A very wise man (my Pop), once taught me; “Life is a wheel that constantly turns. Opportunities come along and it is up to you whether you jump up and grab them or sit back and wait for them come around again”. ………and then Pop always added, “remember, it might be too late when it comes back. ”
So when I picked up a flyer from Linda Collins at the Melbourne Quilt and Craft Fair back in June, which advertised the opportunity to do a workshop with Brenda Papadakis of Dear Jane fame, I knew it was an opportunity I had to jump up and grab.
On Sunday evening I set off, making the journey to Melbourne and on to Wonga Park. After a comfy nights sleep in a huge bed, and a breakfast which included orange juice (such a treat to have orange juice for breakfast…one of the luxuries a large family don’t often indulge in) it was off to Linda’s Barn.
And there I met Brenda Papadakis. To be honest, it is a little daunting meeting famous people. What do you say? Do you talk first or wait to be spoken to? What will they be like? Will they be aloof? If Brenda was, who could blame her …… for years she has had women telling her how wonderful and amazing she is, but I was hoping she would be warm, friendly, and willing to share her many skills. And that, she totally was.
The class we were partaking in was on back basting appliqué, and the project was called Gracie's Garden.
Back basting applique is a technique I have never seen before, yet alone done. Brenda guided us through the technique, giving us lots of tips and showing us some of her current projects, which included the Benjamin Biggs quilt. As Brenda says (in her lovely American voice)…. “a quilter needs a few tricks in her bag….and appliqué is one of those tricks”. Back basting applique is a great technique for obtaining the perfect placement of applique elements and I am sure I will be using it more in my future work.
It was not just great to learn this new technique, but sitting in the lovely barn, listening to Brenda talk about her life, her travels and her quilts, made it a perfect experience. Each day we had a show and tell session,
This is Margaret's Dear Jane quilt. Hand pieced and hand quited it was an absolute delight to view in the flesh.
This is Janene's Dear Jane, the red sashings really adding another pop of colour.
Brenda was so delighted to see these quilts, and very humbled. She must see hundreds each year, but I am sure each one holds a special place in her heart. These ladies had the special opportunity for Brenda to sign their quilts.
We were also able to admire the raffle quilt for Quilt's in the Barn 2014.
This beautiful quilt has been made and donated by Jenny Bear and machine quilted by Helen Hayes. It will be drawn on October 12, the last of the three day event hosted each year by Linda Collins for Breast Cancer Research. I am keeping my fingers and toes crossed that either my name or one of my daughters is drawn!
It was a lovely two days. Linda Collins and her helpers Meredithe and Glenda were the most generous hosts. From goody bags to delicious food, from lovely show and tell each day, to Linda even opening the doors to her house and showing us her Great Wall of Quilts. It was quite sad having to say good-bye and wave farewell to two days of absolute pleasure. Many thanks to Linda for organizing such a fantastic event, and the deepest thank you to Brenda Papadakis for making the long journey out to Australia to be with us and share her amazing talent. I am so glad I grabbed the opportunity.
(Brenda and Linda)
And was I inspired to make a Dear Jane? Yes, but not be for a while, although I did ask Brenda to sign some background fabric for when I do start. As Brenda says, Dear Jane does eventually find you.