Last weekend I went up to Harrogate to the Quilters Guild AGM.We have often stopped in Harrogate for a couple of hours on our way home from visiting relatives in Scotland. It is a lovely town and my husband has always said he'd like more time there to explore it further. So when all the details for the AGM came out in the autumn last year we decided to go. I wasn't quick enough to get a place on any of the workshops, but there were plenty of lectures, a roomful of traders, coach trips to the Quilt Museum in York and the RHS Gardens in Harlow Carr so plenty to keep you occupied.The conference started at 9am on the Friday in the International Centre right in the centre of Harrogate and was within walking distance of a lot of thehotels.We stayed in the Travelodge and because I booked in October last year the room for the three nights was £96
On arrival we were greeted by members of Region 14, Yorkshire, who were hosting the event and given a fat quarter lollipop each. These members were easily identifiable in their white tops, waistcoats, red sashes and very colourful flat caps. The weekend was officially opened by the President and so the fun began. There was a coffee session for any first timers and those who were there on their own. I went along and met some lovely ladies. Later that day I listened to a talk by Susan Briscoe on the 1718 silk coverlet, the oldest known piece of patchwork in this country. It is so fragile and faded that last year members of the Guild were asked to make up blocks and a replica of the coverlet has been put together which is on show in the museum. Susan has written a book giving details of how to make all the blocks and now there are ladies all over the world making their own version of the original quilt. To finish off she showed some photos of some of them and they were quite stunning. Then I listened to Gillian Travis talking about her travels around the world and showing us the quilts that these travels had inspired. A lady called Carolyn Gibbs then talked about How to have Success with Stripes. She uses stripes in all her quilts and they are all absolutely perfect but a lot of planning and very careful cutting out is the key and I decided I just don't have the time or the patience so any striped fabric that I use in my quilts will continue to be wonky!! I went home about 3.30pm but went back for the evening lecture at 8pm by Phillipa Naylor. She is a brilliant speaker and her work is fantastic. These days she only produces one quilt a year but she is an absolute perfectionist and puts so much into her work. On Saturday morning the AGM started at 9am and I have to say I even enjoyed that. It was very professionally run and the Question and Answer sessions were really interesting. The big question at the moment is where the Guild is going to move to. The museum will ,sadly, be closing in November and the Board are looking for alternative accommodation. In the afternoon I sat in on a talk given by Angela Madden on her History of a Quilter. She does a lot of Celtic designs in her work and had lots of small samples which she sent round for the audience to have a look at. Another talk by Gillian Travis followed about her trip to India which was funded by the Guild's Bursary. She visited makers of the traditional wooden print blocks and made some of her own. She had a wonderful collection of Indian quilts all brightly coloured and so "me", I loved looking at them all and took a few photos for inspiration!
That evening there was the Gala Dinner, a bit expensive, but very well organised and the meal was good. The after dinner speakers were two ladies who'd met in America, they both do only hand stitching and now do commissions for one of the Denver Museums. Neither of them had had any formal training in either Art or Textiles, hence their talk was entitled "Do we need to pass tests to be Artists?
Sunday morning I listened to Angie Hughes talk Inspiration on your doorstep. For those of you who don't know Angie is from Ledbury and is mainly an embroiderer. It was good to see the hills and all the local images she was using for her inspirations.
The last speaker, and I think the best was Stuart Hillard (pictured) of the Great British Sewing Bee fame. He is a very natural, very funny speaker and he had the audience in tears with his tales about his early life and his appearance on the Sewing Bee programme. He bought along some of his own quilts to show us. It was a brilliant end to the weekend. I did really enjoy the weekend. I sat and chatted to lovely, like-minded ladies, it wasn't at all difficult going on your own as people just talked to you all the time. I spent a few pennies at the traders' stalls, and there were some really good games to have a go at. The Guild had members of all the Individual Groups there ie Contemporary, Miniature, Traditional, Modern and British Quilt Study Group. There were also quite a few Quilt displays to have a look at too. Something for everyone! Next year the AGM is going to be in Llandudno at a venue right on the seafront. Perhaps I'll see you there?