6 things to look out for at The Festival of Quilts

Tansy Martin and Maggie Breakspear for their Find the Frog quilt at Festival of Quilts

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! We’re counting down the days to this summer’s Festival of Quilts exhibition – also known as “the ultimate quilters’ day out”. Here are our top things to make sure you take in while you’re there…

The Festival of Quilts is always one of our highlights of the quilting calendar. It combines our love of patchwork heritage, exploring other people’s quilting achievements and (let’s not forget) fabric shopping! The show is set to transform Birmingham’s NEC into a quilting wonderland from 1st to 4th August 2019, attracting visitors from all over the world, including big-name quilters and world-famous quilts not to mention some of our favourite Today’s Quilter quilt designers.



If you’re planning a trip to Festival of Quilts, make sure you use our special offer code TODQUIL19 when you book to save up to £2 off the cost of your ticket. Book your tickets or find out more at www.thefestivalofquilts.co.uk.

Here are our top five things to look out for a this year’s event…

Festival of Quilts Jenny Doan

1. Meet “the most famous quilter in the world”

Jenny Doan is one of (if not the most) well-known quilter around the globe, with her YouTube tutorials having clocked up a vast 110 million views. Jenny will be hosting her daily ‘Trunk Show’ at this year’s Festival of Quilts. She’ll be at the Show to share her story of how she got started in quilting, how the Missouri Star Quilt Company came to be and how quilting had impacted her life.

Baltimore Album Quilt

Baltimore Album variation, possibly made by Martha Ann (Poulton) Millikan. © The International Quilt Study Center & Museum

2. Oh the Baltimore quilts we shall see!

This year will feature a very special gallery of Baltimore Album Quilts from the International Quilt Study Center and Museum in Nebraska. Don’t miss this chance to see a fascinating collection of vintage quilts from the 1840s and 50s. Leslie Levy, the Executive Director of the Centre, says “Baltimore album quilts are so unique and have an amazing story. They are technically strong pieces. We believe they were group projects made by one person who was evidently greatly skilled and helped others maintain a high standard in their workmanship.”

Quilting workshop

3. Learn something new at a workshop

The Festival of the place to go to top up your sewing skills and try new techniques (or enjoy a welcome refresher). The Show’s Quick & Easy Workshop programme offers hundreds of workshops on subjects including free-motion quilting, Japanese folded patchwork, kantha, fabric origami, smocking and Indian block printing to name a few. There’ll also be smaller demos, talks and lectures plus The Quilt Academy, which offers a series of one, two and three day masterclasses plus three hour workshops led by some of the world’s leading textile practitioners. We’re running our own workshop at the show too! Join us on Today’s Quilter magazine as our Technical Editor Laura shows you How to fussy cut your fabric for English Paper Piecing (EPP).

Festival of Quilts galleries

4. Walk in a quilting wonderland

If you’re ever in doubt about where to spot a member of the Today’s Quilter team at the Festival, you’ll find us wondering around the quilt competition galleries, marvelling at all the wonderful quilts on display! There’s always something to marvel at, something to make you look twice and something to make you say “wow”.

There’ll be  over 1000 quilts on display from all over the world, with categories from novice to traditional, contemporary and quilt creations. Look out this year for two new awards – celebrating the best of hand quilting and long-arm quilting. We wonder which will be the quilt or quilts to have everyone buzzing about it this year!

Michael James quilts

A snapshot of Michael James’ upcoming exhibition: Constructed Textiles New and Recent.

5. Special guests Michael James and India Flint will be there!

We love The Festival of Quilts for the chance to get up close with the work of renowned textile artists from around the world. This year’s show will feature 20 professionally curated galleries, including Michael James, India Flint and many more.

6. Be the first to get your hands on the latest fabrics

We all love our local fabric shop, but there’s also something exciting about the sheer scale of the fabrics available at Festival of Quilts. It’s the perfect place for many of our favourite fabric brands to show off their latest collections or even announce new ones.

Festival of Quilts