The Festival of Quilts – A First Timer Prepares

In a couple of weeks time I’m going to The Festival of Quilts at the Birmingham NEC. It’s my first time going and I know I’m going to be under prepared and probably blown away by its epic proportions.

I’m told it’s the largest patchwork and quilt show in Europe hosting quilts and quilters from all over the world. It sounds huge. It spans four days and I can only go for one. I imagine one day will not be enough so this is why I am trying to prepare! Call it homework for the novice quilter.

Before I launch into what I found out about what’s on at the event I thought I’d tell you what I hope to achieve or find out while I’m there.

First up I want to see the one quilt I’ve helped make of as part of the #fussycuttingsewalong community. We have each contributed a hexie flower which has been made into a group quilt top by the lovely Naomi Clarke who we all gifted the hexies flowers to.

A post shared by Naomi Clarke (@naomialicec) on

Second, I’m hoping to see some 1/2″ Hexies all finished and quilted up. I feel I need some inspiration on how to quilt my 1/2″ Hexie I-Spy quilt. It’s all so tiny and busy I want to get the quilting right when the time comes to do so. (probably next year!!)

pic of half icbh hexies being sewn together
My progress of the half inch hexie ispy quilt

Lastly I want to buy some fabric for a quilt I want to make. It’s a bit top-secret and I need to plan how much I need but I have a colour scheme and an idea. If there is ever a place to buy fabric I guess it is here.  But I need to stick to a budget!! This is one thing someone mentioned to me a while ago and something I WILL DO! The last thing I want to do is spend all the money I don’t really have!

Three things, surely that’s enough!? Everything and anything else will be just an added bonus. Now let’s look at a few of the things advertised by The Festival of Quilts which I’m interested in taking a look at…

The Galleries

There are just under 30 galleries to look at and if I get to see them all that is amazing. I expect I won’t so I want to make sure I hone in on the 1718 Silk Patchework Coverlet.  It’s the oldest surviving coverlet in Britain and it is its 300th Aniversary.  It’s going into deep storage after the show so I probably wouldn’t get to see it again.


Again there is plenty of features to see but I’d really like to take a look at The Jane Austen quilt.  I really love that this has been done on a community level and as per our Fussy Cutting Sewalong quilt I think will be amazing to see.


All the inspirational work people have entered Into the quilt show. I’m looking forward to seeing some.

Workshops and Demonstrations

Some of these look so good. If I were coming for more days I would have to book myself onto one or two of these. I think with one day and so much else to see I’ll leave these for another year. Plus I’ll have baby CABS with me so practically speaking it’s probably for the best!!

The Festival Quilts is on at the Birmingham NEC from Thursday 9th to Sunday 12th of August

So there you have my probably not enough prep for the show. I’m sure it’ll all be extremely smooth. I’ll be emptying my camera and getting my Instagram stories rolling!

If your going on the Friday I’d love to know and maybe even see you. Just let me know. I’m rubbish with faces but I’ll be the person with the with the cutest baby CABS attached. Looking a bit like this…

karen with Cabs on her back in the sling

Hope to see you there at the festival of quilts!

** I’ve been given free entry to the show any views or opinions are my own. **

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