Some months ago I read in Quilter’s Companion magazine that the Quilter’s Guild of NSW were running an Under 35s Quilt Competition. Being more than a little over 35 myself, I mentioned it to Clare. She was keen, and after reading the requirements and theme of “How Does Your Garden Grow” she started a concept drawing.
Then I let her loose on my stash! Clare chose all the fabrics for her project herself, and I was impressed with her appreciation for value, shade, scale and pattern. She started by piecing the background. I gave some minor assistance with the rotary cutter and the iron (although she rapidly took over the ironing) but that was all – absolutely every other stitch and decision related to this quilt is Clare’s.
Once the background was done, it was time for the applique. She started off by cutting out shapes in paper and arranging them, before moving on to cutting and fusing the shapes in fabric.
Clare did what many of us do as they are making a quilt and allowed it to evolve and vary from her original design as she worked. There are elements that she left out, and others that she added. She drew all the shapes free hand, including the fruits. Pretty good for a nine year old! Then before we knew it the applique was done, the quilt sandwich made, and Clare quilted around the appliqued shapes close to the raw edges to give them more definition.
She quilted long diagonal rows through the background, like the rows that you plant in the garden. A number of binding fabrics were auditioned before she decided on a stripe.
A hanging sleeve was added to the back and the final touch was a label that Clare carefully wrote and hand-stitched into place. Ta-da – Clare’s first ever quilt! And just in time too!
She named it “Ripe and Blooming”. Clare says “I’m really proud of myself. At first I was taking it slowly then I found there was no time left! I did the last few things quickly but also being careful.”
I’m really proud of her too! Clare has been to many quilt exhibitions with me over the years, and has watched me quilting and listened to my mum and I talk quilts. It’s amazing how much information is absorbed! I did give suggestions and guidance throughout the process, but Clare was fairly definite about what suggestions she was interested in or not and mainly used her own common sense. The competition quilts will be on display this Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10-4 at The Newington Gallery, Newington College, 221-235 Stanmore Road, Stanmore, New South Wales. If any of my blog readers are planning on going I’d love to see a photo of Clare’s quilt in situ! The winners of each section (Primary, Secondary, 18-24 and 25-34) will be announced on Saturday. Fingers crossed for Clare – but whether she wins anything or not, she’s definitely a winner with designing, planning, cutting, piecing, sewing, quilting, and binding this wonderful quilt all on her own at age nine!