Are you ready for some photos of the festival of quilts?
Grab a cup of something hot, take a seat and chill out for a few minutes. I'll try not to drone on too much.
The one person I was really excited about seeing on Saturday. Other than the wonderful Trash was Yoshiko Jinjenzi. Not only was she the tiniest, most delicate little flower I had ever seen, with long flowing grey hair and a voice so soft you could hardly hear her speak, her work was all the more amazing in real life than I had anticipated.
You can't really tell in the photos, but her work is ridiculously simple, yet has an awesome effect of looking really complicated when you stand away from it.
Like this quilt. It was just squares. Heavily quilted with lines. The fabric she prints has no pattern repeat, just quite random graphic images in one or two colours, on a background of white. I have 20 fat quarters of her fabric that I've been saving, not sure what to do with it. Now I know. I just cut it up and use every last piece, and it will make something really beautiful. Maybe not as beautiful as her work, but I'm not afraid to use it anymore.
This quilt was just patchwork squares. The lines and the blocks of colour are from the cut up prints. It's quilted with lines, organically straight. It's beautiful, so simple but so perfect.
Now, I struggle with quilting. My machine has a small throat, I get frustrated trying to push a big quilt through, roll it up and get tangled in the excess.
Maybe Jinjenzi does too. She appears to have made this quilt in sections, quilted it, and then sewed the sections together to make a bigger quilt. Genius. Can you see the little ridge in the middle of the quilt? That's a join. Like a quilt as you go quilt - she's sewn a binding strip over the join on both sides. I'm going to try this. I love how it looked from a distance too, just like part of the quilting.
I don't like basket quilts as a rule. But this is my kind of basket. Even where it doesn't look like there's a basket, there is one - but in white, with white applique handles.
I have no idea who the next 2 quilts were by, they were in the general displays. They drew me in though. I really like the bright hexes. You can't beat a hexagon quilt.
Another exhibitor that got me all a quiver was Ingrid Press (no website that I can find). Her work was also so simple, and so effective. She was selling her quilts too, for really good prices. The 2 quilts that I liked best were not for sale, and the next 2 favourites were sold. Good job really, I think I'd have gone home with one.
She added little scraps of fabric to the quilting to get texture. Beautiful.
She told us that the house quilt on the left wasn't for sale because she lived in hope her son would give her a grandchild. She had already given 3 or 4 away to family babies. Imagine that? Lucky babies. The houses were my favourite. Again, I'm not a big house quilt fan, but how she made tiny little 2 or 3 inch houses and trees, even a church and then put them with all that plain background was amazing. The background was made up of a lot of different whites, some with texture, some plain. And she had quilted random tiny houses into the quilting.
The red one next to it was sold. It would have come home with me had it not been.
And this log cabin was another one that I really would have like to take home with me. Sadly, that was also sold. I think it had sold for £400. That's a bargain!
Moving away from the neutrals...look at this riot of colour!
Beautiful, isn't it?
Moving away from the 'proper' quilts we went for a little trip into the art quilts section. Now, I'm not a big art quilt fan. A quilt, to me, keeps you warm, whilst looking pretty. Are you with me?
So, this was a little odd. But I kind of liked it. Kind of. I don't quite get it though. How is it a quilt?
It's backing (if you can call it that) was paper shopping bags, opened flat, and there were all kinds of labels sewn on, buttons, a bit of trim.
Is it a quilt though?
You can see Brioni trying to decide. She's not convinced. Trash was even less convinced, whereas Maria really liked it.
But I've saved the best picture for last. Best as in worst. I really don't like to criticise someone's work, and I'm not criticising the work at all - that was meticulous. Thousands of maybe 1 inch squares, certainly no bigger than 1.5 inches, anyway, all hand pieced to form a picture that was almost 3d. It almost leapt out at you. It was certainly a labour of love, and would have taken hundreds of hours to put together.
It's the eyes. And the giant pom pom bee that are upsetting me. I wish I knew who had made it, I'd love to see what else they've made. There was a little crowd of people around it at any one point, all looking at it with the same kind of bewilderment. It was an emotive piece. That's for sure. I doubt it's creator would have anticipated it causing such a stir.
Or maybe they did. Maybe it was a deliberate ploy to get people going. Give them something to remember, because of all the quilts on display this one sticks in my mind more. I have no idea what won best in show. After I saw this I didn't take another picture. This did it, it was the grand finale. Maybe if you google rabbit quilt festival of quilts 2009 you'll get thousands of hits all with the same thing. I'd like to think it was entered by some kind of guerilla quilter. A Banksy for textiles. That would be something.
So, that was my day. We came, we saw, we ate a lovely lunch (the NEC is pretty good for food too - who'd have thought?), we shopped. We shopped without over-shopping. We were all very sensible, despite plenty of enabling going on from all of us. You have to encourage fellow ladies to shop, don't you?
I tried out a couple of machine quilting frames. I have to address my fear of free motion quilting, but thanks to a weak back (the husband would say the whole of me is weak) I hate hunching over the machine quilting. I did think those frames where you pop your sewing machine on top to give you a kind of poor man's long arm were a gimmick. I think I'm a convert. This was the one that finally convinced me. The man on the stand was eating a muller rice with a chopstick. He left us to it. We had a play, I managed some pretty pebble shapes and some lovely stippling. Brioni did some little people. We almost looked like experts. I like a salesman that has enough faith in his product to know that it sells itself. He sold it to us both. Even our menfolk are agreed (I think).
3 hours ago