This year I entered a quilt in a show for the first time – and not just any show or any quilt – it was Festival of Quilts, and my entry was in the 1718 coverlet challenge. I’ve already blogged about the making of this quilt, so here is the rest of the story.

I’d been thinking about entering a show for a while, and spurred on by a challenge thrown out on the UKQU facebook group, I thought the 1718 challenge would be a good one to enter – partly because I was well on target to finish it in time, and partly because I mistakenly thought I wouldn’t be getting judges comments on it. More about that later.

Finishing the quilt was the easy part. I then stressed about how to make sure my hanging sleeve was just right (so it didn’t hang wonky), where I was meant to put the label (solved with the help of facebook), and how I was going to parcel it up and send it safely and on time (sent early to make sure, but then more stress about how creased it was going to get before the show).

FoQ arrived, but I wasn’t going until Saturday, so I scanned all the FB groups to see if anyone had put up photos of the 1718 quilts. I couldn’t see mine, but was very impressed with ones I did see. Finally on Saturday we arrived at the NEC and went straight into the Hall 9. First the original – so impressive, and such a buzz seeing for real what had inspired Susan Briscoe’s book, and my own quilt. Then the QGBI replica, and so different – much brighter than I imagined, but lovely in its own way. (note that I haven’t perfected the selfie pout yet – more practice needed)

Finally, the 25 replicas. I loved seeing the way some people had made them their own through colour and adapting the blocks. Then the thrill of seeing mine alongside such illustrious company! If I’d been able to access internet, I am sure you would have seen 20 or 30 selfies immediately, but luckily for everyone, I have had time to sort through and just pick out one or two.

Remember what I said about thinking it was a non-judged category? Well it wasn’t until I got home that I realised there was an envelope in the bag with my quilt. I was thrilled that everything was marked “satisfactory” or better, and thought that a very fair assessment. It has been a great experience, and now I have an idea of what the judges are looking for, I hope that my next entries (and yes, there will be more) will show improvement.

In the blog title you will note I have put “entries”, not “entry”. I actually had a part in a second quilt on display – The ICE quilt (a UKQU exclusive free pattern row quilt) included my Scottish themed row, The Coo, the Croft and the Castle, which had already been released just before FoQ. Of course I got my selfie in front of it being displayed on the British Patchwork and Quilting stand, and I also got to meet Helen Kent, one of the other row designers and a fellow blogger as well.