Sunday, 28 July 2013

Fat quarterly retreat 2013: Are you a Lynne or a Lu?

Last weekend was the Fat Quarterly Retreat 2013.  I spent a fantastic couple of days in London sewing and socialising with over a hundred like minded souls; all were there to learn and share whilst generally having a good time. 

The blogoshpere, instagram (#fqrlondon #fqretreat #fqr2013), and flickr ( are awash with great reviews and images of the whole event so I won't repeat here what has already been covered so well.
But, I am linking up over at Fat Quarterly for the post retreat party, so you can hop over and check out the weekend that was!

Kick off!

I'm focusing on two workshops; Precision Piecing and Improv. One selected by instinct and one for the desire to hone my skills.

Improv. with Lu Summers was right at the top of my workshop wishlist. Lu's "anything goes" style is right up my street and I adore her fabrics.

You all know this one! Summersville by Lu Summers for Moda

It was great to take part in a class where the rules really don't matter and look at my mismatched seams and random cutting as part of the charm of the piece rather than sloppy skills.

All hard at work

A bit of this, a bit of that, a chevron here, a strip there, and "voila", a classroom full of mini quilts with personality and flair.

Wonky wonky!

Next up, Precision piecing with Lynne Goldsworthy.

My patchwork piecing leaves alot to be desired. Sometimes it comes together quite nicely, but the consistency isn't there. In fact at it's worst you may mistake it for Improv!
So where am I going wrong? Is it my cutting? My seam allowance? My pinning? My pressing?

Lynne was a wealth of knowledge and as I suspected my skills in all of the above have room for improvement.
In particular, I'm guilty of ironing (read "pulling") rather than pressing the fabric, thus distorting the shape especially when using steam.
My cutting and seam allowance generally aren't too bad but I suffer from a lack of focus. I bore easily when doing fiddly piecing especially when there are alot of repeat blocks. But I was on my best behaviour for the lovely Lynne.


My favourite tip was not necessarily having to pin the seam join when sewing a couple of small pieces together (which is great because I don't anyway!), but rubbing the two pieces together until you feel a "click" as the seams line up. Love it!

Yes I could have done flying geese in the centre but I was practising HST's

Pleased with this one plus had my first play with a Big Shot

Now,  I'm going to ask you all a question.

"Are you a Lynne or a Lu?"

I'm not suggesting that this is the only style or work these ladies are skilled at and enjoy. I'm just interested in where your heart lies?


Do I mind the fact that my work is rarely constantly accurate?

Am I likely to change?
Ok, Ok, well maybe I will fine tune a little bit when the project deserves it and I do like those circles.

But, I do like knowing I'm not missing a magical piece of the process, and it's mainly lack of focus where I fall down. This way I can tell myself I could do it if I wanted to. Yeah right!

Do I enjoy Improv? Hell yes.

Am I buying Lu's new book
Already on pre-order............

Were both workshops worthwhile?
Absolutely! I was learning from the masters.

Conclusion: On most days I'm a "Lu". But which one are you?

Roll on FQR 2014

Friday, 26 July 2013

Step right up if you like a bargain......

Just a quick wee post (is that a post"ette"?) about today's purchases.

I have blogged before about our wonderful local fabric shop, Sew Much To Do, here in Ely, Cambridgeshire.

Since opening their doors in November last year they have continued expand the range of fabrics and goods offered, and the selection of workshops has grown too. All worth a nosey.

But, what I want to tell you about is a new shopping enticement launched today.

"Sew Deal" is a daily changing mega discount on a selected item. Today's offer was the Atlas PVC at 50% off, a bargain at £6.99 a metre.

I love this oil cloth and have been thinking for a while what a great non-ripping wall poster it would make in my daughters playhouse - it's even waterproof which is handy for when the roof leaks occasionally!!!! Alternatively a play mat for a hard floor. The list of uses goes on.......

To get the whole world in your hands you need roughly 75cm. An educational bargain!

You can check out the current daily deal on their facebook page here. Who knows what is might be tomorrow! You don't need to be local. Sew Much To Do can take telephone orders too.

Oh......and a little Moda Comma, charm pack that I've been resisting for months somehow found it's way into my shopping basket at the same time. How did that happen?? Just right to practise my Lu Summers inspired "Improv".

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

<a href="">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Opps! It seems I hadn't done all the steps required to claim my blog on bloglovin. I'd added the button but not published a "linking" post. So I apologise to the lovely people who had clicked the button to follow me on Bloglovin and then thought that I never post anything! Hopefully situation rectified.

A post on the fun and games at Fat Quarterly Retreat 2013 to follow in a few days once my bag is unpacked!

Monday, 15 July 2013

FQR 2013 It's almost here!

It's nearly time to head down to the Big Smoke for Fat Quarterly Retreat 2013.  I'm feeling a good balance of excitement with a pinch of nerves.

I've finally got round to writing a post to join in with the linky party right here.

I'm Jill and I'll be travelling and co-habiting with my partners in crime Sarah and Anna. You will find us swanning around at Millennium Baileys - courtesy of a really good offer a few months ago.

I've always enjoyed artistic pursuits but I didn't pick up a needle for anything more than a forced button repair until January 2011 when I was searching for a new addiction. I go through phases where I sew all the time, followed by weeks where I barely glance in the direction of my piles of fabric, baskets and books that are gradually taking over the so called dining room. My main problem is cutting into my favourtie fabrics and not just hanging on to them for the elusive perfect project. Use the good stuff everyone!!

This blog was born in February this year. I'd been thinking about it for a while and liked the idea of having a shared record of my "makes". The final push was realising how many people attending the retreat were already part of the blogging world.
After a very keen start, my posting frequency has slowed down to a more manageable rate. I quickly discovered the more I posted the less time I had to actually make things to post about!
But, I'm really enjoying being more integrated in the crafty community and I get super excited whenever someone comments on one of my posts, (hint, hint).

My workshops at the retreat are:

Crochet with Laura Taylor
Improv with Lu Summers
Trapunto with Ruth Singer
Precision Piecing with Lynne Goldsworthy (I need all the help I can get!)

Here are my workshop goodies ready to pack. I'd love to claim the lovely pouch at the back is one of mine but it's purchased from the very lovely and talented Ali over at Very Berry Handmade - I couldn't resist.

Here's a close up!

I'm also taking part in the name tag swap. This is my first swap and it seemed like a ideal way to "dip my toe in".  My creation was somewhat amateur but Katy @ The Littlest Thistle has been very kind.

My name tag isn't here yet but that just adds to the building anticipation..........

As well as learning new skills and improving existing, I'm looking forward to putting faces to names and generally having a good ole time!

Come and say hi and I'll give you one of these (to use for a coaster!!)