Saturday, August 29, 2009


Festival of Quilts 2009

August is upon us again and for the sixth year running, the annual pilgramage to Birmingham and the Festival of Quilts took place last weekend. Sue, Carin and I set off across country in the car and with Sue's excellent driving and map reading skills, we were in Birmingham after three and a half hours from Norfolk.

There had been several changes made to the competition rules this year which impacted on the number of quilts displayed. The large and small categories had merged and the Contemporary with the Innovative. As the changes had been notified late, a lot of pieces, being made especially had to be witheld and this was obvious to us, soon after we arrived.

However, having said that, there were some lovely quilts to see and the overall winner, made by two American sisters, was truly a work of art. Carin's tiny miniature crazy quilt was on display (unfortunately in a rather dark corner) and many visitors were amazed at the size of her tiny embroidery stitches. Carin had won third prize, for Embroidery, for a similar miniature quilt last year, which was double the size of this. Unfortunately, the special prizes for embroidery, quilting and use of colour had also disappeared this year, and I am sure she would have been a contender had they not.

As always, changes are often contraversial, and there was a lot of talk about them this year. Although it is too late to do anything about changes for next year's competitions, Andrew Salmon, of Twisted Thread, has invited constructive comments on re-examining the competition structure by writing to him, with suggestions, before this coming Christmas. I do hope many will do so as just talking about it and doing nothing will not help. So those of you who read this and were also disappointed in the rule changes, please share your thoughts with those who might be able to do something about it.

I spent some time on the Traditional Quilt Group stand this year, in the hope that I would see some completed Block of the Month quilts. Although some brave members brought theirs, others were shy but have promised photos. I do hope that they will materialise as hopefully, we will be able to have a display of them next year, for all to see and admire. So, if you are one of those people who have promised to send a photo when your quilt is finished, please do. They are all beautiful and all different. However, great fun was had on each day and it was lovely to be able to catch up with friends made over the past years as well as making new ones this year.

My year as co-opted Committee member of the Traditional Group (for Block of the Month purposes) ends tomorrow. The project has been a huge success and many friendships have been made along with the little quilts. I have enjoyed the process immensely although I wouldn't have been able to cope with the technical side of it, without the help of my son Nick. He and I are now going on to do other things but another Block of the Month is currently being designed for the Group, for release early next year.

With the Autumn quickly approaching, we will soon be thinking of the Chilford Autumn Festival. Before that, our family are off to spend a week on Skye. I have been lucky enough to invite myself to a meeting of the Sky Quilters who will be giving me an insight into their lives as quilters living on a remote Scottish island. I am hoping that I might be able to write an article for Patchwork & Quilting magazine. It beats climbing up a mountain!!!

I am now well into making ten projects for a book for Country Bumpkin Publications in Australia, which will be based on my historical work I have made and exhibited over the past few years. As everything is being handmade by me, it is taking some time but fortunately, thanks to the support and encouragement of my editor, I feel no pressure at the moment. It is due for publication in 2011. Things may well have changed by the time I post my next blog.

Happy quilting,


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