Having Fun Retreating

I admit I was a little worried about this year’s retreat as many of my friends weren’t going. Due to some other commitments I couldn’t participate in all the hype beforehand either although I did enter the sample swap and name tag swap before realising that I would be swamped with other things. I made a name tag for Di of Willowbecks Designs, a lady I absolutely love. She is one of the nicest, most generous and beautiful people I know so I wanted to make something beautiful for her. I think I managed it but as I completely forgot to take a picture of the name tag you’ll just have to trust me on that one. I got the best name tag, which the lovely Trash made for me when my partner opted out a couple of days before the retreat.

My name tag from Trash

Friday’s classes were a fantastic start to the weekend as I was first taught to hand quilt by THE Jen Kingwell. I admire Jen tremendously and learned so much in her class. Hand sewing is my thing anyway and I’ve always loved the look of hand quilting so it was fun to get a chance to get tips from the expert. I got very little done in class but came away with so much knowledge.

Jen Kingwell with her Green Tea and Sweet Beans quilt

Afterwards I went to a class I had hoped to get into last year: TouchDraw with Lynne from Lily’s Quilts. I use TouchDraw all the time to design my English Paper Piecing patterns and thought I knew my way around this app rather well. Boy was I wrong. I learned a ton of things and came back absolutely amazed at how much easier I could make things for myself. I’ve had a little play with TouchDraw since coming home as I wanted to make sure I don’t forget all the tips and tricks but nothing I can show you yet.

In the evening I went for a wonderful meal with 15 lovely and creative women and had an absolute blast. I was a very happy bunny when I went to bed.

Saturday started with another fantastic class: Screen printing with Karen from Blueberry Park. I’ve admired Karen’s work for a long time and have bought a few things. I was incredibly excited to meet her and get to do some printing. Most of my materials had been left at home as I packed my suitcase in a rather haphazardly way, it seems. I had a hoop, a craft knife and some paint and begged, stole and bought everything else and came away with two different designs that I really love. I’m really excited to make something with my two panels and am desperately trying to find the time to do some more printing soon.

SharksFlowers

The afternoon was a return to hand stitching and Jen Kingwell. She gave us her ‘Green Tea and Sweet Beans’ pattern and lots and lots of tips on how to make hand sewing easy and fun. This kind of hand sewing is even faster than EPP and seems more relaxed. Once you’ve cut out all the pieces the sewing is really quick. It’s just as portable as EPP but gives a completely different effect. I didn’t like the background fabric I used for the block I had chosen (I used the background I had brought to print on in the morning) so am going to start again with some different background fabric. I know I shouldn’t event think about starting this project as I really need to finish my Spring Carnival first but as soon as that is done I’m starting on GT & SB and won’t stop until it’s finished and hand quilted!

Jen Kingwell and I

Saturday evening saw the return of quilt market and I did buy some fabric. I couldn’t resist some Oakshotts and some Cotton and Steel. All in all I was very restrained as what I really wanted was a big fat quarter bundle of Oakshott but there was the slight problem of no room in the suitcase…

Pub quiz; you either love it or hate it. I enjoy a good pub quiz although I’m usually the one smiling and nodding while everyone else is giving the answers. This time, however, it was all about fabrics, designers and books and I knew quite a few of the answers. So did the others, though, so I was still sitting there nodding and smiling. And the nodding and smiling paid off as we won. We were allowed to choose a pattern from a selection of patterns and I picked Jen Kingwell’s ‘Steam Punk’. I have no idea when I’m supposed to find the time to make it but, to be honest, I’m just happy to have it in my house.

Sunday morning saw me traipsing back to the Baden Powell House with no materials for my last class. I’d bought the materials before leaving for England but had to leave them behind as there was no space in the suitcase. That’s what I get for sharing a suitcase with a six year old. My last class was with Amy Smart, who I’ve admired for a long time. She’s written a great book ‘Fabulously Fast Quilts’ and we were going to make one of the quilts from it. I walked into the class and told Amy that I was happy to be the pressing girl and thus help out all the other ladies. Luckily for me the wonderful Di from Willowbeck Designs was in the class too and I ended up pressing and sewing for her while chatting non stop. It was a truly great end to a fantastic weekend.

Di, Amy and I

 

 

Fat Quarterly Retreat 2013: The Classes

First of all, the retreat was great. If you have been dithering about going, stop and book a ticket for next year as soon as possible. It is so much fun.

Friday morning I got ready to hop on an earlier train to London as I had been given a last minute ticket to the Liberty talk which had been organised by the Fat Quarterly Team. It was all about how the designers find inspiration for their beautiful fabrics. Sadly my train was really late and I arrived in London when the talk was almost over. Not a great start to the weekend but I wasn’t going to let this upset me and instead took a taxi to my hotel.

Waiting for the train

After dropping Edna and my bags at the Radisson I ambled over to the Baden-Powell House to meet up with lots of crafty and creative ladies and gentlemen. It was so much fun to see some ‘old’ friends and meet lots of new ones. Soon it was time for my first class, EPP curves. I didn’t get much done as I was having too much fun chatting with Di from Quiltova and Helen from runquiltknitwrite. However, I have taken all my bits and bobs out today and am hoping to finish this little block tonight.

EPP Curves

Friday evening was spent on the terrace chatting and looking at fabulous quilts. Delma from Siblings Together came to pick up the quilts that people had made for the charity. Because I’d been ill before the retreat I hadn’t managed to hand sew the binding onto the back of my quilt. So I sat on the terrace stitching like mad to get it finished. The lovely Jane (Teacupfaery on flickr) offered to help and I gratefully accepted. It was very much a last minute finish so I didn’t actually get to take a picture of it. If you’d like to see it finished there is a picture here in the Siblings Together group pool.

