Quilting is a crafty universe that I know very little about. I started a hand-sewn quilt when I was a student (over a decade ago) which is still a work in progress, and I've done the occasional patchwork project... but that's about it. So, why would I want to go to an event that's all about Quilts???
1. It's nice to step outside my own crafty bubble to see new and different crafty things. For me, going to the Festival of Quilts is the creative equivalent of going abroad on holiday, as the world of quilting feels like a different crafty "country" to the one I live in. It's fun to be a creative tourist and see lots of new-to-me things!
2. Not knowing much about quilts doesn't stop me from admiring ones people have made - just like how you can enjoy an art exhibition without knowing much about the history of painting or being able to paint a picture yourself. I love seeing all the different quilt styles on display and the creative textile art too. There's so much to look at and to oooh over.
3. Looking at all this amazing work by other people is very inspiring. Visiting the Festival has definitely inspired me to try more quilting (and I've even bought the fabric for a specific project which I'll hopefully be starting and blogging about soon) but I also get a lot of inspiration for non-quilty projects too. It's often the small details that I find most inspiring, like particular colour combinations and stitches.
4. The sheer enthusiasm for making things that radiates from everyone at the event is wonderful. Each time I visit I come away every year feeling like sewing is completely awesome and wanting to make lots of things.
Here are some of the quilts that caught my eye this year (and their makers).
|Clockwise from top left: Laura Armiraglio, Anita Gogerty, Tracy Aplin & (not sure who this is by - if you know, please leave a comment!)|
My favourite piece in this year's Festival had to be this amazing working grandfather clock. I love the whole idea of this and the details were just wonderful.
5. You can do lots of shopping! Obviously, you don't have to be a quilter to enjoy a nice bit of fabric shopping. Buying craft supplies online is great, but there's nothing quite like being able to browse in person - especially if you're trying to match particular colours.
The stalls at the Festival of Quilts don't just sell fabric and quilting supplies but lots of other things too. Among the many supplies on offer I spotted felt, beads, buttons, cross stitch patterns and kits, yarn, handmade scissors, embroidery threads, bag making supplies, decoupage papers, carved wooden stamps, and much more. This year I did quite a bit of shopping (click to see what I bought!), but "window shopping" is fun too and you can pick up business cards along the way for shops you'd like to visit online in future.
Here are some snaps of just a teeny selection of the stalls...
Yummy fabric and other supplies at the Eternal Maker stand.
Pretty Liberty prints at Alice Caroline.
Lots of crochet goodness at TOFT Alpaca (remember I reviewed the TOFT book earlier this year? It includes the patterns for all those crocheted animals), plus textile loveliness at the Selvedge stand.
More yummy fabric at Needle & Thread, crochet & linen goodness from Namolio whose shop I've admire on Etsy for years, and quilty inspiration at the Vilene stand where I said hi to Laura of Made Peachy (who guest posted for me earlier this year).
6. And - last but by no means least - you get to meet lots of lovely, crafty people!
I had a lovely long chat with a lady on the (totally jam packed!) train to Birmingham on Saturday morning, all about how she got into quilting and what projects she'd working on at the moment, and chatted with lots of other people during the two days at the Festival as we sighed over lovely supplies we were tempted to buy and oohed over quilts.
It was great to be able to say hi to makers and sellers I know through my blog and lovely to be able to say to people making awesome things: "your work is awesome" - to actually, in person, compliment someone on their work instead of the usual slightly impersonal routine of "liking" stuff on Facebook and so on.
I didn't recognise most of the quilt designers doing book signings, etc, but was totally thrilled to meet mega-talented fabric designer Amy Butler. She was very nice - not only sweetly answering my questions about how she got started designing fabric and how she gets the inspiration for her collections, but also asking me about my own designing and making. Lovely lady!
I met up with Bridgeen (of Cherry & Cinnamon) and Chiaki (of Chiaki Creates) for a natter about making and blogging and lots of other stuff. Bridgeen had a quilt in the exhibition, which was made with fabrics she'd designed.
|Bridgeen & her quilt|
I also bumped into Julie from Button Button, Emma from Sew Sweet (who, like me, used to sell felt and other crafty supplies... so we had lots to chat about!) and the lovely Jen, the editor of Love Patchwork & Quilting.
|Me & Jen|
Aaah... so much crafty goodness. Next year's Festival is already in my diary :)