Home quilts Festival Of Quilts 2013

Festival Of Quilts 2013

by Clare Mansell
Festival Of Quilts 2013
Festival Of Quilts
Festival Of Quilts

I’m just back from my first ever Festival Of Quilts. It was interesting, and was different in many ways from what I had expected. There were some, but not many modern quilts (as I had been warned by some of you on Twitter!) and I didn’t return bursting at the seams with ideas and enthusiasm which had been my expectation.

I spent relatively little on fabric with no real effort to hold back. Some pre-cut Hexies from Simply Solids, a half metre of fabric (more shorts for Theo) from the Eternal Maker (yes, my local fabric store!) and a lovely bundle of low volume FQs from the lovely ladies at Pin It & Stitch, which I’m dying to share a picture of, but can’t because they are for the next (secret) X Factor Pillow Swap.

The highlight for me was a reunion with Kim, the lady who first taught me to quilt in Canada 5 years ago, but other than that I can honestly (and somewhat controversially) say that I feel I could garner the same amount of ideas and inspiration from an afternoon surfing the online quilting community. 

Festival Of Quilts

Festival Of Quilts

Festival Of Quilts

It’s not that there weren’t fabulous quilts there (as you can see from the pictures!) but many (not these ones!) weren’t to my taste. The lighting was terrible (as it always is in exhibition centres) which doesn’t show quilts off to their best, and with so many quilts to see and absorb in one location, it is a little overwhelming.
Would I go back? I think not. It’s a long way from the south-coast and there are so many other things I want to do and see, and so little time. I’d rather spent my money and efforts on something like attending Blogtacular or the next Fat Quarterly Retreat. However I am glad I did it, if only for the experience.

I wonder, am I alone in not being bowled over by the Festival Of Quilts?


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two hippos August 8, 2013 - 9:01 pm

Its great to see some photos of modern quilts, the fay quarterly is brilliant fun and a lot closer than the NEC.

Isisjem August 8, 2013 - 9:44 pm

I’ve not been to FoQ but I went to something similar and I know what you mean. A lot of events people blog about they hold back on the negative side so you don’t get a true picture unless you go along yourself and see for yourself.

chicken lover August 9, 2013 - 6:45 am

I love FoQ. I love the opportunity to spend time with lots of like minded ladies who understand my need to fondle fabric. I love seeing lots of different suppliers all under one roof and as much as I love shopping on line there can be no replacement for actually seeing the fabric up close and personal. I love the galleries of the different artists and seeing new (even if just new to me) innovative artistic use of fabric but most of all I love seeing all the wonderful quilts on display, the different styles and expertise that has gone into every single one. I can study the stitches and piecing right up close, I can pop a glove on and turn the quilt over and look at the back and seeing someone else’s work close up like this is really inspiring. Sorry that turned into a long comment, (hope you don’t mind a different point of view):)

Clare Mansell August 9, 2013 - 7:29 am

No it’s great to hear another view! I think personally for me, the fabric element did not apply as I have one of the best fabric stores on my doorstep at home, so I’m used to the fabric fondling experience and the like-minded ladies! 🙂 As for the up close bit, I wish I’d known about gloves! I got a distinctly “hands off” feel to the exhibits, some were even no photos! 🙁

Liz DandeliondD August 9, 2013 - 8:35 am

Very interesting.
I am so glad that you’re honest. I was very shocked at my first Quilt Show, when some of the quilts on display were no photos.
My favourite quilting adventure is meeting up with just a few quilters.

Mary August 9, 2013 - 12:51 pm

As someone who has never been to FoQ, it’s interesting to hear your views. I think I’ll still try and get there, but I think I probably get more inspiration from meetups with people I’ve met through Flickr or blogs.

memmens August 9, 2013 - 1:20 pm

Interesting reading – thanks. I’ve been once, 3 yrs ago I think, my first exposure to Lucie Summers! I was blown away by a portholes quilt of hers and had fun shopping. I’m going on Sunday with 3 friends, in some ways it is just an excuse for a day out away from the children and some drooling over fabric in real life rather than on a computer screen. I’ll see what I think on Sunday night!

