I still haven't got my thoughts together so I'm hoping that trying to write things down will help.
I had two and a half days at the NEC this year and that was about right - time enough to see what I wanted without becoming brain dead!
Of the competition quilts there were several that I really liked but none that jumped out and said take me home, though the work of Hilary Beattie was particularly appealing. I was very taken with Stephanie Redferns' Stone Birds book and Gillian Travis' 'dollies' as she refers to these fabulous costumed figures. It's a shame that they weren't as well displayed as she shows them on her blog. Amongst the miniature quilts were a triptych by Jenny Rolfe and a piece by Mai-Britt Axelson that appealed.
However it was, as always, the galleries that made my visit worthwhile - Jette Clover's recent monochromatic pieces were good and there were points of interest particularly in the galleries of Barbara Weeks, The Danish Patchwork Association, the Tentmakers of Cairo, Jennifer Hollingdale, Janet Bolton, Padmaja Krishnan and Texui.
I attended two events which were both very enjoyable. I did a half-day workshop based on Seedheads with Jenny Rolfe:
Jenny was a wonderful tutor - her instructions were clear and the workshop was designed so that we could take home, at least, one completed piece. She was very generous with both her materials and her time and her quiet enthusiasm was infectious. The only problem I had was coming face to face with a Bernina for the first time, so changing the thread was not something I did too often. It also made me realise how much I like the larger foot peddle with my Pfaff!
I also attended a lecture by Fiona Wilson the Embroiderers' Guild Scholar 2010 who talked about her journey into textiles including life as a mature student, though there is mature and mature! I had seen and been moved by Fiona's work last year and found her lecture both informative and inspiring.
Another 2010 Graduate - Nina Davis (Quilter's Guild award and bursary for Student Graduate) was exhibiting and I loved her work with paper and textiles.
But probably the most invigorating element of FOQ is meeting friends both old and new and the smiles on peoples faces - absolutely wonderful!