Basting

Saturday morning my first class was Improv with Lu Summers. I’ve been admiring her improv minis for ages and was incredibly excited about learning some of her techniques. I had so much fun (I think Lu is one of the funniest people on this planet) as I was sitting with some great people. I shared my sewing machine with Rachel from House of Pinhero who is such a nice, beautiful and generous person. I’ve been following her blog for quite a while as she makes the most wonderful clothes. She gave me lots of tips and I’m now really excited to start making my own well-fitting clothes. It’ll probably have to wait until after our move but that’s alright.

Improv Mini

I was under a bit of pressure to finish my improv mini as my next class was hand quilting with the lovely Mandy. Mandy’s hand pieced and quilted quilts are totally drool worthy. The one below is her version of the Green Tea and Sweet Beans quilt by Jen Kingwell of Amitié Textiles and I would have loved to discreetly stuff it into my bag. I brought some batting and backing for my mini so that I could hand quilt it in Mandy’s class. However, they were both too small as my mini ended up rectangular rather than square. I’ve decided to unpick the quilting again and start again with a bigger piece of batting and backing rather than cutting off some of the quilt. Watch this space.

Mandy's Quilt

My last class on Sunday morning was making a flexi pouch with Tacha Bruecher. I loved making the x and + blocks from tiny little pieces but got a bit stressed out by the fact that Edna doesn’t have a quarter inch foot. In the end I didn’t finish my pouch as the top was falling apart because I hadn’t backstitched properly. I might just take the whole thing apart again and fix it with the help of my Bernina. I still had lots of fun chatting (I think there might be a theme here) with the lovely ClaudiaAmy and blogless Helen.

Tiny x and + block

Right, those were my classes and they were all brilliant. I came home totally inspired and am already looking forward to next year. In the next blog post I’ll tell you all about the wonderful gifts I received and goodies I bought. TTFN!

Claudia and Elisabeth

 

It’s Almost Time

Fat Quarterly Retreat 2013 is almost upon us and I’m joining in with the linky party here.

My name is Elisabeth and I live in a small village in lovely Cambridgeshire, England. I won’t be here for much longer though as I’m moving back to Switzerland in August. I usually look like this:Me, myself and I

(although I’m hoping to get a visit to the hairdresser’s in before FQR) and will be wearing this:

Name Tag by Leanne (She Can Quilt)

My fabulous name tag was made by the incredibly talented Leanne from She Can Quilt. She’s one of my quilting heroines so you can imagine how it feels to have a name tag made by her. That foundation paper pieced ‘e’ is 1″ square!

I’ve been sewing since I was a girl but only started quilting a couple of years ago. So far I’ve only made one quilt, although two are now ready to be basted and quilted in the next few days. However, I have made quite a few mini quilts and cushion covers. My favourite is hand sewing and I love drawing and sewing my own English Paper Piecing patterns. There are a couple of free patterns on the tutorials page if you are interested and I’m working on two more which will hopefully be added soon.

I also make bags. This one was made especially for the retreat with some Boho for Moda mini charms although I’m now in quandary as it doesn’t go with any of my coats or cardigans. I might just have to make another one…

Boho Bag

My classes are: Improv with Lu Summers, English Paper Piecing curves with Julianna and Joanna, Flexi purses with Tacha Bruecher and Hand Quilting with Mandy. I’ve got all my materials ready (except for quilting needles and embroidery floss) and have put my name on my mat, ruler and rotary cutter. Oh yes, I’m ready.

Changes

My blog has been rather neglected lately as I’ve been trying to find my mojo. Just as I found it again, my life has been turned upside down. Mojo is now sitting in the corner twiddling its thumbs, waiting for me to crawl out of my hole and get back to the sewing machine. I hope it happens soon as I have some great incentives to get me going again:

1. I owe Christine her bee blocks for May. I’ve finished one and have one more to do. The one I did has quite a few dodgy points as Little Miss Bossy-Boots was whining in the background while I was sewing so I’m waiting till she’s in bed to do the second one in the hope that my points will match up a bit better.

Christine's Bee Block

2. I entered the second round of the FLiRTS (Fab Little Random Treasure Swap) on flickr. Shipping dates are fast approaching and I’m only half finished. I really need to get a move on to finish the foundation paper pieced mug rug I’m making. As I don’t know whether my partner drinks tea or coffee I’ve decided to make it reversible with a tea pot on one side and two or four coffee cups on the other. I will tell you a bit more about the patterns I’m using when I show the finished product.

Tea Pot Mug Rug

3. I’ve entered two swaps for the Fat Quarterly Retreat in July, the name tag swap and the sample swap. I love the partner I got in the name tag swap and I already know what I’m going to make for her. However, I won’t be able to show any of it until she gets it as it would be too obvious who it’s for and this is, after all, a secret swap. As for the sample swap I’ve decided to make some amigurumi. I haven’t made any for ages so this is a good opportunity to get back into crochet.

4. I would like to make some clothes now that I have an overlocker. I’ve got a pattern I want to try, Tara by Jolijou, but I first have to find out how the machine actually works. At the moment she’s still sitting in her box and I think that’s where she’s going to stay until school starts again as it’s not only half term but also Little Miss Bossy-Boots’ birthday this week.