Friday, 1 May 2015

French quilt show photos

Well, I'm back and just about sorted out the semi-chaos at home, so I can share some photos of my amazing trip to Nantes in France this weekend past.

I went with my friends Julia and Gwen and the purpose of the visit was to attend the quilt show Pour l'Amour du Fil organised by Quiltmania, the French patchwork and quilting magazine. Having seen the photos of previous shows in Quiltmania over a number of years it was wonderful actually to be there, and the show did not disappoint.

We managed to negotiate the tram system (very easy once we worked out where we were going...) and travelled to the Parc des Expositions at Beaujoire at the very end of the line.  The exhibition hall was spacious and calm with gardens and river nearby, and the stalls were beautifully decorated with quilts and merchandise, a feast for the eyes.  There was an emphasis on quality, of the goods on sale and the workmanship of the samples on display.  Despite our faltering French everyone was very kind and helpful (and many spoke very good English).

We had particularly wanted to visit the show because of an exhibition of nearly 60 vintage New York Beauty quilts from the collection of Bill Volckening.  The quilts were absolutely stunning and beautifully displayed in two tiers along the main wall.  These are not small quilts and it was wonderful to have the space to stand and view them at a distance, as well as to get up really close and examine the stitches .

The quilts are mostly made in plain fabrics (solids) and look so modern, with a limited number of colours used in each quilt, high contrast and strong graphic design.  Lots of negative space to show off wonderful hand quilting.  Seeing so many of the same pattern in one place really showed up the variations in sashing and layout: then as now we quilters like to tweak a pattern to make it truly our own!

I apologise for the fact that my small camera insisted on using flash so the colours aren't quite perfect, but they are better than I expected.  And if you are keen to see more, Bill has a book out published by Quiltmania which will tell you all you have ever wanted to know about this quilt pattern.

I couldn't choose a favourite so here are a selection, all hand pieced and hand quilted, without the benefit of foundation (paper) piecing and rotary cutting, many are more than 100 years' old.  I would be proud to have made any of them.

There was so much more to see and I have taken so many more photos that I will post separately over the next few days.

I am slightly embarrassed to show photos of my own work having seen such wonderful sewing by others, both named and unknown masters of their craft, but I did make up a little purse kit I purchased from a stall selling Japanese fabric.  I wasn't mad keen on the applique flower to go in the centre so when I got home I dug out a spare square-in-square from my Quartet BOM: with the addition of narrow borders it fitted perfectly.

So I can link to Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday, and to Lily's Quilts for Fresh Sewing Day: my favourite project from April was the Disappearing Hourglass, it was such fun to do.  I know it still needs to be quilted, but I'm planning a shopping trip for the backing very soon...

Here's to a productive, and merry, month of May for us all.


  1. Fascinating to see the same quilt pattern over and over and all so different. I've been participating in the Instagram #timberqal and it's been a similar situation. We are all using the same pattern and they are all turning out so different. That's the sign of a great pattern!
    Also, your little purse is lovely!

  2. I was going to write about the same thing as Karen has just said. It's amazing to see just how infinite a variety of quilts can be made. It seems as though you had a brilliant time in Nantes.

  3. That quilt show must have been amazing! Pictures never do justice to the quilting. Thanks for sharing photos!

  4. Wow, those NYB are fantastic! Hope you had a good trip.

  5. I love all those NYB quilts - thanks for sharing!