Tales & Tails By Kathleen Matthews
Tales & Tails By Kathleen Matthews

Quilts UK is one of the best loved and longest running shows in the quilters calendar, set in the picturesque Worcestershire countryside with the stunning backdrop of the glorious Malvern Hills. The Midlands location of the Three Counties Showground attracted visitors from all over the UK and abroad, who were treated to a fantastic show of quilts, styles, ideas, designs and techniques, and a shoppers paradise of patchwork and quilting fabrics and supplies stalls.

The variety of show categories at Quilts UK is very impressive; Bed Quilts, Charity Fund Raising Quilts, Cot Quilts, Group/Friendship Quilts, Large Wallhangings, Miniature/Doll Quilts, Small Wallhangings, Theme Quilts Farmyard Fun, Two-Person Quilts and Under 16 Years Quilts. Lots of quilts, lots of prizes and lots of fun!

Mid-Somerset Life (detail) By Midsomer Quilting Group
Mid-Somerset Life (detail) By Midsomer Quilting Group

Cot Quilts

Eight cot quilts attracted lots of oohs and aahs and themes, of course, included softness, sleep, dreams and fairytales. In second place was Jacquie Harveys In the Pink. This strippy quilt in lovely random-dyed cotton sateen and a toning print gave the impression of using many more fabrics, but without looking too busy. The flowing hand-quilted designs and cute scalloped edges were delightful. In first place was Kathleen Matthews Tales & Tails, which was hand-dyed and painted, machine quilted and appliquéd. What an amazing montage of Disney© favourites this was. Endearing, detailed images for children and adults alike, this quilt was very colourful and beautifully embellished with machine embroidery; a real heirloom of the future.

Fandango By Barbara Wharton
Fandango By Barbara Wharton

Group/Friendship Quilts

A collection of ten quilts of great variety, this category was visited by people literally arriving by the coach load to see their own and their groups handiwork on show. The pride felt by the makers and visitors was palpable and infectious, and great fun. In second place was Mid-Somerset Life by Midsomer Quilting Group, which was made to depict Somerset life. Each member made a strip in their preferred technique, and the quilt will go on to permanent display in the Radstock Museum, Somerset. This group is newly formed and they should be proud of their achievement.

Harlequin (detail) by Gwenfai Rees Griffiths
Harlequin (detail) by Gwenfai Rees Griffiths

Swansea Quilters took the hall by storm with their Postcards from Swansea. Members were given a list of subjects and asked to represent elements of Swansea in the form of a series of 39 quilted and embroidered postcards to welcome and encourage visitors. On the back of each one, a moving, personal, amusing or quirky message was added. Quilt Angels were on hand to help us view the messages, but if only this quilt could have been hung so we could see both sides! This was well made, great fun and no doubt an inspiration to many.

Large Wall Hangings

With just 23 quilts entered into this category, colour was definitely the winner here. In fact, Barbara Whartons Fandango won the prize for Use of Colour; it was a vibrant design, by Rachel Wetzler, in browns, pinks, beiges, blues and a little carefully placed green. It managed to be bright and yet subtle; very clever.

Cactus Flowers By Karen Goddard
Cactus Flowers By Karen Goddard

Circle of Friends by Kathleen Matthews attracted a great deal of admiration, no doubt because of the sentiments behind it. Depicting the changing number and strength of friendships through life, this was a colourful, charming quilt based on images from Japanese scarves and paintings, painted, dyed and appliquéd in a circular design. In second place, Gwenfai Rees Griffiths Harlequin was another bright and vibrant wallhanging with an imaginative variety of quilting designs that seemed to link modern and traditional quilting motifs seamlessly.

Linda OSullivan from the USA came first in this category with Celtic Flamingos. She also won the Hand Appliqué prize and deservedly so; combining colourful stained glass Celtic knots, subtly mottled quirky birds, dark tone-on-tones, Paisley, striped and dotty fabrics, this was a masterpiece of stash-busting and a real feast for the eyes!

Pueblo Bianco By Janet Grist
Pueblo Bianco By Janet Grist

Minature/Doll Quilts

Miniature quilts are a labour of love, and you probably need good eyesight and nimble fi ngers too! Amazingly, 17 quilts were entered and made a delightful and fascinating display. In third place was Sandra Goldsbrough with Lincolnshire Seascape Dunes, which was hand appliquéd and embellished. I thought this would make a very pretty, dreamy picture for a bathroom wall. Cactus Flowers by Karen Goddard won second place; the dyed fabric matched a flowering cactus, which was foundation pieced and hand quilted. The pieces were tiny, but perfectly formed.

In first place was Pueblo Bianco by Janet Grist. The tumbling shapes represented the white villages of Southern Andalucia and gave a wonderful impression of that landscape. Hand dyed, hand and machine pieced, hand quilted and embellished, this was beautifully executed in sympathetic colours and textures.

Chilli Pepper by Bethan Parmee
Chilli Pepper by Bethan Parmee

Small Wall Hangings

The most popular category with 77 quilts entered this year. And small was indeed beautiful, with the level of workmanship very high. Chilli Pepper by Bethan Parmee was adapted from a Helen Deighan design, and won a Judges Merit and was a favourite amongst many visitors. The colours were lovely and the black background really made the motifs pop out.

Indigo and Sunflowers by Delia Cecil also took a Judges Merit. Created from tie-dyed fabric, it was simply stunning the happy dyeing accident created a design evocative of sunflowers, which Delia machine embroidered and quilted to create a field of very realistic looking flowers.

Lilir Bont By Rebecca Collins
Lilir Bont By Rebecca Collins

Rebecca Collins Lilir Bont took second prize; a really lovely quilt that resembled a beautiful water lily. The centre was pieced from diamonds using a clever choice of fabrics to create the softly flowing flower effect.Gently curved, sweeping, feather and flower quilting lines echoed and emphasised the design very elegantly. And in first place came Diana Brockways Wreck, winner of the Visitors Choice at Trentham Gardens 2007

First published in Popular Patchwork Number 7 - 2007