Wednesday, 23 July 2014

So Long Sunday...

Final diary instalment of my FQR weekend; thank you for keeping up!

So another early start, all packed up and checked out of the hotel, I was off for some doodling with Troods.

I am a graphic artist, in the broadest sense of the word; curvy doodles do not come easily to me with a pen, so I really have no hope FMQing…


… but it was a lovely way to start the day, and wonderful to see how easily it comes to Trudi, a total natural!

Then it was on to my final class.

To say I was looking forward to a real lesson with Mister Thomas Knauer is an understatement.  OK so we were quiz-buddies, and he did tell me that 'it was only bloody knots, how difficult can it be!?', but I was, and still am, fascinated by his ability to take a simple question or comment and talk and talk and talk!


I now need to read all the theorising in Modern Quilt Perspectives, because I can now hear his voice in my head, and that is way more entertaining than reading it 'flat'.

He is so clever.  The class was simple, and indeed only knots, but his tales of making babies, (not as icky as that sounds), quilts for his daughter and the evils of the large quilt collections and manufacturers were really interesting.


And then it was over!

The final farewell in the hall was interrupted by a fire alarm; I helped Jen (Kingwell, as if you hadn't guessed!), pack up her gorgeous quilts into her suitcase; they were not going to be left behind even if we got burnt to death in the process!  Decamped to the pavement outside, it was time for thanks, cheers and hugs goodbye.

Sadly it was all over.

I have had a total blast at the previous two Retreats, don't get me wrong, meeting some of my best friends for the first time, taking some great classes and generally having a brilliant time, but this Retreat was different.

Socially it was still wonderful, there was more time to actually speak to people, time to take stock and time to enjoy spending time with friends.  The smaller number of attendees worked so well, and I would loath a return to the jam-packed hustle and bustle of last year.

However this time the classes really wowed me!  I came out of each session full of ideas and excited for the next.  All my teachers were amazing.

I learnt so much over the course of the weekend, I didn't touch a sewing machine and I am glad.  I am so enthused to do more hand-piecing and to hand quilt, the joys of which a week ago, had just passed me by.  Oh, I was so missing out!

Then it was home, to unpacking and digesting everything that had gone on, as well as emptying the contents of my goody bag!

So many generous sponsors…


Soak, Moda, Koribond, Makower, Aurifil, Riley Blake, Dashwood Studios, Robert Kaufman and Janome - Thank you!

Another thank you, and apology because I should have added this to the Friday post, goes to Tsoniki for my name tag; I wore it all weekend, and home again…


Fat Quarterly Team, including Sandy and the Jacks, you totally nailed it, thank you so much for your hard work, talent and humour!  Please don't go changing!

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Ready for Saturday?

Sooooo an early and rainy start, but by 9am I was installed in the main hall ready for screen printing with Karen.

OMG why have I not discovered the joys of printing before!?  I promise you I will be printing on anything that doesn't move this summer; I may even let the kids have a go!

I cut a little Carpenter-esk star for my template, and it actually worked, which I was having my doubts about at first.

Trash's pair got everywhere!
The 3 hours flew by, no doubt aided by the fun I was having next to Cindy, Nicky and Reene.

Karen was an awesome teacher, and everyone in the class came away with great printed fabric, bags and the like.  If you have followed the hashtag #FQR2014 in Instagram you will have seen loads of pictures, and everyone is smiling… or similar!

Pinched from Karen again!
Another top class that I cannot recommend highly enough.  I had to buy some scrap bags and Karen's beautiful book, it was the law!


On to lunch, I enjoyed an hour in the company of Jen Kingwell and Amanda; I probably spent an inordinate amount of the conversation just thinking 'I am having lunch with Jen Kingwell, behave!'

Then after a quick swap over of supplies I was in class again with Jen, this time for hand-piecing and appliqué using her Green Tea & Sweet Beans pattern (which we all got a copy of!!).

Again, wonderful relaxed teaching, Sonia and I settled on a sweet flower and petal block and may not have progressed very far in class, but that wasn't important, it was the being there that counted again.


Top tips abound; placing a sheet of sandpaper under your fabric to grip it when marking templates, who  knew!?

I will make the whole quilt one day.  I am planning on making a cushion from a few of the blocks for now, but I am so keen to get on with my Midnight At The Oasis again now Jen has worked her magic!

