English Festival of Quilts

the most joyous of quilts.

I saw so may quilts, the good, the bad and the ugly, at the recent Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, that I have been at a loss to know what to write and how to show all the wonderful things on show and for sale. So to start at the beginning I am simply posting the quilts that I felt jealous of not having made myself. First off is the quilt above, no names on the general exhibits and I didn’t get many titles either – so treat this as a visual feast.

But wow, this is how to use all those purpose designed and brilliantly coloured quilting fabrics – just go for it. I recognised many of these fabrics as Kaffe Fasset designs so I was delighted to see a design that was as exhuberant and playful as the original fabrics themselves.

The Kaffe Fassett fabrics were included in many other exhibits, this amazing quilt made me dizzy standing next to it, I felt I was falling over as the twist of the star design was very strong close up.

“dizzy windmill” patchwork

I now realise how little I know of the names of the patchwork designs – however I often give them names myself,  this is Dizzy Windmill.

Dizzy Windmill detail.

What I did discover is that the quilts that I enjoyed the most used good quality fabrics in a strong traditional design, which is a bit boring of me really! But you can spend ages, close up and personal enjoying the variety of fabric.

the detail here shows all sorts of small prints that are hand stitched and quilted together then tied with thread in the centres – I do like ties in quilts.

florals, ditzies and geometric prints.

How about this for perfect use of stripes and geometrics – how fantastic is this? the glowing centre and the striped border makes this a quilt seem to be imploding.

Striped Hexagons like a star imploding.

Brilliant use of striped fabrics for traditional hexagon patchwork.

Hand stitched hexagon patchwork with a perfect border.

Striped fabrics have also been used for this quilt below, quieter and very desirable, this I the one quilt that I really wanted to take home to bed.

Intricate Log Cabin format for red white and blue patchwork.

the detail shows how the simple contrasting fabrics used to such stunning effect. although I recognised several fabrics in this quilt as being newly bought it did look more like a quilt made of recycled fabrics, I do prefer the idea of using recycled fabrics …..just a thought.

contrasting light and dark refined and subdued fabrics
contrasting light and dark refined and subdued fabrics

At the entrance of the show there was a ‘Winners’ Wall’ of quilts and 2 quilts were constantly being scrutinised and photographed, there were constant queues to view them…one was a 2 person quilt – pieced by one person and quilted by another, the overall effect was rich, muted and sumptuous.

The quilting was by machine and was an undulating design of feathers that perfectly contrasted with the star and diamond geometric patchwork.

feather design for machine quilting

The other  quilt, which was next to this was entirely different, it was in fact an applique, it looked like a glowing flowering silk carpet.

traditional applique quilt

Here are hand stitched applied flowers in traditional designs, very beautifully controlled and as playful as they are elegant. It is reminiscent of 17th century embroidered bed covers.

hand applique and stitched winner’s quilt – detail

There were so many quilts that were beautiful that I got exhausted trying to photograph them to make a post out of them, the exhibition was really too big for 1 day’s visit but I want to show a few more that worked on pure colour  – a very simple silk folded piece.

Brigitte Morgenroth silk quilt

And a very glamorous and modern haphazard piece that must have been inspired in some way by the Gees Bend quilts ?

wonderful coloured abstract pieced quilt

At the end of the day my head and eyes were hurting – not to say my feet; it is such an amazing festival if a tad too large and unedited. The one area of calm I found was this stand of Turkey red and white quilts from the Quilt Museum and Gallery of York. I shouldn’t have taken this picture but I just had to show a stunning striking space – as empty as you needed it to be after an exhausting day  – and I haven’t mentioned the sales area yet have I?

Turkey Red quilts form the York Quilt Museum and Gallery

10 thoughts on “English Festival of Quilts

  1. What a great selection! I too was at FOQ for only one day, and missed seeing many of the lovely quilts that you showed, so it’s a treat to be able to look at them at leisure.

  2. Janet – I am so glad you have been to the Festival of Quilts and thank you for liking my friend Jilly’s pineapple quilt and wanting to take it home – she will be thrilled! She collects her fabrics carefully and buys from “Washed and Worn”.

  3. We just came across your great post and wanted to thank you for sharing these wonderful photos. These are fantastic quilts… what an inspiring collection! Thank you again.

    1. Hi Threadbenders,
      I have just seen your image for the Hexie Star – you have it attributed to me – I merely took the picture and posted it in my blog Janet Haigh: Her Work, about an English Patchwork exhibition so can you please remove my name or say it appears on my blog as I would hate to upset the amazing crafts person who actually did design and stitch it –

      1. Hi Janet, I have just found my quilt on your blog taken at the 2012 Festival of quilts, the ‘hexie star’ made from striped fabrics. Thank you for all your kind comments!
        For the record, I did follow the link from Pinterest and wondered how it could have been mis-attributed, but you are clear in your text that this was someone else’s quilt.
        What I really wanted to tell you is what a thrill it was to see a photo of my quilt on the web.
        I also liked what you said about recycled fabrics in the same blog- as it happens my quilt was made with fabrics as diverse as my grandmother’s handkerchiefs, my father’s shirts and my socks!
        Kind regards, Sarah Gill

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