Sunday, 19 August 2012

Festival of Quilts

Yesterday I went to the NEC in Birmingham to visit the Festival of Quilts!  This fabulous show (apparently the biggest in Europe) is in its 10th year and never disappoints.  This year I went with two new quilters, Kate and Maria, who were delightful companions and really enjoyed their day.  The show is so big, you'd need to visit more than once to see everything, so we started with the traditional quilts while we were still fresh. 


This is an applique quilt with lots of papercut designs.  The workmanship was superb - the stitches were invisible, the points were all sharp and we loved the red and white palette.
This photo doesn't quite capture this quilt's wonderfulness.  The streaky bits are due to the clever use of stripey fabric, and it looked much better 'in the flesh'.

Another red applique quilt, this time in Hawaiian style.  The logistics of handling such a big applique piece must have been sustantional.  Again, the workmanship was impeccable.

This little quilt, called Swallows and Geese caught our eye because it was a perfect composition.  All the borders add something to the whole, and the cornerstones in the last border pull it all together.

This was a kind of charm quilt, as the jockey cap blocks were all different.  Another simple quilt with good use of colour and lots of appeal.

Maybe it was because my companions were beginner quilters that I took so many photos of simple quilts or maybe it's to do with my love of traditional and scrap quilts.  This one is four-patches and half square triangles, but the use of darks and lights and the star border just looked so good.  Not a prize winner, but something very pleasing.

I continue to be fascinated by medallion quilts, and this one (starting with 1" squares if I remember correctly!) has a completeness about it.

Another medallion combining piecing and applique.  The birds in the air blocks had very small triangles, and were complimented perfectly by the appliqued centre and borders.

We didn't spend much time looking at the contemporary or art quilts but loved this quilt by Ferret.  The design was made by the quilting thread - it's actually a wholecloth quilt, quilted in different coloured threads to make the design.  Her quilting is amazing!

Kate is examining the stitching on this one.  Each shape has quite a heavy satin stitch around it - something I don't usually like, but which looks perfect on this.  It made the flowers look a bit like crewel work, and added extra depth of colour and definition to it.  We were surprised this wasn't a prize winner.
Wearable art was as fascinationg as ever.  This one possibly was wearable,

the one on the right probably not! (What is all the pink stuff round the neck and decolletage?  It looks a bit macabre to me!) 
This banner was to represent Scotland - looks good to me!

This year, all the prizewinning quilts were grouped together, which we quite liked.  If they are left in their numerical sequence, it's easy to miss them, and that would be a shame.  Part of the fun is to see if we agree with the judges, and this time, we pretty much did.  (We didn't agree with the Quilter's Guild Challenge winner, which was basically a painted, printed hedgerow with a few embroidery stitches in it.  Very nice, but not a quilt show winner in our opinion!)  This fabulous applique quilt was the winner in the traditional quilt class.  Gorgeous.

This one was contemporary (or  art, I can't remember!) and we loved it.  It was beautifully pieced (not stuck or painted) and the movement in the dance is captured perfectly.  A very worthy winner.

This was the winner in the group category.  It's Sunbonnet Sue goes to the Olympics!  The first event is throwing the iron, the second synchronised sewing, next the team pursuit, then rotary cutter relay.  (That event looks as if it could be a bit dangerous to me!)  On the bottom row we have the quilter's bolt, the balance bras, jumping to the quilt show and tacking round the needles!  A perfect example of the rich humour of quilters - especially good at poking fun at themselves!  Well done, No Name Quilters!

Here is a close up of tacking round the needles!  Sue is saying 'Tacking! You call this tacking?'
Jsut two more quilts which caught my eye as we went towards the exit, with heavy shopping bags and weary legs.  These fish shimmered and sparkled as they swam round.
And last but not least, some more weary ladies with shopping bags.  We're the same the world over!  It was a great day with wonderful quilts, fabulous shopping and lovely company.  Here's to next year! 


Nik said...

Yes, but tell us what you bought!!

Contented Caroline said...

I went too but had little time to look unfortunately. Loved some that you chose too - it really was a good show.