After class was the sample swap.  Hilariously Sarah, who one my blogiversary giveaway tote was in my group and now has another!!  I came home with these…


The little house is a lavender bag from Bettina, the purse from Cara and mug rug from Sarah.  I am a happy bunny!

Then onto the evening, are you keeping up!?

Market night first; I collected pre-ordered Cotton & Steel from the lovely ladies from The Village Haberdashery, and supplemented this with a yard more from The Eternal Maker…


I scored a Kona Colour Card from Cindy to add to my Fluffy Sheep pre-order…


A little bit of Oakshott…

Some little extras from Beyond Fabric…


Oh and then back to the Village Haberdashery for a little Far Far Away…


I couldn't go the evening without purchasing a pack of Jess's cards from Reene…


And after all that, there was the grand Siblings Together handover - the Jacks did a great job holding and folding…


Look at that pile!!!


So moving to see Delma taking these away for such a great cause.

Then Quiz night and pot-luck Bingo!!!

Winner winner, chicken dinner!  Go Team Butler, (named by Thomas Knauer's love and theory that all things come from Amy Butler), won the day; that's two years, two wins, just saying!!

℅ Sandy
I pulled Thomas into the team on the assumption that he knew everything; that was not strictly true, but good enough, and I laughed so hard, especially at the lateral thinking that guessing the names of the new Kona colours required; a yard of Sandstone anyone!!?

For my winnings and Bingo pick, I claimed a couple more Jen Kingwell patterns, including Gypsy Wife!!!  I am set up for the next 8 years I reckon!!


That little finger pin cushion up there was a present in the hand quilting class, but has ended up in this stalkerish collection!

So by then it was near 11pm, and I headed back to bed absolutely shattered in the best way!

Hope you have the stamina for Sunday!  See you tomorrow, (it'll be the last day of term and work - yippee!!!) xxx

Monday, 21 July 2014

Let's start at the very beginning...

… a very good place to start.

I already know that I am going to have to break FQR2014 down into multiple posts, because I still haven't been able to get it all straight in my head; there was so much information to digest and ideas to ponder over, I don't want to forget anything.

So let's see how far I get!

Friday.  It started with a 4am thunderstorm and power cut, meaning all sorts of re-setting phone alarms and worrying about the lack of hot water and straighteners in the morning!  By 'wake up time' it was all good; and by 10am I was on the train, not quite sure what to expect.


I was checked into my hotel by midday, then strolled up in the ridiculous heat to BP House.

The welcome committee was in place, Lynne, Brioni, Tacha and Trash, plus the 2 Jacks; game on!  A quick hello with Tammy, Betty and a few others, and by the time we decided to escape the heat and decamp to the terrace, more and more lovely people were arriving and we headed on into the wonderfully air-conditioned hall.

I have to admit, when the FQly ladies began the Intro, I was wondering where everyone else was!  I don't know the exact numbers but compared to the manic squeeze at the beginning of the last couple of years, the hall was virtually empty.

I was so excited that I got to meet some of my long-time 'friends' for the first time, like Sarah-FairyfaceJoanne, and Blueberry Park Karen as well as old buddies like CindySonia, Sarah and Nicky and, of course, Brit Bee buds Troods and Di.  So many more, so forgive me if you haven't been name-checked, but if I am not careful this will be playing out in real time like 24!

First class, quilting with Jen Kingwell - A-MAZING!!!!

I absolutely love Jen Kingwell, and I don't care who knows it - I think I may have told her anyway!  Not only are her quilts the most beautiful things I have ever seen and touched, (oh there was lots of touching!), but she is the most engaging, interesting and down to earth funny lady I have ever had the pleasure of listening to!


I didn't stitch much, but, I was too busy having a wonderful time!


After an hour and a half, including a power cut, (pity the poor folks using sewing machines or in the windowless hall!), I had learned more than I have learnt years!  All mostly simple and 'obvious when you know', but still 'new to me' tips and tricks.  The real life Gipsy Wife and Green...Beans quilts are beyond stunning, I could gush for hours!!

Let's just say this short and intimate session, (I think there was only a dozen of us), set the tone for my weekend, and I didn't stop smiling!

My other class on Friday was embroidery with Jo-Bearpaw, more love!

I was not particularly good, there was some unpicking and a lot of squinting (oh my rubbish eyes!), but I learnt the wonders of the whip-backstitch and how not to do bullion knots!


I even stitched up a little more that night in bed, and have been slowly adding more since coming home; so hoping to have this one finished some time soon.

