The Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne - a beautiful venue for the quilt expo
I took a special interest in the quilting, getting up very close to see how the experts do it. The full gamut of styles were represented, domestic machine, longarm, computer and hand quilting (superb), traditional, free-form, ditch, echo and more which I don't have names for. By far the most popular (by my own personal viewings) was free-form.
As for the designs, art quilts and pictorial quilts seemed to be really popular, but there were plenty of traditional quilts as well. Lots of applique, embroidery and embellishments featured. I spent quite a bit of time looking at the antique quilts on display and also at the displays featuring the work of Gloria Loughman and Kim McLean - all of them breathtaking!
I took a lot of photos, but out of respect for the quilt owners, I won't post them here as I don't have permission to do so. Many of them can be seen on the website http://www.aqc.com.au/ The winner, I am proud to say is Tasmanian Marlene King.
My hunt for products was not altogether successful, but I still managed to do my share of shopping! My most focused hunt was for stencils but these proved to be elusive. I asked at several trader stalls and got the same answer from most of them - "we no longer stock these as most quilters prefer to do free-form quilting or have their quilts sent out for professional quilting". A few still carried stencils but in a very limited range and didn't bring them along to the show. I did finally track some down - Punch with Judy had a nice range of stencils and I purchased about a dozen different designs. Funnily enough, I had to fight for these as the stencil range proved very popular and was crowded with shoppers. Of those I bought, most are too advanced for me, but I grabbed them anyway to put away for further down the track. I also picked up a stencil cutter and flexi-ruler, so I can make my own at some stage.
I also picked up some marking crayons which I've not tried before
Battings, pencils and threads at the show were pretty much the same as I can buy right here in Hobart. Battings in particular were in very short supply with few to be found amongst the stalls. I am guessing the reason for this is lack of space, as many traders said, they are quite limited in what they can bring simply due the small size of the stalls.
Fabric of course was everywhere, visitors to the show could pretty much buy any fabric, pattern, kit or panels they desired. I indulged a little, picking up some hand-blocked Indian print cottons and some fat quarters in shades of grey and taupe, which for some reason are very hard to find here - I suppose grey is not a very pretty colour but I wanted some for blending.
You can see the many places where I would just stop in confusion, also veering off into straight lines, random loops, backtracking and changing sizes.