At the weekend a friend and I had a day at the NEC for the Festival of Quilts. Neither of us had been before though we’ve both been to the Knitting and Stitching show organised by the same people. I’m not a quilter, and am only a recent sewer so this was all about inspiration and encouragement for me. My friend has completed one quilt, and is part way through another, so she had a bit more right to be there ;-) I have at least made a patchwork bag so I’m not a total fraud.
As we thought (rightly) that it could be a long and tiring day, we decided to travel up on Friday after work and stay overnight so we could get to the NEC bright and early on Saturday morning - which we did, we were there just as the doors opened.
I didn’t have much of an idea of what to expect but I don’t think I’d expected it to be quite so huge. And for the exhibition bit to be quite so vast. Wonderfully so. Traditional quilts, modern quilts, fine art quilts, patterned quilts, picture quilts, quilts by children. All were represented. And probably lots I’ve missed out as well.
One highlight was the quilt pictured at the top of this post - “Da Vinci’s knot” which was an Italian quilt. Other notable quilts were
“Grace” by Sandy Chandler, which looked like flocked wallpaper, and had such a huge amount of texture to it. It was really hard not to touch this and interact with it.
“Full circle” by Linda Forey which completed drew me in, seeing the overall, and then the detail. Really caught my attention.
“Sunshine and Shadow II” by by Anne Armes which was such a lot of beautifully planned and superbly executed work.
There are a few more in my flickr set.
I’d prepared a small list of supplies I’d be interested in looking for — some I didn’t expect to find (a specific yarn), some I was more optimistic about (red fabric for a cushion cover) — and this did help me keep on track a little bit, though I did leave with a lot more than I thought I would. £1 or £1.50 far quarters are too much of a bargain to ignore apparently!
A couple of things really caught my eye — both because they were unusual to me.
The first was Magee of Donegal who were selling woven wool as fat quarters/yardage — as a weaver, and lover of most things woven, I was delighted to think of what I could do with some of this. I left with one fat quarter and one larger remnant piece. Both loosely in colours that match my living room.
The second was The Silk Route who had differing silks in fat quarters. I left with a beautiful piece which, to me at least, makes me think of beaches with boardwalk and sand. It’s almost certainly too nice to use at the moment, so it’ll either sit in my fabric box for a while, or get turned into a wall hanging or something.
I also left with some co-ordinating red fabrics for a cushion cover, some plain fabrics, some crazy grey/turquoise fabrics, some crazy black and white fabric and some lime green with white flowers fabric.
Despite the show being big, and there being a lot of people, it didn’t seem too busy. There seemed to be a good amount of space between the stalls and the exhibition areas and people seemed to flow around the area quite well. There were also quite a large amount of seating options provided meaning we could take a well-earned rest.
All in all, it was a good day out, well worth the traveling and definitely worth heading up the evening before. I would really have been exhausted if we’d tried to do there and back plus the show in the day.