Monday, 15 August 2016

Festival of Quilts 2016 Report!

Those of you on social media may already have heard my good news (and the rest of you my have heard my extra loud gasps all the way from Birmingham!) but I'd like to share it over here on the blog too.

My quilt was HIGHLY COMMENDED at the Festival of Quilts!!!!

This is my Off-centre Medallion Quilt, originally made for issue 26 of Love Patchwork and Quilting magazine (pattern still available there if you buy a digital issue) last year. 

This is the first year there has been a Modern Quilt category at FOQ and I entered the quilt to support it and because I thought it represented Modern Quilts better than anything else I had available. I never dreamed it would get any sort of recognition!! You don't get an email about it you just find out when you see the label next to your quilt. I was just bumbling around with a lovely lady called Kim who I met in Jersey when we found it. 

What a wonderful surprise I got!! I was literally high on it for days! 

Right that's enough, I'll stop bragging now :)

Let's look at some of the amazing quilts that were exhibited (out of the 1000 plus that were there!). This quilt above was my absolute favourite from the modern category, I think it was actually my fav from the whole show. This is all pieced (hats off to the maker's skills at curved piecing!) and I find it very inspiring. It's called 'capsizing and it's by Nadia Arbach.

My phone ran out of memory pretty quickly so I took photos with my sister's phone but I forgot to take a note of all the makers so I can only apologise that I can't give credit to these amazing quilters. If you know who made these please let me know and I will edit the post.

I love the simplicity and effectiveness of the town scene above - all pieced. And this stunning piece below with the see-through portholes and kantha style stitching is so original.

There was a wonderful special exhibit of Japanese and Korean quilts which were all exquisite. I'm pretty sure this next photo is a close up from one of these. I know for certain the next few are!

Loved the combination of piecing and applique in the quilt below.

And this has to be the most impressive quilt in the whole of the NEC. A huge New York Beauty type quilt, all in red and white. But wait for it...

...the whole thing had been hand pieced!! And hand quilted! Plus extra embroidery and tiny French knots in red! Look at those tiny spikes! This really was something to behold and my utmost respect goes to the maker.

This next photo is a close up of a new interpretation of the Bronte quilt, 'Resurgam', made by members of the Totley Brook Quilters from Sheffield. This was part of a Bronte inspired special exhibition by the Yorkshire Quilter's Guild to celebrate Charlotte Bronte's 200th anniversary and initiated by novelist Tracy Chevalier.

One of the lovely things about going to FOQ is seeing quilts you have seen being created on instagram in the flesh. This amazing EPP quilt 'Carousel' is by Clare (@selfsewn on IG). It hasn't photographed at it's best as the lighting where it was hung was quite poor (so check out Clare's blogpost to see the glorious colours) but you can still see how stunning it is.

One of the other special exhibits I loved was by German quilter Brigitte Morgenroth. She showed a huge amount of large quilts that all looked very different, except they were ALL log cabins! It just shows you what a versatile design this is. She also used primarily silks or shiny polyesters and they are all hand quilted! Here are my favourite three...

Back to the competition area and it's also nice to find quilts by your real life friends hanging (in the contemporary category), like this beautiful 'beach story' by my friend Tatyana.

But who won the Modern Quilt Category?

It was this stunner by Sarah Humphreys called Office Doodle. Gorgeous quilting (Sarah uses a domestic machine like me) and great fabric choices (Blueberry Park and Cotton and Steel to name a few) and also SO MODERN! Well done Sarah!! I met Sarah last year when I gave a talk at Simply Solids, she is called 'Edward and the White Bear' on IG.

But I wasn't just there to look at quilts. I was teaching for the first time this year - Hand Embroidered Biscornu!

Here are my lovely class who put up with me bossing them around and telling them to 'sew faster! for 3 hours!

Here are some of the finished biscornus. They all did so well and were such good sewers!

And once my bit of work was over it was time for dinner with quilty pals! Here we are having a glamorous dinner at the airport (NEC seemed to close extra early this year and I couldn't go far as needed to get a train to my sister's at 8pm!), on the left is Nicky (Mrs Sew and So), and on the right is Annie (Anniedov on IG) who lives in the US and who I met at a Heather Ross lecture at QuiltCon last year (I love this international quilting world!) and Sheena one of our Edinburgh Modern Quilt Guild members (who had just finished 3 full days of 'rust and decay' - don't ask!).

I spent Friday walking around with my sister, Jane, looking at all the quilts and doing a little (ahem) shopping. Here is my booty...

Mainly work-related you understand ;)

One last photo of me and Jane, at the Simply Solids stand. Loved their IG frame!! Look how happy we are - roll on next year!!


  1. Fab round up, Jo and the hugest of congrats of your Highly Commended! Richly deserved, I love that quilt.

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  3. Fantastic news on your gorgeous quilt - Heartiest Congratulations! And great report -thank you!

  4. Congrats on the Highly Commended! The NYB in red is amazing, but I truly don't think there are enough hours in my life for me to ever consider it :oD

  5. Sorry I missed you on Friday! I did see your quilt though - congratulations!

  6. We had a great day together - so many wonderful and inspirational quilts - shopping and sisterhood - brilliant

  7. LOL to us bumbling around, I guess we were! Good to hang out with you for a while. I was glad to have been with you when the HIGHLY COMMENDED card was spotted! Congrats, fab quilt. I LOVED your modern meadow too btw. X

  8. Hi Jo, thanks for your lovely comments about my quilt. Congratulations on your highly commended too. It was wonderful to see lots of gorgeous modern quilts at the show. Sarah

  9. Hi Jo, thanks for your lovely comments about my quilt. Congratulations on your highly commended too. It was wonderful to see lots of gorgeous modern quilts at the show. Sarah

  10. Congratulations on your Highly Commended quilt, Jo! It is truly a representation of what modern quilts are about!
    Thabk you very much for mentioning my quilt, so kind of you! I submitted it under the Contemporary Category - unless the organisers displayed it under Modern. :)

  11. Congratulation Jo!!!! And thanks for sharing your time there. Great quilts.

  12. Congratulations on the Highly Commended. Lovely to meet up with you again x

  13. It's hard to have any complaints about this event venue Chicago. It's easy to get a drink since they actually keep enough bartenders working at once, and you'll almost always find a place to sit. I love the vibe, the area, the people and the food at this place.