So, you are starting out on your patchwork and quilting journey with a class or two, maybe a good instruction book or even YouTube and have heard about quilt shows but are a little too scared to go? What are they all about and why bother? Well, read on for a little introduction on what to expect and what to see.
Around the country, there are a plethora of larger quilt and craft shows throughout the year from the largest in Europe, The Festival of Quilts at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, to smaller quilt shows and competitions. Local quilt groups also hold regular exhibitions displaying the talent of their members and these usually have a charity element too.
Let’s start with the biggest – The Festival of Quilts. It can be a costly event but you will find all the top names in the craft there from designers to fabric shops and even British Patchwork and Quilting magazine host a stand offering special savings. You can take workshops which last an hour up to those lasting days with tutors from around the globe. Ricky Tims was headlining this year with talks and even a dinner and concert! And then there are the competition quilts. Acres of them! Need inspiration? Just take a walk through the displays and you will be stunned. This sound a little daunting?
Then consider one of the smaller shows. Grosvenor Shows host ones which include a completion element, across the country, both in Spring and Autumn. The Spring shows tend to be a little larger and host a quilt competition (never be afraid to enter – you never know, you might win but even if you don’t, there is something special seeing your own work on display.) The Autumn shows have local groups or textile artists work exhibited but both have plenty of stands selling all manner of fabrics, notions, books and kits plus a variety of shorter workshops, great excuse for a sit-down.
You can check out British Patchwork and Quilting magazine in January where there will be a list of the major shows, competition entry details and dates and we also do show reviews of the major exhibitions, showing you the winning quilts.
There are also mixed craft shows such as the West Country Quilt and Textile Show, the Quilt and Stitch Village, the Knit and Stitch, Create and Craft shows and Crafting4Crafters shows, all worth a trip.
For details of local group exhibitions, check out BP&Q’s exhibition pages. I find these make a lovely afternoon out, usually with refreshments available and sometimes the odd trader too!