Monday, 28 August 2017

Quilt Show

A couple of weeks ago I had my annual trip to the Festival of Quilts at the NEC in Birmingham. I've been going to this show for years, initially with my Mum who was a very good quilter and, lately, with my daughter and my knitting buddy Pat.

We enjoyed out day but were to sad to see that the range of crafts represented was, yet again, narrower than before. Obviously, most of the exhibitors are linked to Patchwork and Quilting in some way but there always used to be a few good cross stitch stands, some general book stands and so on. We also thought there were less exhibitors from mainland Europe than before - maybe a result of Brexit. It would be a shame if they no longer felt they would be welcome here.

Despite this we managed to find lots of good stuff to inspire us and plenty to spend our money on. We also met up with one of the regular members of my ravelry group for coffee - it was lovely to meet an online friend in real life.

So, this is what I bought ...

Where shall I start? The red spotty thing in the middle is a kit for a sewing bag from Dandelion Designs. It was quite expensive and will take me a while to make but it's lovely - shaped like a small suitcase and full of little details. Mandy Shaw is a prolific and very talented designer; we always like exploring her stall.

I bought a Sizzix die and some clear, plastic templates ready to start on a Patchwork of the Crosses quilt, inspired by the quilt pieced by Lucy Boston, author of the Green Knowe books. I've talked about it before here but I'd really recommend this book if you're interested in her fantastically detailed quilts.

I thought the plastic templates were particularly good. I bought them from Sew & Quilt and, as well as being clear so that you can position the template exactly where you want it on the fabric, they have the seam line marked and tiny holes at the corners and in the centre to take a pin to hold the template in place. I'll use my Sizzix machine to cut the papers and the templates for the fabric.

Hiding away in the main picture is a little scissor keeper kit from Sue Hawkins which I'm looking forward to making. I don't even need another scissor keeper but Sue's designs are such fun to sew and the vibrant colours are lovely. Also, it's only a small kit so I might have a chance of actually finishing it quite soon. I can just hang it up and admire it when it's done.

See those brightly coloured plastic shapes at the front of the picture? Now they're very exciting. I bought them from Tactile Treasures who sell all sorts of bits and bobs to add interest to children's toys and quilts. There are squeakers, rattles, crinkly paper and mirrors - all of which can be sewn into things and washed. I bought a selection to play with including some coloured teething shapes which are the things you can see. I'm wondering if I can incorporate some of them into knitted designs ...

... speaking of which, as you can see I also managed to find some wool. I bought a ball of  James C Brett's new Stonewash DK which comes in some very nice, subtle colourways. The cream yarn at the back of the picture is very special. It's Superfine Alpaca 4 ply from UK Alpaca, a family farm in Devon. Now this yarn isn't cheap and I didn't need it but it's so soft! I could just imagine how wonderful it would be to knit with - sometimes the process of knitting is more important than the product. So I treated myself to four balls and plan to knit some sort of shawl or wrap. Of course I'm constitutionally unable to use a pattern I haven't designed myself so it will have to wait until inspiration strikes.

In fact, all these lovely things are still sitting there, hopefully waiting for me to start using them. I keep looking at them longingly but there's still Too Much Knitting Work To Do! When it eases up a bit, I shall start one of these exciting new projects as a treat. Which one shall I do first, I wonder?

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