Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Ten ace things that happened at Fat Quarterly Retreat 2014

1. I arrived without melting. My word but London was Hotty McHot Hotpants that weekend.

2. The goody bags had water bottles in them so we didn't require medical rehydration for the participants.

3. The goody bags. These were filled with the awesomeness - cool postcard, loads of fabric, amazing Aurifil thread, one of those ace mini-sewing kits you keep saying you don't need but still hunt for when emergency button reattachment is required en route to a job interview (is that just me??) and elastic (which always comes in handy when you spend any time with children). I'm guessing there was more but I lost focus after spotting the elastic.

4. Janome lending out FIVE BAZILLION sewing machines for FQR folk to use freely.

5. Meeting ace new people. Some of them I had been chatting with for aaages on Instagram and Flickr but had never actually shared air with, others met for the first time in any platform or reality.

6. Sleeping with two different women over two nights. Marg and Sonia were fabliss roommates for the weekend and didn't even complain very much when I had fifty twelve showers in three days. By the time FQR came about we had been without showerage at Trash Towers for TWO weeks! I was getting a might twitchy because if an occasional bath was a poor substitute for a shower then crappy little birdy bath washes were so far outside the pale as to be invisible. Can I just stress that hairwashing over the sink is a stupid idea and not be countenanced? As soon as polite the hotel shower was put to use and that baby got cranked all the way up to 11. Bliss and contentment.

7. Learning stuff like how to be an octopus when rolling fabric onto a lampshade, the thrill of knowing ALL the answers to the quiz before the questions are even asked and how to limbo around all the cables in the sewing rooms. All the cool things.

8. The Sample Swap working. Cannot even begin to express my relief that I managed to get everyone into a group and there was no repetition of the 2012 ZakkaFest, that everyone was happy with their swap groups and that the handmade crafty goodness being passed around left smiles on all the participants' faces. Let's not even mention that I had to spend half of one Saturday class rewriting the group list as the master one was sitting back on the desktop of my computer all the way back on My Hilltop.

9. My beloved concierge at the Grange Hermitage, Ruben. He was a helpful, calm, friendly, pleasant and hander-outerer of umbrellas when the rain came beating down first thing Saturday morning. the tip wasn't much but I hope the Tunnocks Teacake you received as well stood us in a good light.

10. Being named as an honorary Texan. Loving that so much, thanks Cristina, I shall take my Lone Star status seriously from here on out.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Fat Quarterly 2014

So, it has been ten days since Fat Quarterly and I have just about processed the 2014 retreat. Just about.

It was a whirlwind three days of happy faces, fabric fondling and skill learning. I met new friends, old friends and invisible, made-up, online friends.

During formal registration and check-in I was sent over to man the goody bags desk; this meant everyone was pleased to see me b/c Oh! MY! WORD! the content of those calico bags. And that I was partnered with half of the JackQuarterly team, Lynne's son Jack. All in he was a considerate and good boss who employed me on reasonable terms (but don't tell anyone - he snuck me one of the water bottles destined for the attendees).

With a formal welcome from the Fat Quarterly Team (Tacha, Lynne and Brioni) the event got under way and everyone got ready to head off to their first class.

Although not before somebody really dumb had headbutted those double doors up there with force and at speed. All was well though because nothing breaks the ice like a mahoosive collision followed by the biggest and best curtesy it is within the power of the headbutting idiot to manage. This was the bruise that took a few days to come out but was evidence of a claim for sympathy from those who stayed at home. It was unsuccessful. Unsympathetic bastards.

Once I was mobile again (it did hurt a little bit) I headed upstairs to Brioni's Petals class.

There is Brioni being all teachery and setting out the important stuff. What to cut, how many and the application of bondaweb. This is what it was supposed to look like, obviously the Hat of Happiness is an optional extra but you have to admit it does look good up on the Petal quilt.
Unfortunately I must have been focusing on something else when details were given bc my bondaweb was so bondy and webbish that I couldn't separate my petals from the backing. Even Brioni's clever life hack of scoring and flicking the backing was unsuccessful. But I now know the pattern and plan to one day finish at least one block. Fingers crossed by FQR 2015.
Dinner was a Waitrose picnic out on the terrace at Baden Powell House. There was lots of chat and laughter and a little bit of flying ice to cool down the drinks on such a  Hotty McHotpants evening (in the UK. I know!) before the Block Party kicked off.
The Block Party was a chance to get numbered groups together to create blocks and/or a quilt flimsy for a Siblings Together quilt. I was in Team Infinity (8s look way cooler on the side). Siblings Together is an ace charity that quilters around the world have taken to their hearts and sewing machines to benefit brothers and sisters separated in the care system. Lynne had a box of 'scraps' of Cotton and Steel and Jenni Baker's Vintage Summer. Scraps??? These were huge! So I ran away with them cackling, stroking them and whispering 'Precioussssss'. Not really (well kind of). I hawked the box around to all the other teams, being incredibly profligate with someone else's amazing fabric stash. This is the leftovers and because I was sooo bad at being a member of Team Infinity Lynne has graciously allowed me to take it home so I can make my own Siblings Together quilt.

