Festival of Quilts 2017 virtual tour: our 2017 highlights

Seven Sisters stars quilt

The annual Festival of Quilts is one of our busiest times here on team TQ, and we absolutely love it! Now we’re home and have recovered from four days of total quilt immersion, we’ve rounded up our favourite bits about this year’s show for those of you who missed it…

The annual Festival of Quilts is a summer calendar highlight for us. It’s the chance to come together with the rest of the quilting community and share ideas, oggle fabric, swap skills at the workshops and spend as long as possible exploring the amazing competition quilt galleries and exhibitions. Take our 2017 Festival tour to see what this year’s show had to offer…

Before we begin:

The star quilt pictured above is one of our highlights from the Two Person Quilts gallery (there’s something about collaborative quilting that we can’t get enough of). This Seven Sisters stars quilt by Bernadette Mayr and Jrmgard Staengl from Germany took 15 years to finish! “All fabric boxes are more full than ever” the makers conclude… we can relate.

1. Small is beautiful: the year of the minis

With the Best in Show award going to a miniature quilt this year (read on for more on this), mini quilts were the stars of the 2018 show. We were fascinated by the Miniature Art, Grand Designs exhibition of Kumiko Frydl’s collection of teeny tiny quilts. To see such precise workmanship and equisite quilts in such a small scale was fascinating. We’re so inspired, we’re all planning quilts now here on the TQ team.

Miniature Art Grand Designs Kumiko Frydl Mission Impeccable

Miniature Art, Grand Designs: Kumiko Frydl’s ‘Mission: Impeccable‘ quilt.

2. Fighting the crowds to see the Best in Show

The Best in Show quilt is always a star of the Show – and this year’s continued the mini theme – it was so titchy, we had to navigate a crowd of festival goers to get up close with it!  Philippa Naylor has taught us a thing or two about how intricate a quilt can truly be with her  Measure For Measure quilt.

471 Phillippa Naylor winner 5

Philippa Naylor: ‘Measure for Measure’ won Best in Show

3. Remember your first quilt? Ours was nothing on this scale!

When we think back to the first quilts we ever made, we have vague memories of wonky cutting, binding-gone-bad and grappling with our first attempts at a quilt sandwich! So Anita O’Brien’s Peter and Amina’s Quilt had us open-mouthed with awe at how anyone could make such an beautiful and complex first stab at quilting. Packed with detail, you could spend hours examining it. If only our first efforst were half so impressive!

827 My First Quilt winner crowd

Anita O’Brien’s ‘Peter and Amina’s Quilt‘ – winner of the ‘My First Quilt’ competition, was filled with rich details – combining personal touches with different techniques.

4. Foundation Paper Piecing at its finest

While we’re always most in our element when browsing traditional quilts, we couldn’t’ resist sharing a peek at The Modern Quilt Guild’s ‘Best of Quilt Con‘ exhibit here. This ‘Bling‘ quilt by Kat Jones won ‘Best in Show’ at QuiltCon 2017 – featuring Foundation Paper Pieced solid fabrics to create a diamond design. It was breathtaking!

MQG Best of Quilt con Kat Jones Bling big

5 A lesson in colour

Filled with beautiful detail and texture, the winning quilt from the Traditional Quilts competition, by Annelize Littlefair ,showed us much you can achieve with just the one colour if you let your quilting and stitching do the talking.

508 Traditional Quilts winner 4

Annelize Littlefair won the Traditional Quilts category with her, ‘The Trouble with Magenta, Hot or Not’ quilt.

6. Browsing the Traditional Quilts section (you had to tear us away!)

This is always the category that is dearest to our heart, and this year didn’t disappoint. With so many quilts on show, it’s hard to pick any one to point out here – this year’s Traditional Quilts category was filled with beautiful quilts and we spent hours exploring the designs on display.  Oh go on then, if we have to pick one (this doesn’t mean we loved the others any less)…

554 Sandy Chandler Catherine's Wheel

Sandy Chandler’s Catherine Wheel quilt shows just how impressive effects you can achieve with quilting

7. Community spirit – quilters of the world unite

One of the things we so love dearly about Festival of Quilts is the coming together of quilters from different communities and countries all around the globe to share our love of quilting. The Stash Exchange exhibition showed what happened when quilters from the United Kingdom, Switzerland and the Netherlands swapped stash and made quilts with the results.

Stash Exchange cow quilt

8. Spotting some familiar faces (or quilt tops)

We enjoyed spying a few of our favourite quilts among the galleries that we’ve been lucky enough to feature in the magazine over the past year…

Todays Quilter quilts at Festival of Quilts

Left: Alison Garrett and Lou Lou Rioux’s Liberty Friendship Quilt. Right: Ali Burdon and Charlotte Jeffery’s Liberty Postage Stamps quilt – as seen in Today’s Quilter!

9 Hidden treasure

We can’t give every single quilt we loved at the Festival a mention here sadly or we’d be writing this post for a year, but we’d love to thank Tansy Martin and Maggie Breakspear for their Find the Frog quilt. It featured all sorts of insects and small creatures, including a hidden frog in amongst a playful and detailed quilt top. Yes we found it, and yes you can too – check out the video on our Youtube channel and get searching! It also had an owl and a pussycat that our Techincal Editor Laura fell in love with!

424 Find the frog quilt

10. Inspired by the next generation!

It’s a treat to see so much talent coming up from younger quilters in the competition galleries – their quilts always make us smile. So we’re ending with Fiona Pilcher’s winning quilt from the Young Quilter/Young Embroiderer 5-8 years competition with her Gold at the End of the Rainbow Wave quilt. The judges summed it up perfectly – “it made us happy.”

903 Rainbow quilt