Saturday, 2 August 2014

Fat Quarterly Retreat - Day 2 and 3

Moroccan Tile _ Amy Smart

The first class I had on day two of the Fat Quarterly Retreat was "Getting your Patchwork into Print" with Jenny Fox-Proverbs, editor of Love Patchwork and Quilting magazine. I was really excited because (probably like most of you reading this) I think it would be amazing to get one of my quilts in a magazine. Jenny has been working in the crafty publication industry for about 15 years, so I was ready to absorb all that I could. Jenny is very sweet (and very pretty) and talked about what she's looking for in new contributors of her magazine. She pointed out that not magazine/book publishers are the same, so if you're wanting to submit one of your quilts, it would probably be best to submit to a publication that is the most suited to your style. She talked about how to submit, what NOT to say in an email submission, and how important is is to "sell" your quilt design/idea. She also talked about how you should never compromise your style for an editor. As an editor herself, she has a motherly-like relationship with her contributors--she recognizes their strengths and wouldn't ask them to make something that is out of their comfort zone.

Another important thing to mention is that Jenny said you should really focus on building your brand. When people already know who you are, there's a better chance for publication. So build your blog, get on instagram, and get out there and show people the wonderful things you're making!!

My second class was "6 Pointed Stars" with Amy Smart. The class started immediately after the first one, so I didn't have time to run back to my room and get all my stuff like I had planned, so I spent half the class just trying to borrow stuff to make my star. We were English paper piecing and Amy showed us that glue basting was way easier than trying to sew all those pieces down to the paper. It was funny because everyone kept saying "...if you use a pritt stick" and I had no idea what they were talking about. "A what stick?" I asked. "A Pritt stick." But to me these words didn't make sense...then they showed one to me--it was just a regular glue stick and the brand was "Pritt".  And if you'll allow be to divert the story for just a moment, this reminds me of a recent confusing conversation I had with my British co-worker, Mr. Moss.

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Mr. Moss works in the office right next to me, is probably in his 50's, and him and I are always going round-and-round in these weird conversations where we don't understand what the other one is saying--even though we both speak English. But American English is way different from the Queen's English. So, Mr. Moss walked in to my office and said, "I have to run over to the other office in case anyone asks for me--I'm not skiving".

"Skiving? What's that??" I asked.

"It bunking off" he said it like somehow that had cleared everything up.

"You mean, like 'skating'?"

He stared at me obviously becoming confused too because he didn't know what I meant.

I tried again, "Like slacking--you know, slacking off?".

He still look confused, and I was confused and we were just standing there staring at each other and trying to figure out how we were going to get this message across.

And then he said, "In the old days, a skivy was--"

"Underwear'!" I yelled out. I thought maybe I was getting warmer, because in American if you are "in your skivvies", you are in nothing but your underwear, but no, I was still wrong.

"No, no, no" he laughed. "A skivvy is a menial servant, and so maybe the word "skiving" comes from that word--maybe when the skivvies would try to get out of doing work they would be skiving".

And then the lightbulb came on. And then we both decided we should write an American English/British English dictionary.

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So anyway, back to the story real story.

So I borrowed a Pritt stick and basted diamonds, and then sewed a few together, then it was time for lunch. The retreat provided the lunch for us, so we sat around and chatted and then we were off to our next classes. I was taking "Free Motion Design" with Trudi Wood.

Trudi is a Renaissance woman--she is an awesome free-motion quilter, works a regular job, and is single mom.  She taught us how to make all kinds of cool designs with paper-and-pencil that we could use in our quilts--feathers, all different ways to make swirls, and how to 'break-up' our quilts to and make up different designs all over. The class was very fun and beneficial because I'm always getting stuck on how I should quilt my quilts, so now I have lots of new ideas for things I could do. After the class, I snuck back to my room to take a quick nap, and then ran back to the retreat when it was time to break for dinner.

