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Tribute piece a show winner

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October 11, 2017

Linda Maher with the award-winning cross stitch portrait of her late brother, Matthew Caniglia.

It’s been 10 years since Linda Maher’s brother Matthew Caniglia died, aged 32.

Using her talent with a needle and thread to honour him, Mrs Maher created an intricate portrait of Matthew from cross stitch.

Originally made for her mother Kay Caniglia, Mrs Maher entered the incredibly detailed work in the Royal Melbourne Show.

It earned her the top prize in the cross stitch on linen category at the famed event.

‘‘I made it as a present for mum and I’m over the moon to win because it is so special to me,’’ Mrs Maher said.

‘‘I love doing the work and I was both honoured and happy to win.’’

Her Melbourne Show recognition continues Mrs Maher’s streak, having enjoyed success at other local and regional competitions throughout the year for the piece.

At the 2017 Deniliquin Show, she claimed the Mona Kerr Memorial Trophy for the best exhibit in the pavilion — for the fourth year in a row.

‘‘I haven’t entered the Melbourne Show in about 20 years, so I just thought, ‘why not?’,’’ she said.

‘‘I like a challenge, and it definitely was that.

‘‘At the start I thought, ‘how am I going to do this?’ because there are so many colours, and it has 28 stitches per inch.

‘‘I received nice feedback from the judges who said they couldn’t believe it wasn’t a photo.’’

Having entered the Deniliquin Show since the 1980s, Mrs Maher’s home resembles a museum of sorts, with her many pieces on display for family and friends.

‘‘I won my first major award in 1997 at the Deni Show,’’ she said.

‘‘I like it (working with a needle and thread) because it’s relaxing, it takes your mind off things and you don’t have to think about anything while you do it.’’

Mrs Maher said her next project is expected to be a ‘‘piece of white work with colour’’.

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