What is Chilcompton famous for? Or maybe you’re wondering, where, or what on earth, is Chilcompton. UK resident or not, you might be forgiven for not having heard of this small village, tucked away in the middle of nowhere in Somerset. If you’re not from the area, the nearest recognisable city is probably Bath, but even that is a 45 minute drive away, which in UK units is quite a long way. So what is it that draws so many people, even internationally, to this quaint piece of rural England?
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Lowell is a city to the north west of Boston which birthed the American Industrial Revolution. As you walk around, you can still see the mills and textile factories that housed the first ‘power looms’ in America that automated large parts of the weaving process and manufactured the coarse cottons that take their name from the city.
After the Great Depression and decline of the textile industry, Lowell became something of an economic wasteland. However, now, Lowell has been transformed a National Historical Park, which is a slightly confusing name because the Park part refers to part of the city itself. A huge amount of effort has been made to preserve the history and make for an interesting and informative visit.
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This weekend was the Quilt UK show at the Three Counties Showground in Malvern. After driving through a showcase of weather from all four seasons to get there, the rain thankfully held off long enough to make a quick dash to the main hall.
I go to shows always hoping to see something a little bit different, some unusual fabrics or find a new supplier that does something amazing. I also love getting the chance to see projects and patterns in the flesh as well; it’s much easier to judge whether I want to make something having seen it and you often see loads of great inspiration from some talented crafters.
However, Quilt UK left me feeling a little disappointed. I wish I had paid the advance ticket price (50 % off) as the full adult price (£9) felt a bit excessive for the size of the show. Maybe I’ve been spoiled by having a good local fabric shop, but I wasn’t that enthused by the majority of what was on offer.
There is one type of fabric though that will never fail to turn my head. Batiks. I love batiks to such an insane degree my ‘stash’ is mostly just piles of batiks I have bought because I’ve been so mesmerised by the colours all common sense about only buying for projects flew out the window.
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