A Red Dress: Part 2 – Houston Quilt Festival

So many of you commented about my new red dress, which I made for the award ceremony at the Houston Quilt Festival! Well, I’m home from Houston after a very enjoyable week, and it’s time for an update. We arrived in Houston on Tuesday afternoon. Part of the prize for the top winners is travel and hotel accommodations. Here I am, ready to go to the convention center for the awards! Makeup, nail polish, Annie Pennington brooch and earrings (of course!) – the works! 🙂


Here are those red shoes!


The presentation of the awards is fun, with all of the category awards given first. The blue ribbon winner in each category is revealed from behind a black curtain on the wall of the auditorium, with spotlights focused on that quilt. The eight big awards are given last. My quilt, Blue Plate Special, was awarded the Master Award for Thread Artistry, sponsored by Superior Threads! After the awards are all given, attendees get to get up close to see the winning quilts, and talk to the makers. And, yes, the top winners get flowers! 🙂


On Wednesday, there is a luncheon at which the top winners all give short speeches, then Preview Night is from 5PM to 10PM. This is the way my quilt was displayed.

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I spent a lot of time in front of my quilt for the next four days, talking to thousands of people.

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You can see all of the prize winners here. I was also awarded an Honorable Mention for my quilt Crystal Garden, but that’s a post for another day.

Here is Blue Plate Special




The quilt is 73″ x 73″, and was completed this year. It is white cotton sateen on the front and back. It all started with the dark blue print strip of fabric that surrounds the central star, and forms the border corners. That strip was left over from a quilt kit I cut out for my Mom to piece! The fabric was a print stripe, and this section wasn’t used, so I kept it. The colors for the quilt all flowed out of that little print strip. And the corners are the size they are because that’s all the fabric I had! Those strips were appliqued on, then I used a decorative machine stitch – little satin stitch dots – to accent the edges. All the rest of the color on the quilt is digitized machine embroidery. The more solid-looking, darker areas are machine embroidery applique, done with old Cherrywood fabrics from my stash. The free-standing lace border and the large swirl designs are from Zundt; the rest of the embroidery designs are from OESD. Except for the lace, the embroidery was all stitched on the quilt top only. After the embroidery was completed, I layered the top, batting (Hobbs 80/20 bleached), and backing, then did all the quilting free-motion on my APQS George, which is a sit-down machine. The quilting was done with The Bottom Line thread in the needle and bobbin. I usually like to use silk thread in the needle, but I didn’t think this quilt was going to be good enough to justify the expense! To make the lace, I embroidered segments on water-soluble stabilizer, joined all the segments together in a big loop, then soaked the stabilizer out. I soaked this for a couple of days, with several water changes, because I don’t want any stabilizer to remain in the lace. Then, after the lace was complete, and the quilting was all finished, I stitched the lace to the quilt, using free-motion stitching and monofilament thread. I hope this quilt does half as well at the other shows in which I’ve entered it!

Now, it’s time to get back to work on my quilt to enter into next year’s Houston contest.


The deadline is only about six months away…


13 thoughts on “A Red Dress: Part 2 – Houston Quilt Festival

  1. Saw your beautiful quilt in Houston. It was my first time there. I was hoping to run into you, but no such luck. Congratulations on your award!!


  2. Hi, Sue! Congratulations on yet another (well-deserved!) award! My friend Nancy and I have sewn on Pfaff Creative Visions, but there are no dealers within a six hour drive from us now! Nancy had trouble with her Pfaff and nobody has been able to get parts for it, so she purchased the new Epic, which seems to be making headlines right now. I love my Pfaff and am not having any problems with it, but just wonder what you are sewing on, now. Are you still using Pfaff? Anne Hill 🙂

    Anne Hill Mary Kay Independent Sales Director http://www.marykay.com/ahill7


    • Thanks, Anne! I have used lots of different machines over the years. I always say that the best machine to get is the one that has the best dealer near you! I’ve used many Pfaffs, and currently do a lot of my regular sewing on an old 7530. I use a commercial embroidery machine (SWF15C) for my embroidery, because I was wearing out home machines too quickly! I quilt on an APQS George. The Epic is creating a lot of buzz, but I’m afraid it’s out of my price range. 🙂


  3. Congratulations on a well deserved win! You are so talented. Such an amazing skill and so much patience. Thank you for sharing your sewing talents. I hope one day to meet you in person. I have to get back to my craftsy class with you and finish my quilt too!


  4. So proud of you Sue! Everything you do amazes me! Such a talent!!! Loved seeing all the photos – she look stunning in that red dress and shoes!!!


  5. Pingback: Blue Plate Special | SusanStewartDesigns

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