiced and perfected and is also a very traditional wall hanging with stylised roses and simple leaves as a wreath. The rose motif is a favourite for traditional quilts and I have used it many times in many quilts. I often take a selection of quilts to show what can be done with the shapes they are currently learning how to machine appliqué. It never fails to inspire.

Louisiana Cotillion

Louisiana Cotillion

With the group being more experienced there were some interesting colour combinations being put together. I love seeing what people do with my patterns.

When I was using other people’s patterns I don’t think I ever followed the pattern to the letter, I would always amend it in some way – in that way I felt that I had made it more my own.

Similarly I don’t expect people who do my patterns to follow them slavishly. I purposely keep them fairly straight forward so that it is easy to adapt them and make them more your own work. This certainly was the case in the class on Saturday. It has also been the case in the Block of the Month class I take on the last Wednesday of the month. There are several variations on what has proven to be one of my most popular patterns, Prairie Rose.

Prairie Rose

Prairie Rose

Another pattern that has proven popular is A Country Wedding. This was one of my first ever published patterns in Australian Patchwork and Quilting (Vol 20, No 7).

A Country Wedding

A Country Wedding

Soon after it was published I was contacted by two quilters in Western Australia requesting permission to enter the quilt into competition. I was delighted to give the permission although it wasn’t strictly required. By publishing a pattern you are giving permission for it to be made and for it to go into competition, the only requirement being that I am credited as the designer and for them not to pass it off as their own work.

I heard from one of the quilters later that their version of it has won a first at a quilting competition and I was delighted for them. Certainly the design left plenty of room to do some fabulous quilting which is exactly what I did. Unfortunately the photo doesn’t do it justice – there are big feathered wreaths and cross hatched heirloom designs.

A short while later I was contacted from the US by Gail Smith. She also requested permission to enter the quilt in competition but this was altogether a different kettle of fish, she wished to enter it in Lancaster and Paducah! I again unhesitatingly provided the permission and asked to be kept in formed of its success. Gail very kindly sent photos and promised to keep in contact.

Wreath of Roses by Gail Smith

Wreath of Roses by Gail Smith


Wreath of Roses Close Up (2)

I was so incredibly proud, as proud as a parent who’s child has graduated from High School. A design of mine was going to Lancaster and Paducah. I couldn’t believe it.

Gail and I have been corresponding ever since with information on how it did at various shows. It didn’t get a ribbon at Lancaster nor at Paducah but it got a third place at AQS in Grand Rapids. Later that year it won a first at the Madison Wisconsin Quilt Expo and another first at Machine Quilting Today. Gail’s quilter, Pat Berry, did an amazing job of quilting Gail’s version of the quilt which she called Wreath of Roses.

After those two firsts, it then appeared in magazines and has been accepted to be part of the exhibit “Traditional Treasures” at the Houston International Quilt Festival this year. You cannot imagine how proud I am and how delighted I am for Gail to do so well with that quilt.

I asked Gail to list the prizes Wreath of Roses won and it’s a great list:

Prairie Heritage Quilt Show, Sun Prairie, WI 2013 – 1st place

Shipshewana, IN  2013 show, exhibited

Machine Quilting Today, Upper Midwest, 2013 – 2nd place, applique division

AQS Grand Rapids, 2013 – 3rd place wall quilts

Quilt Expo, Madison, WI, 2013 – 1st place

Road to CA show, 2014, exhibited

Featured in Machine Quilting Unlimited Magazine, June 2014

Quilts, Inc. “Traditional Treasures” exhibit 2014

Mancuso World Quilt – New England 2014 – Honorable Mention

A Country Wedding clearly has touched quite a few people, some of them very dear to me. Jo Ann and Bill are the parents of one of my closest friends, Lynn Ann, and a couple of years ago it was their 50th Wedding Anniversary. Jo Ann just loved A Country Wedding and for their 50th I was going to make a version of it for them. Marcus and I discussed it and we came to the decision that what we’d rather do is give them the original quilt. It had been written up, published and photographed and they loved the original so we that’s what we did, we gave them the original and it now lives in Canada. I understand that it has been framed and hung in their bedroom and is a constant delight to them.

My quilting journey never fails to astonish me and humble me. I learn so much from my students, they way they interpret my patterns and their colour choices. When my patterns are published it amazes me that quilters round the world want to make my quilts and enter them into competitions and that my designs win ribbons and that the gift of a quilt can touch those that receive it. I love what I do and I love the fact that it reaches out and touches others. As a legacy that is pretty special.