Quilt Show from the Girls Down Under


Last week I had the best treat! Two of my favorite local quilt shops (American Quilting and Thimbles and Threads) teamed up to bring two of my favorite Aussie quilters, Sue Daley and Jen Kingwell, to Utah for classes and a team trunk show.


These two are both so talented, so willing to share, and so inspiring. Both shared their stories – how they began quilting and the journey they’ve been on to get where they are. I snapped a few pictures at the trunk show and thought it would be fun to share a taste of what they shared with us. Both of these women focus on amazing hand-work – specifically piecing together intricate quilts by hand.

sue-daley-trunk-showSue Daley is an English Paper Piecing Jedi Master. Seriously – I’ve never seen such incredibly intricate and creative uses of paper piecing – and yet, she totally helps you see that anyone can do it.


Here’s one of her latest patterns – Quatro Color – the paper-piecing itself is amazing but it’s the color and fabric placement that makes this quilt spectacular. This one is pieced from her recent collection Bittersweet for Riley Blake designs. (Quilt pattern + template and paper-piecing papers for this quilt are available here.) Bittersweet fabric is available here.


Check out all those amazing, tiny clamshells!


These two quilts are Sue’s latest and on their way with her to Quilt Market in Houston next week.  They also feature fabric from her upcoming fabric line for Riley Blake. Look at how well the fussy-cut fabrics show off in this paper-pieced octagon pattern!


Here’s a better shot of the one on the right. Check out that gorgeous applique and quilting too. I should have written down the name of both the pattern and the fabric. I’ll update both as they’re posted on Sue’s site after Market.


Here’s one more close-up of Sue’s english-paper-piecing genius. And again with the fussy-cut fabric! She showed this same design in multiple sizes (see far back of photo for smaller version.) Just inspiring. Sue has lots of helpful tips and techniques for english paper piecing as well as applique (including videos) on her site.


Jen Kingwell followed Sue, sharing her quilts and story. Jen has some truly iconic quilts and it was so fun to watch each one make an appearance in her trunk show.


This is Jen’s Bring Me Flowers quilt that started out as a block of the month.


Another one of Jen’s popular quilt patterns, Gypsy Wife.

 Hexie Kisses. The fabrics and colors in this one make my heart happy.


Detailed shot of the wildly popular quilt, My Small World.  So fun to see it close up.


Love the wild color and fabric choices in the Glitter quilt (or “Glittah” as pronounced in Australian) from Jen’s book Quilt Lovely.


This quilt is called A Wild Ride. I am just smitten with all of Jen’s work – a big factor in that is not only her unique patterns, but the way she plays with fabric. I’ve always been a big fan of wild, scrappy quilts and Jen has that art form perfected.

I captured just a little of her answering a question about how she chooses fabric. I was so glad Briawna asked because I think that’s the burning question all Jen Kingwell fans have!


Last winter I got to take a class from Jen at Winter Quiltfest making her Steam Punk pattern. This was my first favorite pattern of Jen’s, but I’m always a little intimidated by curves, so I was thrilled when I got the chance to learn from her! I’ve finally been making more blocks here and there and I’m loving how they’re turning out!

I’ve been trying to push myself out of my regular fabric-choice-comfort-zone, follow Jen’s lead and make my blocks as funky and eclectic as I can. Each one is like a mini-quilt with different color and fabric combinations.

To help with this I’ve been using fabrics from the Amite Stash Club – they are such a funky, eclectic mix – things that I would never traditionally mix together. Such a good nudge for me!


I’ve also been pulling from a Moda Layercake of Jen’s newest fabric line, Moving On Lawns.  These are printed on lawn fabric making them light and silky smooth. Again, colors outside my normal range giving me a push. (Moving On Lawns available from the I Love Fabric, Green Fairy Quilts and the Fat Quarter Shop.)


These lawns are a dream to sew with. This was my smoothest block pieced so far and the lawns seemed to be extra-cooperative working with those curves.


I’m also breaking open and requisitioning this fat quarter bundle of Behind the Scenes I just bought for active duty in this quilt. So many great low-volume prints in that collection. You can find Behind the Scenes at Lady Belle Fabrics, Westwood Acres, Green Fairy Quilts, and the Fat Quarter Shop.


Not only is this quilt pushing me outside my color-palette comfort zone, but I’m also pushing myself technique-wise as well. Curves have always felt a little bit daunting to me. (Partly because I’m usually piecing quickly. I have to slow down a little with these guys.) I’m using Jen’s acrylic templates to cut my pieces.  I cut about 5 blocks-worth at a time and then gradually sew a block each time I’ve got a few extra minutes at my sewing machine. Gradually, I’ll make enough to make the quilt over time. Or that’s the hope at least.


