Cloudy Night Sky - Best Machine Quilting

Best Machine Quilting Award {QuiltCon 2024}

My experience at QuiltCon this year was very different from any of my previous times at QuiltCon. This year, I was planning to attend on Friday and Saturday, and I was really looking forward to having time to view the show at a leisurely pace, spending time with friends and making new connections, and having time to perhaps do some shopping with the vendors.

A little over 2 weeks before QuiltCon, I received an email from the MQG asking if I had plans to attend the awards ceremony on Wednesday night. If not, they urged me to consider if I could re-work my travel plans as I had won a very exciting award. Oh, and I wasn’t supposed to tell anyone. Thankfully I was able to re-work my travel plans, and I did my best not to overly excite my parents. Since my parents had been planning on being there and picking me up from the airport on Thursday, my strategy was to call my dad and let him know that I had adjusted my travel plans to come in a day early. I’d want to go to the awards ceremony on Wednesday night, but I’d have a full extra day on Thursday to then spend visiting with him and my mom. I’m not sure what they thought that meant, but it was the best I could do!

My last flight on Wednesday was delayed, and traffic between the airport and the convention center was slow, but we made it with a few minutes to spare. I sat close to the front, and thankfully my friend Daisy @warmfolk happened to take a video when it was announced that Cloudy Night Sky had won the Best Machine Quilting award. I’m so glad that my parents were there with me at the awards ceremony!

Oh Thursday, as promised, I spent the majority of my day visiting with my parents. Mid-afternoon, my dad dropped my mom and I off at the convention center and we met up with my friend Cheryl Brickey @meadowmistdesigns and spent about 90 minutes at the show.

Top Awarded Quilts

Top Awarded Quilts

To say that it was an honor for Cloudy Night Sky to hang with the other top awarded quilts is an understatement, but I just don’t have any other words I know to use.

Seeing Cloudy Night Sky on Thursday at QuiltCon

Seeing Cloudy Night Sky on Thursday at QuiltCon (photo credit for both photos: Cheryl Brickey)

Hopefully pictures are worth a thousand words, because I do not know how to express the emotions that I felt when I got to see Cloudy Night Sky hanging on Thursday afternoon.

I am going to try to articulate some of my thoughts about what winning this award means to me. The top awards at QuiltCon have shifted over the years. As QuiltCon began to grow (first show was in 2013, second show was in 2015), since in 2016, there have been 2 top quilting awards: Best Machine Quilting, Framed (aka longarm machine) and Best Machine Quilting, Framless (aka domestic machine). This year there are still two top quilting awards, but they are quite different: Best Machine Quilting and Best Hand Quilting. That means that all quilts quilted on a machine (longarm or domestic) were considered for the Best Machine Quilting award.

For the past several years, I have really been honing my designs and quilting plans to work together in concert, and to date I think that Cloudy Night Sky is the strongest quilt I have made that exemplifies the design philosophy that I am continually working towards and refining. The quilting itself is an integral part of the quilt, and I honestly can’t fathom being able to have the control and precision needed to make my ideas and vision a reality on anything other than a domestic sewing machine with a walking foot. I’m also incredibly honored to have Cloudy Nigh Sky recognized in this way in direct competition with world class longarm quilters who also strive to create a secondary design with their fabulous quilting plans, because despite the number of times I was willing to rip a quilting line and try again, the quilting shows the hand of the maker and is not stitch regulated perfection.

I can’t speak to what the judges were thinking when they chose Cloudy Night Sky, but I like to think that they saw a modern quilt whose design was elevated and completed by the quilting plan.

To round out this post, I’d like to share information on the other top award winning quilts. I urge you to visit the linked Instagram accounts for each maker for much more in depth information about their beautiful and meaningful work.

Best In Show

Best in Show - Front (Left) and Back (Right)

Best in Show – Front (Left) and Back (Right)

What We Will Use as Weapons: A List of School Supplies by Ginny Robinson @minnowpeck.

Best in Show - Artwork Description

Best in Show – Artwork Description

MQG Excellence Award

MQG Excellence Award

MQG Excellence Award

Anechoic by Janice Reimer @prairieandocean.

MQG Excellence Award - Artwork Description

MQG Excellence Award – Artwork Description

Best Hand Quilting

Best Hand Quilting

Best Hand Quilting

Solomon’s Stripes by Ethylene Ziegler @made_by_ecz.

Best Hand Quilting - Artwork Description

Best Hand Quilting – Artwork Description

Best Original Modern Design

Best Original Modern Design

Best Original Modern Design

Candy Pop by Kelly Spell @kellyspell.

Best Original Modern Design - Artwork Description

Best Original Modern Design – Artwork Description

Best Machine Quilting

Cloudy Night Sky - Best Machine Quilting

Cloudy Night Sky – Best Machine Quilting

The photographs I took of my artwork description were all super blurry (hello adrenaline!!). The artist statement read:

Cloudy Night Sky is a study in how atmospheric and lighting conditions are important in order to see the stars at night. Clouds and light pollution often obscure from view the stars that we know are shining down. With just a slight shift in conditions and lighting, the stars pop out to greet us.

