Festival of Quilts 2017

Can't believe it was nearly a month ago, but I have now finally downloaded the pics from Festival of Quilts. I ummed and ahhed about going this year, having attended been every year since 2007 and working the last two, I thought that maybe it was time to have a break. However, with a definite FOMO I booked a hotel the week before and nabbed a couple of free entry tickets off my friend Sara. I mentioned I was going to one of our other friends, Wendy, and she was up for a road trip. She knows the Knitting and Stitching shows well, having taught classes and sold dressmaking patterns from her own stand. However, being someone who stitches that stuff you wear, rather than wall hangings and bed coverings, it was her first FoQ. In fact, the last time she was at the NEC it was for The Clothes Show Live, which led to us wistfully talking of a time when there was an intelligent programme on TV about fashion.

Anyway, we decided to make a weekend of it, so planned to do the NEC on the Saturday then stop somewhere off the M40 on the way home on Sunday. 

With only six hours at the show, I made a plan; competition quilts, galleries, then shopping. 

As usual, there were lots of gems in the competition quilts. I love the variety of quilts, even within each category there are such different quilts. The galleries were good, with a wide variety of styles, so something for everyone, whatever floats their boat. I did some shopping, but was disappointed not to get the sashing fabric I intended to buy. At 5.20pm, in a panic, I bought some other fabric that I am very happy with, but not sure what I am going to do with it yet. Much better than going home empty handed though!
Here are some of my favourite quilts from the day:

The Quilters' Guild had my favourite gallery. Called Walks of Life it featured old quilts relating to work, and there were whole cloth, appliqué, a woollen quilt - so much to look at. There were quite a few galleries that did not allow photography, so it was refreshing to go into this gallery and be not only encouraged to take photographs but to touch the handling samples. I love the look unfinished English paper-piecing, especially when the back is as interesting as this. I take comfort in the possibility that, one day, someone might enjoy looking at my half-finished patchwork and see bits of Ofsted reports and the Cath Kidston catalogue in it! This patchwork was stitched with chintz which had never been washed, so it was interesting to see what the fabric looked like and to feel it. You could tell that the examples on the wall had definitely been washed as they didn't have the same amount of sheen to them.

The Quilters' Guild had my favourite gallery. Called Walks of Life it featured old quilts relating to work, and there were whole cloth, appliqué, a woollen quilt - so much to look at. There were quite a few galleries that did not allow photography, so it was refreshing to go into this gallery and be not only encouraged to take photographs but to touch the handling samples. I love the look unfinished English paper-piecing, especially when the back is as interesting as this. I take comfort in the possibility that, one day, someone might enjoy looking at my half-finished patchwork and see bits of Ofsted reports and the Cath Kidston catalogue in it! This patchwork was stitched with chintz which had never been washed, so it was interesting to see what the fabric looked like and to feel it. You could tell that the examples on the wall had definitely been washed as they didn't have the same amount of sheen to them.

 I have been a huge fan of Rachael Howard's work for a long time. Janet Twinn, my City and Guilds teacher suggested I look at her work back in, ooh about 2007, and I loved the combiantion of the playful illustrative stitch and the lightness of her work. So I was delighted to see Red Work hanging in the Fine Art Quilt Masters gallery. It is stunning, a mixture of embroidery and print, and it was a joy to look at the different patches depicting everyday images..

 I have been a huge fan of Rachael Howard's work for a long time. Janet Twinn, my City and Guilds teacher suggested I look at her work back in, ooh about 2007, and I loved the combiantion of the playful illustrative stitch and the lightness of her work. So I was delighted to see Red Work hanging in the Fine Art Quilt Masters gallery. It is stunning, a mixture of embroidery and print, and it was a joy to look at the different patches depicting everyday images..

Close-up of Racheal Howard's Red Work.

Close-up of Racheal Howard's Red Work.

The Women's Quilt 2017. I follow this account on Twitter and so it was on my list of things to see. Tough to look at, it has been made as a tribute to the 598 women killed by domestic violence between 2009 and 2015. I couldn't help imagining every one of those women standing there, and their families and friends - the sheer number is horrendous. It is the quilt that I always have to talk about if people mention FoQ.

The Women's Quilt 2017. I follow this account on Twitter and so it was on my list of things to see. Tough to look at, it has been made as a tribute to the 598 women killed by domestic violence between 2009 and 2015. I couldn't help imagining every one of those women standing there, and their families and friends - the sheer number is horrendous. It is the quilt that I always have to talk about if people mention FoQ.

The Red Centre by Jennifer Hollingdale. Another quilter I have been a fan of for a long time, I was lucky enough to do a workshop with her at FoQ (ooh, six years ago?). I love the way she incorporates old cloth (and sometimes paper, in particular packaging) to create a story to her work. She is one of those textile artists that has an eye for balancing colour, fabric and stitch I enjoyed standing and looking at the areas in this quilt where the cloth has disintegrated.

The Red Centre by Jennifer Hollingdale. Another quilter I have been a fan of for a long time, I was lucky enough to do a workshop with her at FoQ (ooh, six years ago?). I love the way she incorporates old cloth (and sometimes paper, in particular packaging) to create a story to her work. She is one of those textile artists that has an eye for balancing colour, fabric and stitch I enjoyed standing and looking at the areas in this quilt where the cloth has disintegrated.

River Quilt was in the Two Person category, made by Jenny Haynes and Tatyana Duffie. The gorgeous unusual fabric combination really caught my eye (I love a floral) and the clever curves really stood out among all the busy quilts. The quilting is wonderful. I am guilty of overlooking this stage of quilt making, seeing it as an ends to a means, and this beautiful quilt was a great reminder of how stitch transforms the way light hits cloth and so creates texture. Just look at it... three fabrics plus quilting and it plays with your eye!

River Quilt was in the Two Person category, made by Jenny Haynes and Tatyana Duffie. The gorgeous unusual fabric combination really caught my eye (I love a floral) and the clever curves really stood out among all the busy quilts. The quilting is wonderful. I am guilty of overlooking this stage of quilt making, seeing it as an ends to a means, and this beautiful quilt was a great reminder of how stitch transforms the way light hits cloth and so creates texture. Just look at it... three fabrics plus quilting and it plays with your eye!

Eventide by Stuart Moores Textiles. I loved this quilt when I saw it, but it was only when I looked back at my photos that I spotted I follow the maker on Instagram - and always double tap at her beautifully dyed fabrics and fabulous quilting. I am a sucker for hand work, and in my (very humble) opinion there is not enough of it around these days, not just at FoQ, but in books and magazines too. So, I stopped in my tracks to admire this quilt. If I were to choose a quilt for my home this is it, graphic but organic design, lovely colours and a quilted texture that just makes me want to wrap it around my shoulders!

Eventide by Stuart Moores Textiles. I loved this quilt when I saw it, but it was only when I looked back at my photos that I spotted I follow the maker on Instagram - and always double tap at her beautifully dyed fabrics and fabulous quilting. I am a sucker for hand work, and in my (very humble) opinion there is not enough of it around these days, not just at FoQ, but in books and magazines too. So, I stopped in my tracks to admire this quilt. If I were to choose a quilt for my home this is it, graphic but organic design, lovely colours and a quilted texture that just makes me want to wrap it around my shoulders!