quilter pins badges festival of quilts 2018

Festival of Quilts is probably the highlight of the year for quilters in the UK. It's a chance to showcase talent and be inspired by the amazing display of quilts, an opportunity to meet up with friends and of course shop all the wonderful stalls and stands. 
I have to admit I wasn't going to attend this year. I hadn't arranged to go with anyone, I was working Friday-Sunday and I've been so busy that it seemed almost impossible to take time off.  And then there's my anxiety, no small thing but it makes it very easy to convince myself to stay at home. Later on I will explain why I chose to go but I am SO glad that I did. In fact next year I might try and attend every day if I can find a way to wangle it! (Shout if anyone needs me to work a stand!). 

Last year I was in full blogger mode, taking pictures of lots of quilts and my very important reason for going was to meet my quilting guru and friend Clare. Read about that here.

This year was very different and I'm going to share what made it great for me. Firstly I ran into Di on the long walk to the festival hall, it was awesome to see someone I love and be able walk and talk together, she even treated me to a coffee before we went in! 
Next I made a decision just to experience the day, only photographing things if I really felt like it, rather than trying to capture everything. I'm so glad I did that. Phone down, eyes up.
Actually I only took shots of a couple of quilts, this striking design by Shizuko Kuroha:

And this beautiful entry to The 1718 challenge by Deborah McGuire:

Di and I went to see the original 1718 coverlet and exhibition together. It was definitely a highlight, discussing how it was pieced, the fabrics and all the elements we admired.

Now here's my confession, in terms of the quilts, that was it! I missed seeing lots of quilts. I did walk through some of the displays but by no means all of them. I feel bad but it wasn't a priority. I don't feel a loss at all though, there are so many great pictures to see if you search #festivalofquilts2018 on Instagram and to be honest I'm happy to see them online. I know it's not the same, I absolutely would have made time to see them all if I was there for more than one day. As it was it felt more important for me to spend time with people and visit my quilt friends!

One of my first stops was Purple Stitches and I couldn't turn down the offer to jump behind the stand and help out! I do miss working in a quilt shop and helping people pick things out. This was a lot of fun!

And there were more stalls to visit, many of them run by friends; like Mandy Shaw of Dandelion Designs and the lovely ladies at The Quilt Room, who I stopped at to give my Siblings Together fabric donations to and admire all their kits and quilts. 
Then there are shops I feel like I'm a regular of online. Stunning Liberty from Duck Egg Threads, so well priced and such a pretty selection. I love being able to buy fat quarters and fat eighths!

Liberty fabric Duck Egg Threads UK

And at Simply Solids I picked up these fat quarters; I love the colours in the Wings in Eucalyptus, Gleaned by Carolyn Friedlander print and the absolute fun that is Fried Eggs, Welsummer by Kim Kight.

Simply Solids fabric Carolyn Friedlander Kim Kight Cotton and Steel Egg

I am so excited to have this 'Keep it Simple' modern cross stitch kit from Charlie at Stitchsperation. Perfect summer craft, a great message and the neon pink section on the evenweave is so excellent! She also makes the prettiest rainbow backgrounds to stitch on too. Check them out here!

Stitchsperation cross stitch kit

After shopping and chatting, seeing friends and catching up, I went to the Aurifil stand. If you haven't heard I am lucky enough to be part of the new Great British Quilters thread collection! A box of 12 gorgeous colours of Aurifil 50 weight, curated by Sarah Ashford and Charlie Mankin in association with Jo Avery, Carolyn Forster, Lynne Goldsworthy, Kerry Green, Katy Jones, Florence Knapp, Karen Lewis, Lou Orth, Jenni Smith and me! 

To meet up with a few of these incredible women was really a treat. This opportunity (and a little encouragement from lovely Sarah) was the main reason I chose to attend festival. It was so exciting to be part of the launch of this beautiful collection, of a product I use daily and it is a dream come true to have my name on the box with fellow Great British Quilters!

The colours are stunning, perfect neutrals and bold colours, useful and pretty! The collection is available now from mybearpaw and it will be sold at Sewing Quarter too. If I find other places stocking it I will update this post or leave a comment below if you are or know of a shop that has it! 

It was a whirlwind, the day flew by and all my worries were forgotten. Thank you to everyone I met for the hugs, being so kind and for all the laughs! Very often after retreats or festivals I get a sort of slump, like an exhaustion of sewjo, but this time I am enthused. Talking to so many creative women has excited and sparked my  passion for design. I've been filling pages of my notebook like never before! So now I need time to make all the things...