Yesterday was the first day of the festival which is on until (including) Sunday. Upon arrival, it was looking very busy...
The major sewing machine companies all have their own stands where they want to flog you their wares but also run classes to teach you lots of clever stitchy skills. Scary looking machines, those ones!
Now I have to confess that initially I bypassed the quilt displays and headed straight for the shopping! There is row upon row of stalls selling all manner of sewing related items, be they sewing machines, gadgets, fabric; you name it, it's there! One of my first stops was at the Selvedge stand, I took this one for you, Vanessa. Selvedge, if you do not know, is a posh and trendy textiles art magazine here in the UK. They promote the best craftspeople and also sell the fruits of their productivity, some of which they had upon display.
The Festival of Quilts is not just about quilting, you know. Many other crafts are also represented, in the form of information about them and courses to go on along with stands displaying their skills. I loved this one about rag rugging.
Lesley, this stall was calling to you! Ribbons galore and the more you bought, the cheaper they became! This sort of shopping I like! (They have a website at www.fantasticribbons.co.uk.)
I am always eager to visit the Cotton Patch stand and this year, it was bigger than ever, two glorious, gigantic corner stands, one full of fabrics, the other full of haberdashery and notions. Aaaarrrggghhh! Where to start?! The stalls always look lovely too, with many patchwork quilts, bags and cushions which they have made on display. Inspiration indeed.
Kaffe was there to sign copies of his new book but seemed more interested in his knitting! The lady in turquoise is doing her best to attract his attention!
Amy Butler was also there (though not at this precise moment) and her table looked lovely; she always brings lots of pretty things made from her patterns in her own fabrics. Drooool...
The choice of fabrics was very good. I know you lucky lot in America are fortunately spoiled with your fabulous fabric stores but this is a lot of fabric in one place for the UK which is a bit behind in that respect.
Of course, I didn't only shop. I mean, there was only so much I could carry! But seriously, I did take a good amount of time also to wander and admire the many stunning quilts on display. The skill involved in these is utterly awe inspiring. Even if they're not always your "cup of tea" design/style wise, you can appreciate the dedication and skill that has gone into making them.
Actually, this one was on the Cotton Patch stall, who tend to make Kaffe Fasset quilts which are very much my cup of tea!
Onto the displays of the competitors. Some were quite traditional...
Or they featured... Dr Who, of course!
Some were heavily appliqued as well as quilted. I thought this one was lovely.
This was a prize winner. Golly, I cannot begin to think how many hours that must have taken.
Detail of some stunning poppies...
This one was not quilted on top but the patchworking was lovely, such gorgeous colours.
Ah, but this one was my favourite, because here, the maker had done what I've been hankering after doing for a while, which is to use sections of vintage embroidered cloths in a patchwork quilt. It was also based on tea and cakes, what could be better!
Did you buy anything, I hear you cry? The short answer to that can only be yes! There are many book stalls at the festival which are fantastic because they only sell artsy crafty books. Heaven. I decided it was time I started to quilt in earnest. The Selvedge mags were a good offer at £5 for a back copy (usually £8.50). The books were purchased from "Sew Good Books"' stall.
I also tracked down some of those elusive notions which are usually so hard to find... (Mainly from The Cotton Patch.)
A few unusual buttons, including some Christmas ones. Did someone mention Christmas? Oh no!
And of course, a bit of fabric...
Well, it is my main fabric buying opportunity of the year!
Pretty flannelettes to make seriously funky owls! These were purchased from "The Little Lavender Patch". They are based in East Kent.
Gorgeous reproduction 1930's cottons, my favourite fabrics at the moment. Purchased from the wide selection at Sew and So's stall, they are based in Bungay, Suffolk. Some were from American Quilt Store.
More retro fabric, a new range. These were purchased from Creative Quilting based in East Molesey, Surrey.
A bit of Kaffe and Amy. Purchased from Dungarees and Daisies.
Flowery stuff. (The three fabrics on the right were also from Dungarees and Daisies, link above, from the remnant bin at £1 per FQ.)
Errrm, more flowery stuff. The first six fabrics (counting from the left) came as a set, six FQs for £6.90 from a shop called Crafts and Quilts which is based in Southport. The last 2 flowery fabrics were £1 remnants from the Little Lavender Patch (link above).
Some beautiful American feedsack pieces. (I was told that these were used to make chicken feed sacks around the Depression era. The ladies would then use them to make quilts and clothes. Anybody out there with more info, please do feel free to impart it my way.)
Of course, I didn't forget the boys, so selfless... (This was from Sew and So's stall, link above.)
The best bit was getting home last night, flopping down on the rug in the sitting room and unpacking my trolley bag all around me and having a good play with my goodies. Mr HH wryly remarked that this book was clearly written with me in mind...