Suddenly it’s the start of autumn and lots of seasonal changes – where did the summer go? – and what happened to all the blog posts that swirled through my head and never made it as far as the laptop keyboard? I really cannot believe the length of time since my last post – memo to self, must do much better and pay more attention.
Way back in early August I had a wonderful trip to deepest Wales to visit my good friend Jen Jones and teach at the Quilt Centre in Lampeter. It was very satisfying to teach alongside the stunning exhibition of Welsh Paisley quilts – the class was one I won’t be able to repeat but everyone enjoyed being a quilt archaeologist revealing the innards of a vintage Welsh quilt and looking at the structure and design typical of the Welsh tradition. Here are some of the intrepid archaeologists hard at work and a glimpse of what they uncovered – we were very lucky and found an almost complete, but very worn, Welsh flannel quilt used as a batting – I’ll post more pictures and information another time.
The Quilt Centre is a wonderful destination venue with a shop selling all sorts of irresistable goodies and a mouth-watering deli and coffee shop next door, and the well-stocked Calico Kate quilt shop (8 rooms stuffed full of fabric) only a few paces away. It’s less well known that there is the perfect quilters’ retreat available to rent close to Jen’s cottage shop in Llanybydder – sleeps 6, self-catering, beautifully furnished and appointed – several of us are already making plans to return with quilting friends for a few days of peaceful stitching.
Arriving home with a head full of Welsh quilts and happy memories it was only a few days before we set off for Wales again – this time to the annual summer exhibition at the Minerva Gallery in Llanidloes. This is an event which goes from strength to strength and never disappoints – and there’s great local produce and food to take home too! This year’s exhibit of traditional quilts was from the extensive collection of Jennifer Barlow – here’s just the tiniest detail of my favourite
From the depths of Wales to the wide open spaces of the NEC in Birmingham for Festival of Quilts – a real novelty this year as I was not demonstrating/trading so it was an opportunity to see the show as most people see it. Very strange feeling, the first big UK quilt show I’ve been to purely as a visitor for more than 20 years, very different! The first copies of our new Chris & Barbara book Right from the Start had been flown in, arriving just in time for the opening of the show.
Next stop was Southport Quilters – old and new friends to meet, with an afternoon talk followed by the Fast Quilts from Fat Quarters class the next day.
My wonderful hostess took me to Formby Point to walk on the beach among the evocative figures of the Antony Gormley installation, something I had wanted to do for several years, but never got around to. The weather and light were absolutely perfect and we walked until it was nearly dark – altogether an amazing experience.
From the delights of coastal Lancashire to the Suffolk/Norfolk borders to visit Diss Quilters and Ferrers Quilters – two hand quilting classes and an evening talk on The Tentmakers of Cairo. More friends, new and old, a quilt shop (Sew & So’s in Bungay ), good food and lots of fun. Again, outstanding hostesses for both overnight stops – it makes the life of a travelling quilt teacher really easy at times.
And back on the home front it’s pretty busy. Himself is deep in chutney and jam-making and other seasonal pursuits. Alongside my mother’s 90th birthday celebrations I’m finishing samples and worksheets for Chris & Barbara day and evening classes, planning hand sewing classes for our local quilt shop, Pollyanna Patchwork, and trying to get several other new projects moving along. I’m up to date with this month’s instructions for the Stay At Home Robin
but need to send pictures to Kate, and then do some serious catching up on blog reading to see what everyone has been up to. And I absolutely have to book my plane ticket to Houston. Having missed both Quilt Market and Quilt Festival last year, I’m really looking forward to this trip at the end of October – it will be great to catch up with lots of friends and all the latest in quilting.