An inspiration for all at Quiltfest

June 22 2017

One of the largest quilt shows in the Bristol area - Quiltfest - was held at the beginning of June demonstrating a wealth of talent and skills.


One of the largest quilt shows in the Bristol area - Quiltfest - was held at the beginning of June demonstrating a wealth of talent and skills.

More than 100 stunning quilts and wall hangings were on show at the three day exhibition held at Badminton School.  There was colour and great crafts skills on display, from traditional to contemporary in style, showing a variety of hand and machine work using a wide range of techniques, plus a selection of non-hanging items.

There were specialist quilting traders at the show each day, demonstrating quilting techniques and a stand laden with handmade gifts for sale.

Sue Wakefield, Quiltfest Chair, said: “We are a massively thriving group with 130 full members and a waiting list of about 25 - we are oversubscribed.

“There are lots of specialist quilter’s workshops that take place and we have about eleven ourselves.”

Bristol Quilters was formed in 1980 and meets at the Friends Meeting House on Hampton Road in Redland. The aim of the group is to support and encourage members in all aspects of quilting and they do this by arranging a programme of monthly talks, running workshops and visits, as well as organising periodic challenges and exhibitions of members’ work. Becky Freeman, Bristol Exhibition committee member explained about the many types of quilt:

“A lot of quilts mark life events, such as when a daughter is about to go to university or the arrival of a new baby. A memory quilt will use items such as clothes from the child’s life growing up.” 

“There are so many inspirational ideas all around - nature, plants and architecture. One of our members was inspired by a holiday to Russia and sketched some the designs that she saw and incorporated it into her quilt,” Becky said.

Bristol Quilters have some professional members in the group and a few who teach. One of their members is an expert on Heritage quilts, Sandie Lush, whose hand-stitched Baltimore quilt was described by visitors as ‘awe-inspiring’.

Sandie Lush said: “Baltimore album quilts were very popular around the region of Baltimore and Maryland between 1840-1860. There was a huge fashion for it, possibly inspired by the floral-patterned carpets at the time. It’s very labour-intensive so the fashion didn’t last but was revived in the early 20th century by a psychiatrist who was looking for something to keep his nervous ladies occupied. He started collecting Baltimore Quilts and then began making them himself. His book, ‘Old Quilts’ revived the interest in them. I’m just one of many people who’s had a go at making one for themselves.

“It took me a year to do the border but the individual blocks were teaching samples. I started it in 1997 and finished it in 2015 but it was only a concerted effort in the final 18 months. I made the centrepiece first and then the others around it. There is a lot of 3D work in there - I’ve used ribbon and wire to make the little roses in the middle.” 

There was a tombola at the event to raise funds for the children’s charity, Jessie May Trust

For more information about Bristol Quilters see