Just over a week ago my feet hurt, my brain hurt, my wallet hurt a little bit to.
This is my fourth year making the pilgrimage to Sydney, which is about an hour and a half by train from where I live. The Sydney Craft & Quilt Fair combines a quilt show organised by the Quilters’ Guild of NSW, with over 400 quilts on display, as well as hands on workshops, seminars, textile displays, guest artists and 2 huge halls of stalls.
The first year it was all about beads for me as that was my hobby at the time, and maybe a few costume trims. The second year I was getting into sewing but missed out on pretty much every workshop I wanted to try (didn’t get in early enough, silly girl).
Last year was all about trying new things, I’d planned out all the workshops I wanted to take and was there when the doors opened with a map of where I had to go to register. I learned English Paper Pieceing, Felt Appliqué and made a small mirror wallet on a Bernina sewing machine to try one out as I was considering upgrading.
This year I wanted to see the quilts. I’d wandered through the quilt show the year before but really just skimmed through a few aisles, maybe paused in front of a few quilts with bright colours but I couldn’t really appreciate them. This time I stopped, I looked at the overall quilt, I looked closely at the piecing and quilting, I read the makers story, and I could appreciate all the work that went into each quilt, whether it was to my taste or used my favourite techniques, or not.
Believe me when I say, the quilts were amazing! Some were ginormous (including this rainbow stunner by the Sydney Modern Quilt Guild), many had tiny, itty, bitty pieces, a few we’re blinged out with beads or Swarovski crystals. I saw at least 2 of the Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt Easy Street and while the show is predominantly more traditional it was great to see some classic styles made in bright colours (Kaffe Fasset was popular) and a handful of more modern quilts as well.
I can’t share photos of all my favourite quilts, photography was only allowed for personal use and not to be put online without permission, so I’ll respect that. Luckily a day or two after the show I saw one of my favourite quilts pop up on twitter, I found the maker who has very graciously let me share it here, thanks Jenn! The colours, the quilting, the scrappy binding… this quilt was just a breath of fresh air.
Honestly, after maybe 50-100 quilts I think my brain was so full of inspiration I don’t think I took much more in, I didn’t even get around to see all the quilts. I think next year I might split up my trip over 2 days so that I can take my time looking through the quilts and also get to some workshops and look around the stalls.
If you haven’t been before I’d highly recommend going, the Fair takes place in capitals around Australia throughout the year, though I’d assume the quilt show portion is put on by different local groups in each state. Take your time, enjoy the quilts, make a shopping list and try to stick to it. Check out my next post – Part 2: The Loot (coming soon) (finally here!) – to see what was on my list (and what wasn’t).