Craft Fairs and Events

Craft Fair Review – The Festival of Quilts 2016

Here at Craft Cover we’re always looking for ways to improve the service we provide to the handmade industry. Following the success of our preview Craft Fair Reviews, we visited the Festival of Quilts!

Where: Halls 7, 8 & 9, NEC, Birmingham

Date: 13th August 2016 (Event held 10-13th Aug)

How Often: Annual

Entrance Fee: £14.50 per person (Concessions £13.50)

General Comments:

I don’t normally review Craft events of this size but as I was there, I thought that I would let you have some information.

My sister does a lot of quilting and my Mum is also into all things handmade, especially sewing. As it was my Mum’s birthday, my sister and I decided to take her to the Festival of Quilts. My sister had been before and told us that it was a big event but nothing prepares you for the sheer size of it.

And what a big affair it was:

  • Over 24,000 visitors over the 4 days
  • 180 workshops and talks
  • Over 300 exhibitors selling supplies
  • Over 700 competition quilts including a category for ‘My First Quilt’ for beginners
  • Over 1,000 exhibition quilts from some of the best known international artists and groups

We arrived at around 11am and the halls were already starting to get busy. We spent the first 3 hours looking at the competition and exhibition quilts. These covered a vast array of mediums, topics and age groups – they have categories especially for children from the age of 5 upwards and there were some fantastic early-years quilters, including boys which surprised me.

After some lunch, we did a ‘supermarket sweep’ of the exhibitor’s stands to see what we could buy. There was a great mix of stalls selling everything that you could want (and more besides).

My sister had ongoing projects that she needed extra supplies for, my Mum bought a wrist pin cushion and a kit for a quilted table runner, and I bought a rotary cutter, a felting kit and some map fabric which has already been turned into cushions for the campervan.

Retail therapy completed, we headed for the Art Quilts which are not really ‘quilts’ in the traditional sense, but are designed to be displayed as artworks. There were some strange creations but probably the strangest was a quilted person – photo below.

Even if we had spent another full day at the festival, I am sure we still wouldn’t have had time to view all of the exhibits and stalls properly, never mind fitting in a workshop or two.

We left at around 5pm and, I have to tell you, my feet were killing me! However, we had all thoroughly enjoyed the day and headed home with our minds buzzing with new ideas and inspiration.

Fair Organiser: twistedthreads

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