Feels good to try new things and do some deliberate slow-stitching every so often. Such a treat to be inspired by these two talented and generous women.  I hope this post gave you a little bit of the flavor of the experience. And if you’re ever close and get the chance to hear them speak or take a class from one of them, I can’t recommend it highly enough!

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  • Reply
    Judy Hudgins
    October 19, 2016 at 5:31 am

    I have a couple of Jen’s patterns in my ‘to-do’ pile and you are really tempting me to move them forward!

  • Reply
    Karen Goad
    October 19, 2016 at 5:37 am

    so enjoyed the post – being someone who does a lot of work by hand it is always so nice to see the work of others who do not depend on a sewing machine!! thanks

  • Reply
    October 19, 2016 at 7:57 am

    Thanks for sharing this. Color is the first thing that inspires me in almost anything and I think their color sense is part of what draws me to their work, but then the unique designs really grab my attention. I think you are doing a great job of stretching your palette in those blocks you’re slowly working on. Look forward to seeing this continue to evolve and grow.

  • Reply
    Brenda Irwin
    October 19, 2016 at 9:22 am

    Thank you so much, I really enjoyed seeing the Aussie quilts

  • Reply
    October 19, 2016 at 9:30 am

    Thanky for sharing this with us. I am using Sue Daleys Paperpieces, because they are the best, although I guess my handsewn EPP Quilt wie take forever. I always wonder how to fuzzy cut for such small pieces and keep the overall design in mind while doing this. The highly popular Passagiati (?) Quilt would really be nice to make (with four less kids around ;)) But this would only work, I was able to fuzzy cut. I like both Designers and am always jealous which oppertunities you have as a quilter in the USA. Meeting people, shopping easily, meeting Designers Quiltshows and so on 🙂

  • Reply
    October 19, 2016 at 9:49 am

    It’s cool to see your growth outside your comfort zone as a “traditional” quilter!

  • Reply
    October 19, 2016 at 8:46 pm

    I was working one on of her patterns and need to get back to it. These quilts are gorgeous.

  • Reply
    October 19, 2016 at 11:27 pm

    I really enjoy your newsletters! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    October 20, 2016 at 1:10 am

    I really enjoyed reading your post. Your Steam Punk blocks are beautiful!! Sue Daley and Jen Kingwell are incredibly talented quilters and their quilts are breathtaking!! I truly admire their work. Their hand piecing and quilting is beyond amazing! Thank you for sharing your experience.

  • Reply
    A. Bouwman
    October 20, 2016 at 2:04 am

    I would love a truck show from Jen Kingwell, I love her design and patterns. I have had workshops from Sue Daley and learned a lot. So I can imagine you loved it. And i like the blocks you are making for the steam punk quilt. Greetings

  • Reply
    Jo Avery
    October 20, 2016 at 2:38 am

    Thanks so much for sharing this Amy, I am just in awe of both of them, especially knowing how it’s nearly all hand work!

  • Reply
    pat sloan
    October 20, 2016 at 6:34 am

    how lucky you are!! i hope to hear them someday… next best thing is seeing them at market!

  • Reply
    October 20, 2016 at 6:39 am

    I really enjoyed this show of Jen and Sue. They are very talented
    Thank you for sharing. You dove right in, that is inspiring

  • Reply
    Karen Seitz
    October 20, 2016 at 7:13 am

    Your Steam Punk blocks are looking great! Thanks for sharing these amazing quilts and quilters.

  • Reply
    October 25, 2016 at 10:13 am

    Thanks for the resources! That is fantastic that you got to see these ladies and the inspiration of their quilting. How fabulous. Thanks for passing on the inspiration!

  • Reply
    Matka Silk
    November 2, 2016 at 6:10 am

    The colors, materials and designs are all very soothing and beautiful.

  • Reply
    Linda Wagman
    May 29, 2018 at 2:37 pm

    I’m taking a break from hand scrubbing my painted concrete porch. It’s 90 degrees iuoutsi, I came in to grab a sandwich and checked my news feed. I love when your blog pops up!

  • Reply
    EV Schow
    March 24, 2019 at 9:23 pm

    I met you in Logan at a quilt retreat where u were teaching classes. I came to see Ken Kingwell but after seeing your trunk show, I went home & ordered your book. Simple quilts are the best because you feel that you can actually use them instead of just looking at them. Good job in becoming a successful quilt designer/teacher & congratulations on 10 years of blogging!

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