Festival of Quilts – Special Report
In the last newsletter we asked you guys to send us in your thoughts on this years Festival of Quilts. Guest writer Alexandra Brancato-Merritt of AllyBrancatoDesigns wrote us this fantastic report of her day. Thanks Ally!
I’ve only been sewing about 15 months so it was my first time at Festival of Quilts & I went on the Saturday. I got there on an organised coach, but it did take the coach driver about 40 minutes of driving around & around the NEC complex before he finally found how to get into the drop off zone at the entrance as there were quite a few of us with mobility issues so we couldn’t walk from the far away car parks. None of the NEC staff seemed to know where we should go & there was a complete lack of signs & organisation.
Anyway we got in a bit later than expected so I immediately went to Hall 9 to see if there were any places left on any Quick & Easy Workshops. Unfortunately all but 3 courses were sold out when I got there at 10.15am, but I was lucky to get a place on “Landscapes: Two For The Price Of One” course with Mick Stead at 1pm. After I booked that I wondered around Hall 9 & then came across the Rowandean Embroidery stand & they had a little class running on their stand which I signed up for & started, even though I’ve never done any embroidery before, so I was a bit scared of it. But I soon realised it wasn’t as daunting as I’d always thought. I was there over a hour & surprisingly really enjoyed it & found it really relaxing, but I didn’t fully finish my project as I had to go to the other class I had signed up for.
The short 2 in 1 Landscape pictures course was only for an hour so not much time to do much, but the idea was to learn the technique by cutting out the fabric for the main parts for 2 separate patchwork landscape pictures & Bondaweb some parts & for the most pin them in place so you could take them home to finish off & sew them at home at your leisure. It was also a technique to teach you to think how to carefully cut things out to make the most of your fabrics so you can use 1 small piece of fabric for 2 different projects, especially if you had hand dyed them yourself & to limit any scrap wastage. It was such a fast paced course I did have some trouble keeping up as I’m not the fastest, but I did really enjoy it & I’m really pleased I had something to show for it at the end & when I get the chance I will finish them by sewing them both, embellishing & then quilting.
The picture below shows the unfinished embroidery I did at the show.
The picture below shows the unfinished 2 in 1 Landscape pictures I did on the course at the show.
After that I spent the rest of the afternoon looking at various quilt exhibitions and exhibitors & supplier stalls & I spent lots of money of course. I did see everything in Hall 9 but I didn’t manage to see everything in Halls 8 & 7 as there just wasn’t enough time before our coach was due to pick us up at 5pm. I can now see why people told me it really takes about 2 days to see everything at the show & to take a shopping trolley to put everything in that you inevitably purchase, which I’ll bear in mind for next year’s show.
It really was an amazing day, it’s given me some great ideas for future projects, I learnt a variety of new techniques, I have 3 projects started from the days 2 classes I took & even more enthusiasm for patchwork, quilting & sewing than I had before. I will definitely be going again next year & I would love to do another Quick & Easy course at the show next year but I will definitely pre-book it in advance next time. I was also quite surprised the show wasn’t as busy as I had expected it to be on the Saturday & that the show was so well spaced out so that those with mobility problems can easily get around, so next year I will hire a mobility scooter there for just £15, which you can either pre-book or hire on the day subject to availability.
My favourite quilt displayed was a really effective & bold tree wall-hanging below, which I can imagine myself doing elements of;
I also loved these 2 bold quilts below;
Helen Martin got in touch to let us know about the amazing artist she discovered at the festival:
Had a fabulous time at my first Festival of quilts, top of the pile for me was the work by American Artist Luke Haynes who creates digital pictures of himself and then uses appliqué to create the photograph, plus traditional log cabin, or half square triangles for the background. He must have used hundreds of different pieces of different fabric, the effect was stunning.
It was a hugely inspiring day, completed by plenty of shopping! Thankfully a bunch of masseurs were on site to give aching muscles a rub!
Thanks for getting in touch ladies! Looks like you both made the most of a great event.
Did you pop down to the festival this year? How do you think it’s changed over the years? What caught your eye this year? Please do comment below and get the conversation rolling, its what its there for! 🙂