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Young Quilters Success

For the second year running, the same group of girls from our region have won a prize at the Festival of Quilts. This year, Wizarding Magic, a piece created by GillyMac Designs Senior Sewing Group came runner up in the Secondary Schools category. 

The Senior Sewing group is an after school group that contains four 14 year old girls, who have been sewing together for a few years now. 

The journey involved in putting a piece together for the Festival of Quilts (FoQ) or any event is not hard, and as Young Quilters Representative for our Region, I thought you may like to know how the girls came to put together Wizarding Magic as well as the two other quilts we submitted this year to the Festival. I want to encourage our growing number of Young Quilters to ‘have a go’. 

Often when entering a competition, there will be a theme to work around. Last year for the children’s categories at the FoQ it was ‘In My Garden’ and my Senior Sewing Group created a large pixilated image of a Sunflower. 

This year the theme was ‘Patchwork Magic’ and I had three young sewing groups all very eager to take part – and win! Coming up with one great idea is hard, two is really tough and three is a hideously hard job. However this can be made so much easier by asking friends for their ideas, googling images of the topic and finally simply closing your eyes and allowing your mind, uninterrupted to come up with some images. I find the Young Quilters have fairly firm ideas of what they want to do and normally all there is to add is some help with the techniques to be used to make it happen! 

For Wizarding Magic, we started off with a drawing of a Wizard. Anything ‘Magic’ made us immediately think about Harry Potter and Wizards. So we had our central character right there ! We knew that all wizards had owls (of course) and we wanted to incorporate the iconic black cat. Our wizard, like all wizards, didn’t walk about in daytime, so he would be a wizard at night, holding an owl, with a moon in the background. Simple ! In reality it is never that simple. We had loads of ideas some were great, many were rubbish and there was lots of discussion before we started as to the things we thought we’d like to do. 

For my Junior Sewing Bee, we had seen designs by a lady in Devon, Jacqui Bignall of FlapDoodle Designs, who drew amazing fairies and so we asked her to draw one for us and she accepted the challenge. For the Saturday Sewing group, we wanted to stick with a Wizard, but focus on his hat (like a ‘Sorting Hat’, for those of you who are Harry Potter fans) and so we looked at many images of hats before we came back to one of the first we had seen and settled on that. 

Finding the right design is all part of the fun. It doesn’t happen quickly, but for me it is as enjoyable as the sewing! 

When we started turning the design into a sewn piece we knew from last years’ experience that the judges like there to be many elements to the design. The categories we would be judged on would be 

1. Design Construction (theme, originality, composition, colour and choice and suitability of materials) 

2. Workmanship (handling of materials and finishing) 

3. Quilting Surface Decoration (appropriate use of embellishment and technique) 

For one evening a week for 6 weeks the girls divided up the tasks and built their designs. Joe Bennison supported the teams with showing them how to Long Arm Quilt and with that help and with lots of tie dying, beading and embellishing we were finished and the quilts were sent off to the event organisers with their labels and tags on. 

Once the quilts are returned after the event you will get your feedback whether or not you have won a prize or not. My experience is that the judging is really fair and the points they make are great tips for areas to work on and progress your sewing as an individual or team. Even though not everybody can win. All the Young Quilters worked really hard and their work will be shown again by the guild in the coming year. 

So next year why not have a go either as a group or as an individual? The competition forms are already available for Malvern and Sandown next Spring and Sumer via the Grosvenor Shows website. 

If you are a Young Quilter in Region 6 you can always contact me for help with any elements of your work and more importantly I would just love to see what you are up to! 

Contact Gill Towell via: mail@gillymacdesigns.com