Quilt as desired can be some of the most intimidating instructions in a quilt pattern, and quilts with lots of negative space can increase the anxiety and pressure to “get it right”. I created this design in order to write an article sharing the process I use to develop a quilting plan that transforms the negative space into a secondary design element. I could not wait to turn the quilt and quilting plan I created as a process demonstration into reality.

Viewer’s Choice

Viewer's Choice

Viewer’s Choice

White Bubbles by Irena Timofeeva @irinatimofeeva_quilt. The Viewer’s Choice award was announced on Sunday just before the show closed.

I plan to have several more QuiltCon 2024 posts this week to share about quilts in the show that caught my eye, what it was like to have time to chat and interact with other quilters (and trade swag), the purchases I made, and my wrap up thoughts on the value of being in person with peers. Stay tuned for more!

My QuiltCon 2024 wrap-up posts:

27 thoughts on “Best Machine Quilting Award {QuiltCon 2024}

  1. CJ Jolly says:

    (This has been a lovely quilt to follow in your emails.)
    “Thank you” for sharing and to the best on all your future quilts.
    Take care,
    CJ Jolly

  2. Liz Bess says:

    Congratulations, so proud of you and so very happy for you sending you lots of giant hugs from me and my mom… would love to see more pictures of that hand quilted one as well if you don’t mind and if you can get a closer picture I tried to zoom it so I could see the stitches… you know me, lots of love to you Liz

  3. Julie says:

    Bask in all the praise, you deserve it! Congratulations for the beautiful quilt design & thoughtful quilting you chose. It’s what I enjoy most following your journey.

  4. Cindy Pieters says:

    Congratulations Yvonne! I recall the blog posts when you were quilting this and enjoyed your thought process at the time. In my opinion a well deserved award!

  5. Kathy R. says:

    Congratulations, you put a lot of thought into your quilt. It is nice to see you recognized for your efforts. All of the other quilts pictured are beauties.

  6. Shannon says:

    Well done, my friend! I’m just sorry I missed seeing this beauty in person. Congratulations on a very well deserved ribbon. Keep it up!

  7. Congratulations! What an honor to have your work recognized. I enjoyed reading your writing as you worked on this quilt.

  8. Patty says:

    I was doing a happy dance when your award was announced – so very exciting for you. I am glad I got to see the quilt in person and share a hug with you.

  9. Sandra says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed watching your planning and process in making Cloudy Night Sky, as with all your quilts, but it was clear that this was going to be special and deserving of accolades. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

  10. Annie says:

    Congratulations! It is a beautiful quilt, and your smile says it all! I bet your Mom and Dad are bursting with pride and I’m so glad they were able to be there with you to share the moment.

  11. I enjoyed this post, reading your thoughts about the experience, and seeing the other award winning quilts. So neat that your parents could be with you to see you receive the award!

  12. So very pleased for you winning this award and glad that you were able to be there! The awards for quilting have been all over the place in the last few years; but you rose above with you precise planning, vision and methodical work. I am so happy for you and so glad your parents got to be there.

  13. Susan L Stanton says:

    Congratulations on a beautiful quilt entirely designed and exquisitely brought to life by you! How exciting for you! Well done!

  14. Liz W. says:

    Congratulations! What an honor! But totally well-deserved, it is such a beauty and the machine quilting you do is so precise and complementary well thought-out.

  15. Mary Howland says:

    Congratulations on winning this award. Your quilt and its quilting is beautiful.

  16. aquilterstable says:

    Thanks for sharing. So pleased for you and love hearing all about the experience. Looking forward to your future QuiltCon posts too.

  17. rmgsummers413a14ca5a says:

    Congratulations on a well deserved award. Keeping the award (unknown at the time) must have been so difficult. It’s so rewarding to see you shine. Your bright smile said it all.

  18. Maria says:

    Congratulations, Yvonne! Great job! You are the best of the best. Maria

  19. I loved being able to see your quilt in person. It’s truly fabulous. I enjoyed reading about the story about your changed travel plans and how you were able to keep the winning of this awesome award from your parents.

  20. April says:


  21. Kelly Spell says:

    Huge congrats, Yvonne!! So nice to share a spot in the Big Winners circle with you!

  22. Wow, congratulations on a well deserved honor!! Your quilting is extraordinary, glad to see you get the recognition.

  23. Kate says:

    Congratulations! Definitely well deserved. You shared the process via the blog and if I remember correctly, you were a bit under the gun to get it finished. What a wonderful payoff for all the care and precision (and associated stress).

  24. Cheryl Brickey says:

    Woohoo! Congrats, your quilt and quilting are truly breathtaking and very deserving of the award!

  25. Super Huge Congrats to you!!!! I’m so excited for you!! and way to keep a secret – you had to just be bursting at the seams!!!

  26. Cindy Wiens says:

    Yvonne, this was such a well-deserved honor, a testament to your creativity and attention to detail.

  27. Jen Frost says:

    Yvonne, your quilting is honestly so so good. I’ve been thinking quite a bit about it and how you played with the colored thread on the back. Beautiful work.

I really appreciate the time and thought you take to comment, and I look forward to conversing with you. :)