I'm Back!! Via the Festival of Quilts!

Updated: Aug 7, 2019

Sorry for the extended period of silence.


I've been working on lots of boring admin and I've just come back from visiting my Mum in Newcastle.


It was another busy visit, with birthdays and a lot of jobs that needed doing and of course I chose the hottest weather possible to do them!!


My two nieces and my Mum celebrating her birthday

I got back in time to visit the annual mecca that is The Festival of Quilts. I always like to visit, both for inspiration, a bit of trend research and of course who can forget the fabric shopping (it's something I am very good at!).


So without further ado, I thought you might like to see my favourites, for those who didn't see them on my social media feeds.


Australian Memories by Ruth Wooles (Pictorial Quilt)

This quilt reminded me of my own trip to Australia, where I also collected a few aboriginal design fabrics. I also loved the burnt orange and brown fabric combination.


Walking Circles by DrieHSW (Group Quilt) Highly Recommended

Firstly I love the choice of contrasting colours and the constrained curvyness! Reading more about the quilt, it was made by 5 different people, who each did a strip. They were each given 3 colours of fabric (black, magenta and petrol for a background) and asked to add one other colour. I love the result!


Incoming Tide by Mike Fitchett (Pictorial Quilt)

Don't you love a picture where you can feel you are there?


This quilt totally did that for me. They got the colours and the texture just right with the sort of overexposure you get on a really sunny day


Forever Flowers by Claire Tinsley (Pictoral Quilt) Highly Recommended

CLOSE UP Forever Flowers by Claire Tinsley (Pictoral Quilt) Highly Recommended

This quilt was so refreshing. You can totally see why it was Highly Commended.


Like standing in a garden at Chelsea. The mix of quilting and hand painting with acrylic inks makes the flowers and foliage really come alive. A labour of love dedicated to the quilter's late mother and husband.


Dry Stone Wall by Exe Valley Contemporary Quilt Group (Group Quilt) 3rd Prize Winner

CLOSE UP Dry Stone Wall by Exe Valley Contemporary Quilt Group (Group Quilt) 3rd Prize Winner

What a great idea for a Group Quilt!!


This was made up by 23 members of the group.


I loved the clever mix of techniques and textiles used to express the texture of a drystone wall. Especially the detail of the beading for the lichen. Phenomenal!


Modern Mash Up by Alison Stothard (Traditional Quilt)

CLOSE UP Modern Mash Up by Alison Stothard (Traditional Quilt)

I love a bit of monochrome with a flash of bright colour. This sampler quilt uses a series of different techniques, hand applique (as seen in the close up), as well as machine quilting. There were a few ideas even a very simple quilter, like me, could use.

My trip down the rabbit hole by Sharon Appleton (Traditional Quilt)

CLOSE UP My trip down the rabbit hole by Sharon Appleton (Traditional Quilt)

Ok - so I was totally drawn to this because of the rabbits.


There is something really free and joyful about them.


I also love the colours and that when I looked closer there were unexpected octopusses (or is it octopii?). Still not quite sure what they were about but I liked them because they were quirky.


Purple haze by Yvonne McKee (Traditional Quilt)

"My name is Alison and I like glitter!"


This quilt is glittery, but it uses it's glitter subtly and it doesn't overwhelm the design.


I particularly loved the detailed quilting of the hearts at the edges.

Dancing with Daisies by Edith Dixon (Traditional Quilt)

CLOSE UP Dancing with Daisies by Edith Dixon (Traditional Quilt)

Much as I love the bright coloured quilts, as perhaps my choices illustrate, I also love muted or slightly "dirty" colours, which give a lovely vintage ageless classic look. They are just so comforting.


And the use of daisies. They always make me smile. A remembrance of the simplicity of childhood daisy chains.


The central glimpse of toile de jouy is like a window out onto a rural landscape. I loved the fact that some the animals were individually quilted. Particularly the fox, you can see in the close up.


Tranquility by Lynda Jackson (Traditional Quilt) 3rd Prize Winner

CLOSE UP Tranquility by Lynda Jackson (Traditional Quilt) 3rd Prize Winner

Now this quilt was one of my ABSOLUTE FAVOURITES! In fact - in my opinion it should have won First Prize not Third.


The colour was amazing! The photograph above just doesn't capture it.


I loved the way relief was created via shadows around some of the design elements. As the close up shows, this was due to intense stitching of a slightly different shade.


I'd assumed that the quilt had been quilted via a computerised long arm machine. So I was totally blown away when I discovered that it was all stitched free motion.

