What a weekend! I have just returned home after a spectacular weekend retreat in London with the Fat Quarterly crew. They did an incredible job mixing classes with mini competitions, raffles, impromptu workshops and general socializing. It was all I had hoped it would be. I am sure you are reading similar stories on 25+ other blogs today so I am sorry if I repeat what others have already said. I'll just give you the highlights of the weekend from my perspective.
First thing Saturday morning I went to Lucie Summers' Portholes class. You might know Lucie as designer of the Summersville line of fabric for Moda, or from her incredible Portholes quilt. If you don't know the quilt, I snapped a few photos of individual blocks:
This technique gives you a way of layering several different prints of fabric in concentric circles so you get a peep of each in one block. It is an amazing technique that can be easily applied to nearly any shape, so your opportunities to create are endless. Lucie gave us a quick demo of the technique and then we were off and running.
You can see Judith and Kat were in my class...
As well as Mary, Ceri, Susan, Terri and Judith. We had a great giggle as newbies trying to work it all out. In the end, I made one block with four different types of fabric. I think in the end this will become a child's quilt with 9 blocks and a bit of a border. I would like to mix it up so that some blocks have huge circles (like this one here - it's about a 12 inch block with a 10 (-ish) inch circle) and some with many smaller circles. We'll see how it goes.
Between classes we had time to chat. Chatting with folks was perhaps the best part of the weekend. It was incredible actually talking to people who you feel like you know but have never met in person before. I know what projects they're working on, some times a bit about their families and/or jobs, have seen photos of their pets, but actually getting to TALK to them was just fabulous.
I spent a little time with the lovely Emily and her Zakka bag made especially for the retreat. Isn't it lovely? She even had a skirt made out of selvedges for Sunday! Incredible.
After lunch I ran to my English Paper Piecing class with Tasha. She's a total master of all things EPP, so it was fantastic to sit and learn with her. I was joined in class by Mary, Brioni and Lizzie.
We had a great time chatting while trying to make something that even SLIGHTLY resembled Tasha's example.
Also in my class were Terri and Katie, here with Tasha (AKA: the master).
Right next to us was an embroidery class taught by Aneela Hoey. Kat, Laura Jane, Trudi and Nicky were so proud of their stitching...as they should be!
I started to re-create Tasha's Square Dance pattern, shown above. I have a LONG way to go, but am happy with my little piece so far. I'm making this with left over bits from the Community Quilt, so it will be very colorful and scrappy. Not sure what I'll make just yet. Maybe a mini quilt. Maybe a bag. I need to see how many repeats I need to stitch to really get the repeat of the pattern and I'll make the decision from there.
After Saturday's classes, we took the opportunity to take a photo with some of the contributors to Stargazing. I wish the whole bee was here for a huge photo of everyone, but we at least had five of us together. From left to right you'll see Trudi, the quilter, then Kat, Judith and myself all stitchers in the bee. Nicky should have been in the photo too, but I didn't get a good picture with Nicky included. Hopefully someone will send one to me (hint, hint girls!).
This was the first time I saw Stargazing after Trudi worked her quilting magic and it was SPECTACULAR. Just lovely. I will bind it this week and will post a gazillion photos for you all to see it in better detail. Thank you, bee ladies, for such a lovely way to cement our friendship! It will keep me toasty warm on the couch this winter.
We finished the day with dinner together, organized by the fabulous Susan. I had the great pleasure of sitting with Laura Jane on one side, Kat on the other and Sarah right across from me. Who could ask for better dining partners? I loved, loved, loved spending time with these ladies in person. Again, being able to hear their voices or see their hand gestures just adds another dimension to their personalities that I never would have grasped from our online relationship. Priceless.
If you were at the retreat and think you escaped the camera lens, you are so wrong. Check back on Wednesday for photos of the second half of our retreat. I can't wait to tell you more!