Clare Mansell August 9, 2013 - 1:29 pm

I’d love to know your opinion after Sunday. There was nothing like Lucie Summers… that I saw anyway! The cleverest thing was “Worn & Washed Fabrics” but then again I made a quilt using old shirts 3 years ago, so not all that clever…

diegoagogo August 9, 2013 - 4:13 pm

So glad to hear someone who like me is all “meh” about it!! I am with the Dandelion, small groups, local shops. Loved FQR last year, could not make this year.
Mind you I have as yet to find any like minded quilters here in West Sussex!! I am told they exist but my only experience was being turned away in a none too friendly fashion from my local community centre. Total waste of lipstick!! LOL And me with my HUGE sewing room & 3 machines & all!!
Have just found a newly opened shop, Eternal Maker, not 2 blocks from my place so that is exciting!! Hoping they form some groups & I may need to advertise my space. I will even bake & I have a cafe so can do the coffee thing.
OK, now I’m sounding desperate LOL
Lucie is THE funniest person I have met in a long time – love her & all the FQR crew.

Helen Lay August 9, 2013 - 8:23 pm

Interesting read, I went to Knitting & Stitching show in Harrogate a couple of years ago and was pretty disappointed, did do some shopping, discovered Eternal Maker & have since been to the shop as my parents live near Portsmouth but I was pretty meh about it & won’t go again. I would like to do Festival of Quilts once, but being a University admissions officer now is not a great time.

pennydog August 11, 2013 - 5:55 pm

Hey, where’s my quilt in these?! 😀

Clare Mansell August 11, 2013 - 8:13 pm

Eek! If I’d known yours was there I would have sort it out! Is there a picture on your blog?!

Linda August 11, 2013 - 8:00 pm

This was the 11th Festival of Quilts and I have visited all 11( I was a Quilt Angel at the first 9!). Loved it as always. Just written my blog post about it and shown some of my photos of quilts that amazed me. I know it can be an overwhelming experience for some so I’m sorry you were disappointed.

Clare Mansell August 11, 2013 - 8:12 pm

Not disappointed exactly. Glad I went, but just not as inspired by it as I hoped to have been. I think perhaps quilts (to me) look better in an environmental setting when they are folded, snuggled up under or used, not so much when they are up on a rack hanging under bad lighting. It’s all personal opinion isn’t it? 🙂

Linda August 11, 2013 - 8:08 pm

Just re-read some of your answers to the comments. Yes you can always ask a Steward to turn over the quilt so you can see the back, the quilting stitches etc. and the ‘No photo’rule applies to Quilt stall holders or Gallery exhibits which is fair enough as it is their ‘copywrite’ after all and how they make their living. Otherwise you can take photos of anything else. If I wasn’t sure I asked permission and the answer was always’Yes.

Christine Andreassen, October 6, 2013 - 11:49 am

Hei. Yes and no to your comment. We were 4 ladies from Norway at our first FoQ. For us the shopping was fantastic! We pay 25 to 30 pounds a meter here and the selection is more limited. I loved the quilts I saw, not all inspired me, but I took home lots of ideas which will probably never be realized. I’m an old fan of Lynne Edwards and seeing her quilts in ‘real life’ was super. The negative thing is the size of the show. And it’s lay out. Why do they mix the quilt exhibits with the shops? I’ve been to a couple of big American shows and can’t remember them doing that. I felt too that the signs on what was exhibited was poor. A big sign saying ‘contempary quilt competion’ would have helped. Today I googled FoQ pictures, and although I took 300 pictures myself I am amazed at the number of photos of quilts including the ones on this blog which I didn’t see – and we were there 2 days.
After 2 days I’d had a quilt overdose and it took a week or so before I started to look at my photos. Will I go again, probably, but my first choice will be one of the Scottish shows in Edinburgh.


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