And we’re off to France…..

Packed and ready for action!
Packed and ready for action! The yellow and orange suitcase is full of quilts…

Sylvia and I left Melbourne on Monday 20 April for the long, long, long flight over, stopping off at Singapore and Dubai.  On the way I swore that I would NEVER do this flight again…I would NEVER go to Europe again (how long do you think that lasted?)  It definitely was a very tiring flight.  We arrived in Paris and had to wait for our train to Nantes…another long wait with two trains to catch – now why didn’t we get the direct fast train to Nantes?  We were really happy to see people we recognised come pick us up.  Finally arrived at our hotel at around 8pm – and I had to report to the exhibition at 9am in the morning – oh well….

The hotel was one of the smallest I’d ever seen but we both decided that we were going to enjoy ourselves and really, we were out for most of the day.

Next morning I left to catch my tram.  Of course, I hopped on the wrong tram and then spent about half an hour walking around trying to find the venue.

nantes show 6


Approaching the building and inside
Approaching the building and inside

As soon as I got there I met with Carol from Quiltmania who took me to my “home” for the next few days.  I have to confess I was very teary when I saw it – it was just stunning…..they couldn’t have done a better job.  And my book?  Lets say that a few more tears were shed when I saw that as well.

my quilts 3
my quilts 2

my quilts 1

I also ran two workshops teaching needleturn applique.  It was really great meeting quilters from France and the UK – knowing that quilters from Europe like my patterns enough to want to do classes with me!

With some of the lovely quilters who did my class
With some of the lovely quilters who did my class
And Salome, my fabulous interpreter
And Salome, my fabulous interpreter

At the show there were exhibits from other authors as well.

Cecile Franconia’s new book is an absolute treat – as was her booth.  I have long followed her blog – facilececile – and love what she does.  She says “I live in France, like crochet, knitting, embroidery and photography.  Patchwork and embroidery hobbies are my favourite”.  I particularly liked her iPad cover – with (I’m sure) quarter inch fussy cut hexagons.

Cecile Franconia's booth
Cecile Franconia’s booth – with projects from her book

Bill Volckening’s book on New York beauties was a “must-have” book compiled of quilts from his collection.

Bill Volckening
Kaye England also had a book released

As did Willyne Hammerstein – whose book Millefiori Quilts 2 was just divine.  Her “room” was opposite mine so I got to drool over her beautiful quilts all day long.

Tomie Nagano’s indigo quilts were out on display – you have to see them to believe how much work she puts into her quilts.  She is a Japanese quilter who uses old antique fabrics that she incorporates into her quilts.

tomie nagano
I kept on going back to this display of quilts from the Philippines – so vibrant and full of colour.

phillipines quilts
I enjoyed my walk every morning from the hotel to the tram stop, walking down cobblestone streets.

Walking around Nantes
Walking around Nantes
I went past this every day
I went past this every day

It was also fun to catch up with old friends and make new ones.  I was particularly pleased to catch up with my friend Randi (my roomie from Houston) and Sue Watters and to meet Ellen and “the other” Sue.  Just being able to unwind at night at dinner with them was well worth all the hard work I’d done during the day.  So thanks girls!!

So am I going back to Europe next year?  You bet I am.  I have been invited by a few shops in the UK to run workshops and I said “yes” in a heartbeat – forgetting all about the trip over – i suppose its like childbirth – you forget how painful it is!!!

I had never been to Europe before so this trip was something I had wanted to do for a while.  And I certainly wasn’t disappointed.  Nantes was beautiful, though I didn’t get much of a chance to explore – this trip was all about working so next year I plan to spend more time looking around.

A big thank you to Sylvia for looking after me – bringing me my cuppa tea every morning – even if you scared the other guests in your pjs!!  You were fun to travel with and I felt calm and relaxed (most of the time) with you around!

From Nantes it was onward for the next leg of my journey – to Amsterdam.


  1. I love your quilts and thank you for sharing your experience in your travel adventure – it looks like it was a fun and busy time for you

  2. Congratulations Irene on having your book published by Quiltmania and for exhibiting at Nantes it must have been so thrilling for you. Might see you down at the Mornington TAG Applique-In.

  3. Congratulations Irene !!!! Great book and great display of your quilts!!!! The trip looked amazing and the quilts on show all lovely and bright (which we luuv) Can hardly wait to talk it over with Meredithe tomorrow x

  4. Great news that you are coming back 😉 And guess what? I have just received the Auntie Green Pattern from AztecRose. This will be my (main) 2016 project. Just have to find the 3 background fabrics and will use my stash for the appliqués. I have been dreaming of making this quilt since I first saw it in Annette Gero’s Fabric Of Society. Thank you once again, I have enjoyed the class and your book is fabulous.

    1. Hey David – Auntie Green is by far the biggest quilt I’ve made – and I think will ever make – but it was one that I thoroughly enjoyed. hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

  5. Glad you had such a lovely time in Nantes despite the rocky start! Your room looks so lovely and I can’t wait to see your book. Great pics Irene. xx

  6. Well done Irene. What a fabulous experience. I am with you on the correlation between flying long distances and childbirth! I bet your head is spinning with new ideas. How clever, setting up commitments for next year already – go girl. We will all be able to say we knew you long before you became a “SuperStar”. Your post is great and we look forward to more pictures and stories. Congratulations on the launch of your book too. Kind regards, annie gunn

  7. I am so proud of you Irene and so proud to be your friend too…….congratulations on this exciting part of your quilting journey, much love and hugs, Michele xx

  8. It was great to meet you in Nantes and see your beautiful quilts and be your first customer to buy your book which I love and still can’t decide which one to do first! Glad to hear you are coming back to Europe hope to get a place on your workshop next time! Best Wishes

    1. Hi Lesley

      Thanks for being my first customer!! I am definitely planning a trip next year – probably around August and I will be sure to put something up on the blog here. I hope to teach in the UK as well as in Europe.

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