After classes, there was time for a trip to Waitrose, a freshen up and then off to dinner.

A typically raucous affair, so much laughing and chatting; I was next to Cindy and opposite Sarah, Jenny F-P, Love P&Q editor and Karen, and despite the heat, did I mention it was hot, we had a brilliant time.  Good food and good company, the perfect end to the day.

℅ Karen
Is that enough for now?

Saturday was huge, but I will try my best to cram that into the one post tomorrow.

I haven't even mentioned the goody-bag received on arrival, that will need another post all to itself!

Sunday, 20 July 2014

I want to tell you EVERYTHING!!!

What a weekend!!  I want to tell you all about it so much.  It was the best, EVER!


I need to sort out my (few) photos, and get my head together, then I will pour it all out here, promise.

For now though, I need sleep, lots of sleep, and to finish unpacking, and maybe to think about work and school tomorrow.

I don't want to go back to reality just yet, dammit!

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Better late than never...

Apologies for the bloggy silence, it was way too hot and way too much fun to think!


Photo stolen from Karen (Blueberry Park) from last night's fun and games.

Looking forward to today xxx

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Hotting up...

Things are hotting up, both literally and metaphorically!

I did manage to spend a relaxing half hour in the sun between FQR packing and the KS2 performance of Bugsy Malone, which was really rather good, albeit boiling hot in the hall.

I have re-thunk my weekend attire more times than I can remember and trying to cram everything into the smallest, most manoeuvrable luggage has not been easy.

Still, almost done.

In amongst all the class supplies and outfits is my revamped Poolside Tote, already packed for tomorrow afternoon…


I swapped out the coral Sketch facing with some more or the Indigo Essex Linen, and I love it so much better...


So that's another FAL finish in old money!!!

I shall wish you all a happy weekend already - I will try to blog a few snaps via my iPad, but that isn't always successful, and as for Instagram, I am kind of hoping I will be too busy!

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

4th Blogiversary Winner!

I am so happy with who Mr Random chose…


I am meeting Sarah for the first-time on Friday, although there was a time when we thought we had been separated at birth!!

Congratulations Mrs Fairyface, and thank you to everyone else for entering too, I am already thinking there may be scope for a post-FQR giveaway, just saying xxx

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Another Super Mini...

Last summer I made a mini cross-body version of Anna Noodlehead's Super Tote.  It is one of the bags I use the most; perfect size for chucking in the essentials.  I wanted to make another for ages, and finally got round to it.

I used some of my precious FMF from Aneela, because I wanted it to be special...


… and I really love how it turned out.

Natural Essex Linen and some Chicopee for lining; I even made the piping, without the aid of hemming web as I was out of it, and it still looks great!


I feel another one coming soon; I have some navy Essex Linen and Cotton & Steel to collect on the weekend already earmarked, but maybe I will go large again!

So that's another FAL finish already, and guess what, I finished up the mini-Poolside too; nothing like an impending weekend of stitchy fun to get me all productive and stitch my socks off; I'll show you that soon.

Don't forget you still have time to enter my 4th blogiversary giveaway, I will be picking a winner tomorrow.

Thank you for all your comments so far xxx

Monday, 14 July 2014

Don't you know who I am?

Rhetorical question.  Obviously!

Today the postman came good for me, but we are still waiting on the yo-yo, oh dear indeed!

So if you have your copy of Quilt Now, you may have spotted my Oakshott tumbler 'Stacking Cups' baby quilt, it looks so lovely in print, even if I do so myself…


And I am so thrilled to be in such great company in this first edition.  I am trying not to be biassed, but I think Katy has done a wonderful job, and the themed issues, if this one is anything to go by, are all going to look fabulous!

I would love to show you a few more shots, but all my pics were on that other hard drive, grrr!  I will show off more when I get it back home.

Don't forget, there'll be a copy of the magazine for the winner of my blogiversary giveaway, and it will be in UK stores from Thursday.

So as if my head didn't have to be squeezed back out the front door to get down to school, what happened next, well…

You see that envelope up there?  In there is a blogiversary card, from someone who RECOGNISED ME at the school gate!!! So everyone please wave hello to Jean!!  

Meeting fellow enthusiasts of cutting up fabric and sewing it back together in real life is so great, (woo-hoo FQR weekend here we come!!), but when someone spots you and is lovely enough to come and say hello, it felt a little bit mad, and very much lovely!

