But there was of course another grand event taking place in a small conference center in the lovely South Kensington. About 100 quilters had gathered for the first long awaited Fat Quarterly retreat ! The preparations for this splendid weekend were long and plentiful. Name tags were swaped, fabric was bought and finally humongous suitcases were packed with fabric, tools, sewing machines and a few pieces of clothing for those that came from afar.
Quilter arrived from all over the world. I met those coming from Oz, Canada, the Czech Republic, Holland, Switzerland, the US and Germany and of course lots and lots of Brits !
|Kerry explaining her freezer paper technique|
|Tascha explaining EPP to a class|
I loved that multiple courses took place in the big hall so you could walk around and see what other people were up to. The atmosphere was so very friendly and communal and that made everybody feel at home. I am sure that was one of the team's prime aims and they achieved this with full marks. I attended three course and learned something new and valuable in each of them.
I met all of my fellow Brit Bee members and that in itself was just wonderful. It means so much more to talk to somebody who is sitting in front of you than through flickr streams and e-mails. I am sure each of us discovered a lot of new things about one another. I met so many new quilters and saw so many wonderful quilts. I laughed so hard and often and even had a lump in my throat when I finally saw our finished project 51.
|We hard at work making our freezer paper pin cushions|
It was a fabulous weekend in every way and for that I would like to say THANK YOU Fat quarterly team. You have done an amazing job and I sure hope you will make this a regular feature (no pressure there or course).
So let me show you what I learned and crafted over the weekend.
First of Saturday morning I had a class with the fabulous Lucy Summers. I was very keen on learning her famous porthole technique and this was possibly my most eagerly anticipated class.
Lucy ran a great class and all of us managed the technique by the end and some even went on to graduate making a heart. The porthole sample she made us sew was a three hole piece and I chose to use some of my Melody Miller fabric for this. I forgot to bring some colourful solids but Amy was kind enough to lend me some of this fabulous green. Back home yesterday I was keen to do something with the block and so I added a fourth hole around it and made the whole thing into a cushion !
This is a fantastic technique and once you actually got it (which shows itself in a very pronounced AH effect) then it is a breeze. I love it and will definitely use this in a future quilt.
Next on the agenda was an EPP workshop with Tacha. This was a great class as we all sat around a large round table. It was so relaxing and we all chatted and for a while Brioni (also from the FQ team) joined us too. The aim of the class was to learn the technique and possibly start towards making one of two pillows Tacha had brought as samples. Already when I finished the first couple of hexies I was hooked and decided that I would not make a cushion (oh NO) but a quilt of neutral hexies. That of course will take time but I found that this is not only a relaxing technique but lends itself very much as an in-front-of-TV or craft-on-the-go project which is something I always need . Brioni told us that she can make a king size EPP quilt in 6 weeks. I won't be doing that but I am impressed by this speed (if not slightly scared) . Both ladies evidently life and breath Englich paper piecing and Tacha just published her first fantastic book on the subject.
My last class was on Sunday morning and this was another eagerly anticipated one by me; Freezer paper piecing. I wanted to find out what it was all about and what the difference between normal; i.e. foundation paper piecing and freezer paper piecing is. Kerry of verykerryberry tought this class excellently and made a point of showing everybody the finished pieces throughout the morning. We had the choice of making pin cushions or an intricately pieced house. I decided on a pin cushion as you know I have a soft spot for them.
It turns out that freezer paper piecing lends itself excellently to the piecing of the dreaded Y seams. I was pleased with how my pinni turned out (filled with my customary rice and lavender mix; I do love a heavy and fragrant pinni !). I will definatly use this technique again in smaller items such as pin cushions but possibly not on a large quilt as it is rather labour intensive. I have sewn Y seam on a large quilt before and whilst it is difficult you can get the hang of it after a while. It is also somewhat easier on larger pieces.
So that was it. A great weekend that I will not forget for a long time ! I hope you had fun too and would love to hear your stories.