Beyond The Festival of Quilts

Beyond the festival of quilts logo

I’d hoped that 2020 would be the first year I’d attend The Festival of Quilts, billed as Europe’s premier Quilt show and held annually at the Birmingham NEC. Unfortunately, like all these kind of things that have been cancelled and postponed now, that’s just not possible. Fortunately, they’re running a virtual version of the festival instead.

Called Beyond The Festival of Quilts, over 4 days between 30th July and 2nd August 2020 there’s a whole host of virtual workshops and masterclasses as well as galleries and a shopping hub to have a nose around.

I haven’t booked any of the masterclasses, although they seem to be fairly reasonably priced at £15 each. None of the subjects particularly interested me, although I do find Jennie Rayment an entertaining font of knowledge when it comes to quilting, so may yet book her class (although poss a tad advanced!).

Jennie Rayment Masterclass at Beyond The Festival of Quilts
Jenny Rayment’s class at Beyond The Festival Of Quilts

I’m planning to pop along for some of the lectures and workshops if they’re not booked up and keen to see Stuart Hillard present the winners of the virtual quilt competition that was being run by The Festival of Quilts this year. I believe the ceremony takes place at 12pm on Tuesday 30th July.

Stuart Hillard to present the winner of the Virtual Quilt competition
Stuart Hillard to present the winner of the Virtual Quilt competition

I’m looking forward to seeing the winning entries and having a look around the dynamic galleries too.

The Festival Of Quilts Galleries
The Festival Of Quilts Galleries

It wont be the same as being there in person, and my husband and children are naturally gutted not to be dragged around there, but I’ll take it is a good second given all that’s going on right now and will be sure to make the pilgrimage in 2021.

The Craftsy Brand is Back!

The Crafty Brand is to Return

Subscribers have received an email notification from CEO of TN Marketing, Cal Franklin, confirming that the Bluprint brand will be changed back to Craftsy. Whether or not they’ll revert back to the same logo, we’ll have to wait and see.

In a positive move that shows they are already listing to subscribers and their community, the site will relaunch of 1st September under it’s original brand name and include not only the features from Bluprint, but also new content such as live events and hobby related travel programmes.

As previously confirmed, all subscription services, course materials, and individually purchased classes will continue through the Bluprint until the transition to the new website is made.

From 1st September there will be the ability to once again purchase individual classes and subscriptions on the new Craftsy website.

Bluprint have updated their FAQs page at this time too – Bluprint FAQS

I’ll be watching out for further announcements and there are set to be special events happening on the launch date.

Welcome back Craftsy – It’s a big thumbs up and yay from me!

Virtual Log Cabin Quilt

#virtuallogcabin

Whilst watching The Creative Craft Show Live on Facebook last weekend (see the post), I viewed a conversation with textile artist Dionne Swift. During the interview, Dionne mentioned a collaborative project she’d conceived earlier during lockdown to create a virtual log cabin quilt in order to foster a sense of community amongst quilters/crafters during this very strange and unnerving time for many.

Virtual Log Cabin Quilt page from Dionne's website
Virtual Log Cabin Quilt page from Dionne’s website

Along with her friends at The African Fabric Shop and with the help of a design by Janice Gunner (former President of The Quilters Guild of the British Isles), Dionne’s aim is to curate a huge log cabin quilt built by individual blocks uploaded by anyone who wants to get involved, the idea being the the small parts will create a big, beautiful whole. This I had to get involved with!

Janice’s instructions were easy to follow, and essentially required you to make a standard log cabin block measuring 8 inches/20cm with a yellow square at the centre measuring 2 1/2 inches/5cm to symbolise hope and light at the end of the tunnel.

Foundation fabric for log cabin block
Foundation fabric for log cabin block

The construction was using a foundation piece of fabric which I hadn’t encountered before and I must confess that my finished block before trimming was somewhat wonky on this fabric!

Indian Summer fat quarter bundle by Boundless Fabrics
Indian Summer fat quarter bundle by Boundless Fabrics

For the log cabin strips themselves, I decided to use some fat quarters from my stash all from the same collection – Indian Summer by Boundless Fabrics (a bargain bundle I managed to acquire when Bluprint were selling off their stock a little while back).

Fabric strips cut for the log cabin block
Fabric strips cut for the log cabin block

After all the pieces per the instructions were cut, it was time to start assembling them to the foundation square. Once completed, I trimmed down the block to the size required.

Completed log cabin block
Completed log cabin block

I then needed to take a perfectly square photo of the block that could be uploaded on Dionne’s website. As well as the photo of the block, the uploading process invited you to make a comment about the block you’d created so I wrote something along the lines of this being sunset fabrics and that I hoped the sun would soon set on the pandemic.

Final uploaded log cabin block
Final uploaded log cabin block

This was a quick little project that was fun to get involved with and I’m fascinated to see how far it goes. Dionne has stated that she’s keen for participants to send in their physical blocks at some point in the future, with a view I suppose to creating the actual quilt. It would be wonderful if this ends up being the case and the finished quilt be then either auctioned for charity or exhibited – exciting!

Excerpt from the Virtual Log Cabin Quilt
Excerpt from the Virtual Log Cabin Quilt

This is just a section of the quilt. My block features here on the bottom row, 3rd in from the left. It’s also worth searching for the Instagram hashtag #virtuallogcabin to see what people have created.

At the time of writing, there are hundreds of blocks! It definitely lifts your spirits to see it taking form.

The Quilting Spot Facebook Page is now Live!

The Facebook page for The Quilting spot is now up and running. I’m only slightly more up on using Facebook than I am WordPress, but I’m aiming to post regularly.

Please visit to keep up to date with what’s grabbing my attention and as well as project progress updates.

