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NINE TO FIVE QUILTERS win The Handi Quilter Best in Show Award at The Festival of Quilts 2023

*Featured photo: Nine To Five – Antics At The Quilt Show


The Chester-based Nine to Five quilters have won The Handi Quilter Best in Show Award at The Festival of Quilts 2023 for their Group quilt, Antics at The Quilt Show. 

A visit to The Festival of Quilts in 2022 inspired group members to set themselves a challenge to produce a variety of miniature quilts featuring an imaginary character, Sunbonnet Sue, who rampages around the show causing mayhem as she goes. Fast forward to 2023 and Sunbonnet Sue is star of the show!

The judges said: “This group quilt draws you in with the fascination of the detailed individual mini quilts which show outstanding technical skill. Every quilter will relate to the words and actions of the delightful Sunbonnet Sue figures. We all know quilters like these.”

The group were awarded a £3,500 prize from sponsor, Handi Quilter, at The Festival of Quilts Awards Ceremony. Nine to Five members are Dilys Fronks, Sue Horder, Jenny Mann, Barbara Harrison and Marion Barlow.

The Festival of Quilts is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year and the annual Quilt Competition continues to promote and encourage all aspects of patchwork, quilting and appliqué. The competition attracts more than 700 entries every year, all of which are hung for public viewing. Competition categories cover a wide range of quilting styles for individual quilters, groups, schools and young people, with more than £35,000 in prize money awarded. In this very special anniversary year, visitors to The Festival of Quilts can enjoy a Winners’ Retrospective which features some memorable quilts from the Quilt Competition over the last 20 years.

Two exciting NEW competition categories were launched to mark the Festival’s special year – Sustainable Quilts, for quilts made with minimal negative environmental impact, and The Joy of Sharing, for quilters wanting their work to be seen but not judged. The winners of The Festival of Quilts 2023 Competition were:

Art Quilts (sponsored by Bernina) – Annie Henderson-Begg, Delirium

The judges said: “Thought provoking. Everyone can relate to the emotion behind the piece, as we all see family members going through similar challenges. The colours chosen reflect the sombre mood of the maker.”

Art Quilts Winner - Annie Henderson Begg

Contemporary Quilts (sponsored by Janome) – Linzi Upton, Help Ma Boab

The judges said: “We were unanimous in our agreement that this was a clear first place winner. A technically perfect, exquisite quilt with an abundance of techniques and lots of glitter.”

Winner - Contemporary Linzi Upton
2nd Place - Youn Kyung Song- CT70
3rd place Contemporary Angela Madden

Group Quilts (sponsored by Bombay Stores) – Comberton Quilters, Cottage Garden

The judges said: “A delightfully made quilt using a variety of techniques expertly executed. The group members have worked to a high standard. We loved discovering all the little details.”

1st Place- Group- Comberton Quilters (GR-27)
2nd Place - Group- UK Travelling Quilt Bee - (GR-31)
3rd GROUP Community Quilt Project

Miniature Quilts (sponsored by Babylock) – Kumiko Frydl, Paradise Alley

The judges said: “This is an example of texture, colour and composition to create a perfect miniature. An absolutely skilful piece of work that quite simply embodies perfection in the art of quilting.”

1st Place - Miniature - Kumiko Frdyl -MN09
2nd Prize - Miniature - Annedore Neumann (MN-18)
3rd Place - Miniature - Judith Lyons - MN15

Modern Quilts (sponsored by Schmetz) – Vendulka Battais, Balance

The judges said: “This beautifully constructed quilt delights the eye with its balanced structure and layers of depth.”

1st Place - Modern - Vendulka Battais - MD-09
2nd Place - Modern - Claire Wallace (MD-32)
3rd Place - Modern- Claire Wallace (MD-32)

Novice Quilts – Antari Foster, Eden

The judges said: “Excellent in all aspects. The quilting is executed in a masterful way. Impeccable appliqué and elegant border design.”

