New category for complete beginners at The Festival of Quilts   


The Festival of Quilts and The Quilters’ Guild are opening up their annual competition to first-time quilters with a brand new Complete Beginners category. 

The new-for-2021 category, sponsored by Sewing Street, is designed for people with less than a year’s sewing experience. Entrants must have no prior exhibition experience and no formal qualifications in textiles or a related subject. The winner will scoop a £1,000 cash prize.  

Thank you for Stitching, Sandra Newton, winner of the Miniature Quilts category at FOQ 2020.

Other Festival of Quilts competition developments for 2021 include two new overlay awards. The Excellence in Machine Quilting award (sponsored by Brother) celebrates the talents of machine quilters working on a static, domestic sewing machine. The Superior Threads Thread Mastery Award recognises mastery in the choice and use of thread. Any technique can be used and can be stitched by hand, machine or both, but thread must play a starring role. Artist statements must include details of the thread, techniques and, where relevant, type of machine used. These new awards follow the introduction in 2019 of the Excellence in Hand Quilting award (sponsored by Aurifil) which recognises exceptional hand quilting skills, and the Excellence in Longarm Quilting award (sponsored by The Grace Company) which rewards quilters creating stunning work using a specialist longarm quilting machine. Quilts entered in any Festival of Quilts competition category are eligible for one of the four overlay awards, excluding category winners. Each award comes with a £500 prize.   

Bushfire Aftermath, Jean Maclean, winner of the Art Quilts category at FOQ 2020.

The Festival of Quilts competition is designed to promote and encourage all aspects of patchwork, quilting and appliqué, with every entry displayed for public view. There are 17 competition categories covering a wide range of quilting styles and for individual quilters, groups and schoolchildren. The theme for this year’s The Quilters’ Guild Challenge, sponsored by Bernina UK, is the fitting ‘Coming Together’. The theme for Young Quilters/ Schools is ‘The world we live in’. 

Rethinking our world, Bethan Pollard, winner of the Young Quilter age 10-13 category at FOQ 2020.

With £35,000 in prize money to be claimed, competition winners will be celebrated at an Awards Ceremony on Thursday 29 July at 12.30pm in The Festival Theatre. One outstanding Festival competition quilt will be crowned Handi Quilter Best in Show by the judging panel, with a new bumper prize of £3,500 awarded to its talented maker.  

“The Festival of Quilts competition is a spectacular sight every year but this year, of all years, promises to be a riot of colour. I imagine we will see themes of remembrance, community and hope as many makers will have taken comfort from their quilting during the challenges of the pandemic and lockdowns.” 

Anna Baptiste, Event Director for The Festival of Quilts

Desire 1, Linda Blust, winner of the Quilt Creations category at FOQ 2020.

Entry forms, category criteria and competition information can be found on the Quilt Competition pages of The Festival of Quilts website. Entry forms will go live later this month and submissions close on Friday 4 June.    

Anjalè, Chitra Mandanna, winner of the Visitors Choice Award at FOQ 2020.

Tickets for The Festival of Quilts 2021 go on sale to members of the Quilters Guild on 10 May, and to the general public on 17 May at The Festival of Quilts website. Advance adult tickets are £17, concessions are £15 and there are Bronze (£46), Silver (£89) and Gold (£99) one-day VIP packages. Booking fees apply to all transactions – £2.50 for e-tickets and £2.80 for postal tickets. Children under 18 go free if accompanied by an adult. Tickets must be purchased in advance of The Festival as there will be no box office ticket sales on site. In the event of pandemic-related cancellation, ticket holders will be offered the choice to transfer their booking to 2022 or receive a refund. Transaction fees will be retained. 

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