Last week I had a wonderful day out with a dear friend to attend the Quilt and Craft Fair.  I learnt a lot of interesting tips about quilting as you go and after months of knitting little cardigans for a few new babies in the family I am hankering after my fabric stash to try the process myself.

I do love making quilts. My favourite bit (apart from the obvious joy of fabric shopping!) is the designing and sewing together of the quilt top.  When it comes to the actual quilting the layers (quilt top, wadding and backing) together part, I must admit my enthusiasm starts to wane somewhat and I start dreaming fondly of what my next creative project will be.

So to discover a way to make a quilt that does not end with that tedious job is wonderful.  Quilting each block separately and then joining all the previously quilted blocks together makes so much sense. I am definitely going to give it a try on my next quilt creation.

The woman who imparted this wisdom is an Australian lady called Pauline.  Quilting is her passion and it was inspiring to listen to her and learn all her tricks of the trade.  What I found even more inspiring though, was to hear how she has taken her passion for quilting and made a business from it. She is an extremely savvy businesswoman who has created a lifestyle for herself doing what she loves.  Pauline spends every year from January to December travelling all over the world teaching people quilting techniques. Pauline even holds a quilting retreat in Bali each August.  She  has also designed a range of ingenious products that she sells in her online store.  I think she would be a perfect entrepreneur to interview for a feature in the Conversations section of Cupcakes & Bunting’s website.  Don’t you agree?  (Perhaps I should go to Bali and interview her there!)

There was a great selection of exhibited quilts at the fair.  I was snapping away with my camera so I could share some with you all.

This beautiful hexagon quilt entitled My Flower Garden was created by Judy Grey. It took her 500 hours to hand piece and hand quilt. A lot of her friends kindly donated fabric so she could do every hexagon in a different fabric! She is now hooked on hexagons of all sizes. For quite a while I have been thinking about working with hexagons. I’m not sure I have the required patience for a quilt of this size though. A cushion perhaps?

Carol Bennett exhibited this wonderful quilt called That Town and Country Quilt. Block of the Month quilting projects are quite popular but this is a Block of the Day project from The Gourmet Quilter. Imagine making one little square every day to add to an ongoing project worked over a year. How lovely it is.  I took a lot of photos because I was charmed by so many of the little 4 inch finished squares. Two hundred and fifty five of them so far and all with such variety, detail and whimsy.  I just loved it.

There were some wonderful examples of stitchery and embroidery on display too. This gorgeous feather was completely hand stitched on dark linen fabric. The tiny crosses added a nice contrast to the straighter lines of the feather as you can see in the close-up photo.  Unfortunately I don’t have details of who made this feather, or the following pieces that were part of the Medieval exhibition. But they are still lovely to look at, so I hope you will forgive me for not having that information for you.

Stitched Together, a textile art group from Queensland, Australia had exhibited some wall hangings with the theme of ‘Our Wishes for the World’.

This one created by Merody Buglar was entitled Forest Gems.

It was made from regenerated tea bags, dyed and machine stitched onto a woollen cloth backing before being hand quilted.

This is what Merody had to say about the inspiration for her quilt.

‘Mining is a major cause of deforestation. Don’t destroy the forests in search of jewels and treasures, gold and gems. The treasures are already there, if only we’d look!  My quilt looks at the colours of the forest – the filtered sunlight, the insect wings, the bird feathers, the moss, the flowers, the trees and the bark – all waiting patiently to be seen.’

Christine Jones entitled her piece As You Sow.  This is what Christine had to say about her inspiration.

‘Sow seeds, nurture them and there will be a full harvest – food and social wellbeing. An entire community will benefit from practical (sowing actual seeds/providing practical projects) and spiritual (sowing ‘seeds of hope’) – whether it is in the poorest areas of the world or in the richest.’

The Creative Fibre group were there with a set up of loom, spinning wheels and some lovely examples of their work, including one of our own Cupcakes & Bunting community Mieke Smit from Dreamstitch.  If you aren’t familiar with Mieke and her beautiful felted creations you can read the conversation that I had with her right here.

Here are a few photos of some of what Mieke had on display.  A unicorn with rider, a mermaid and my favourite of all, the toadstool house.  The lid lifts off for easy play access and it even has a wee letterbox for the resident’s mail.

These last few photos feature one of my favourite fabric ranges, Tilda. Isn’t that tea shoppe the sweetest thing?

My friend and I had such a lovely day out at the Quilt and Craft Fair.  I hope you have enjoyed a wee peek of some of the things we saw there. We came home full of inspiration. What have you found inspiration in lately? Let me know in the comments.