Step into a world where creativity intertwines with tradition, every stitch tells a story, and where vibrant threads transform ordinary fabric into mesmerizing masterpieces. Welcome to The Festival of Quilts at the NEC in Birmingham, UK, an annual celebration that brings together the finest quilters, artisans, and enthusiasts from around the world.
At the Aurifil Stand this year, we hosted a glorious lineup of Aurifil Designers, launched three new collections, showcased some of our favorite threads, hosted a show giveaway, attended an emotional and ground-breaking unveiling, and applauded the creative artwork of so many incredible makers. It is always one of our favorite events of the Summer year after year.
Beyond the Aurifil Stand
At the Festival of Quilts, you’ll discover a world illuminated by the magic of threads. The quilts on display are a reflection of the creators’ dedication, passion, and vision. As we walked the show, so many quilts caught our eye, which we later discovered were made with the help of Aurifil Thread. By sharing these remarkable quilts, we hope to spread the infectious energy of creativity that lingered with all of us, and inspire you to turn your hand to create something truly exquisite. Who knows, perhaps the coming year will find us marveling at your stunning creation on display at the show!
Helen Creasey – Reaching
As you rounded the corner and laid eyes on Helen’s masterpiece, Reaching, the collective reaction was a resounding “Wow.” The colors, intricate detailing, and the narrative it conveyed simply seize your attention and enthral you in its embrace. Helen created her quilt by using Foundation Paper Piecing (FPP) and sit-down longarm quilting, pushing her design and quilting skills to try and reach a dream.
Suzanne Campion – Somerset Garden Liberty Quilt
If you came through Gate 7 to access the show, it was impossible to overlook the breathtaking quilt showcased at the Liberty Fabrics stand. Suzanne Campion dedicated more than 800 hours to intricate English Paper Piecing (EPP), complemented by a substantial use of Aurifil 80wt thread. To enhance the masterpiece, Trudi Wood added her long-arm quilting magic using Aurifil 50wt thread.
Chris English – Stop Knife Crime & Never Trust a Tory
As an esteemed designer within our ranks, Chris possesses a passion for transforming recycled fabrics, each with its own narrative, into vibrant improv quilts. These quilts frequently convey political or social messages, showcasing Chris’s distinct approach. As well as submitting new quilts into the show, Chris also had his quilt, #nevertrustatory, hanging proudly in The Quilters Guild Museum Collection. If you happen to be following Chris @afullenglish on Instagram, you’re likely acquainted with his affection for Aurifil Threads and the ingenious ways he incorporates them into his artistic endeavors.
Paula Steele – Kinetic Joy
If you had the opportunity to attend the Festival of Quilt in the year 2022, then surely the vivid memory of Paula Steele’s remarkable victory in the Modern Quilt category must still resonate with you. As we strolled amidst the diverse array of quilts, the same distinct aura that had captivated us before enveloped us once again, and it was unmistakably evident that the creation was none other than Paula’s. The fusion of curved piecing and meticulous matchstick quilting, interwoven with the gentle undulation of a serpentine stitch, truly sets this quilt apart from the rest, ensuring it catches the eye in any crowd.
The Terrence Higgins Memorial 40th Anniversary Quilt
A new memorial quilt paying tribute to the UK’s first named person to die of an AIDS-related illness was revealed at The Festival of Quilts, forty years on from his death. The Terrence Higgins Trust worked with The Quilters’ Guild to create this striking brand new eight-panel memorial quilt. Aurifil had the privilege of providing threads to all the designers, and our sense of pride is immense as we acknowledge each and every participant. Among them, we’re particularly delighted to highlight the involvement of two of our own esteemed designers, Sarah Ashford and Clive Bruder.
Jo Avery – 100 Days of Organic Applique
On numerous occasions, as we passed by Jo Avery’s book, a lady adorned in white gloves could invariably be found, delicately flipping through its pages to unveil its complete splendor for all to appreciate. If you’re a follower of Jo on Instagram (@joaverystitch), you would have undoubtedly witnessed the transformation of this book into reality through Jo’s “100 days” project. In this project, Jo meticulously crafted a 4″ quilt block every day for a hundred days, with the exquisite touch of Aurifil threads bringing each block to life.
Jo Avery – Poplars
Taking inspiration from the Poplar trees gracing her garden, Jo Avery artfully crafted this exquisite Poplar quilt. By employing improvised curves stacked in layers, she ingeniously fashioned the landscape. The final touch was added through meticulous longarm quilting, imbuing the quilt with intricate finishing details that enhance its allure.
Sheena Norquay – Couched Birds
Sheena stands as one of our enduring thread champions, a true luminary. Her remarkable talents are indisputable, a fact that was solidified by her well-deserved triumph in The Quilters’ Guild Challenge this year, where she secured the coveted first place for her Couched Birds Quilt. The astonishing dedication to intricacy is evident as threads and yarn are meticulously intertwined to create an exceptional masterpiece that truly captivates.
Aurifil Artisan Quilts
This year we organized a gathering that allowed us to explore the quilt exhibition in the company of a few Aurifil Artisans – a delightful opportunity to connect with some of these talented individuals, some of whom also had their own quilts proudly on display at the show!
Anna Wraith (@thehackneyquilter) had submitted two magnificent quilts; New Moon and Upcycled Shirts. Notably, one of these quilts had even adorned the cover of Love Patchwork and Quilting Magazine earlier in the year, reflecting Anna’s exceptional talent. Being a longstanding enthusiast of Aurifil threads, it was a heartening experience to witness her radiate with pride as she stood beside her quilts, which were elegantly displayed at the show.
Lou Orth (@louorthdesigns) is certainly no newcomer to the quilting realm. Lou’s exquisite Kinship Quilt graced the Modern Quilt Category with its elegant presence. It boasts a multitude of remarkable qualities, but its undeniable allure is most apparent in the intricate quilting achieved through the use of Aurifil Thread.
Fiona Johnstone, known as @spunstraw, is well-acquainted with the process of submitting her work to quilt shows. Her accomplishments include winning the People’s Choice Award at Quilt Con 2023 earlier this year. Therefore, it’s hardly astonishing that Fiona chose to present not just one, but an impressive three entries to the Festival of Quilts; Skeined Ovalitos, Fluke Shoes and Rainbow Ouroboros.
As we stepped aside, unintentionally eavesdropping on the conversations of those captivated by Fiona’s quilted Fluke Shoes, we couldn’t help but chuckle at the delightful irony of her simultaneously sporting yet another pair!
We’re aware that these quilts aren’t the sole ones featuring Aurifil threads at the show, in all likelihood, there are numerous others. The quilts we’ve mentioned were merely the ones we were acquainted with and had the opportunity to locate, photograph, and curate images that are fitting for sharing with our audience.