1st place - Novice - Antari Foster
1st place - Novice - Antari Foster
3rd place NOVICE Victoria Miller

Pictorial Quilts – Janneke de Vries-Bodzinga, Confusion

The judges said: “A stunning piece with fabulous use of colour. Dark at first sight but light spots are placed strategically, forcing the eye to follow the movement created. Excellent quilting design and execution adding visual texture, impressive and inspiring.”

1st Place - Pictorial - Janneke de Vries-Bodzinga - PT-14
2nd Place - Pictorial- Sallieann Harrison - PT12
3rd Place - Pictorial - Lindy Lodge - PT-23

Quilt Creations – Jenny Pudney, Indigo Yogi

The judges said: “The consideration of the whole design, inside and out, is exemplary. The extraordinary dying provides a strong visual impact. The wide range of techniques is enhanced by the complementary use of colours.”

1st Place - Quilt Creations - Jenny Pudney - QC-23
2nd Place - Quilt Creations - Pauline Barnes - QC-13
3rd Place - Quilt Creations - Jacquie Harvey - QC-08

NEW FOR 2023 Sustainable Quilts (sponsored by Madeira) – Russell Barratt, We Talk About Love, We Talk About Dishwasher Tablets

The judges said: “A masterpiece of sustainability. An adventurous use of materials illustrating a simple concept, executed with sophistication and humour. The quilting is sympathetic to the design and creates motion across the piece.”

1st place Sustainable Russell Barratt
2nd Place - Sustainable - Anna Zychora - Duda (ST-53)
3rd Prize - Sustainable -iQuilt Studios - John J. Cole-Morgan

The 2023 Quilters’ Guild Challenge (sponsored by The Quilters’ Guild), theme: ‘Express Yourself– Sheena Norquay, Couched Birds

The judges said: “This is an excellent interpretation of the theme. We were impressed by the level of creativity and quilting patterns. The difficulty level and the colour choice make it a winner.”

1st Place - Quilters Guild Challenge - Sheena Norquay (QG-23)
2nd Place - Quilters Guild Challenge - Vera Root (QG-19)
3rd Place - The Quilters’ Guild Challenge- Dilys Fronks- (QG-08)

Traditional Quilts (sponsored by Vlieseline) – Elena Smychenko, Carved Fairy Tale

The judges said: “An amazing quilt, inspired by childhood memories of the artist’s mother’s wooden box. We appreciate the subtle use of colour and thread to illustrate the sheen of the wood. The exquisite technical skills in piecing, quilting and embroidery are exemplary.”

1st Place - Traditional - Elena Symchenko - TD-42
3rd Place - Traditional - Gwenfai Rees Griffiths -TD-18
2nd place - Traditional Gwenfai Rees Griffiths

Two Person Quilts (sponsored by Make + Believe Fabrics) – Elizabeth Richard and Mary Mayne, Baltimore Variations

The judges said: “A beautifully presented design which has been well executed. The fabric colours and exquisite fussy cutting and appliqué create depth and enhance the feeling of this superb piece of work. The hand quilting is a perfect foil to the immaculate appliqué.”

1st Place- Two Person - Elizabeth Richardson and Mary Mayne
2nd Place - Two Person - Rosemary Muntus and Vendulka Battais
3rd Place - Two Person- Helen Brookham and Sandy Chandler

Young Quilter/Embroiderer aged 5-9 years (sponsored by Brother), theme: ‘My Future’, Eliza Watson, My Future
The judges said: “A really successful quilt with plenty to see. Well constructed, full of interest, and exciting use of embellishment.”

1st Place - Young Quilter (5-9 years)- Eliza Watson
2nd Place - Young Quilter (5-9 years) Amy Bulman - YQ-05
3rd Place - Young Quilter (5-9 Years) -Balthazar Battais - YQ-03

Young Quilter/Embroiderer aged 10-13 years (sponsored by Brother), theme: ‘My Future’, Dasha Hetun, What if …

The judges said: “Expert fabric choices to evoked ‘what if…’. Beautifully sewn and perfectly quilted enhancing the design. So much to see in this little piece of art.”

