Saturday, 15 August 2015

Festival of Quilts

Last Sunday saw me heading up the motorway to Birmingham and the Festival of Quilts, supposedly Britain's biggest quilt show over four days.  Two hours of driving saw me at the show just as it was opening. A cup of coffee later and I was ready to go.
Now first up, before I start I hadn't gone there to shop. I go to look at the quilts and for inspiration. Yes I did a shopping list but it had just four things on it.

The show opened at 10am. I wandered around the quilts, took pics and then looked at my watch 11am. Yes that's right it took me just an hour to look at all the quilts. So I wandered through the many, many stalls. I managed to cross one thing off my shopping list. So I wandered through the quilts again, in case I'd missed anything and had a spot of lunch, 12.30 pm. I found a friend who had a stall and had a chat to her, wandered back through and by just after 2 pm I was back on the road home. Very disappointing experience.

Now I know some people loved it and went for two or three days, I know some people seemed to have bought the place out with what was being carried around, but I'm afraid I was very disillusioned with the whole thing. I've been going for a good few years now, since it started to be honest and it seems to be less quilts and more stalls each year. I remember when it first started and it was supposed to be all about the quilts. The first year it started I didn't get any shopping done as there were so many quilts I didn't have time, not so any more. I will think long and hard before I decide to go again. I was lucky enough to have a free ticket for entry as I wouldn't have been happy paying.

Anyway you haven't come to here to hear me moan, you want pics. A link to the photo album containing most of the pics I took is HERE. Pull up a chair as there are 124 photos in the album.  Be aware that the show is not juried. Yes there are winners in each category but anyone can enter anything and there is quite a range of skill levels.

But my favourites, not necessarily the winners are

I love bleak landscapes and this one just drew me in

This owl was amazing. So detailed and lifelike

 The winner of the Gina wants to take it home category

 It stood about 3  or 4 feet tall and was completely quilted. Stunning work. Can't believe it didn't win the 3D category

This was in the Mini category. I've put my chubby finger next to it for scale

Second in the Gina wants to take it home category

 THis was another amazing landscape where the trees are free machine embroidered

This was the winner of the mini quilt category. The detail was amazing

This was my winner of the mini quilt, all these birds are thread painted

And what did I buy I hear you ask. Not a lot really.

The only thing I managed to cross off my list was some blue/green batiks and some bits and pieces for an under the sea quilt I need to make for a swap.

 I also picked up a metre of black lab fabric. It's upholstery weight so it'll probably become a bag or two.
 Some hand dyed, sparkly cross stitch linen. I was going to use it for a specific project but I've changed my mind. I need to find a pattern that will show off the linen as opposed to one which will hide it.
 And finally a new quilt pattern. I saw this made up on the stall and it's fabulous. It's all raw edge applique so should be fairly quick and easy to make up. I just need to decide on the background fabric as the white doesn't really do it for me.

Well that's it for the quilt show. I'm hoping to go to a smaller one in a few weeks time. It combines my two loves, quilts and gardens and as the quilts are set out in the garden it's weather dependent so I'm hoping for the good weather to hold.


  1. Sorry, you felt disappointed, but I enjoyed your pics of the exhibition. What a beautiful quilts! I loved the 3D owl, it is amazing. Love your new pattern too. Love to see you finish that one. Have a nice weekend.

  2. Overall the show may have been a disappointment but any day spent looking at quilts as spectacular as these is a good day right? :) I hear you though. I went to a show this past spring expecting to be knocked off my feet wowed. . . that just really did not happen. There were some very wow worthy quilts there but overall pretty underwhelming. I hope the smaller one proves to be more satisfying! Quilts in a garden - what a beautiful combination :)

    Thanks for sharing your pictures!

  3. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about this. I didn't get to go to FoQ this year, but I went last year and pretty much wandered around with my eyeballs falling out of my face because it was the first full-on quilt show that I'd ever been to, and I spent the bulk of my time looking at the quilts rather than the trade stands. But when you're a relatively new quilter, pretty much everything everyone else does looks amazing! XD At least I get to look at the pictures you took of this year's entries - love that moody landscape with the trees and the one with the dogs.

  4. Goodness me what a great selection of quilts you've posted for us!

  5. This year was my third visit to FoQ and I can't say the quilts were the most important part for me this year. I was there for nearly two days (leaving at 3pm on the second day) and did two half day workshops and attended an hour lecture. The free time I had was plenty to see the quilts and visit any stands of interest. My problem with the quilt side of the show was that I was looking for inspiration, but instead I found the quality of work to be intimidating. With such high standards of work being submitted by "professionals" I wonder if the way to encourage more quilts is to split it into "professional" and "non-professional". I'd get much more inspiration from looking at work produced by someone sewing on a kitchen table in their spare time than from a quilt produced in a studio with a long arm and frame as part of their business.

  6. Hi Gina, thank you for appreciating my quilt (the one with the two dogs) :)
    It's wonderful to know it has given you good vibes :)

  7. Interesting to read your comments on FoQ - I have never been although I did enter a couple of quilts some years ago. The Knitting and Stitching show is much more up my street as I am not just a quilter and like to get inspiration from all sorts of work. I suppose the large number of stalls provide the income to stage the show. Thanks for showing the pieces of work that you most enjoyed - the miniatures are always amazing. xx


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