I know there are an awful lot of exciting and perfectly photographed blog posts about the FQ classes floating around blogland this week, but I'm afraid I'm still going to add my badly-snapped iphone photos and hastily typed memories to the list. Sorry about that.
The first class I took was the Fat Quarterly Design Challenge (my group was led by John, but I think most of Team FQ took a turn leading a session). It was a great class to gently ease into retreat with, and was a real insight into how quilt designs can come together from just a few simple prompts (such as shapes, themes or colours) and how the Fat Quarterly crew put together their issues. And their book, come to that.
My designs were Not Good, but it was a great fun class, and fascinating to see how differently a dozen people could interpret the same idea, and how simple block designs could be put together in different ways.
I actually have a quilt based on this block already in progress (1" squares, anyone?), but I've been avoiding photographing it as I'm not sure if it's going to look like a big fat pile of rubbish when it's finished, and I like to keep my worst disasters to myself. Maybe I'll pull it out and photograph it one day this week.
Next up was embroidery with Aneela. Like many of us crafty types, I dabbled with cross stitch as a kid, but that's basically the full extent of my embroidery experience, so it was a great to have an introduction to 'proper' embroidery with someone who can create beautiful pieces like this.
My little robin was a little wobbly round the edges, but I'm pretty pleased with him and plotting a wintery project to put him in. I also started a stocking (I'm thinking Christmas themes was quite a good idea since it will take me that long to finish all the french knots), but I'm not showing it off here just yet. And not at all because I haven't taken a photograph and can't be bothered to dig it out of my case right now.
Sunday morning I took a freezer paper piecing class with Kerry. Not only was she the best teacher I have had for a long long long time (and not only because I've been out of education for a long long long time), she was also super lovely. Which is doubly fab because I'm soon going to be living a heck of a lot nearer to her! (Relocation coming just as soon as we find a house to live in). And I'm not even slightly planning on distracting her with some Liberty print before making off with her entire stash of fabulous Japanese prints. Because that would be mean.
I've done freezer paper piecing before, but not with much success, and having a few tips from someone who actually knew what they were talking about, and could express it really clearly (she teaches kids. She's good at explaining things in words of one syllable) made all the difference. I was rather proud of my efforts:
Not sure what to do with them - I definitely don't have a whole quilt of that in me! Maybe a pin cushion or two.
Ooh, and look:
Kerry made this fab freezer paper pieced quilt with, among other fabrics, some destash from me!
Last up was the class I was most excited about, the one with a properly new-to-me technique and a rather talented teacher.
Lu Summers taught us how to do portholes! Exciting.
This is one of those real 'ah ha' techniques, where you suddenly get it and have to resist the urge to rush out and make approxmately a million porthole blocks right that second.
I managed to contain myself, and just churned out the two during class:
The fabrics were chosen more or less at random (I only started packing for FQ at about 9pm on Friday night, with a 6:30am train booked for Saturday morning. I may come a teensy bit more prepared next time), but actually worked really well - it's a mix of Liberty and something that is either a Moda crossweave or an Oakshott shot cotton (I'm off to buy more later so I'll let you know). It worked so well, in fact, that I'm plotting an entire quilt of this for our sitting room. Because, you know, I need another WIP right now. On the plus side, the portholes are be a great use for any Liberty scraps you might have kicking around or have bought from me. And since I have a lot of Liberty scraps, I'm calling this an essential project. I feel sure that Adam will agree. Ahem.
All of that up there basically means that not only did FQ Retreat give me the opportunity to meet some wonderful people, it also taught me plenty of new stuff. Which is rather fabulous.