First thing next morning was registration again and then straight into one of THE. BEST.CLASSES. IN THE WORLD. EVER!!!!!!!!!!
Armed only with instructions on how to screen-print Karen from Blueberry Park faced down 20 crazed sewist and then let them all loose with sharp pointy cutting sticks and waterproof paint. Not content with their own inspired ideas everyone went around swapping and trading images.
I sketched and cut out a pear, which I thought was not too shabby for a freehand and then I looked over at Jen who had drawn a flamingo freehand and then scaled it down so it would fit onto the frame. Freehand drew a flamingo. Twice! Gutted. However I have made stuff during this past week using the prints nicked from other talented participants so - Yay me!

 Post-lunch where I had a show down with a Baden Powell House dweller when he thought he would help himself to food - cheeky fecker (although retrospectively I have felt bad bc he was probably a starving travelling teenager), I went and had a class with the amazing Trudi Wood. Trood was a superstar and taught us loads about free motion quilting patterns and design.
Then off to lampshade making with Karen again. Great fun but my stars! You need fourteen hands to make it happen, thankfully Malmesbury Jen and Shen (Craft Giraffe) were available to assist. I dashed off to shout out the groups for the Sample Swap then back upstairs to be someone else's octopus on their lampshade run.
Saturday night was another Waitrose picnic followed by Market Square in the Main Hall. People were buying  all sorts of fabulousness and then it was time for the Siblings Together Quilts handover to Delma followed by Show and Tell of all the clever stuff people make. My favourite was the Vegetable Patch Quilt made by the uber-talented Nick at Quilts From The Attic. The dude has got it going on!
I managed a short chat with Thomas Knauer, really interesting to hear his viewpoint on modern stitchiness and making. He and Jen Kingwell are at opposite ends of the quilty spectrum. Technology vs hand-created.
With all the oohing and aahing out of the way it was quiz time. I'm still not sure how but I was dragooned into being Quizmaster. Team Butler were the eventual winners and we rounded out the night with random name drawing/prize giving.
Sunday morning saw Market Square comparison going on among room mates. In fact we were so excited to show that we didn't even get out of bed!
Yes that might mean some of us slept snuggled up with the new deliciousness in their lives but quite frankly can you blame me?? Look at it!
Sunday morning was an earlier start but I got there in time to fight my way through the scrum that surrounded the boxes of Oakshott fabric to be used in the Fractured Glass foundation piecing class.

 This was my colour way and just about all I managed to accomplish in this class. I *will* finish the block but I think Foundation Piecing and I are on the verge of reaching an uneasy d├ętente.

Then it was time for farewells and much hugging and a few tears, at which point the fire alarm went off and obviously stopping to collect the treasures amassed over the weekend we trooped out into the street to do it all again - hugs, tears, promises to keep in touch/send that link/fabric/book and farewells.
Then it was off to just sit for a little bit. This pretty much sums up how I felt.
 Hey @

you were the bomb. Thanks for having me.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

2024 - I'll be an old dinosaur by then.

10 years. That's a long time ahead isn't it? But then this is my eighth year of blogging and I would have sworn I had been doing it for longer so what do I know about the relativity of time??

Anyway 2024 is 10 years away,  3653 days, 87658 hours and far too many minutes and seconds to be arsed figuring out but it will be a lot. A really big lot. I will be older and probably grey-haired and who knows? I might actually have a crafty finish under my belt.

Monday, 5 May 2014

This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius.

Yes, yes, I am one of the hippiest of hippy groupings. I am a 'head in the clouds/feet on the ground' kind of chick, I love company but am a loner. I am a forward thinker without a care for what other people think. I go my own way and where I lead people will follow. Also according to the pictures I am pretty ace at tipping water out of a jar.

Hello my name is trash and I am an Aquarius. Aquarius. Aquariuuus. AAAAQUUUARIUUUS!!!!!


Sunday, 4 May 2014

Early memories

My girl, my Princess CurlyWurly as was, is doing her first year of GCSEs this year. That means that she is half way through her teenagerdom and only has four term of formal schooling left. I know. Let's all just take a minute.

One of her electives is Psychology and they have been discussing memory. Apparently she is able to pinpoint her earliest memory to an exact date and time. She remembers the streetlights being very close to her head and hands as her Dada carried her around the corner to a friend's house at early-in-the-morning'o'clock while I stayed home birthing her little brother.

Mine in the other hand is sitting on the bench front seat of my parents' Kingswood station wagon playing with my best beloved teddy bear, Snowy. We were at Naringal School to celebrate its centenary, I guess I was 3 or 4.

I hope that her earliest memory engenders the same feeling of comfort and love that I get from mine.