I admit I was a little worried about this year’s retreat as many of my friends weren’t going. Due to some other commitments I couldn’t participate in all the hype beforehand either although I did enter the sample swap and name tag swap before realising that I would be swamped with other things. I made a name tag for Di of Willowbecks Designs, a lady I absolutely love. She is one of the nicest, most generous and beautiful people I know so I wanted to make something beautiful for her. I think I managed it but as I completely forgot to take a picture of the name tag you’ll just have to trust me on that one. I got the best name tag, which the lovely Trash made for me when my partner opted out a couple of days before the retreat.
Friday’s classes were a fantastic start to the weekend as I was first taught to hand quilt by THE Jen Kingwell. I admire Jen tremendously and learned so much in her class. Hand sewing is my thing anyway and I’ve always loved the look of hand quilting so it was fun to get a chance to get tips from the expert. I got very little done in class but came away with so much knowledge.
Afterwards I went to a class I had hoped to get into last year: TouchDraw with Lynne from Lily’s Quilts. I use TouchDraw all the time to design my English Paper Piecing patterns and thought I knew my way around this app rather well. Boy was I wrong. I learned a ton of things and came back absolutely amazed at how much easier I could make things for myself. I’ve had a little play with TouchDraw since coming home as I wanted to make sure I don’t forget all the tips and tricks but nothing I can show you yet.
In the evening I went for a wonderful meal with 15 lovely and creative women and had an absolute blast. I was a very happy bunny when I went to bed.
Saturday started with another fantastic class: Screen printing with Karen from Blueberry Park. I’ve admired Karen’s work for a long time and have bought a few things. I was incredibly excited to meet her and get to do some printing. Most of my materials had been left at home as I packed my suitcase in a rather haphazardly way, it seems. I had a hoop, a craft knife and some paint and begged, stole and bought everything else and came away with two different designs that I really love. I’m really excited to make something with my two panels and am desperately trying to find the time to do some more printing soon.
The afternoon was a return to hand stitching and Jen Kingwell. She gave us her ‘Green Tea and Sweet Beans’ pattern and lots and lots of tips on how to make hand sewing easy and fun. This kind of hand sewing is even faster than EPP and seems more relaxed. Once you’ve cut out all the pieces the sewing is really quick. It’s just as portable as EPP but gives a completely different effect. I didn’t like the background fabric I used for the block I had chosen (I used the background I had brought to print on in the morning) so am going to start again with some different background fabric. I know I shouldn’t event think about starting this project as I really need to finish my Spring Carnival first but as soon as that is done I’m starting on GT & SB and won’t stop until it’s finished and hand quilted!
Saturday evening saw the return of quilt market and I did buy some fabric. I couldn’t resist some Oakshotts and some Cotton and Steel. All in all I was very restrained as what I really wanted was a big fat quarter bundle of Oakshott but there was the slight problem of no room in the suitcase…
Pub quiz; you either love it or hate it. I enjoy a good pub quiz although I’m usually the one smiling and nodding while everyone else is giving the answers. This time, however, it was all about fabrics, designers and books and I knew quite a few of the answers. So did the others, though, so I was still sitting there nodding and smiling. And the nodding and smiling paid off as we won. We were allowed to choose a pattern from a selection of patterns and I picked Jen Kingwell’s ‘Steam Punk’. I have no idea when I’m supposed to find the time to make it but, to be honest, I’m just happy to have it in my house.
Sunday morning saw me traipsing back to the Baden Powell House with no materials for my last class. I’d bought the materials before leaving for England but had to leave them behind as there was no space in the suitcase. That’s what I get for sharing a suitcase with a six year old. My last class was with Amy Smart, who I’ve admired for a long time. She’s written a great book ‘Fabulously Fast Quilts’ and we were going to make one of the quilts from it. I walked into the class and told Amy that I was happy to be the pressing girl and thus help out all the other ladies. Luckily for me the wonderful Di from Willowbeck Designs was in the class too and I ended up pressing and sewing for her while chatting non stop. It was a truly great end to a fantastic weekend.