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  • Nicola

Festival of Quilts 2022

This time last week Mark and I were loading the car in readiness to travel to the NEC to set up for the Festival of Quilts. No matter how well I plan, it’s always a squash and a squeeze and twenty minutes in we wonder about hiring a van. It didn’t help that I took a Christmas tree with me this year - to be honest the wicker tree skirt was more trouble - but with a bit of rejigging I can get a lot in the back of a car. If you’re planning a trip to IKEA I’m your girl.

Here are a few photos of the stand…

'twas the night before.... Festival

I had great fun planning my Christmas-themed stand this year, ready for the launch of the Twelve Days of Christmas book and the Dalarna and Danish Hearts patterns.

the Dalarna quilt

Dalarna was the favourite with my visitors and sold out every day (I'm relieved to say that it's now restocked in the shop) and I was thrilled to meet several quilters who made it when it appeared in the Today's Quilter Christmas supplement a few years ago.

a few details from the stand...

It was absolutely wonderful to connect with so many past customers who came to the stand and shared photos of their makes; finally meet some of the gorgeous Block of the Month friends I've been posting parcels to over the past few years; chat with the ladies who joined the coach trip from my local guild, the Shropshire Quilters; and to meet some of you who are making the Primrose Hill BOM (not long to go now to that reveal!).

I also got to meet up with my British Sew-a-Row besties, although we were missing Lou, who I sincerely hope was sipping cocktails on a sun-lounger somewhere...

Me, Yasmeen, Jo and Sonia with Jo's British Sew-a-Row quilt

Jo worked until silly-o'clock the weekend before Festival to get her quilt finished and it was a triumph!

Festival of Quilts may be physically demanding - we all get our steps in - but it's always mentally refreshing and I always leave with a long list of new techniques I want to try and blocks I want to make. My favourite exhibit this year was the gallery sponsored by Quiltfolk, Unconventional & Unexpected Too: Quilts from the Kiracofe Collection, quilts primarily made between 1950 and 1970. These were joyous quilts made in an eclectic variety of fabrics - some new, some scraps - combining blocks and playing with quilting techniques in a very personal way. These are the quilts often overlooked by museum collections and thank heavens they have Roderick Kiracofe to save them for us to enjoy.

I was also utterly beguiled by the Quilters Guild exhibit, Text and Context: Quilts and the Written Word, which showcased modern text quilts, antique quilts embroidered with improving quotes and - most fascinating of all - text hidden within quilts. Several of the quilts were hung facing the wall, so that we could see the snippets of household bills and personal correspondence that were cut up to make templates, giving us an unexpected glimpse into their maker's lives.

I was also able to spend some time with two very lovely quilts that I've watched being made on Instagram. The first was Jo Avery's Intertwined quilt, which was the deserved winner of the Quilters Guild Challenge ‘The World We Share’ this year. I was able to celebrate with Jo on Thursday night and have a good conflab about the Archers' current plotlines(!). The second was the Jubilee Medallion community quilt, English Paper Pieced in Liberty fabrics by a hundred makers - included a friend from my guild - painstakingly assembled by Suzanne Campion and Leisa Morris White and beautifully quilted by Trudi Wood to celebrate the Queen’s platinum jubilee.

Friendship seems to be the theme running through many of the quilts on show this year and through the social media posts I've seen. Festival of Quilts 2022, you've been good for the soul. Until next year (because I'll need a year to get over it!),

Nicola xx


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