I haven't been to a quilt show in a while. Festival of Quilts always falls in the busiest bit of my summer work schedule, plus travel is costly for a day's experience. There are a few stitchy/quilt shows in my local area. The annual spring quilt show has declined during the years- it's part of the Grosvenor show group and my experiences there have been patchy. Many smaller stall holders have found themselves priced out over the years- the cost of the show plus accommodation can negate the money made. The curation can be questionable at times- stalls with no quilting relevance e.g. commercially produced scarves - don't make a good quilting show. West Country Quilt & Textile show is a relative newbie and it's the biggest plus is that it appears to be independent. When I booked my ticket and a workshop online, there was genuine hobbyist enthusiasm from one of the organisers.
Reene of Nellies Niceties had a lovely stall showcasing her English Paper Piecing kits. I loved her samples in so many colourways and the giant clothes pegs displaying her cushions.
I've not seen Jessie of Sew and Quilt since a Fat Quarterly Retreat years back so it was lovely to catch up with her again and meet her husband Robin. They had a delectable range of fabrics and notions.
There were lots of small interesting displays including a few exhibits from the National Needlework Archive which I hadn't heard of before and to be honest, their website seems to have no reference to quilts but this log cabin quilt is a beauty!
There were competition quilts and one of the winners was Jo Colwills Happy Scrappy quilt, longarm quilted by Sandy Chandler.
There were lots of small exhibition spaces for quilting groups and textile artists with a diverse selection of textile skills on display. I especially liked this small linen quilt, 'Song of Linen' by Lithuanian quilter, Maryte Collard
One of the booths has some stunning whole cloth quilt hand-quilting, sewn by Sandie Lush. I had a brief chat with Sandie as she was stitching. I asked her how she transferred the designs as they are small scale and intricate and she passed on the most wonderful tip! She uses a watercolour pencil which tones with the thread she is using. She was sewing with a pink 12wt Aurifil thread at the time and had used a maroon pencil to trace the design from paper to fabric (before the quilt sandwich stage). The watercolour pencil brushes off as she sews and it can also be rinsed away at the end of the quilting, brilliant!
I'm not really in need of lots of fabric so I made a list of some harder to get items that I have wanted for a while. There was a tiny Oakshott stall selling 'Starlight' bundles (based on an older colour selection) only £20 for 10 FQS. The Tulip Piecing Needles #9 from Sew and Quilt are a favourite, my go-to for binding and there are only a few in a package so I needed to replenish. The Valdani thread is fiendishly difficult to buy in the UK but I knew that Angela Daymond is one of the only UK retailers and she was attending the show with her stall. It has a lovely twist to it, perfect for big stitch detail on quilted projects. The Derwent watercolour pencil was from Sandie Lush.
It was gently busy rather than bustling. The majority of stalls were for quilting and textile crafts with a few textile related exhibitions e.g. selling silk ribbons or leather for crafts. I attended a Royal School of Needlework workshop which was excellent and a bargain at £12.50 for 1 1/2 hours with materials provided. There were around 10 of us and we were in a quiet room with a friendly and capable teacher, Chrissie Juno Mann and we learnt a clever stumpwork weaving and rolling technique to produce a 3D rose.
All in all, I enjoyed myself. I was there from 10-2pm and had to leave then to catch a train home. I'll definitely be back!