Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Fat Quarterly Retreat – sewing, shopping and swapping

I’m back from three days away in London at Fat Quarterly Retreat and I could do with a day off to recover but I’ve learnt lots such as:

  • The weather forecast was right for once and there was no need to pack a raincoat.
  • I’m rubbish at remembering names and faces.
  • Unpicking is not fun when you used a stitch length of 1.3.
  • You have no hope of winning the pub quiz when you have more team members than points.
  • Cathedral Windows can become draughty windows if your points are a bit iffy.

I didn’t take many photos during FQR as I seemed to be too busy sewing or talking, but here’s a quick rundown of the weekend.


First up on Friday afternoon was Curved EPP with Julianna and Joanna who showed us how to deal with convex and concave curves. I enjoyed this class and I think there was a eureka moment when everyone round the table suddenly realised how the pieces fitted together.  I used some lovely FQs that I won from The Old School Club and I was so intrigued to see the final block that I finished my sample on the train home.

Saturday morning saw the Fantasy Fabric Shop with Kerry who explained about colour theory, value and tone, different types of contrast, and story telling with fabrics. We were then let loose with a whole rainbow of FQs to pick our perfect bundle of six FQs. I was fine with picking complementary colours, but struggled to pick a contrasting colour and it was the colour wheel to the rescue. I did cheat a bit when it came to the sixth FQ and picked a neutral solid.

Saturday afternoon was spent with Julianna and Joanna again, this time learning foundation paper piecing. This was totally new to me and a bit of unpicking was required when the text ended up at the wrong angle. I was so pleased to get most of my seams to match that I didn’t spot I used the wrong colour fabric in three places.  I can’t decide whether to reach for the unpicker or whether to just write off this sample as a practice piece. 

Sunday morning was the final session of FQR and I had Cathedral Windows with Brioni. Again this was a new technique for me and I am totally smitten with it.  I managed to get my sample finished in the session, though I could have done with spending a bit more time at the ironing board and getting the points to be more accurate – this block is more draughty windows than Cathedral Windows. I’m hoping that I can get more of the fabrics I chose for the sample and make this into a larger project.


There wasn’t too much free time during the weekend, but I was able to fit in a visit to  Shaukat Fabrics which was only a 10-15 minute walk away. I now know how fans feel when they meet their film or sporting idols – for a Liberty-phile such as myself this was the equivalent. As you enter the shop there are few rolls of Liberty fabrics by the door, but the true treasures are in the basement – wall after wall of Liberty fabrics, all the designs that I had only read about and never seen.  Faced with such a selection of fabric, I decided to pick just three designs that really appealed to me and couple of pieces from the seconds basket. 


I signed up for various swaps and Saturday evening was swapping time.  First off was the strip swap organised by Sue. We all threw our bags or rolls of fabric strips onto a table and then dived in, but in an orderly manner, to retrieve the same number of bags/rolls as we put in. The three bags I retrieved will be a welcome addition to my scrap bag. The next swap was the ugly fabric swap and was held in a similar fashion to the strip swap. If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then I think ugly is also in the eye of the beholder as I quite like some of my new supposedly ugly fabrics.

The final swap was the sample swap and was organised by Trashalou. I had seen pictures of some of the items being made on Flickr and in various blog posts and was delighted to be in a group with Moira, Ailyn and Kath. Moira made an iron cosy with a matching storage bag, Ailyn made a key fob and couple of pouches including a very clever “sleeping bag” pouch, and Kath made the cutest little frame purse.

Giveaway This giveaway is now closed.

As a reward for reading this far in this mammoth post, I'd like to share some of the lovely items that were in our goodie bags.  The sponsors of FQR were very generous not only with items for the bags, but also with the prizes for the raffle. Seeing as I was lucky and won a bundle of Liberty Lifestyle fabric in the raffle, I’d like give you the chance to win some of the fabric and thread from the goodie bag.

Up for grabs is a bundle consisting of:
  • A FQ from Eternal Maker
  • A FQ from Riley Blake
  • A scrap bag from Pat Bravo
  • A wooden spool of Aurifil embroidery thread
  • Soie d'Alger silk embroidery floss from Au Ver a Soie
  • The Liberty goodie bag itself

To enter just follow this blog and leave a comment to tell me how you follow the blog. To get a second entry, share this competition by Twitter, Facebook or on your blog and leave a comment to tell me how you have shared. Those who were unable to go to FQR can have a bonus entry – just leave a comment to tell me you couldn’t go and you’ll get a bonus entry.  I’ll post the prize to the UK and Europe and entries close in a week’s time at 10pm BST on Tuesday 30 July.


  1. I love love love your finished EPP block! You finished it so fast! I really hope that you'll make king size bed quilt (with your speed it won't take a long to make it:). I hope also that you'll finish your typewriter block - the colors are great and I can't wait to see what fabric you'll use for the letters.

    PS. Thank you so much for taking part in our class!

  2. Well done on your blocks they look great. Loved hearing about your trip.:o)
    Ive tweeted about your competition and would love to have a shot at winning this very generous prize.
    Pick me, pick me, pick me

    1. Oh and I didnt get to FQR - its on my 'to do' list. :o)

  3. I'd love to go to Fat Quarterly Retreat some day! Sounds fab!
    BTW, although I'm trying to comment as modflowers.wordpress.com the preview of my comment keeps coming up as anonymous! I follow you via Bloglovin' and my email, should you need it, is modflowerdesignsATgmailDOTcom

  4. Love those cathedral windows, they look stunning. I really must have a go at them one day. Looks like you had a great time. I follow your blog in Feedly :-)

  5. I've tweeted about the competition. Looks like a fab goodie bag, very generous of you to share the contents.

  6. I didn't go this year because I'm going on a family holiday in a couple of weeks time, my son's first trip on an aeroplane! I knew if I went I'd end up spending a lot of money and not leaving us with much for the holiday so had to put family before fabric (begrudgingly!).

  7. I'm trying to follow your blog using facebook, but every time I click follow, my computer freezes. I really want to enter the contest.

  8. Thank you for a f abulous giveaway!
    I follow you with bloglovin and by email!

  9. I didn't go to FQR this year - maybe next year???

  10. 1.3 - ouch! loved this post, so easy to forget how sociable crafts can be when you're head down at home. Thanks for reminding me :-)

  11. oh and i've shared on twitter and couldn't go tp FQR. one day! wouldn't let me follow so i'll just keep stalking you on twitter! ;-)

  12. I follow you on twitter and you inspired me to tackle my own quilt and gave me some great advice on how to start it, and now it's nearly finished :-)


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