Festival of Quilts 2013 – A quilters paradise!

Every year quilters from all over the world descend on the NEC Birmingham for days of fabric, quilts, demonstrations and shopping! And this year was my turn!

Festival of Quilts 2013

I had no idea what to expect and I was pleasantly surprised.

We arrived on Thursday lunchtime and decided to look at all the amazing quilts submitted for various competitions as well as some the exhibitions by some of various guilds around the world. The quilts were inspirational and awe inspiring!

The show displays hundreds of quilts but also gives quilters the opportunity to see their favourite artists in the flesh. I got to see and meet some quilting legends including Tula Pink, who was as lovely as you’d expect her to be. I am currently working on a Tula Pink quilt using blocks from her latest book ‘100 modern Quilt Blocks’

As well as seeing quilts in the flesh, the festival gives attendees the opportunity to sign up for courses, some run for the duration of the festival whilst others are taster sessions lasting only one hour. We were slow off the pace this year and only managed to book onto one course, ‘Reverse Applique’ with Ruth Singer. In this session we learnt how do make shadow designs. Here is my finished piece, I am thinking of adding it into a journal quilt to capture my two days at the festival.

Ruth Singer workshop

That just leaves one more thing to talk about… the shopping! There are what feels like hundreds of stalls selling fabrics, quilting tools and books. I would be lying if I said I didn’t come back with some goodies!

Shopping at the Festival

We could resist buying a new quilting ruler. I looked like a Quilting Ninja with the rulers sticking out of my backpack, I got some strange looks on the train on the way home but one should never underestimate the power of a Rachel Cross Creative Grid on making quilting awesome and easy!!

In summary the Festival of Quilts was AWESOME!!! and we are already planning our trip next year with military precision!

In the meantime, I have hundreds of new ideas so watch this space!!!

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Project Linus – from hobby to making a difference

Project Linus was established in 1990’s in America and was aptly named after the Peanuts Character Linus who carries his blue comfort blanket with him everywhere. The charity aims to “provide security through blankets”, quilters, knitters and just generally crafty people are asked to create blankets that can then be donated to a child in need in your area.

In 2000, the Charity reached over the pond to the UK where a chapter of the Charity was established to collect and make quilts for children in the UK. Last year over 22,ooo quilts were donated for children across the county, providing a little bit of comfort in their time of need. The charity accepts quilts for all ages of children including teenagers and there are lots of dedicated volunteers who will gladly accept your donation!

The charity also often attends quilt shows across the UK asking attendees to sew a block towards a quilt they are making. They will be attending the Festival of Quilts at Birmingham where they are asking quilters to bring a block 12 1/2 inches in the theme of Autumn, Winter, Spring, Summer.

This year my New Year’s resolution was to make a blanket for Project Linus and unlike most other resolutions this is one I was determined to keep! I got in touch with a local volunteer, via the Project Linus website, who was pleased to have received my donation.

Bird House Quilt for Project Linus

This is the ‘Bird House’ quilt I made for the Charity, I thought it might be suitable for a teenager perhaps. I love the bird fabrics, which when I saw them new I had to put them in a quilt!

I was also brave with this one as it was my first attempt at Machine Quilting! Eek, to make it harder I also chose vibrant multicoloured thread which meant it would show up, if I made any mistakes! But it really adds an extra element to the quilt.

Birds Up Close

I have been making quilts for a few years now, but it is nice to use the skills I have learnt to make something that really could make a difference to someone’s life whom I’ve never met before. I hope that whoever receives it finds comfort in it.

So here’s the bit where I encourage you to do your bit to help this amazing charity!

To donate a quilt of your own or to give materials or money to the charity please visit the following websites;

For the UK –  http://projectlinusuk.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=55&Itemid=1

For US donations visit – http://www.projectlinus.org/