The Festival of Quilts - by Jackie S

The Festival of Quilts is the biggest quilt show in Europe, with visitors from around the world, and this year it seemed bigger than ever.  At least my feet would think so - walking around the three halls of the NEC for most of the day was a strain on them.  Had to be done, though - I've been to every FoQ since it came to the NEC in 2003, so can't stop now!  

It's a bit overwhelming on first entering the exhibition and takes a while to decide where to start but, it doesn't take long to get into the swing of quilts.  

There were significantly less exhibits than last year, although still lots of traders, but I only purchased a few fat quarters that I needed (honestly). 

I was very interested in the Modern Group quilts, especially their gallery showing the challenges set this year entitled Cottonopolis Jukebox, reflecting the past Manchester cotton industry and the music scene in the 1980s.  7" discs of many colours were sewn together to make three quilts, which were quilted with the names of closed down Manchester cotton mills - very colourful. 

There were many galleries showing the wonderful work of very talented quilters from around the world.  My favourite was USA's Victoria Findlay Wolfe's gallery, Traditional Made Modern; her work is very original and eclectic in style with bold fabrics and bright colours. 

I met Anna Maria Horner, an extraordinarily talented fabric designer and quilter from Tennessee, whose fabric collections are stunning.  Look her up on the internet.  I also got chatting to Jeanette Boulet from Canada who asked me what did “haberdashery” mean?  Apparently, in Canada and USA they call it “notions”.  Jeanette had a quilt on show which she had English paper-pieced with many pieces, entitled "Fireworks", and had incorporated an FoQ visit with a trip to the UK.  I searched out her quilt and it was amazing - representing the title very well.

There were many workshops taking place involving all sorts of weird and wonderful techniques, and lots of well-known quilters had stalls where they were demonstrating their work.  The winning quilts were displayed in a separate section and were easy to see, the adjudged Best in Show being by Philippa Naylor, who seems to win something every year.  Her exhibit was a miniature, unlike her usual, large quilts, but in her own style.  

After a day's overload of all things quilting, it was a relief to sit on the train to finally reach home and "crash".  A long and tiring day but also very enjoyable and inspirational.  Roll on next year, so put 9-12 August 2018 in your diary now - if you haven't been before you will be amazed.  

Note:  A big thanks to Jackie who is a regular contributor to the "Reviews page".