Quilting fans from all over Ireland and beyond have been ‘Gathering’ in Inishowen this week for the first annual Sew North event. The 10 day celebration of the region’s textile tradition has been organised by Gaye Grant, who owns and runs The Fennel Shed quilting supply business in Buncrana.
Gaye says that Sew North events are taking place right across the Inishowen peninsula. “We are staging workshops, classes, exhibitions, tours and excursions from Buncrana, Dunree and the Isle of Doagh, to Malin, Greencastle and Derry,” she says.
The celebrations close with the completion of an “All Ireland Quilt” on All Ireland match day on Sunday 22nd Sept – the last block representing the winning county will be sewn in place after the final whistle blows!
Classes are being led by experts such as Emer Fahy from Cork, Frances Sawaya from San Francisco and Gaye Grant herself. Gaye set up her own quilting business over ten years ago, and supplies patterns, fabrics, quilting sets, and other products to local and visiting quilters. She also runs courses, workshops and demonstrations, and attends international quilting events.
Gaye says there has been an international surge of interest in this traditional craft and a huge level of interest in Irish quilting. “We have been overwhelmed by the demand for our Irish patterns and for our fabrics and I believe there is a real potential to develop quilt tourism which would be a big boost to the local economy.”