1st Place - Young Quilter (10-13 years)- Dasha Hetun - (YQ-14)
2nd Place - Young Quilter (10-13 years) Pheobe B - YQ25
3rd Place - Young Quilter (10-13 years) - Erica Graham - YQ23

Young Quilter/Embroiderer aged 14-18 years (sponsored by Brother), theme: ‘My Future’, Hannah Reynolds, Stay Weird

The judges said: “The well balanced size of appliqué and quilting keeps the eye moving. The sophisticated positioning of the images is outstanding, a stunning piece of work.”

1st place YQ 14-18 Hannah Reynolds
2nd place YQ 14-18, Clodagh Grimes
3rd place YQ 14-18 Nora Hegedus

Schools and Groups of Young Quilters (sponsored by Brother) – Primary Schools, theme: ‘My Future’, Belmont Grosvenor School Yr5/6, Harrogate, My Future

The judges said: “It was nice to meet the class! The combination of wishes for the future and textile skills is impressive. The quilting adds movement and pulls the quilt together to make a really successful overall design.”

Winner - Primary School - Belmont Grosvenor School

Schools and Groups of Young Quilters (sponsored by Brother) – Secondary Schools, theme: ‘My Future’, Atelier de Couture magique, Brussels, In praise of curiosity

The judges said: “This fabric book demonstrates the joy of creating with a wide range of fabrics, trims and techniques. The makers have clearly been inspired by these powerful women as is shown by the brilliant realisation of their ideas. It is a really successful collaborative work.”

Winner - Secondary School - Atelier de couture magique- Brussels - SC02

Overlay award winners were:

Excellence in Hand Quilting – Gwenfai Rees Griffiths, Harrismith

The judges said: “The beautiful hand quilting on this traditional quilt provided a perfect foil for both the appliqué and piecing. The variety of stitch gave an additional dimension.”

Winner - Excellence in Hand Quilting- Gwenfai Rees Griffiths

Excellence in Longarm Quilting (sponsored by Grace Company) – Rosemary Muntus & Vendulka Battais, Spring Dance

The judges said: “Spring Dance is a super example of excellence in longarm quilting. The overall design is striking, original and thought provoking. This printed wholecloth is cleverly executed, creating texture and movement. This has resulted in a quilt where the quilting becomes the focal point.”

Winner - Longarm - Rosemary Muntus AND Vendulka Battais

Excellence in Machine Quilting – Simone Steuxner, Lux Aurea/The Golden Light

The judges said: “This quilt shone out as an exquisite example of machine quilting virtuosity. The design and execution, particularly of the outer section, show a maker at the top of their game and we are delighted to recognise that with this award.”

Winner Machine Quilting - Gwenfai Rees Griffiths -TD-18

The Superior Threads Thread Mastery Award – Kumiko Frydl, Paradise Valley

The judges said: “Everything about this small piece embodies quality and precision. The mastery of the stitching is complex and balanced. The colouring of the background is subtle which enhances the whole. Excellent work.”

Winners of The Festival of Quilts 2023 Competition were announced by quilt designer and maker, Stuart Hillard, at The Festival of Quilts Awards Ceremony on Thursday 3rd August.

The winner of the Visitors’ Choice Award (sponsored by Gammill) will be announced at the end of August. For the first time, all competition quilts will be displayed on The Festival of Quilts website after the show for public voting. The winner will be announced at the end of August, with a prize of £500.

Winner Thread Mastery Kumiko Frdyl -MN09

Anna Baptiste, Event Director for The Festival of Quilts, said: “This is such a special year for The Festival of Quilts and it’s wonderful to have exciting new competition categories to mark the occasion. We’re pleased to be recognising sustainability in quilting and are sure this category will grow and grow in popularity. The Quilt Competition has been the highlight of The Festival of Quilts throughout its long history and there is nowhere else in Europe where you can view 700 competition quilts under one roof.  It’s no mean feat judging hundreds of competition quilts but, as always, the competition quilt makers have wowed the judges with their creativity, talent, and technical skills. We’d like to offer our congratulations to all the winners and thank everyone that entered the competition in this particularly special year.”

The Festival of Quilts is Europe’s leading patchwork and quilting event and features an extensive programme of workshops, talks, lectures and demonstrations, spectacular galleries by internationally acclaimed textile artists and groups, social events and shopping.