Where to begin?! Last weekend we went to London. Of course I went for the Fat Quarterly sewing/quilting retreat, and Frederik, Damaris and Emil went with me. Afterwards Damaris and I said to each other: we have had this much excitement before but not in such a short time. I'm still a bit quiet about it, it was so wonderful, overwhelming, fun, like nothing else! And we're tired of course.
Damaris blogged about her experiences on her Dutch fashion blog (she's 14 and has this blog with her best friend).
So now for my experiences. I'll start with some photos and then hopefully the words will come.
We flew to London from Rotterdam on Friday. It took only 4 and a half hours from door to door, which I thought was incredibly fast! We had dinner at Jamie Oliver's Barbecoa restaurant, great food and fun!
Then, on Saturday morning I went to the Baden-Powell House to the retreat. I was greeted by lots of friendly and familiar faces, the nerves left immediately. The main hall was already filled with lots of people and the great opening game was to talk to six people whose names I had on a card, and get their autographs. It was a great trick to break any ice that was left, and I had soon met all kinds of people that I had only known through the internet up to now. John (Quilt Dad) made a little opening speech and then some classes and other activities started. I first went to swap some nice FQs of fabric.
After some coffee and chatting to people, my first workshop started: the Design Challenge. John, Brioni and Lynne talked about the design process for the Fat Quarterly book and showed some samples from the book. Then we got some short assignments (like draw a block with squares and rectangles), did some drawing and talked about what we had come up with. This was a fun exercise that I want to do more often. I usually start by looking at fabric, or with a theme.
After this it was lunch time (actually it was Sample Swap time, but Vicky and I missed that a little bit and upset Trash's plan somewhat (sorry!), all was fine in the end though (I hope for you too, Vicky!))
After lunch I was in Lynne's class to make a Union Jack pillowcase using foundation paper piecing. Lynne was a fun teacher and had made an excellent pattern for us. Working in a different place than usual and with a different machine than at home is not easy, so I made a quarter of a Union Jack with some Lotta Jansdotter and Meadowsweet fabric. I will definitely finish this at home because it will be a great souvenir from the Jubilee weekend spent sewing!
In the main hall some exciting things were going on. One of them was that a representative from Liberty came to show us their new range of quilting weight fabric, Liberty Lifestyle. This was just awesome! Such beautiful prints! I cannot wait to buy them all! I received a pretty tote bag from the Liberty lady (as did a lot of people).
Another thing was the Iron Man challenge. I was in group 5 and with Lucy, Amy, Tammy, Elisabeth and other that joined us we worked on designing and making a quilt top.
Of course we had to swap our ugly fabric too. Some were really ugly, but some were okay. This is what I ended up with:
After this was the raffle. There were lots of prizes, I was impressed. My family had already come to have dinner with me and they saw me win a huge prize: A fat quarter set of Blitzen by BasicGrey, really good!! Thank you!! I want to make a quilt with stars from it, because it is Christmassy fabric (but I won't promise it will be done this Christmas...).
During dinner I almost fell asleep, so after that I only went back to collect my things and went straight to bed after that!
The next morning Frederik, Damaris and Emil got up very early to go to the Harry Potter Studios, so I had breakfast by myself. I think I saw some wizards posing as muggles in the breakfast room though... Then back to the retreat!
First I had a freezer paper piecing class with Kerry. She is in the Cocorico bee too, and she's just really good, technically and creatively!! It was fun to meet her, and learn tricks to conquer the dreaded y-seam (just do it, step by step, leave the paper on until the end, use tick marks), and it worked! I only finished one block, because I sewed by hand (not my favorite thing). And also because I had a fun chat with Ulrike (Floh) and Mary about our various bee experiences. At home I turned my little block into a pincushion.
After another great lunch I chatted for a while with Nicole, Tacha and Linda. And I listened in on Lucie Summers porthole technique class. Then we found out that the frame purse class from Katy had started and we rushed upstairs. I managed to finished my frame purse, and I was so happy! It's really not that hard (Katy explained it step by step), and the result looks great! Next day at home I ordered frames, glue and piping cord from U-handbag to make some more of these purses.
After finishing the purse and saying goodbye, I went back to the hotel and waited for my husband and kids. They had managed to see a glimpse of the Jubilee boat pageant, and they made it back in time too. I heard all about their wonderful time at Harry Potter in the taxi to London City airport. We made it in time for the plane back home and Nicole, who had taken the tube had luckily also made it through the rush, she was on the same plane.
Okay, once I got talking, the words did come; this is a very long post. I want to thank everybody for making the retreat so wonderful: the FQ team, the teachers, all the other helpers and all my fellow participants!!! Let's do it again next year! I loved it!!