Hello and welcome to the 20th Festival of Quilts at the NEC in Birmingham. We are a tiny UK Alpaca island of alpaca yarns in a sea of fabric stands. This is a huge show taking up three halls and is ‘the show’ for quilters all over the world.

This is a very expensive hobby with the big quilting machines costing £5,000 to £10,000 and there was even a stand selling garden rooms and log cabins to put them in!

I have been to some of the exhibitions and looked at some of the competition quilts (700 in all) but there are so many, a day is not enough. You get ‘looking at quilts’ fatigue like in an art gallery. No wonder there are so many cafes and a prosecco bar.

This is the winning quilt, the best in show. I loved the winning primary school quilt that has turned the classic primary school class tea towel, no doubt you all have one, into a quilt. During my walks I stumbled upon the unveiling of the Terrence Higgins Memorial Quilt celebrating the  40th anniversary of the UK’s leading HIV and sexual health charity.

In Gallery 8 you find Denise Labadie and her exhibition called Stone Portraits and Sacred Stonescapes that feature Celtic megaliths stones and monoliths. Gob smacking, these are quilts that appear to be paintings.

Moving on I found L’Merchie Frazier LookBooks for Liberation that explore themes of black identity in the Americas and beyond. Weird segue here, coming across a quilt called Lucky! Lucky! Lucky! By Russell Barratt celebrating Kylie Minogue.

Back on our stand things were going well with plenty of sales and the excitement at the next door stand of the amazing Kaffe Fassett turning up for a book signing. I’m going to leave you with a little gallery of some of the quilts I saw today. Click here to visit our Upcoming Shows page to find out where UK Alpaca will be appearing next!