Festival of Quilts 2017: 8 quilt trends you have to try!

Festival of Quilts trends Anna Galvin

Did you make it to this summer’s Festival of Quilts here in the UK? We were lucky enough to spend a few days at the show (the quilts! the fabrics! our extended quilting family!), but if you couldn’t make it then check out our round-up of some of our highlights of the emerging quilt trends to watch out for…

1 ’80s neon pop

With Netflix bringing this trend to our screens with their hit show GLOW, it was one of our favourite looks at the 2017 Festival. Some of the most eye-catching quilts we saw were playing around with it too. Think large areas of black with a pop of neon or rubix cubes and you’re picturing what we’re talking about! It’s one for the braver of us as it creates quite bold looks, but if you want a quilt that stands out from the pack, this is the one for you.

See it in action:

Eighties style quilts from Festival of Quilts

Clockwise from top left: 1. Jo Avery ‘Almost Black’ with it’s string of neon lights, appliquéd across a low-contrast pieced background. 2.Alison Platt’s ‘String Theory’ quilt – inspired by 1970s spirographs  3. Helen Butcher’s ‘Delta Diamonds’ combines Foundation Paper Piecing with Art Deco design inspo 4. Anna Galvin’s ‘Broken Records’, designed for The Modern Quilter’s Box, gives traditional Drunkard’s Path blocks a new twist to create the effect of broken LPQ vinyl records.

2 Quilt it curvy

Wave if you’re stuck in a quilting rut! Like to play it safe and quilt in straight lines? If there’s one look that any of us can try that’s so so much easier than you might think, it’s using free motion stitching to create curved quilting. We saw some wonderful examples at the 2017 Festival of Quilts and it’s a simple way to add movement and interest to your quilt tops, adding an extra slice of detail when you’re piecing with on-trend solids and muted shades…

See it in action:

91 Judith Lynch modern quilts winner

Judith Lynch ‘Sticks and Stones’ – winner of the Modern Quilts competition at this year’s Festival, with its mix of improvised piecing and free motion quilting.

Best of Quilt on Julia Williams

You could barely drag us away from The Modern Quilt Guild‘s ‘Best of Quilt Con‘ exhibition. Julia Williams ‘Westshire‘ was one of the (many) reasons we stayed so long to admire all the amazing designs.

3 Totally tribal

With its Aztec-inspired prints and earthy shades, this trend has seen offshoots in the form of feather prints and dream catchers on the high street. It’s a match made in heaven when it comes to using triangle units and blocks on your quilt tops…

See it in action:

Marianne Ten Kate

Marianne Ten Kate’s ‘Fanfare for Molly’ quilt uses minimal straight line quilting and was inspired by 1970s quilt artist Molly Upton.



4 Pixel perfection

Oh how we love a bit of pixel piecing with solids standing out against low volume backdrops. Let your tones do the talking by creating pixelated effects from simple pieced squares, evoking the look of pixelated photos and 8-bit-retro-gaming. The finished look may be understated but what it lacks in fussiness, it makes up for in impact. Sew the trend with Sarah Ashford’s unicorn quilt in issue 49.

See it in action:

82 Sheena Stone Spring LIght detail

‘Spring Light‘ by Sheena Stone mixes the pixel look with another of this year’s hottest looks – luscious green and cool hues – she based this quilt on a pixelated photo and natural light.

115 Sarah Ashfrod Hello Kitty quilt

Sarah Ashford’s ‘Hello Kitty‘ quilt takes the pixel trend and gives it a splash of Japanese Kawaii and childhood nostalgia.

5 Go green!

If Love Patchwork & Quilting issued an annual colour award, it would have to go the rich, cool greens that have are dominating the quiltiverse this year! So many of our fave pieces in the quilting galleries at this year’s Festival were filled with bold and luscious greens and cucumber cool mints…

See it in action:

Nicola Howard Hobbs ‘The Big Bang’ quilt: We picked it for the colours and pattern but we love its awesome back story too: Nicola was inspired by her daughter’s love of science and tech when she made it.

6. Solids, solids and more solids

Um yes, you may have gathered from our recent issues that we’re just a bit obsessed with solid fabrics, especially when you set them against crisp white backdrops to create super-sized geometric effects. This is a trend we can see running into 2018 and beyond…

See it in action:

Close up of Paula Steel’s ‘Barn for Burst‘ quilt: pattern based on Paula’s interpretation of barn quilt paintings.

7. Mid-century Modern

Retro prints, bold shapes, rich muted tones and understated drama! Mid-century styles will be hot stuff in homewares in stores this Winter and they bring a classic touch to this collection of 2017 quilt trends.

See it in action:

132 Jennifer Ladbroke division quilt

Jennifer Ladbroke’s ‘Division’ quilt is rooted in the political – she uses circular piecing and the classic colour combo  of mustard and grey to create Mid-Century magic.

Katie Larson’s ‘Whatever’ quilt from the The Modern Quilt Guild’s ‘Best of Quilt Con‘ exhibit. We love Katie’s inspo for this on – to not get caught up in self doubt but just focus on making a quilt solely for the purpose of making. So often when we make something we’re thinking of someone we’re making for – this sounds liberating!

8. Interstellar sewing

Cosmic design motifs first emerged on the modern design scene alongside the return of nineties motifs, bringing with them a burst of star constellations and sun and moon themes.. They’re set to be a hot look in fabrics and quilt tops this Fall/Winter too. We’ve been coveting Lewis & Irene’s To the Moon and Back constellations fabric for months now!

See it in action:

412 Lisa Naylor Trudi Wood

Lisa Naylor and Trudi Wood’s ‘Space Dust‘ quilt takes a Tula Pink foundation paper piecing pattern and Cotton & Steel basics to create real depth from triangular piecing (combined wth ombre starry backdrop)