Festival of Quilts

I love the Festival of Quilts.  Usually.  I come home with hundreds of pounds worth of fabric (and sometimes machinery) that I perhaps didn’t totally need.  I have literally thousands of photos taken at festivals over the years which I still regularly draw on for inspiration.  I meet friends there.  We laugh.  We point.  Sometimes we point *and* laugh.  Honestly.  The quilted bags and waistcoats have to be seen to be believed!

This year, I met up with two friends – lovely Penny from rats as big as cats, and nbnq, who has written a far better review than I’m about to.  We had much to talk about, and we were looking forward to seeing some gorgeous stuff.

We *did* see some gorgeous stuff.  Well.  We saw one gorgeous stuff.  It was Penny’s quilt, which was utterly beautiful and incredibly well executed.  Go and look at the final piece series on her blog and you’ll see snippets of it.  It is jaw-droppingly stunning.

And we saw some other gorgeous stuff, in that there was a Pauline Barnes exhibition.  And her work is amazing.  But it was a professional show, and not part of the Festival, as such.

And the festival? Well, we spotted one *really* odd piece which was clearly made a couple of years ago (I thought it was a rule that entries had to be made within the year?) – and what’s more there was a book on sale at one of the stalls detailing its creation…  We spotted one piece which was clearly made to a pattern from a Jane Brocket book although not, from what we could gather from the catalogue, submitted by Jane Brocket herself (I thought it was another rule that entries had to be original?).  We spotted a number of pieces which were just simply ill advised from almost any conceivable design point of view. 

There was, don’t get me wrong, an awful lot of technically accomplished traditional quilt-making on show.  And I’m sure if traditional quilts were my bag I’d have had a ball.  But they’re not.  And so I really didn’t. 

Perhaps it’s my bad.  Or at least, perhaps it’s the bad of people like me.  People who are technically accomplished but not traditional.  I did mean to submit ‘She Knew the Names of Flowers‘, but I got busy and the deadline got away from me, and one thing and another…

But really.  If this is the future of quilt making then I despair.  I know there are other, better and more dedicated modern quilt makers out there.  I know (from experience) that the judges of this festival don’t speak our language and it can be frustrating submitting entries only to have them dismissed, over looked, or critiqued on the basis of no understanding of the concept whatsoever.  But unless we enter, unless we try to make our views and our styles known, we can’t ever expect any different, can we??

I’ve been joking for some years about making a 3-D quilt.  Quite a graphic one.  I might actually do it, this year. 

Craft Fair

I work at a University which, like all good Universities, has a healthy and active fundraising campaign.  The money we raise funds initiatives such as scholarships, cancer research, new buildings – a diverse range of projects, in other words.  It’s often forgotten that universities are *not* public sector institutions like councils or hospitals.  They are charitable institutions.

So, one of my colleagues has arranged a Christmas craft fair, and I rashly agreed to make her some things.  So the last few evenings have been consumed with knitting/crocheting mug cosies: these are, to my mind, rather pointless things which sit around your mug.  Like a tea cosy but, erm, for mugs… Strikes me that the contents of the mug still have enough surface area to cool quickly, and all you’re going to do is spit stuff on the woolly cosy, but whatever… I’ve made a handful for the Uni craft fair, and here are a few of them.

I’ve also made some monsters – I saw something like this at a vintage fair I visited recently, and wondered if they’d be fun to make.  I like rag dolls, and not having any very tiny children to cater for just now, I don’t make them very often, but one evening I sat down and knocked up some zip-it monsters.  These are quite endearing, wonky creatures.  I made another for my nephew’s birthday, yesterday, and it was an instant hit when I gave it to him today.

I also have, as a final offering, a bunch of dammit dolls cut and ready to stitch up.  These are silly, ugly, chaotic looking things which come with a label round their necks which reads:

Whenever things don’t go so well,
And you want to hit the wall and yell
Here’s a little dammit doll
That you can’t do without.

You grip it firmly by the legs,
And on the desk you slam it.
And as you bash the stuffing out,
Yell: “Dammit, dammit, DAMMIT!”

So that’s this week’s project…