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Kathy Wylie wins 'Handi Quilter Best in Competition' at The Festival of Quilts

Posted by Rachel Westall on 4 August 2020

Canadian quilter Kathy Wylie has won The Handi Quilter Best in Competition Award at The Festival of Quilts Virtual Competition for her traditional quilt, For Such a Time as This. The largely cotton quilt features turned-edge applique, hand embroidery, cut-away trapunto, domestic machine quilting and hand-tied scalloped edge. It was inspired by the theme of time.

Judges called the winning quilt: “A captivating quilt with exquisite detail, a masterpiece of design, colour and workmanship. This dramatic quilt has excellent proportions and meticulous design and stood out for its showcase of techniques. We can't wait to see it in person!”
The quilter won £1,500 in prize money thanks to sponsor Handi Quilter at an online awards ceremony screened live today on The Festival of Quilts' Facebook page.

The Festival of Quilts was due to take place on 30th July - 2nd August 2020 at the NEC Birmingham but has been postponed until 29 July – 1 August 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Virtual Competition attracted 655 entries. Submissions were made online with judges using entrants’ high quality photography of whole quilts and quilt detail to make their decisions.

Winners of The Festival of Quilts’ 2020 Virtual Competition were:
Art Quilts (sponsored by Aurifil) - Jean McLean, Bushfire Aftermath
Judges said: “The quilt communicates a moving and powerful message. It is a beautifully balanced depiction of a dramatic scene. The materials have been very skilfully chosen to convey a sense of calm and desolation after a catastrophe with excellent use of white, black and grey colour values.”

Contemporary Quilts (sponsored by Janome) - Olga Bocharova, Refraction. Study of selvages
Judges said: “We felt that this quilt was a perfect contemporary interpretation of a traditional strippy block. The maker has also included the recycling element that epitomises quilt tradition, but with a contemporary twist. The fresh use of colour combined with the texture created by the words and prints on the selvages gives energy and depth to the overall design.”

Group Quilts (sponsored by Bombay Stores) - Sewing @ the Sea, Dancing Towers
Judges said: “We admired the sensitive rendering of iconic buildings and the way the unusual perspective was translated into a coherent design. The sense of movement was complemented by the dynamic flowing lines of the quilting pattern.”

Miniature Quilts (sponsored by Babylock) - Sandra Newton, Thank You for Stitching
Judges said the quilt was: “Complex and original with an apposite message and immaculate construction - looks like a full quilt too.”

Modern Quilts (sponsored by Pfaff) - Debbie Grifka, Notre Dame
Judges called the entry: “A beautifully minimalistic design demonstrating a superb understanding of the scale of the work. Echo quilting brings the piece to life.”

Novice Quilts (sponsored by The Cotton Patch) - Makiko Endo, Makiko’s Sampler Quilt
Judges said the entry was: “A technically exquisite piece of cotton and linen work and an exceptional traditional quilt, which any novice would be proud to have made. There are a wide range of techniques, including embroidery and yo-yos, which showcase a lot of different skills. We liked the balanced use of colour and textures used to evoke lovely floral imagery.”

Pictorial Quilts (sponsored by Juki) - Lise Belanger, The Tree of Life and The Four Elements
Judges’ comments were: “A stunning fantasy depiction of the tree of life, twisting colourfully upwards and rejoicing in the four elements of our created world.”

Quilt Creations (sponsored by Empress Mills) - Linda Blust, Desire
Judges said: “This is a sculptural, 3D piece which looks stunning from all angles. It is an uplifting item with its organic, lively colours adding to the dynamic of a rising phoenix taking off towards the hot orange/red sun. There is striking detail, beautifully executed, which invites the viewer to look more closely. A clear winner and thank you for bringing this piece ‘alive’ for the viewer.”

The 2020 Quilters’ Guild Challenge with the theme: The Threads that Bind (sponsored by Bernina) - Janet Bottomley, Covid 19 - The Virus That Hijacked 2020
Judges said the quilt had: “an excellent, well thought-out theme. The font size and style are well chosen and well balanced. The quilt is well made and finished.”

Traditional Quilts (sponsored by The Grace Company) - Giulia Molon, Cristallo
Judges called the entry: “A beautiful quilt with superb piecing and excellent visual impact.”

Two Person Quilts (sponsored by The Craft Cotton Company) - Stephanie Ruyle & Christine Perrigo, Bubble Wrap
Judges said: “This is a quilt that pulls you in to investigate further. How apt the name, perfectly chosen to go with the theme of bubbles, whole and burst with the explosion of shards and pieces within the burst bubbles. A perfect collaboration between piecer and quilter makes this an outstanding quilt. Skilfully chosen and executed quilting designs combined with perfect piecing and colour choices elevated this quilt to a clear winner.”

Young Quilter/Embroiderer aged 5-9 years (sponsored by Brother) with the theme: Reuse, Reduce, Recycle, Rethink - Miriam Spence, Protect Our Planet and Save Our Turtles
Judges said: “This piece gives a clear message about the planet’s vulnerability. There is wonderful use of recycled materials throughout, with the turtle shells and border and the block printed and dyed background. The turtles are in good proportion to each other and the colours are eye catching. The quilting demonstrates good control and is appropriate and complementary to the overall design.”

Young Quilter/Embroiderer aged 10-13 years ( (sponsored by Brother) - Bethan Pollard, Rethinking our World
Judges said: “The message has been created in a simple but effective way with its cartoonist impressions. The piece displays a clear ‘Rethink’ word, which catches the viewers’ attention in a ‘Stop in your tracks!’ way, inviting them to look at the detail and take in the message of reduce, reuse, and recycle. The use of the recycled materials in the well-worked triangles of the surround are not easy to work with, but they have been handled effectively. There is good division and proportion of the message within the overall design.”

Schools and Groups of Young Quilters (sponsored by Brother) - Children at Kingsway Junior School, Reduce, reuse, recyle, rethink
Judges said: “These makers have taken on board 100% the theme of reduce, reuse, recycle and rethink, with highly creative use of found objects within the design. The creative use of plastic and finger work to represent the nets and the effective use of wrapped wood sticks to convey a boat is original thinking. The variety of mixed media used in this naive piece certainly delivers the message.”

Winners of The Festival of Quilts Virtual Competition were announced by quilt designer and maker Stuart Hillard. Adult category winners were awarded £500 in prize money and Young Quilters won £150 each.
Anna Baptiste, event director for The Festival of Quilts, said: “The annual competition is a unique showcase for quilters’ talent and skills, so when it became clear that we had no choice but to postpone this year’s Festival, we wanted to make sure that the competition could still happen. We know how much Festival visitors will miss seeing entries in person, but the Virtual Competition’s online gallery means that no-one needs miss out. We've been absolutely blown away by the number and quality of entries submitted and we thank the quilting community for their support during these challenging times. Huge thanks also to the judges who reviewed over 2,600 images to decide our worthy winners.”

All information is correct at the time of writing.

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