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I am a quilter living in Woodbridge, Suffolk who has made quilts since I was a teenager. I also ring bells! Both are great British traditions....I will try to feature some of my antique Welsh and Durham quilts, the quilts I make myself, my quilting activities and also some of my bellringing achievements. Plus as many photos as I can manage. NB: Double click on the photos to see greater detail, then use back button to return to the main page.

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Trip to Nadelwelt, Karlsruhe, Germany June 8-13 2016

 Last year, I was invited, via a German Facebook friend, to exhibit some of my quilts at Nadelwelt, a quilt and craft show held every year in Karlsruhe, SW Germany. The original idea was to show some Welsh quilts - but they are very heavy to transport! The organiser was much more interested in my Hawaiian quilts, which are very striking and perhaps rather different to other quilts seen on the Continent. So, during the intervening months, I emailed various information over, and even signed a contract. I didn't really know what to expect...

I booked a budget hotel on the advice of friend Andrea - and booked parking at Stansted and air tickets to the nearest airport, Baden Baden. I planned to carry the quilts with me on the airplane rather than ship them - and managed to carry on three quilts and pack the other five into a large suitcase.

The big day finally arrived - how glad I was to see the suitcase with the quilts appear on the carousel at Baden. As is usually the case with these cheap airflights, Baden was quite a distance from Karlsruhe, about 25 miles. There didn't seem to be another direct bus for quite some time, and as I didn't fancy struggling with two suitcases on two buses or trams, I opted to take a taxi.

No problem finding the hotel then! As I checked in, Andrea Strache and Birgit Shueller did too, which was fortunate. We were able to go out together for a meal in Karlsruhe together. Both speak excellent English, in fact I was struck by Birgit's extensive vocabulary! It turned out that in a former life she had been a translator - however, she is now a very well known long-arm quilter. Both were there to exhibit the quilts that had gone from Germany to the World Quilt Competition in the US.

The next morning, off we went to the new Karlsruhe Messe, or Exhibition Hall. It is some way out of town, and I was glad to be given a lift by Birgit in her car. The roads were crazy! I'm sure that there would be multiple pile ups if these roads were in the UK.....

I had pre-ordered measured battens for the quilts to hang on and these were ready. But, the hanging system was different than in the UK, as the battens were attached to hooks and monolfilment....the quilts hung against white display boards....

My display area was well lit and right next to the glass quadrangle, thus the quilts could be seen from many parts of the hall. It took several hours to hang all the quilts by myself, climbing up onto two chairs. Once I got the hang of it, it wasn't too bad. And the quilts did look very striking once they were up! An adhesive sign was pasted up...The sun was at full strength now and the hall acted as a greenhouse, becoming very warm! I was rather flushed by this time...

Looking into my area....I was very proud of the way that the quilts looked...very striking...

I had brought a part finished quilt, Lei Momi or String of Pearls. I had planned to enter it into FOQ this summer, but the quilting was still "in progress". This quilt aroused a lot of interest as you could see how it was constructed. Also, so as not to become bored if things got too quiet, I had brought my current applique top to work on. I ended up by demonstrating needle turn applique for most of the time on  Friday, Saturday and Sunday - again, attracting a lot of interest.

Nearly all of the German quilts on display were what I would call Art, Contemporary or Modern quilts, so most people were rather bemused by these Hawaiian quilts which were all hand applique and hand quilted. The most common question was how long did they take to make? and my answer was, one year to applique and one year to quilt, only doing a bit most evenings, so about two years....

Not my photo but Birgit's, showing the exhibition area from the mezzanine. Of course there were workshops being held, and there was a very large vendors' area. But no quilt competition, the explanation given was that there are no quilt judges in Germany...

Andrea Strache and Birgit Shueller on Sunday, prior to packing the World Competition quilts away...

I was able to share a taxi to the airport with Alicia Merrett on Monday, and was able to compare notes. Alicia of course is a much more seasoned traveller than I and had been in constant communication with the organisers. She was teaching, which I would have found rather stressful, even with a translator.

Final thoughts - I was so proud of the quilts and how well they looked together.  I did enjoy this experience and enjoyed talking to quilters from a variety of countries. What would I take away? That it was a bit of a learning curve for me - if I were to do this again, I would have to communicate much more closely with the organisers. I had assumed that things would be much as they were in the UK, and was a bit caught out by the differences. Better communication on my part would have made me better prepared. Also, I did not get much help from the organisers, but this was perhaps because I did not ask for any help. I found out that Quilt Angels were available had I but known it.

Finally, thank goodness for Facebook. Birgit and Andrea helped out immensely, by transporting me to and from the Exhibition Hall each day. I enjoyed our evening meals together. It would have been rather lonely without them!

Here are links to two other blogs which have further photos of the quilts at Karlsruhe, and also my Hawaiian quilts:


Petra at Not all is Grey:


  1. These look fantastic! I follow a few Germans on Instagram and their quilt style is different than what I'm used too.

  2. Thanks for sharing your trip with us. Your quilts look lovely hanging all together.

  3. Sorry, but I am just catching up with your posts. Your Hawaiian quilts look stunning, it would have been so good to see them exhibited there.