Fat Quarterly Sewing Retreat

This Friday I’m going to London for the Fat Quarterly Sewing Retreat. I’m so excited I could scream. On Saturday a linky party was opened so that people who go can introduce themselves and meet each other online before doing it in person.

Fat Quarterly

Ok, my name is Elisabeth, I’m 42 and I live in a lovely village in Cambridgeshire. I’m half Swiss, half Norwegian and am married to a handsome Irishman. Bit of a mix, eh?! Add to this an almost four year old daughter, a Swiss dog and an English cat and you get a very lively international home.

This is a picture of me which was taken yesterday at Little Miss Bossy-Boots’ birthday picnic.


I realise it’s not easy to see my face in this shot, so here’s one without the rich bitch glasses:


I’ve been sewing, knitting, crocheting and crafting for as long as I can remember but I’ve only taken up quilting recently and have yet to make a big quilt. I’m hoping that my inability to decide on a pattern will finally come to an end after this weekend.

When I started reading blogs about two years ago I soon stumbled over Katy Jones’ blog I’m a Ginger Monkey. As soon as she announced that she was going to teach a quilting workshop at Patch Fabrics in Lowestoft I checked to see how far away that was. Realising I would have to drive for more than two hours I buried the idea until Master decided (he’s very manly in that respect) that I should go and he would be happy to drive all that way. So I’ve met two of the ladies organising/coming to the retreat, Katy and Claire and I can assure you that they are lovely.

I’m really looking forward to my classes which are Frame Purses with Katy and Paper Pieced Pillows with Lynne on Saturday and then The Fat Quarterly Designer Challenge and Portholes with Lucie on Sunday. I also joined the Jelly Roll Race (I’m crazy!!!) and the Iron Man Challenge (Group 5).

I would also like to apologise in advance for my ugly fabric. It is atrocious and I’m ashamed to admit that I had lots to choose from. So if anyone would like some really ugly fabric I’m your woman.

Although I’m still a bit nervous about meeting so many new people I’m really looking forward to it. As we all have the same hobby I can’t imagine that there will be even one quiet minute. See you soon!


The Fat Quarterly Sewing Retreat in London is very soon, in fact it’s only ten days away. This has made me panic a bit (this happens to me quite a lot) as I still haven’t got all my supplies or my swap gifts. I signed up for almost everything you could sign up for thinking it would be fun and help me meet lots of people. For the swap we have been put into groups of five which means we bring four gifts (all the same) and get four gifts (all different). How cool is that? I’ve seen a few of the things people are bringing in the Flickr group pool and with every new picture popping up I hope that I will be in that person’s group. The stuff people have been making is fabulous!

For ages I couldn’t decide on what to make for the swap but on Monday it finally hit me: The sugar loaf pouch. The pattern is by the lovely Lisa Lam from U-handbag and I bought it ages ago. Then it just sat there and from time to time I looked at it and thought “I have to make one of these pouches, they’re s cute”. Now I can add “and so addictive”. I love them and they are so handy, just big enough for a phone and some other bits and bobs or sewing supplies or medicines and plasters or….

Will I be able to stop after four, the number of gifts I need to bring? Watch this spot!

PS Did you notice I didn’t put any metal hook snaps on my pouch? Well, I only had three at hand so I left them off completely. I just couldn’t wait….

Hello Blog

Elisabeth: “Hello, Blog, how are you?”

Blog: “Lonely.”

Elisabeth: “I know I haven’t been around much, but then I haven’t been crafting much either. My mum was here for her birthday last week which means I didn’t do much (except baking and eating cakes. Oh yes, cakes, as in baking three and eating two!). I’d like to show you a couple of things now, though.”

Blog: “Great! What would you like to show me then?”

Elisabeth: “First, I want to show you a gift I got from my sister Kristine. She crocheted this lovely bag and showed it to me on Skype. When I said how cute I thought it was she gave it to me. Fabulous, isn’t it? Sadly I don’t get to use it much as Little Miss Bossy-Boots has taken it and is using it all the time.”

Blog: “That bag is lovely! What else did you want to show me?”

Elisabeth: “I suddenly had the urge to do some embroidery. The bird was inspired by a drawing I did for Little Miss Bossy-Boots. I’m not sure what I’m going to make with these two embroideries but I’m sure I’ll think of something at some stage.”

Blog: “Cute. How about turning one of them into a Kindle cover?”

Elisabeth: “Good idea, Blog, I’ll see if I can find some fabrics to go with the bird. The last thing I want to show is a really fabulous book.