Pop by now and don’t forget to like my page!

https://www.facebook.com/thequiltingspot/

The Creative Craft Show Live

Logo for the creative craft show live as title of post

The weekend of 4th and 5th July 2020 saw the first Creative Craft Show Live aired via Facebook. Like many craft shows at this time, this event which is usually held in April in London (as well as other cities at different times of the year) was changed to a virtual version in order to try and bring at least some of what we all love about craft shows to us in the safety of our own homes.

Picture of Lynette Jasper
Lynette Jasper
Picture of Debbie Shore
Debbie Shore

The show was presented on Saturday by Lynette Jasper of Pretty Gets Gritty and by sewing legend Debbie Shore on the Sunday. Each day had a packed schedule of demonstrations as you can see…

Creative Craft Show Live schedule Saturday 4th July 2020
Creative Craft Show Live schedule Sunday 5th July 2020

As this was hosted via Facebook Live, but with prerecorded video demonstrations, the artists and makers were available in the live chat to put questions to there and then. I thought this gave the event a real interactive feel and was a nice touch.

In particular, I was really fascinated by Tracey Spurgin’s silver clay demonstration (www.craftworx.co.uk) as it was a craft that I’d never seen before. Whilst this was obviously also a platform for the demonstrators to sell their products, classes etc., none that I saw did so intrusively. I also really enjoyed Kirsten Burke’s modern calligraphy demonstration (www.themoderncalligraphyco.com), to the point that after it had finished, I went ahead and purchased her beginners kit that she was offering at a special ‘show’ price! I’d always wanted to give this ago and can’t wait to get started with it.

Silver clay necklace with purple stone
Silver clay jewellery piece
Kirsten Burke of The Modern Calligraphy Co
Kirsten Burke of The Modern Calligraphy Co

Whilst this experience was of course nothing like attending the real thing, it was an enjoyable diversion. I expect to see more and more similar events to this before we can fully return to the shows in person.

UPDATE: A second Creative Crafting Show Live is now scheduled for the beginning of September 2020! 🙂

The Potential of Quilting Workshops via Zoom

Recently, I randomly came across a local live quilting event on Eventbrite hosted by The Southern Maltings, a community space in Hertfordshire dedicated to making creative experiences and activities available to all.

Titled ‘A Beginners Guide To Patchwork’, it caught my attention and as it was due to stream live within in a couple of hours, I contacted the organiser directly to see if I could join and she managed to squeeze me in.

Fiona, the host and a chairperson at The Southern Maltings, has been instrumental in creating a programme during lockdown called The July Festival where people are able to attend a huge variety of art and craft classes and talks via zoom – for free. More details are available on their facebook page.

The class itself took the form of a sew along and you were able to gather the materials and tools listed before it started. In this case, some scrap strips of fabric, paper, ruler, pencil and sewing machine/needle and thread.

It turned out that the small block being created was foundation paper pieced. Not something I’d tried before, but am now keen to spend a bit more time learning about. Fiona took us all through the steps and those joining were able to ask questions, show progress etc. As with all Zoom calls, you had the option to be involved as much or as little as you wanted with video and audio settings. The workshop lasted about an hour, was really accessible and I thoroughly enjoyed this as a way of attending a class.

The whole thing got me thinking about the way lockdown and the surge in use of Zoom and other VC platforms have changed the way we join with others for our hobbies. Quilters always like to come together in person, be it at classes, workshops or their local guild, so recent times have naturally resulted in them taking to Zoom to best replicate these gatherings.

As it happens, when I came across this event, I’d been looking at the virtual workshops that are being made available as part if this years’ upcoming online version of The Festival Of Quilts – Beyond The Festival Of Quilts. More about that on a different post!

Whilst we can’t meet in person at shows at the moment, we can still sew along and get inspired by other crafters and artists via these online classes and workshops. It’s good for those of us attending – still involved, still learning, still part of the crafting community. It’s great for those giving the classes – promoting their business, product or increased awareness of their non-profit organisation.

What would have been an otherwise micro local event (and there were only 37 participants online) has the potential to go global with people from all over the world being able to access via Zoom. I just don’t think these events would have happened without the pandemic and lockdown (at least not at the scale and volume they have been).

What will be interesting to see is if they continue after we can go back to classes and shows as another way of enjoying our hobbies. I’m sure for those less able to attend in person due to health or proximity, they’d be hugely welcomed. How great it would be to attend a show that was hundreds of miles away or even in another country?! I’m already thinking of the virtual Quilt Con in 2021 here. It will be brilliant to attend in some form when there is little chance of dragging my family all the way to America for the sake of quilting!

Bluprint (Craftsy) Saved?!

Well, for fans of the online craft education platform Bluprint (formally Craftsy), today’s announcement that TN Marketing have acquired ‘certain assts’ of the ailing business will come as very welcome news indeed.

Having signed up for the annual subscription (albeit at a discounted rate), only to be told soon after that it was the end of Bluprint was disappointing to say the least. Probably not as much however as for those subscribers who have purchased 100s of classes over the last decade (and there’s plenty of them out there!).

The home page on Bluprint has been updated with the latest communication from the CEOs of both companies confirming that all access to subscription services and individually purchased classes, course materials and patterns will continue. Hooray!

Read in full here:

https://www.mybluprint.com

A quick look at the TN Marketing website indicates that they seem to be in the same field, although are perhaps a smaller outfit. I feel it’s definitely a positive move – they may even change the name back to Craftsy like so many fans wish!

I’m just thrilled to be able to continue watching Angela Walters’ True Up series whilst quilting and there’s no excuse not to try out the beginners EPP (English Paper Piecing) course now!

I’ll be sure to post any further updates….