Thursday, August 25, 2005


Festival of Quilts 2005

Sue Goodman and I have just returned from this year's exhibition in Birmingham. We stayed a couple of nights at the adjoining Hilton Hotel as we always need at least two days to cover most of the exhibition and of course the trade stands.

This year there were even more exhibits to see and the show is growing so fast that it will be moved into larger accommodation at the NEC next year. To be honest, I was a little disappointed with the entries this year - perhaps it was because I have now been to Houston and can make a comparison. However, there were many wonderful quilts to see and the Quilters' Guild Challenge (Classic and Cool in Blue and White) exhibit was stunning as well as a retrospective of Gwenfai Rees Griffiths' quilts which were breathtaking. It was a little difficult differentiating between categories at times, particularly Contemporary and Innovative. Visitors were still puzzled by the lack of rosettes to identify prizewinners and even more so by notices saying 'This exhibit has been removed to the Winner's Podium'. There was no podium, just a white wall at the head of each category displaying the winning quilt.

On Sunday, Sue and I were joined my Swedish friend Carin who was visiting from Tokyo to see her tiny quilt displayed in the 'Pictorial' category. I was surprised when I saw the size of the quilt as already having seen a photograph, I had it in my mind that it was almost a full size quilt. It was lovely and particularly the very clever curved 'Prairie Point' border which everyone, including the judges commented on. Sue had a small wallhanging depicting the Queen of Hearts', also in the 'Pictorial' category. Unfortunately it wasn't hung in a good position and the lack of good lighting didn't show the piece to its best advantage. However, once again well admired and I am sure gave a lot of visitors inspiration for future projects particularly with Sue's meticulous attention to detail in her embellishments and quilting.

It was also lovely to meet everyone from Norfolk who had travelled by coach and car to the show and catch up with all the news. That is , of course, another reason for spending a couple of days there as it is a good place for quilters, who may live at different ends of the country, to meet up.

With the final hours running out fast, Sue and I hit the trade stands and what a wonderful selection there was this year. Many new traders had travelled from Europe and there was such a selection of all things we quilters must have. Now we are home, Sue and I are already wishing we bought just another couple of metres of that must have hand-dyed fabric so thank goodness for the internet.

The summer holidays are almost over now and the weather has been at its worst. I have managed to get some serious quilting done this year and am hoping that the autumn might be a bit brighter so that I can get out and have some exercise for once. I am looking forward to seeing everyone back at the first Quilted Block of the Month class on 13th September when the finished blocks will start to be sewn together.

See you all soon,


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