You know how much I like Fat Quarterly, don’t you? I mean, I’m going to their Retreat in London, I go on and on about Katy Jones (bit of crush there?!)….. When I heard that they were writing a book I knew I was going to buy it and yesterday it arrived. I love it. Last year I bought some fat quarters and yardage of Echo by Lotta Jansdotter and I’ve been looking for a pattern to turn it into a quilt ever since. Well, I’ve found it.

This is my all time favourite block. I’m sure nobody who knows me is surprised by the fact that I’ve fallen for a block that’s called Castle Wall (for those who don’t know me: I studied Medieval English Language and Literature) and it’s by John Q. Adams, aka Quilt Dad.

Blog: ” I can see why you like Castle Wall. I’m sure it’ll look lovely in Echo.”

Elisabeth: “I can’t wait to start but I have to finish some work stuff first. At least I have a project to take to the Sewing Retreat. Although how much sewing I will be doing I’m not sure but more about that later. See you very soon, my dear Blog!”

Portable Pincushion

As you all know I love my English Paper Piecing (EPP) as it’s portable and small. I can follow Little Miss Bossy-Boots around the house and bring it on outings and holidays. When I baste the fabric onto the paper templates I use one pin and one needle and I’m forever sticking them into my trousers or the arms of my sofa; and then I’m looking for them as I’ve moved again.

When I showed a picture of my latest EPP you might have noticed a small pincushion in the foreground. Just in case you haven’t here it is again:

I made it literally ten minutes before leaving the house and although it’s incredibly practical and has been used lots already it’s not very pretty (the hot glue shows on the side as I was a bit generous, the button is vintage and quite heavy and the elastic….what’s not wrong with the elastic).

Last Sunday I went to the craft section of our local garden centre and when I saw some big self-cover buttons inspiration struck. So here’s my new and pretty portable pincushion:

The fabric is ‘Good Fortune’ by Kate Spain, which I absolutely love. The button makes sure that my pins don’t end up in my finger (yep, been there, done that).

Would you like to make one of these pincushions? Ok, here goes:

1. Find some big self-cover buttons. Mine are 38mm and cost £1.19 for two. You could, of course, also use smaller buttons for a cute little pincushion.

2. Find some scraps or use a charm from a charm pack. I used some Good Fortune by Kate Spain for both my pincushions.

3. Cut out a circle that’s 2cm bigger in diameter than indicated in the instructions. In my case the circle I cut out was 8,5cm rather than 6,5cm. The extra 2cm are needed to accommodate the stuffing.  If you’d like a bigger pincushion just make the circle a bit bigger again.

4. Gather your circle with small running stitches.

5. Take a small ball of stuffing and place in lightly gathered circle. I like to roll the stuffing in my hand so that I get quite a dense ball. Gather your circle and before the hole gets too small place your button inside.

6. Tighten the circle, checking that the gathers are fairly regular and fasten off your thread making sure that your stitches don’t come undone. If you are worried about your fabric fraying and your pincushion falling apart this is the time to put on some fray check or fray stoppa. Then put on the back of your button. It was a bit of a squeeze to get mine on so I didn’t worry about it coming undone again. If yours is a bit loose just add some hot glue.

7. Now let’s make the ring. First measure your finger, in my case 6cm.

8. Add 2cm to this measurement and cut some elastic; mine was 1.3cm wide, which is really comfortable. Then cut out a strip of fabric which is one and half times the length of your finger measurement plus 2cm seam allowance and three times the width of your elastic. My strip of fabric ended up being 11cm x 4cm. If you’d like the ring to be more gathered just double your finger measurement but leave the width the same.

9. On the short sides fold in 1cm, then fold in 5mm on the long sides. I whip stitched the long sides together but you could also machine stitch the long sides (still folding in 1cm on each short side) to create a tube, which you will then have to turn inside out. I just find it easier to do this step by hand.

10. Once you’ve whip stitched the long side together, lay the tube down so that the seam is in the middle. Take your elastic and thread through with a safety pin, gathering the fabric.

11. Now take your elastic, overlap by 1cm and sew together.

12. Pull your fabric tube over the elastic to enclose it completely and sew together with a ladder stitch.

13. Ok, almost done. Now take your lovely button and sew it onto your ring making sure the seam of the ring is on the inside. I have found that it helps stabilise the button if you go all the way through the elastic to the other side when you sew on the button.

14. Enjoy your pretty and portable pincushion!


Please let me know if you have any questions or queries about this tutorial and I’ll do my best to clarify my instructions.