Tuesday, 25 April 2017

French Quilt Show Part 1

I'm back and ready to thrill - or bore - you with my holiday snaps! I had a really lovely short break in Nantes at Pour l'Amour du Fil, the show organised by Quiltmania, which really is all about the love of thread.

It is a very different show to the ones we have here in the UK and the traders are very different too. It is clear that the ladies of France like to ply their needles as much if not more than they pedal their machines, as the variety of stalls selling materials for hand sewing, and the displays of exquisite hand work - embroidery, ribbonwork, boutis, cross stitch, drawn thread work, wool applique - showed very clearly.

In addition there was much for lovers of reproduction fabrics and old textiles, and some magnificent traditional piecing and hand and machine quilting.  I hope to show you my particular favourites in this and the following post. Be warned, this is a very photo heavy post, but I hope you may find something to inspire you. I am certainly buzzing with excitement at all the possibilities.

My main reason for wanting to visit Nantes again was the fact that among the many very talented quiltmakers exhibiting this year were Di Ford and Petra Prins, both of whom have new and very lovely second books out, published by Quiltmania. I have of course bought both, and the photographs in the books are very good, but the chance to see the actual quilts and to study the fabrics was too good to miss.

First of all, here are some of Di Ford's quilts - and I make no apology for including many close ups: her skill and accuracy and the detail she achieves through clever use of parts of the fabric are superb. Di is particularly known for her wonderful applique and broderie perse as well as English paper piecing and traditional piecing. I have focused on her slightly simpler quilts here, because those are the only ones I might ever have a chance of emulating, and I have included many details so I can remember the amazing way she chooses and uses fabric.

The extraordinary custom longarm quilting is done for Di by Helen Hayes and is a work of art in itself.

A special characteristic of this show is that the quilts are beautifully displayed in room sets.

The richness of the fabrics in this quilt (above and below) make it well-named Silk Road, but look at the fantastic effect achieved by clever cutting and mitring of the serpentine striped fabric.  Di's book is titled Primarily Quilts...2: It's all about the fabric and I spent ages just feasting on every detailIf you ever get a chance to see these quilts I would urge you to go, there is so much to learn from such a master of her art/craft.

I adore these little pentagon paper pieced flowers, so different to the more usual hexagon flowers used in the next 'border' of the quilt, and the fantastic effects achieved by fussy cutting the fabric. 

There is a further applique border on the outside of this quilt which you cannot see in my photos as the quilt was displayed on a bed, but it was also quite astonishing. There are full instructions on this and all the other quilts in the book, should you have the time and skill to attempt one or more of them!

Next are the quilts from Petra Prins & An Moonen's book. Promenade in a Dutch Castle, which is full of interesting historical background and lovely photographs. Many of the quilts are reproductions of actual Dutch quilts from the first half of the 19th century.  

Lots of lovely traditional piecing of triangles and other shapes here, as well as EPP and applique, and the use of many, many fabrics, which always lifts my spirits.

We are so fortunate nowadays to have access to such fabulous reproduction fabrics, and these scrappy quilts are a brilliant excuse to use all of them!


And here are some quilts which Petra had displayed on her stall - I especially love the one with all the triangles... That's all for today, much more to come in Part 2 soon.  I'm off to bed to dream of quilts.

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