One of reasons we took this recent trip is that I was invited to teach at the 2014 Fat Quarterly Retreat in London. I’ve shared a little bit about this briefly, but I wanted to share a little more of the action now that I’ve had time to properly go through my photos. First of all, a big thanks to Brioni, Lynne, and Tacha for inviting me. What a great trio that is. Such fun and funny and talented women.
I taught an English Paper Piecing class (which seems a little ironic since I was one of the few American teachers). This class was all about using diamonds and it was so much fun to prepare.
These are some of the blocks I made in preparation. I like hexagons, but I have to say, diamonds are so much more versatile! I’m excited to keep playing with them. I’ll write a post at some point with some of the tips I’ve learned along the way about paper-piecing in general and working with diamonds specifically.
Here are some of the lovely ladies in my class. For some of the class members, this was familiar territory. For others it was something totally new and it was a lot of fun to watch them get “hooked” on the awesomeness of english-paper-piecing.
These busy-bees (including but not limited to: Joanne, Cara, Sue, Maguerite, Elisabeth, Di) were in my Fabulously Fast Tiles quilt class from my book. (This is the reason I made and brought the new Hadley version of this quilt.)
One of my favorite parts of going to quilt classes is to see the variety of fabrics people use for the same project. Here is cute JoAnne using one of my favorite collections, April Showers.
One of the absolute highlights for me was to get to not only be around Jen Kingwell (here she is with her gorgeous Gypsey Wife quilt) but to get to take a class from her! Wow. It was such an amazing opportunity.
Here is a close up of part of her Green Tea and Sweet Beans quilt. At the risk of sounding like a hyper-obsessed fangirl (which I am) Jen has an amazing gift for design, and color, and fabric selection that is so uniquely hers.
She pulls together combinations that I would never even think of and they just work in a stunning way. Seeing her quilts up close and in person has inspired me to stretch outside my comfort zone and try new colors and combinations.
On top of that, her workmanship is just incredible. Her blocks and quilts are all hand-pieced and hand-quilted. Just stunning.
So to get to take a class from her in person was just a dream come true. She was so generous and gave us each a copy of her new pattern for Green Tea and Sweet Beans. (you can find the book here.) She then shared her method for hand-piecing and hand applique. Here is my little start – three little hand-pieced blossoms.
Look at all those fun blocks! This quilt is a total bucket list quilt for me, but I’m determined to work on it even if it becomes a long-term project. You know me – I’m all about get a quilt done and move on to the next project using any short-cut or fabulously fast tricks to get there. I’m excited to slow down and have these as my hand-work projects over the next few years. (If you love this too and are looking for fabric help I noticed that Jen’s shop in Australia has Green Tea kits!)
And as if I didn’t need any more inspiration, in the class I was sitting next to the wonderful Mandy who was hand quilting an equally wonderful quilt made with Jen Kingwell’s 2013 Bring Me Flowers block of the month pattern.
Just stunning. And again, totally inspiring.
A few more inspiring pieces from the weekend. Here’s Nicky’s quilt at show and tell.
And this mini by Nicolas was SO cool. Each block is a different vegetable. Can you see them?
Definitely the best part of sewing retreats/conferences/shindigs is the people. And the group at this event was one of the best I’ve ever been a part of. Every single person was just lovely. It’s always so fun to connect with people I’ve interacted with via social media and to match-up a real live person to screen name. Or to reconnect with friends like DeeRoo (from whom I shamelessly stole this photo) who I’ve “talked” with online for years and even met in person once four years ago – and who is just a super friend.
Equally awesome is meeting new friends. Saturday evening I ventured out to Shaukat on a hunt for some Liberty scraps (more on Liberty fabrics in another post) and ran into Cristina and sisters Helene and Gunilla who were on the same hunt. After bonding over scraps of Liberty fabric we went to dinner and had the loveliest time. See? Instant connections with other fabric lovers. 😉
So just a fantastic time with wonderful people. Now I wish I could go every year! A few other fun people to meet in person for the first time included Jenny (who is the whiz behind my favorite magazine Love Patchwork and Quilting) and Karen of Blueberry Park who I have been following on Instagram for a while now.
And I was so excited to finally get my hands on some of Karen’s screen print designs. I need to plot a fun way to use them!
I did a little bit of exploring London while I was there. My family was still in Manchester at the time – I took the train down for the weekend – so I thought it would be good to hit some of the sites that they would not be as interested in (aka shopping and art galleries.)
I hadn’t been to the Tate Gallery in over 20 years. So much beautiful eye-candy and inspiration. (I’m kind of an art-history nerd so I was in heaven. Plus there was some good quilty inspiration as well.
Mostly it was just surreal to be walking through my favorite city. Even though it’s been 21 years since I lived there the layout is so familiar. It’s fun to see changes as well. One of my favorite things was the bike rentals throughout the city. I finally got up my courage to rent one and ride along Embankment on the Thames. I think I was a little giddy and felt 19 again. (That’s the handlebar pic on the upper right. It’s tricky to get an action shot of riding a bike by yourself.)
I brought home a few treats from the retreat to share with one of you including a copy of Love Patchwork and Quilting, a Fat Quarter of London fabric from Robert Kaufman, and mini Moda charm pack and a set of diamond paper-piece templates from Paperpieces.com.
Since we’ve had a lot of giveaway entry-stuff lately, I decided to just pick a random comment-er from the past month. ThimbleannaAugust 7, 2014 at 6:57 AM these are yours! If Thimbleanna isn’t interested I’ll pick someone new. Thanks for visiting and reading this blog!