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The Great Northern Quilt Show (Harrogate, England)

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Spectacular displays of hundreds of quilts from miniature to king size. Entries invited from all over the world including feature displays. Quilting and Needlework suppliers stands - Shop with all the quality exhibitors offering you the latest in quilting supplies. Meeting the experts. Skilled professionals will be on hand to "Show You How". Check in at one of the many workshops and try something new!

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      05.09.2006 23:36
      Very helpful



      A fantastic day out for any quilting enthusiast!

      *****The Great Northern Quilt Show, Harrogate*****

      On Saturday last week I got up very early in the morning (well, 6.30 is like the middle of the night for me!!), and got on a big yellow coach and travelled to Harrogate to visit the annual quilt show. I’ve been going for a few years now, and enjoy it so very much that I thought I would write about it here. It’s my once-a-year injection of inspiration, as I’m a big fan of making patchwork quilts, and what I see at this show gives me enough ideas and inspiration to last all year, till the next show!


      *****So what is it?*****

      The GNQS is an open competitive quilt show where anyone who has ever made a quilt can enter their quilt for judging (rates apply, details later), and where people from all over the country and sometimes the world gather to share ideas, talk with like-minded people, buy up quilting supplies and generally enthuse about all manner of quilting and needlecraft topics. Quilts are exhibited, workshops attended, and there are stalls selling everything you could need and more, from fabric (we all love our fat-quarters!) to needles and light boxes and patterns. It’s a positive Aladdin’s cave and most of us wish we could just set up camp there and stay forever!


      *****Getting There*****

      We hired a coach, but you could just as easily drive, there is ample free parking at the show ground, and lots of places to stay in Harrogate if you want to make it an overnighter. We arrived at about 11am, and left at 4pm, and had plenty of time to visit stalls, examine the exhibits, eat lunch, drink coffee and generally mooch.


      *****The Venue*****

      The GNQS is held every year at the Great Yorkshire Showground, which is just as you come into Harrogate (if you’re driving in from the North). It is very clearly signposted, so you can’t get lost.

      The showground has very good facilities, including wide aisles and ramps for people who use wheelchairs or walking aides, and very nice toilets which are cleaned regularly throughout the day, are bright and very nicely decorated.

      There is a lovely resteraunt, for hot and cold meals and snacks, hot drinks and ice creams, as well as a lot of seating areas dotted about if you need to have a sit down and rest your weary legs, or if you just want to sit and ponder on a quilt or idea.

      Food was slightly pricey – main meals costing in the region of £7-£10 for main course only. We brought a packed lunch, but had elevenses when we got there – a tea, a coffee and 1 scone with butter and jam came to nearly £5.00. I would advise you bring your own food, especially if the weather is nice!

      The hall itself is roomy and airy and very pleasant to be in. Outside there are some lovely gardens, and plenty of areas for picnics, with tables and seating, and there are some lovely views over the valley and the viaduct.


      *****The Show*****

      There are, in my opinion, three main parts to the show. There are the quilt exhibitions, the stalls, and the workshops.

      The quilt exhibitions are displayed on rows of zigzagged boards aprox. 7-8 foot high, with wide walkways between them, and chairs placed down the centre of the aisles for the purposes of contemplation, observation and resting!

      There are small boxes hanging from the boards containing latex gloves, so that if you want to handle any of the quilts, you can do so without damaging them.

      Each quilt has a label detailing the person who made it, and where they are from, the name of the quilts, materials used, and what inspired them to make it. This is always very interesting to read, finding out why people used a certain colour, stitch or pattern. We spend almost as much time reading these as looking at the quilts themselves, as you get a real idea of the person behind the quilt, and it’s very insightful.

      The stalls are a big hit with me. I spend all year saving my pennies so I have money to take with me to purchase Lovely and Interesting Items.

      This year I bought some more fat quarters for my stash in beautiful autumnal colours – I plan to made a king-sized crazy-quilt for ME (normally I make quilts for Other People, like my new nephew, my niece, her mum, my mum, my brother’s girlfriend, my friend’s new baby, etc) and when I have enough fabric I am going to treat myself to a natural fibre wadding pre-cut to the right size and I’m going to be cosy-warm all winter long!

      The stalls are mostly fabric, patterns, sundries (like needles, light boxes etc), wadding, sewing machines etc, and the stall holders are really friendly and always ready to give advice. There’s a real community spirit too – many of the stall holders have been coming for years and know each other really well, so you’ll find that if one stall can’t get you what you need, they’ll tell you which one can. Sometimes they will even take your address details and post things to you if they are out of stock, or have what you need but not with them on the day.

      My advice is take a set amount and leave your cards at home, as it’s VERY easy to spend a very LARGE amount of dosh here!

      The workshops are something I have not yet been involved in, but there are lots of variety, everything from beginner’s taster sessions, to workshops for more experienced craftspeople. This is probably something I will look into in the future. Charges apply to these, but they can be as little as £5.00 and the materials you’ll need are included in the price of the session, which I think is great.


      *****The Experience*****

      All in all, I have to say this is one of my favourite days of the year. It is THE place for inspiration, and seeing quilts which more often than not have ultimate WOW factor gives such an invaluable visual resource to carry through the year. I often find myself thinking about quilts I have seen in September in May, and being inspired by them all the way till the next show. For anyone who loves quilts, embroidery, or any sort of craftiness in general, this is a brilliant day out.



      We paid £10.00 for our coach, and £6.00 for our ticket. This was discounted because we pre-booked. Prices for 2007 are:

      £7.00 Adults, £6.00 Senior Citizens, £2.00 Children (8-16)

      (Avail till late Aug)
      £6.00 Adults, £5.00 Senior Citizens, £1.00 Children (8-16)

      Show dates: Friday 7th to Sunday 9th September
      Opening times: 10.00am – 5.00pm (Close 4.30pm on Sunday)

      Information line – 01775 722900

      Email – emma.cooling@btconnect.com

      Parking is free at the ground.


      *****More details*****

      For more details go to:



      *****My Overall Opinion*****

      I love this show, I can’t fault it and really really enjoy my time at it every year without fail. I can truly recommend it to anyone who is interested in quilting.


      Thank you so much for reading, I have enjoyed writing about this! Kate x


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