Dame of Australia by Mandy Murray (Contemporary Quilt)

CLOSE UP Dame of Australia by Mandy Murray (Contemporary Quilt)

I'm sure you don't need me to tell you that this was based on Dame Edna!


A really happy quilt with amazing use of a variety of trims. I particularly loved the feathered effect around the edge.


And The World Goes Round.. by Jane Osborne (Contemporary Quilt) 2nd Prize Winner

Loved the simplicity of design of this one, the colours and the sense of movement.


Handmade with love and magic by Yasmeen Kreebani Branton (Contemporary Quilt)

This quilt again has that sense of age from the muted 'dirty' colours. I was also drawn to the slightly rough folk symbols, especially the central hand.


It's a new dawn it's a new day by Valerie Mullally (Contemporary Quilt)

So I got African and tribal with shields all the earthy colours of Africa. But I discovered this is actually Peruvian based on memories of a visit to Machu Picchu.

Drop by drop by Lesley Ann Withers (Art Quilt)

This smaller long narrow quilt was very different from the other items on display and really stood out. I loved the layered felt applique and the shimmering beading.

Gold Lady by Yan Liu (Art Quilt)

I have always loved the look of quilted gold material on quilts. Especially simply used on a black background.


This reproduction of a Klimt painting used the quilting of the rich gold and metallic sheen of indian raw silk to give a beautiful effect.

The DragonFly by Jeanette Orr (Art Quilt)

CLOSE UP The DragonFly by Jeanette Orr (Art Quilt)

The beautiful colours of a dragonfly are reproduced brilliantly in this quilt. The clever use of shiny and matt fabrics and silver threads makes it really come alive.


Really complemented by the art deco style background.

Underground Overground by Caroline Nixon (Art Quilt)

CLOSE UP Underground Overground by Caroline Nixon (Art Quilt)

This quilt again uses the muted aged colours I love.


It looks to be handpainted with a mix of machine quilting and hand embroidery.

Taj Mahal At Sunset by Pippa Wardman (The Quilters' Guild Challenge) 2nd Prize Winner, Winner Peoples Choice

CLOSE UP Taj Mahal At Sunset by Pippa Wardman (The Quilters' Guild Challenge) 2nd Prize Winner, Winner Peoples Choice

CLOSE UP Taj Mahal At Sunset by Pippa Wardman (The Quilters' Guild Challenge) 2nd Prize Winner, Winner Peoples Choice

Oh the attention to detail!!!


This was one of the few photographic quilts I saw this year. It was absolutely beautifully done and loved the element of hand embroidery.


You can totally see why it was the Winner of the People's Choice!



And now to the WINNERS!!

WINNER CONTEMPORARY QUILTS - Fractal by Claudia Pfeil

WINNER CONTEMPORARY QUILTS - CLOSE UP - Fractal by Claudia Pfeil

This quilt had everything!! So much colour, incredible detail, beautiful crystalwork. A very worthy winner.

WINNER ART QUILT - Vertex by Betty Busby

WINNER ART QUILT - CLOSE UP Vertex by Betty Busby

Another worthy winner. I found this quilt very earthy and organic.


It uses silk, hemp and non-wovens to depict a network of natural tissues.

WINNER GROUP QUILTS - Over the Hills and Far Away by Cowslip Workshops

WINNER GROUP QUILTS - CLOSE UP - Over the Hills and Far Away by Cowslip Workshops

This is so similar to a previous quilt I liked, it seemed rather unfair. It was beautiful and perhaps more colourful and the daisy quilting is quite lovely.


BEST IN SHOW HANDICRAFTS GROUP - Who will tell the Bees by Mary Palmer and Anne Kiely

BEST IN SHOW HANDICRAFTS GROUP - CLOSE UP - Who will tell the Bees by Mary Palmer and Anne Kiely

I have to say - I wasn't a huge fan of this one. It did have an immense amount of detail though and some lovely linens.

The Festival also has various other collections of quilts from around the world.


There were a couple that I really loved.

Heritage of Women, Album Quilt by Carol Thompson Falk, Nebraska 1995-1998

CLOSE UP - Heritage of Women, Album Quilt by Carol Thompson Falk, Nebraska 1995-1998

I particularly loved the depiction of flowers in this panel. They seemed so real!


The Legend of the Willow Pattern by Debbie Carrington (Winner of the Vlieseline Textile Award)

So, congrats if you got this far!!


This was my ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE quilt displayed in the whole show.


I love Spode and the Willow pattern and this is inspired by both.


This is the one I REALLY wanted to take home. It was GORGEOUS!


I'm sure my husband would buy it for me. It was only £2750.....


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