Home » Quilting » Festival of Quilts 2019 – Entering a Quilt and Show Review

Festival of Quilts 2019 – Entering a Quilt and Show Review

Hello there! Well, I was lucky enough to visit the Festival of Quilts for two whole days this year – my first time ever! – and it was absolutely AMAZING! Sooooo tiring though! I’ve only just caught up on sleep and had time to process it all.

Review of Festival of Quilts - how to enter a quilt and show highlights

If you’ve never been to Festival, it is a complete treat! So much inspiration and shopping. One of my favourite things though is the people! Having a chance to catch-up with all the people I speak to through my phone most days, meeting the shop owners who I love buying from and meeting new people.

This year though, I had the whole new experience of entering a quilt. Eeek! I’ve been saying to myself that I’d enter a quilt for years now, and finally, I can say I have!

I decided to enter Rainbow Twist as it is one of my favourite makes, so far anyway! It felt like a slight cheat, seeing that it had been in Love Patchwork & Quilting, but it had been an epic make and I wanted to share the curved corners with faced-binding.

Rainbow Twist Quilt, Love Patchwork & Quilting Issue 68, pattern by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

I had previously entered it to the Modern Category of Quilt Con, and it had not been accepted. This hadn’t been a huge surprise – I wasn’t entirely sure the quilt could be considered modern as it has a very structured, geometric design and an equal amount of pattern vs. negative space – and I still love the quilt. But still!

One of the excellent things about the Festival of Quilts is that it is totally inclusive: all quilts entered are accepted. They have a range of categories that celebrate everyone from Novice to Fine Art. This means that there is an incredible range of quilts to look at – you can literally just spend a whole day wandering around the galleries being amazed by everyone’s workmanship!

Entering a Quilt Show

If you’ve not entered a quilt before, would you like to know a bit more about about the process?

Firstly, you’ll need to get a competition entry form from the Festival of Quilts website. They are available as a download if you would like to do a postal entry or you can enter online. The forms are only available from certain dates each year, so it can be worth signing up to their newsletter list to keep up to date!

I’ll be honest, the form looked a bit intimidating to start with! There are minimum requirements for quilt size and so many different categories to enter that it can be a bit confusing to know which one is the best fit.

For example, with Rainbow Twist, I looked at Modern Quilts, Contemporary Quilts and Traditional Quilts. The form does include a summary for each of the categories, but it still felt like a bit of guess-work!

Rainbow Twist Quilt, Love Patchwork & Quilting Issue 68, pattern by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

In the end, despite Rainbow Twist being made with the Drunkards Path block (Traditional) with a modern pattern interpretation (making it Contemporary?!), I decided on Modern: I felt the colours, design, quilting and curved faced-binding would fit best here.

Once you’ve settled on a category, you are ready to fill out the form. There are some standard sections that need to be filled out – Title, Materials, Techniques, is the Quilt for Sale – along with an Artists Statement. Would you like to see what I wrote?

  • Title: Rainbow Twist
  • Materials: Twenty-seven different colours of Kona Cotton
  • Techniques: Machine piecing and quilting.
  • Artists Statement: To use a Drunkards Path template for a fun, modern design with an ombre effect. The twists were quilted differently to the background to highlight them wrapping around each other. Made a faced binding with two curved edges to accentuate the curves of the quilt. IG @fabricandflowers

It’s worth noting, that it is only the Title that is displayed alongside the quilt at the show. The rest of the information is only included within the FoQ Show Guides (this may vary at other shows).

The final step is to make a registration payment for entering, decide how much you want to insure the quilt for (this is very much a personal choice!) and how the quilt will be picked up at the end of the show. As I’m only an hours drive away, I decided to collect it as the flat-rate return postage fee really pushed up the overall cost.

Then, all you need to do is to keep a note of the dates and make sure that the quilt is sent off on time!

After that, you don’t hear anything, which is a bit strange (unless you’re a winner, in which case I would imagine you do?!). So the only way to know if the quilt is hanging is to go see it, or hope to see some pictures of it somewhere online!

Visiting the Festival of Quilts

I’ve been to Festival of Quilts for a number of years now and is something I look forward to each time. Aside from catching up with people, I love to see all the different techniques that have been used and take inspiration from so many different elements. Would you like to see some of my favourite pieces from the show?

*All makers of quilts are credited. If you are the maker and would like me to remove your quilt picture then please let me know. Thank you.

It has to be said that quilting is a funny ol’ business. When you’re stitching away at home you can feel that you’re doing okay. And if you post on social media then you may get some lovely comments. I’ve been lucky enough to be featured in magazines but I still can’t help but feel a massive sense of Imposter Syndrome when going along to a show such as the Festival of Quilts. There are so many talented people out there!!!

All of the quilts on display are absolutely incredible and awe-inspiring! It’s true that not all of them are to my taste or colours (which I’m sure many felt about Rainbow Twist!) but that doesn’t take-away from the workmanship that has gone into each piece and the feeling that I am only at the beginning of my journey.

Some quilts – especially the hand-pieced and needle-turn appliqued ones – I feel are so beyond me that I’ll only be able to do them when I grow up. I couldn’t resist buying a couple of patterns for when I do though!!!

Review of Festival of Quilts - how to enter a quilt and show highlights

Once the show is over and your quilt is returned, pinned to the back is an envelope with judges comments.

I love my quilt, and it doesn’t really matter what others think…..but still, it was lovely to have some positive comments and constructive feedback.

Quilting is always the area that I feel lets me down – I was saying to a friend whilst walking around the show that I can visualise a pattern design but struggle doing the same with the quilting design.

Entering a quilt to Festival of Quilts - Feedback

Looking at some of the quilts at Festival I was just blown away with how some of the creators came up with their designs. Definitely, something to work on!

Bauble II by Tatyana Duffie
Bauble II by Tatyana Duffie

I enjoyed entering a quilt and will definitely look to enter another next year – I get so much inspiration from other peoples entries to inspire my continuing quilting journey and just maybe my quilt will inspire someone else?!

Now, to find some time to turn all of this inspiration into quilts!!!

Speak soon,

S x

Today’s sky::: overcast and grey

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