Postcards from the German Quilt Festival in the Harz Mountains

Hannover & Celle by Alison

An early start from London Heathrow had us in Hannover before midday and an opportunity to visit the Kunst Textile Museum. This is a private museum, located in an old war bunker, displaying just some of the pieces that founder, Erika Knoop, has collected from her travels across the world. We had a guided tour of the collection by one of the museum volunteers exploring everything from elaborate evening dresses from New York to the finest hand-stitched silk from China. Here are a few of my favourite pieces:

The following day we travelled to Celle for the German Quilt Festival Patchworktage. The highlight of the festival for many were the fantastic quilts by Claudia Pfeil; many of the guests had not seen work like it at other shows! However, there was plenty of space for quilts of all shapes, sizes and complexity, here are just a few of them:

For the last hour or so of the day those of us who had the energy walked into the charming town of Celle to admire some of the stunning architecture.

And here we all are outside our hotel.

Many thanks to Pat and Wendy for looking after me on my first Stitchtopia holiday and to the guests for making me feel so welcome. I look forward to meeting more of you in the near future.

Celle, Harz Mountains & Einbeck by Pat

The German quilt show was overflowing with wonderful quilts, inspiring displays, and enticing shops. The weather may have been ever so slightly damp outside but we had an umbrella purchasing opportunity at the show as you can see!

Some of the quilts that you can see here are from the German Guild’s Rainbow Challenge. This challenge attracted a huge number of entries and these as just a few of my favourites.

……And a few from the collection ‘A Trip to the End of the World’ from makers from the European Patchwork Meeting.

And a selection from the “Rund na und” collection by quilters from Patchwork Treff Berlin-Brandenburg where each piece was mounted over a 50cm diameter wire ring.

Denise Labadie had a collection of fantastic quilts in her gallery of ‘Sacred Stonescapes’. These are just a few:

Claudia Pfeil wowed visitors with her showstopper quilts. These images do not do justice to her amazing work. Her use of colour is fantastic, as is her piecing and her longarm quilting. And the last part of her creative process is the application of tens of thousands of crystals. Each quilt was beautifully displayed and twinkled under the spotlights.

And lastly a few personal favourites from the show by Angelika Gastmann-Schmidt.

Today we travelled to the spa town of Bad Lauterberg to visit the ‘Home of Jolanda’, a quirky patchwork shop in the pedestrian precinct. We were welcomed by Jolanda, each given a beautifully boxed kit and told some of the stories and folklore of the surrounding area in the mountains. In the olden days the ladies had to travel many miles to market with their goods balanced on their heads. To make the journey more comfortable they work head cushions which you can see Wendy modelling here. Jolanda had designed a hand appliqué project for us featuring one of these ladies tying her shoelaces whilst balancing her wares precariously on her head.

Later today we drove to Wernigerode to visit Harzer Baumkuchen to see how the traditional cakes of the area are made and off course we had to stop and have Kaffee and Kuchen and sample the freshly baked cakes.

The town of Wernigerode is very picturesque with narrow cobbled streets, half-timbered buildings, fountains and window boxes. Jolanda accompanied us to give us some information and background about the buildings and street art. We had a gentle stroll along the Main Street stopping to sample the local ice creams.

Jolanda accompanied us again on our visits today. Starting off in the beautiful town of Goslar, known as Queen of the Hartz she explained to us the trade wars of the Middle Ages, the judicial system and pointed out the main architectural features many of which seemed to be well known to us a Dresden plate patterns in patchwork. We gathered in the town square at midday to hear the glockenspiel that illustrated the stories of the main trades of the town over the ages.

In the afternoon we left the Hartz Mountains to visit Einbeck where we visited Einbecker Blaudruck. There, Marian took us through the labour intensive hand production of the traditional Blue print fabric of the area. The linen cloth is first block printed with a resist and then dyed in a limited range of traditional colours, the main one being blue. The blocks used can be hundreds of years old and the collection continues over 900 designs. When the blocks become too damaged to work with they are replaced with replicas made of brass. Needless to say we all had a purchasing opportunity after the tour of the production area.

This was our last day for the Stitchtopia ladies in the lovely Hartz Mountains in Germany. We had our second stitching workshop at our hotel. I had devised the projects to reflect German folk art and also the many half-timbered houses that are a feature if the area. After the workshop we set off for Quedlinburg, one of the most beautiful towns in the area. The crooked houses, window boxes and rooftops looked spectacular under the hot sun. After a stroll round the town we set off again for a glassworks to see the intensive process of making glass lampshades. Back to the hotel for our farewell dinner. The week has flown by but has been filled with stitch and craft related outings and activities all fuelled by hearty German food and wine and fabulous weather.