The Festival of Quilts 2016 with Aurifil Threads

As an avid quilter, and an enthusiastic consumer of sewing delights I have no idea why it has taken me so long to make it to the Festival of Quilts. Perhaps it is because Europe's biggest quilt show is always in the middle of August and I am usually on holiday or surviving 6 weeks of no school with my 3 children. 
However I was very determined to go in 2016 and booked it in the diary back in January. My friend Bradley at Aurifil then asked me to help on their booth so I got 4 days rather than 2, as well as the chance to spend time with Sheena Norquay who was exhibiting her work with them. 
There are over 1000 quilts on display, so it can be amazingly inspiring but also overwhelming.  I planned a strategy to go into the halls at 8am each day and tackle each section one at a time (much to the amusement of my friends). It was so peaceful with very few other people around as the public come in at 10am, and then it gets crazy. 
It was great to see many quilts by people who I know personally or have  met through social networks - I think the labels should actually have Instagram names as well as real ones. 
One aspect that I missed was no space for makers to tell the story of their quilt.  When I have put shows together that is the main driving force for me.  I love to know the why and how and establish the personal significance of each piece. 
However, there was no shortage of amazing piecing, beautiful fabric combinations, quilting to aspire to and food for thought. 
Kaffe Fassett's talk on his travels to Italy and his new book on Bold Blooms was charming and funny. The next day he was engrossed in his knitting whilst signing books and his pure passion for his work and that of other skilled craftspeople made me smile. 
I caught up with Charlotte Newland (now of Sewing Bee fame) who has stitched some great quilts and exhibited at QuiltCon. 
I also had loads of nice times with the girls at Simply Solids and Brad and Alex. It's very satisfying working on the Aurifil booth as there is a constant stream of happy quilters coming to say how much they love the thread. There was also much excitement about the new 80wt cotton launching at Quilt Market in Autumn.  We had samples to show people and I will be trying it out too. 
I will definitely be back and hope to encourage lots of my students to take part next time.  I might be brave and enter a quilt or two myself, though rumour has it the judges comments can be pretty scary. 
I am writing up my interview with Sheena Norquay and will share it soon, along with a giveaway of her new thread collection.  
Thanks for stopping by. 


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