Fat Quarterly Retreat 2014- I was only there on Saturday but it was a great, great day- superb teachers, easy relaxing atmosphere and of course wonderful quilty people! I started with Thomas Knauer's knotting class. Thomas is an interesting guy, he brings an academic's perspective to quilting and likes to talk so it made for easy listening. And whilst we listened we made knots...
I came home with this partially completed sample which Mindy took a fancy to. I am liking the idea of making a hot mat with this to place on the kitchen table for hot pans- there's something about those threads sticking up that invites something to be placed upon them.
In the same room following a brief break was Jo's embroidery class. She has a well defined lesson all based around learning six stitches as used on her design. She was patient, clear and very helpful. I've spent time with Jo at each of the three Fat Quarterly retreats and she is a bright shiny creative power house (that's the lovely Sonia paying very close attention below Jo's hand).
This was Jo's sample… yes it is very beautiful!
I have embroidered before but I haven't been taught-so I learnt some useful techniques and some new stitches and have continued to work on my hoop. I also bought a very cute Japanese embroidery book from Brioni's destash stall to share with Lula.
The afternoon was my long class- hand piecing with Jen Kingwell, 3 hours of bliss! She is incredibly inspiring, down to earth, helpful and generous. We each received a copy of the Green Tea and Sweet Beans pattern booklet and a handmade Liberty finger pincushion (like this one).
She had a large class- the retreat was much smaller in terms of numbers which did make for a much better atmosphere and no competing voices in the hall, but Jen's class must have had at least half the afternoon's attendees! We sat in a large rectangle and she kept moving round us making sure we were all happy and knew what we were doing. There were tips a-plenty. I have done hand piecing before but I learnt lots. For the different appliqué techniques, we took it in turns to stand around her, all craning to see where the point of the needle pushed the fabric under and what to snip, with fierce concentration...
From Green Tea and Sweet Beans I chose the Garden Paths block -it wasn't finished in the class, I completed it the next day. Hand piecing is not fast but once you get into the swing of it, it is hugely enjoyable. I was sat next to Mandy (always a good person to sit next to, so relaxed and funny and she had her Bring Me Flowers quilt top resting on her lap) and also Amy Smart (she was super lovely too, incredibly sweet and friendly) and there was much discussion of the pleasures of hand piecing- portability especially. I loved the class and once I have finished Bring Me Flowers, this is next. Jen mentioned the joy of having a project that you can prep in sections and pick during dead time- sitting on a train, waiting for appointments etc. This is going to be the one for my dead time and quiet time.
Jen brought along the original Green Tea and Sweet Beans quilt- wow, all of us could not get enough of looking over this and its amazing detail.
And there was Gypsy Wife too, which is even better than you would possibly imagine when it is right in front of your eyes- more subtle than I had originally thought, astoundingly beautiful and vivid fabric combinations and seeing the hand quilting detail close-up was a treat.
And then there was the goody bag, generously filled by the sponsors. I know it may sound a little tedious to thank sponsors but this time Janome provided 50 machines, no one needed to bring their own. That makes a big difference. The Fractured Quilt class had all the fabric provided by Oakshott Fabrics- again this makes for a great class- beautiful and ample fabric resources available to all. As well as Janome and Oakshott, there were goodies from Riley Blake (yay I got some of Lori's Vintage Happy!), Robert Kaufman, Moda, Aurifil, Korbond, Makower and Duck Egg Threads- I may have bought a little Liberty in anticipation of my Green Tea and Sweet Beans dead time quilt of the future.
Market was a smaller affair, less hectic and more relaxed. I bought some of Reene's daughter Jess's cards and came away with some Flatter- I have been intrigued by this for ages and a quick test (fabric smoothed instantly with the iron) makes me want to try more to see how it performs.
I struggle meeting lots of people but I found it easier this time. I sat with a mix of familiar faces for and new ones, I was so happy to meet Karen and Reene at last- I feel like I've known them online for such long time. It was lovely to chat to Jenny Fox-Proverbs as we have only communicated by email before. Lynne, Tacha and Brioni- well done, it was a triumph! Trash- you were a star, it felt more socially integrated and I think you were a big part of that. Sandy- you were master of social media, and Jack and Jack- you were both uber helpful, good natured and funny. I had lovely chats with people I meet every year, the odd year and for the first time. And the Siblings Together quilts were stunning- check out #fqr2014 tag on Instagram to see pics or in the flickr group.
I feel inspired and recharged, ready to make more things...