Festival of Quilts - Part 2 competition quilts and shopping

Before I talk about any competition quilts I need to start with a little soapbox moment. Festival of Quilts is a huge show, and it is the work from everyday quilters, whether they have all day and two huge spare rooms at home to sew, or just a corner of the sofa on a Sunday afternoon, that really make it an event. It can be quite nervewracking entering a quilt, something I have to confess I haven’t done since 2010 (I think years seem to roll by these days). So to everyone who entered a quilt, thank you. A few peple have asked questions about this and I would suggest having a look on the Festival of Quilts website, but to answer, yes there is a small fee to pay to get your quilt there to display, yes you do receive judges’ comments, no you don’t have to read them if you don’t want to but they are usually kind and perceptive .

On with the quilts…
The first area we did was the Modern Quilt category where there was a diverse range of work. This is a fairly new category and it looks as if it is growing. The section was situated over the back of the second hall (bad) but by the big food place and toilets (good). It was interesting to see how busy it was, these quilts were very popular with visitors. Here are some of my favs, I have tried to credit the maker/designer correctly but if you spot an error, have more info or a link you would like me to add in, or would like me to delete a photo of your quilt off here do let me know.

This was the quilt that really spoke to me I love the colours and simplicity of this piece, and check out that binding which pulls the edging into the main design. I am also a huge fan of hand quilting and it is not often seen at shows (or books, takes too long I suppose) so was thrilled to find a beautiful example of the gorgeous texture that can be created with just needle and thread. The title suits it perfectly.

Breathing by  Hanna Farquharson , Festival of Quilts 2019

Breathing by Hanna Farquharson, Festival of Quilts 2019

This quilt looked to me like an abstract painting. I loved the design, and the way the layering, angles and colours had been well thought out. The quilting varies depending on the area so the way the light reflects off the surface changes and so adds another dimension to the design.

Geo by  Bev Mayo , Festival of Quilts 2019

Geo by Bev Mayo, Festival of Quilts 2019

This quilt is by the lovely Jo Avery, the only maker from the selection of quilts yesterday and today that I know through Instagram and working on Popular Patchwork. Her use of colour is legendary, mixing brights to create vibrant quilts, and her work always brightens my Instagram feed. The graphic shapes and strong colours look so clean, and I love the way they are placed asymmetrically. The quilting is also gorgeous, adding pattern to the plain background, and again the binding is very eye-catching.

Double Dish Fish by Jo Avery, FoQ19

This is the last one from the modern category, a sampler. As someone who started out with a sampler course, and has subsequently taught samplers I always think they are a quilter’s quilt. A way of breaking up the monotony that can sometimes happen with a repeated block, you can try lots of different things within one finished piece. This layout is colourful and bold, eye-catching and I felt it looks stylish.

The Future's So Bright, Janet Bottomley FoQ19

Next up was the two-person category. It was fun walking around with a non-quilter, explaining that it is two makers, but often a piecer and a longarm quilter, or sometimes two designers team up. Have a look at this stunning two-person quilt…

Carmine Bee-Eater Eidos, Araba McMillan and  Joe Jennison , Festival of Quilts 2019

Carmine Bee-Eater Eidos, Araba McMillan and Joe Jennison, Festival of Quilts 2019

Pink and turquoise are a favourite colour combo of mine, ever since I did a uni project and used some stills from Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Holly’s living room) which had these colours. I thought the stark background and different areas of pattern and colour are erally clever, then the quilting has added another dimension to the piece. A fab example of two talented people coming together to work on a piece that results in impact.

We then wandered over to the Quilt Creations (which essentially is anything 3D). It is a very creative category and ranges from wearables to dolls to interior items such as boxes. I have a love/ hate relationship with my own 3D work. Initially I was frustrated by it when it was a compulsary make on my City and Guilds, but now I love it. There are other logistics to figure out, rather than thinking of three layers, but this challenging aspect can make it irresistible, once you get started and figure out the logistics. This piece made my heart sing, the design, stitching and the story behind it really appealed to my love of narrative and stitch

First Day in the Mill,  Catherine Hil l, Festival of Quilts 2019

First Day in the Mill, Catherine Hill, Festival of Quilts 2019

The maker is Catherine Hill from Lancashire. Called ‘The First Day in the Mill’ it used tradtional looking linen and red thread to create a 3D piece. Each of the pieces has a word embroidered on it that are associated with items found in the mill, and the poem through the centre was written in Lancashire dialect by a mill worker about when she started at the age of 13. I retold my Yorkshire born friend the grim story I heard at MOSI that the shuttle would fly out of the machines, with dire consequences if you were in the way, and so one of the reasons the windows in mills are so high as glass was expensive to replace. I always now look at them slighty mistrustingly, they show how it was a hard and at times dangerous job, and not one I would want my 13-year-old daughter doing (and pleased I have the choice these days). Hand embroidered, lots of work had gone into this well finished piece, and I loved it.

On the topic of sewing in the past, I really loved this quilt. So much detail in different areas, you can just imagine the weight of the lovely linens and embroiery. Pretty, but not twee, it looks like it was fun not just to make, but to select the pieces and decide where they go, while reflecting on their history.

Grandma's chintz counterpane, by Moira Ackers, Festival of Quilts 2019

Grandma's chintz counterpane, by Moira Ackers, Festival of Quilts 2019

Next up was the Vlieseline Fine Art Masters. This is the juried category, very prestigious. It always contrasts with the rest of the show as I would say about half the work is not three layers, and so it encompasses lots of textile fields. This year it included printing, weaving and I love it as it always has a few surprises. and often makes you realise how the quilt world is rather small, as you come across names you have never heard before, or maybe just recognise from Selvedge magazine. None of my photos have come out that well, but you can see them on the Festival of Quilts website.

And so, now to the shopping. As ever, I always look out for things I need, and unusual things I come across. I bought some fabric (of course!). I had plans for the Rifle Paper Co prints. A quilt I have made from their Alice in Wonderland collection needs sashing so bought some fat quarters to try with the blocks so I could later order a metre online. I am not sure if I will use these for a separate project or simply piece them together for the back I could not resist them. No photo as they are well and truly scattered over my worktable at the mo.

The plains below are Tula Pink and my photo does not do their zing rating justice, the others are for the stash. Finally, on the way out I bought some bargain vintage fabric. Annoyingly it was five minutes before close on the Sunday so I grabbed the first ones that took my fancy. Still delighted with them, so chose well, I do love a ship in a bottle.

The train back was not too busy, seats on both trains so I got to catch up on Lucy Worsley and the Georgians. On getting in at 9pm there was a curry and glass of wine waiting, so a long, but most enjoyable day