Open European Quilt Championships, Maastricht

by Eileen

We had a fairly early start from home on 30th October, as the coach was collecting us from Junction 8 Services on the M20, from there it is a relatively short drive to the Eurotunnel. Watches forward one hour. It was a fair distance to Maastricht, driving first through France, then into Belgium, where we had a short comfort stop and on to Maastricht which is in the south of Holland. We finally arrived at the hotel in the late afternoon. The hotel was ideally situated for the MECC which was the Exhibition Centre where the Championships were being held.

Saturday morning 9.45. Programmes and wrist bands, for two days, were handed out. The programme was amazing as it contained coloured photographs of the majority of quilts on display. Less than a five minute walk from hotel reception and we were in the exhibition – no long queues. The quilts were arranged in straight rows, easy to look at and plenty of room between the exhibits. Lots of natural light, which is always a bonus and the ceilings were high with plenty of artificial lights.

The standard of exhibits was very high, I did notice that a large proportion were long arm quilted. There was such a diverse selection of techniques and ideas – how I wish I could turn ideas into quilts. As well as the main exhibition there were side rooms containing quilts as well, one of these contained Amish quilts, both new and old. The German Quilters’ Guild had held a challenge and they had 124 various log cabin, limited sized, quilts on display, each one was different and they were stunning. Flying the Flag for Britain was Gail Lawther and her husband. We stopped to say hello, as Gail has visited Shirley Quilters more than once to give talks and run workshops.

There were various traders – well, it’s what we quilters expect! However, the majority of the fabric was the same as we could purchase at home, so that was left where it was. There was some beautiful Dutch fabric stalls, other traders were from Germany, Denmark, and Belgium. A couple of the stall holders visit the UK each year both for Malvern and the NEC.

Although the event is not as large as The Festival of Quilts at the NEC, it was nice to be able to view the quilts in relative calm, in fact the entire exhibition was more relaxed.  We did visit the show on the Saturday and Sunday, but probably two full days are not required.  However, the weather was asbolutely brilliant, so Saturday afternoon we walked the one and a half miles into the old centre of Maastricht.  I would certainly recommend this if you visit, the old centre certainly has some history.