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Home » Exhibitions » Interview with Taupo Best in Show Winner Valda Sutton

Interview with Taupo Best in Show Winner Valda Sutton

 valdas picture 002Congratulations to you on winning Best of Show at Taupo Symposium.  That was a huge week for you winning Best of Show, Merit in the Professional Innovative Section and a Merit in the Aotearoa Quilters Red Challenge.

1 Tell us what inspired you to make “My Turkish Plate”.

I was inspired by the designs and colours of the Turkish tiles while travelling in that country. I took a lot of photos of tiles and plate designs as I could envisage them in a quilt one day. I also like a challenge and it provided me with one.


2 How did you go about designing the quilt?

When I returned home I drew the basics of the design using my photos and a book on Turkish design as reference.  I could visualise it, but had difficulty in the intricate designs, so put it to one side and thought about it for quite a while. I got back to it a few years later and was determined to master the complexities of the design. This time it worked.

 3 What materials did you use in the quilt?

Materials used are cottons collected over the years that reflected the traditional Turkish colours. I had to hunt for the right blue background and thankfully my local patchwork shop was able to get it for me. Threads used were Glide 100% Polyester and Wonderfil Accent wt 12 to get the heavier white edging.

 4 What size is the quilt?

1 metre in diameter

 5 The quilt was quite intricate.  What techniques did you use for executing the design?

I really enjoy appliqué work so the main part of the design was put on using Steam a Seam and using a close zig zag stitching around the edge. Flowers and Rumi designs (the curls) were added in the same way, thread painting the details on them. Then came the gilt thread work that linked the designs together. I did this using a walking foot and the triple stitch on the machine. The small curls were done with the free motion foot at the end.

 6  How long were you working on the quilt?

Once I got the design drawn up it took about 6 months. I tried to spend at least an hour a day working on it so that a small section of the design would be completed.

 7 Did you experience any problems with such an intricate design?  What were they?

I learnt that the only way to complete the design was to work from the centre out and around the quilt, making sure that each design linked up. I had to go over the gilt work again to make it stand out when I was quilting so it was difficult trying to do the triple stitch in exactly the same place. The scary part was putting the piped edge on and hoping that the quilt was still going to hang flat.

 8 What did the judges like about your quilt?

The Judges comments were: “The reflection of the Turkish culture is captured in the dynamic design of this quilt. The beautifully executed detail and superior workmanship make this our Best of Show.”

 9 Can you give some tips for what you think makes an award-winning quilt?

  • Has to have a wow factor. Something a bit different.
  • Has to make you come back to look at it to work out how it was done.
    Good workmanship.
  • Hangs well and flat.

 10 Has this Award inspired you to make more Turkish Plates?  What will you be working on next?

I think there will only be one Turkish Plate but I still have a lot of tile designs that are in my head. I love working with colour but I will really have to give some thought to what’s next.

 Thanks, Valda, for giving us some insight into your thoughts and processes that resulted in your award-winning Taupo Symposium Best of Show.


    Turkish plate


“My Turkish Plate” – Valda Sutton




 Thank you to Paula Cole for this interview with Aotearoa Committee Member and winning quilter, Valda Sutton