Festival of Quilts – Part 1

This year I went to the Festival of Quilts up at the NEC for the first time. I love hand sewing, I don’t manage to do much of it because I don’t have a lot of space at home and a lot of my spare time is taken up crocheting snoods.  The only reason I haven’t been to the Festival of Quilts before is because its quite a long way from my home in Hampshire and I thought it would cost a fortune to get there. It turned out to be cheap and easy on the train so that’s me signed up annually for a visit.

First off I have to say its the best craft Festival of the year in every respect, the venue is fantastic, the layout is HUGE but spacious so it’s nowhere near as jostly as the Knitting & Stitching Shows in London.  The stallholders are friendly and interested in talking to you and the other attendees are just lovely. Honestly I’ve never met such a happy and welcoming group of crafters as the quilters.  I want to join their gang.

I took loads of pictures, there was just so much to fall in love with, I only did one day but two would be better, I’m sure I missed most of the displays.

This is the first thing I loved. A gorgeous hand quilted kimono style jacket.

SAM_2232 SAM_2233 SAM_2234I love this style of jacket, this just makes me want to embellish my own clothes. What I love most about the quilt designs is its mainly based on a simple, perfect running stitch. The simplicity of running stitch does nothing but enhance a design without looking show-offy like silk shading can.  Running stitch also reminds me of the basting stitches you use in tailoring which are themselves beautiful. Have a closer look a the wave pattern, it’s just perfect.


Today I’m Making… Embroidered roses with beads

You might remember the lovely workshop I did a while back where I made the scissor dangle thing? Well, I really liked making the bullion knot roses so when I finished that my head was full of ideas of images I could embroider filling in with hundreds of bullion knot roses and french knots.

Finally I have made something. I had to come up with a birthday present for someone I don’t know brilliantly well but I didn’t want to just buy a scented candle like I usually would, I wanted to make something. Fingers crossed she’ll appreciate it took up most of my weekend making it and I’m not just being cheap.  I found the picture frame in TK Maxx, they always have gorgeous frames in there and the prices are very good.  This one I think is supposed to look like a vintage plate that has been made into a frame.

I had intended to use the gorgeous De Havilland silks I bought at Ally Pally but in the first place I could only find one hank in the wrong colour and then it didn’t work for making the roses, it all just tangled up hideously and I had to cut it out.

In the end I went for ordinary DMC in three colours – red, maroon and hot pink. I think another time I’d go for a variegated thread because it gives a better result than a block colour for flowers, but I did use a variegated coral for the french knots and that worked out really well.


I started off by couching a double row of metallic blue thread, then I sewed the line of beads on individually, I did think about stringing them on to a thread and couching those on too but I prefer to sew them on one by one. After that I couched on another double row of metallic blue.  If I were to make another one of these I think I’d do this outside edge last because I was worried I’d catch the blue thread and ruin it as I made the roses.


The fabric I was sewing on to is white with a white floral print which was handy to use as a random template to fill with the roses, rose buds and leaves. Making something look random is really hard, I think I have a roughly even colour distribution of roses and buds but I hope it doesn’t look too much like it is.

Here it is, the finished thing all mounted up. The mounting is the part that causes me the most stress but it seems to have worked out OK and I haven’t smashed any of the glass beads under the glass.


I wanted this to have a vintage look, as if it had been upcycled from a 50’s boudoir set. I think that has worked out quite well personally. Though now that I’ve made this I realise my ideas about embroidering shapes filled in with bullion knot roses was a bit ambitious, I don’t think I could bear it, but it has reminded me how much I like doing french knots so I’ll be doing a lot more of those.