And just in case anyone wants to pick me out of the crowd on the weekend, (before I get my official swap tag from my partner), I whipped up a temporary one, and the first tick off my Q4 FAL list, go me!


After deciding on the way I was going with it, I did a bit of a swift u-turn, (after cutting my fabrics, sods law), and snipped a little selvedge 'Hadley' from my DS stash, fused and top-stitched a collection of bits and bobs onto white Essex Linen and used some of my Hemingway Design print for the back and lanyard. 

Fun punched hole, and job done…



Tomorrow, less me, more finishes!

Sunday, 13 July 2014

4 Years!!! A Giveaway!!!

*** Giveaway Now Closed ***

Four years ago I took the plunge and started blogging.  No-one was reading, but I persevered.  There was no Fresh Sewing Day or other newbie intro sites; I hadn't heard of Flickr, and there was no Pinterest or Instagram.  Oh ye olde days!

So enough reminiscing, as is customary, it's time for a giveaway!

I am not going to apologise for probably spending the next fortnight talking about Fat Quarterly Retreat, so I am going to share the love a little by giving away a Swear Bag, like the ones I have made for the sample swap!


Not only that, but the sample needle book I made for the FinishAlong tutorial week…


And well, seeing as I have so many, a pack of size 22 Chenille needles…


That is not all, oh no no no, the lucky winner will also get sent a copy of issue One of Quilt Now direct from the publisher.  If you had told me 4 years ago, actually even one year ago, that I would be appearing in print, oh how I would have laughed!

Interested in a chance to win??

All you have to do is leave one comment telling me what you would stitch with all those bloody needles!
Followers can have a second chance, leaving a separate comment, telling me how you follow.

Any more than 2 comments and I will delete them, please don't reply to other's comments, as it mucks up the numbering; beware too No Reply Bloggers, if you don't make it possible for me to contact you, then you will miss out, sorry!


Easy-peasy; international entrants obviously welcome.  I will close the giveaway at 9pm (British Summer Time) on Wednesday 16th July; and use Mr Random to do the business.

So that just leaves me to say a huge thank you to everyone who stops by, has a read, leaves a comment and to so many of you who have been with me through the good times and bad.  Your words of encouragement and support continue to mean so much.  Mwah.

Good luck folks xxx

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Waiting in vain...

Dear son is awaiting delivery of a yo-yo, and when the postman failed to show by 12.30 today, we knew it wasn't coming.  Bad moods and disappointment ensued.

I then spotted Ange talking about me on Instagram, wherein I went to join dear son sulking in the  corner!


..and Troods, amongst other lucky buggers, rubbed it in…


Yes, Quilt Now, issue one, is landing on doorsteps, (Thursday in the shops).  I am have a subscription, and I am 99% sure my copy is waiting in the local sorting office, as they don't cope well when anyone is on holiday or ill, and I didn't spot the trolley today.  Don't they realise magazines and small plastic toys make the world a happier place?

So roll on Monday, for my, and the boy's sake; and if you have a copy, or a yo-yo, enjoy.

Oh yes, pop back tomorrow, I think I owe you a blogiversary giveaway xxx

Friday, 11 July 2014

FAL Q3 2014 - Here we go!

So let's make a list…

Finish Along 2014

1.  Rollover, rollover…


I am hoping Jen Kingwell will kick my butt and get me back in the mood for my MATO!

2.  Hexie rollover…


Summer holiday sewing of the most relaxing kind, I hope!

3.  Poolside revamp…


Yes I only just finished it, but I have ripped out the coral Sketch facing and so I still need to finish it, again!

4.  Secret stitching, due for a mid-August reveal…


I know it's Christmassy, but by the end of this quarter, we will all be on that slippery slope towards the festivities; ho ho ho!

5.  Another name tag, for me!  My FQR partner is bringing mine along to Retreat, but I don't want to turn up without one!!!


Mental I know, but I will use the lanyard for work anyway.

6.  Another mini-Super Tote…


All the pieces are cut now, and I wouldn't mind having this one ready for FQR.

7.  A post-FQR cushion…


This panel, I am hoping, will be hand quilted and looking amazing.  Well got to have dreams!

So there we have my list of 7.

This quarter I also want to start, or at least make great plans for my Denise Schmidt Hadley quilt, make a couple of minis from my Little Quilts book and so much more.  Time will tell how successful I will be.

Linking up with all the other hopefuls over at Katy's.