Festival of Quilts - by Anne L


On Saturday, 13th August 2016, 16 members and friends of Shirley Quilters gathered at Shirley Methodist Church ready to set off for Birmingham. After a few hiccups, the coach arrived and we set off on our magical mystery tour of England’s motorways  –the journey both ways took almost three and a half hours – not for the faint-hearted……


We arrived just before midday ready to ‘splash the cash’ and there were plenty of traders inside to help us. The sewing machine manufacturers were well represented and many visitors were able to try out the newer machines. I got my hands on a long-arm quilting machine – it was magic – if only I had a big room and could afford one!


Fabrics were available in abundance ranging from your basic plain colours to wonderful designs, including batiks, silks and hand dyed. In particular Doughtys put on a very large display and were surrounded by the smaller stalls who supply us with our tools and threads etc. If you were prepared/able to ‘barter’ with the stall holders there were bargains to be had.  Believe me, I witnessed Joan in action, it was like a Masterclass.


The Quilts on display were many and varied and it was obvious that a lot of hard work and time had gone in to creating them. I was impressed by the quilts created by the young quilters who showed much imagination and skill. Some of the quilts really gave the impression of dimension with clever piecing and wonderful use of colour. I was in awe of the size of some of the quilts, particularly the overall winner – how do they have walls large enough to display them at home?


It was so nice to chat to other Quilters from all over the UK and to hear about their local clubs and experience. It reaffirms your belief that Quilters/Sewers are very giving.


All too soon it was time to leave and despite the early start and tiring day, it was a very happy and noisy group of women who made their way back to Croydon, albeit lighter in the pocket.