Posted by: marymarthatours | April 18, 2012

Designing the 2013 Quilt Tour

I knew my time would be coming. My older sister has asked me to take the lead in putting together the itinerary for the September 2013 UK Quilt and Textile Tour. Seems appropriate since I am the quilter and she is the miniaturist.

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Martha and her doll quilts

The method I am using to create a quilt/textile-focused tour is really a bit like the actual creation of a quilt – done in stages with each piece and step influencing the next. Maybe the mantra that quilters enjoy will hold true for designing a tour – “done is better than perfect”. Now, I do know that the end result will be wonderful, but I also know that what I envision today will probably not be what the end result will actually look like.

When Mary visited Olympia in February, we began the planning process by looking at potential dates, consulting maps of England and Wales, and considering what main locations and sights to include on a tour with a focus on quilts and textiles. We are discovering that we have acquired a good knowledge of many areas of the UK and of what interesting sights are available for visiting. We have a premise that if we would like to visit a specific location, others will also.

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Bath, England, one of our favorite places (photo by Sue H.)

And we relish adding a few “surprises” along the way. I’m working hard right now to book a particular surprise stop and, in case that falls through, plan B is pretty great as well. Sometimes the “surprises” happen to us in the planning and booking process. Travelers might never know what brilliant plan fell apart and what gem jumped up to surprise even us. Surprises are like the embellishments and extras that make a quilt extra special and unique.

The dates for the 2013 UK Quilt and Textile tour are set, well almost. We will depart either September 2nd or 3rd and the tour will return home on Sept. 16th. Eighteen months in advance seems so far ahead for booking locations. I have found that some places won’t set their 2013 schedules until January of 2013, so I have to trust we can get the desired bookings. One location already had another group booked on September 5, 2013 for the morning time I wanted, so I grabbed the afternoon spot. Guess I’m not the only one to plan ahead.

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Kelmscott Manor (photo by Boerkevitz)

At this point, we are booked at Kelmscott Manor, the country home of William Morris. Mary and I have been there and know that this Charming (the “C word” for the Cotswolds) house with its small garden is loaded with Morris textiles and designs that are popular in quilt fabrics today. We’re also booked for a private tour and presentation at The American Museum in Bath, renowned for its impressive collection of American quilts. I have made contacts with the textile curator of the Victoria and Albert Museum regarding a private tour and with the Welsh Quilt Museum in Lampeter, Wales and the nearby Jen Jones Shop.

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Calico Kate fabric shop, High Street, Lampeter, Wales (photo by Rhys Williams)

I have started with the “focal fabrics” of the design and will be adding the complementary fabrics of stately homes and gardens, quilt shops and cathedrals. In all, the complementary locations will add not only interest and inspiration but will jazz up the completed creation.

I can’t wait to see the finished result — the brochure is due out in the fall with the final design/itinerary — well, final except for those “surprises”.

(by Martha)

Photo credits:  Bath Abbey, Sue H., member of 2007 M&M Gardens of England tour. 

Kelmscott Manor, copyright Boerkevitz and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 license.

Lampeter, Wales, copyright Rhys Williams and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 2.0 license.

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