The 2012 Festival of Quilts

Friday, August 17, 2012

Phew, we did it. We made it to the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham - and back - in a single day.

It helped to have excellent spotty company and plenty of knitting and crochet to go around.

And of course - the promise of fabric inspirations and many, many beautiful quilts!

There were 1,300 quilts on show. They were spectacular. I'm sorry I didn't take more photos of the display quilts, but the show filled up quite quickly and it was difficult to elbow people out of the way to make room for picture-taking. The one quilt that really made an impression on me was a double-bed-sized quilt made up of teeny tiny 1.5cm hexagons! The ENTIRE thing must have been paper pieced - I can't even begin to think of how long it all must have taken.

After looking through most of the quilts I got a very distinct idea of what I like - and what I don't like. I do like geometric patterns, plenty of swirls and appliqué. And surprisingly, florals. I like florals. I don't like quilts sewn with human hair (ick) and I don't like quilts that are completely out-there as inventive reinterpretations of the body and holographic fabric panels. Nope.

When we went to Devon a few months ago we happened upon the loveliest cluster of beach huts in Torquay. I was completely inspired to work up a beach quilt and I had conjured up a lovely picture of beach hut and seaside delights... and you know what?

This is exactly what I had in mind. Exactly. Exactly. I can't say that enough. I had envisioned bunting, and beach huts, and variegated batik sea - and seagulls.

I had to walk past a few times just to look again. Look at that stipple quilting! Look at the quilted pebbles! I LOVE THIS QUILT.

Edit to add: Thanks to the magic of blogland, I now know that this fabulous quilt was made by the equally fabulous Julie Gahagan from Home Grown Textiles. She has the most fabulous miniature quilt patterns - do pop by and have a looksee!


There were a lot of beautiful quilts on display - and many of them not even entered into the competition! There were over 300 quilting stores exhibiting, can you imagine the fabric excitement?

See that hanging display of amazing colour? That's a quilt.

I know, I couldn't contain my excitement either.

... mostly because every single block is an individual mini log cabin quilt. I kid you not.

There really were lots of lovely little shops (and new shops - there's nothing nicer than finding lovely new shops!). We didn't get to see them all as there were just too many, but we gave it a jolly good go! We did our first lap of the show in a few hours, and by the time we were going to head out for a break for coffee... we discovered an entirely new second hall FILLED with quilting goodness. Perhaps there were more - who knows? The show goes on for four days ...

By about 3pm, we were all quilted out. We had acquired fabric and inspiration. I bought a thimble (it was a big step for me) and some snippy scissors for cross-stitching. We got three issues of Mollie Makes for £1, which made the whole trip worthwhile.

This is my acquired fabric batch from the show - I seem to be into the blues at the moment!

I also got some small charm packs, so here it is again all piled up high. I really like neatly-folded piles of pretty fabrics. Those charm packs were only £3.00 each from Creative Quilting - such a great shop.

I bought Mandy Shaw's new book Stitch at Home which is really very sweet. I bought it partly because we met Mandy Shaw and she was lovely, and partly because I like little house motifs, so I hope this will get some use on future projects. I must say, I flicked through the book on the train home and couldn't believe the attention to detail that Mandy puts into her projects - now that's dedication.

I also got a bag of fabric scrap strips which were only £1.45 - and the ideal size for piecing together for teeny tiny projects. I've got a few in mind that I've been wanting to start but I haven't had the heart to cut into my whole fat quarters to make 1cm strips. Now I can use my FQ for the quilts, and these strips for my teeny tiny bits and pieces. It's all good.

Mm, beach huts. Must. Finish. Current. Projects. First.

Mm. I think that I have plenty to keep me busy with until next year's show!

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