Earlier that day I had been invited to dinner with two quilting sisters, Gunilla and Helene who are from Sweden and are such nice people. Before we ate, they wanted to stop by a shop, Shaukat, that sold Liberty fabric and better prices than what was available at the Liberty Store. When we got there, we were looking through a huge pile of end-of-bolt pieces of fabric and then Amy Smart walked up and started going through the fabric with us. I felt really silly because if I wanted a piece like she had, I thought she'd think I only wanted it because she liked it, so I tried not to pick the same fabric as here, but I still came away with a beautiful bundle. As Helene, Gunilla, and I were leaving we asked Amy if she would like to join us for dinner because it didn't appear she was with anyone else. We all walked down to an Italian restaurant and ate together, which was pretty cool for me, because I got to have dinner with my idol!

When we walked back to retreat it was time for the market and show-and-tell. At the market I picked up some new Cotton + Steel and a few other coordinating prints. I tried not to like Cotton + Steel but I got sucked in--the colors are very, very pretty, and the cotton is so soft.

For the show and tell, a bunch of people showed off their quilts they had made for Siblings Together, and there were 27 quilts, I believe, being donated--and they were all so pretty. Even though the quilts were for donation, people really took the time to make them beautiful. You can see them on instagram if you search #FQR2014

After the show and tell, I went back to my room to cut fabric. The next morning I had my last class, Fabulously Fast Tiles with Amy Smart, and decided to use the new Cotton + Steel I had purchased at the market. I cut the fabric, and got ready for bed.

Day 3

For the last class, we were making Amy's Moroccan Tile Quilt, from her book "Fabulously Fast Quilts". And let me just say, the quilt is super-easy to make, and does go really fast. Each of us had brought 2" strips of fabric and I turned around at one point, and the woman behind me had a jelly roll of Bonnie and Camille's "Ruby", and I said, "How did you find this??!!". She explained that she was over in Norway at a quilt shop looking for a jelly roll to bring, and that was all they had so she got stuck with it--she didn't have another option. I told her in America, that is like gold and she could get a lot for it. Then later, Amy Smart walked up to see how everyone was coming along, and she saw the lady's jelly roll, and said "Where did you find this?" and went through the whole thing again. So, what I learned from that quilting trends aren't the same the world over.

When it was getting close to time to leave, Lynne Goldworthy came by and announced that we would all be meeting up downstairs at "quarter-two".

"A quarter to two?" I thought to myself. So we were going to break for lunch first, then meet up to say our goodbyes? That was 2 hours away. Then I started telling people that we were meeting back up at almost 2 o' clock and someone corrected me and then I told them what Lynne said. They explained that Lynne had said "quarter to" not "quarter two"--so really just a quarter before the next hour, which was in 10 minutes. (That will be added to my dictionary).

As we said our goodbyes the fire alarm went off, and we all went outside and hugged and exchanged email addresses. It was a little sad because I made some new friends in the short weekend, and I'm hoping that one day I'll get to meet up with them again. Overall, it was a great experience, I had fun, I learned a lot (and little more of the 'English' language, and I got to meet some amazing people. Brione, Lynne and Sasha did an outstanding job of putting it all together, and if I'm here next year, I'll definitely be going back.


  1. So glad you had such a great experience.

    And the Ruby jelly roll? How I'd love to be "stuck" with that to work with!

  2. I love your stories lol! Sounds like a great time. A Ruby jelly roll...sigh!

  3. Ahaha, that skivvies convo is so funny!! Sounds like such a great retreat! Fun classes, people, fabric and shopping.

  4. Sounds like you had a lot of fun!

  5. You can use Pritt Sticks for basting? Also totally didn't realise they're purely a UK thing!

  6. That sounds like so much fun! I wold love to go to A Fat Quarterly Retreat one day.

  7. Loved hearing about your retreat experience, sounds like it was a lot of fun! And that's so great that you got to have dinner with Amy - how exciting!! :)


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