Festival of Quilts 2008

On friday my mum, Kim (of Little Green Bees), Jaq (of Confessions of a Slack Knitter), Liz (of Thomasina Knits), Ellen (of Frog Princess), Ruth (I need your blog address – gimmeh gimmeh!), Jacqui (who I don’t think has a blog… yet), and me (obviously), went to the Festival of Quilts at the NEC in Birmingham.

Much fun was had. Much fabric was bought. Lots of walking was done by all. (I am SO TIRED today.)

But let me tell you what I bought:

There is always one stall that becomes my favourite of the day. I don’t know what it’s going to be, but when I find it I find I’m drawn back to it again and again.

Yesterday it was TheButtonCompany.co.uk

The Button Company

I think I love them.

Firstly they had some of the cute japanese fabrics I have been kinda drooling over for a while now.

Waffle farms

Cute waffle farmyard fabric! How lovely is that?

I think these are destined to be at least one pair of cute pajama pants for the bump, though I got a metre, so there is definately enough for at least two sizes, should they prove popular. Of course I might just hang it on a clip hanger for a while and just look at it’s loveliness. 🙂

Fat Quarters of joy

So much JOY here! There is kitchen fabric (for ME!) and Amy Butler spots to go with it, plus little red riding hood fabric <3 and lime and orange robot fabric.

Actually let me pause for a minute to tell you the robot fabric story.

My sister – Kim – made an amazing bag with the blue version of that robot fabric. (I’m very proud of her.) Anyway, she was using it yesterday, and while we were at the stall, talking to one of the women running it about the fabric, Kim mentioned her bag, and held it up. And all hell broke loose in the best way! The woman had never seen the fabric worked up into something before. She wanted to fondle the fabric, and was amazed at how soft it got when washed. She wanted to show the other people behind the stall, and so – in the nicest way – ran off with it, to show them, and then brought it back to say that the other people were going to come over and have a proper look, and could Kim stick around. Hilarious. I think that’s when I fell in love with their stall.

Anyways it’s also important to point out the fabric being used as a back drop to the lovely fat quarters.

Wool felt.

Thick, amazing wool felt from france that The Button Company now stock.

(They have ordered 90 colours, and had the first 50 at the show. It was £15 a metre but they would cut from the fat quarter upwards. I would suggest calling them, and making an order, since they were pretty sure that availability was going to be sketchy for a while, while they and the tiny french company who makes it, got into a rhythm of ordering a supplying.

If I were you I’d keep a close eye on The Button Company Blog, and The Eternal Maker Crafts Blog, since there is a bit of a debate over who gets the stock all that loveliness. 😉

So yeah.

Another stall of note was Oliver Twists.

Oliver Twists

They had silk.

Silk for spinning

Hand dyed silk you could spin with.

Silk for Spinning

£12.50 for the 130g above.

And frankly these days there were more spinners in our group than quilters.

So yeah, that came home with me too, and I started spinning it last night while watching the replay of the Men’s Track Points Race. (GO CHRIS!)

Silk for spinning, spun.

(Don’t know why the morning light was screwing with the colour – obviously it’s way more blue/green than that.)

I think I can get about 350m of 4ply equivalent (14wpi, and actually 3ply).

Oooh! And British people can now get iron on plastic for making ordinary fabric into oil cloth. (Kim has been lusting over US crafters who do this for a while now.) I got a metre for £3.50 from www.nid-noi.com. It’s called Lamifix.

Lastly we got to meet Amy Butler at the Rowan stand. She is lovely.

A Butler Haul

I – naturally given what is going on at the moment – bought her bookfull of useful patterns for baby things. (Actually Kim and mum – as eager aunt and granny in waiting insisted we went thirds on it.) And Amy put a lovely message inside, and managed not to get influenced at all when my mother decided to bring up a mortifyingly embarrassing story about how I apparently justified changing the spelling of my name, when I was 11 – nineteen years ago! 😐 Thank alot mum.

The pattern wasn’t available at the show, but I’m also looking forward the Birdy Sling bag (though I see that UHandbag have it in stock, so I’ll get my bum in gear and get it from there instead. 🙂 (Ruth – thought you might want a heads up about that too. 🙂

So yeah, all in all a great day.

A Small moan that you should probably not read, especially if you have a happy glow from all the fabric loveliness above:
If – however – I had one criticism, it would be that, on mass, thousands of women in the fifties and sixties aren’t actually very considerate at all. i’m not talking about stall holders. All the stall holders were wonderful. I’m talking about the other event goers. I can’t count how many times I was bashed into – and yeah, i’m a bit sensitive about getting bashed into right now – how many times people suddenly came to a halt right in front of me in the narrow isles between the stall. How many times people blocked said isles while they made up their mind whether it was worth moving the couple of feet to the left or the right to actually stand *in front* of the stall they were looking at.

Lots of people had drag-behind boxes on wheels, or cases (I think for sewing machines, which I assume they needed for some of the classes. And, you know, fair enough.) But it would have been nice if they’d remembered that having them meant that they were taking up twice as much room when they stopped short, and at a really good ‘knock you off your feet’ height.

(The people in wheelchairs, scooters, and pushing buggies – all used to being ignore and complained about – were naturally not a problem at all.)

By lunch time – only a hour or so into the event, my mother – who is smack bang in the middle of that demographic – said ‘i’m not sure I like being around so many other women’. Which is very sad.

But frankly there were people there who needed a telling off, rather than the tuts they themselves were doling out. *sigh*


Which is a miserable way to end a post so full of great things.

But it’s worth pointing out that I’m definately glad I went, (as I was last year) and I hope to go again next year, so nothing was able to get me down too much. 🙂

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8 thoughts on “Festival of Quilts 2008

  1. Yeah, changing your name never really works. I switched from Lizzie to Lizzy (for home use – I’m pretty sure it was still Elizabeth at school) when I was fifteen and my parents still haven’t caught on to that, much less that I’ve been calling myself Liz for the past 10 years!

  2. Kim – thanks for spotting the bad url. I’ve fixed it now. 🙂

    I’m impressed with the speediness of your sewing!

  3. Liz – *sigh* obviously it’s just a parental thing. maybe the spent a long time trying to come up with the perfect name. (we’re in denial at the moment that we have to come up with something we both like in the next few weeks!) but even so, i think there should be a statute of limitations on these things. 😉

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