myBearpaw Blog by Jo Avery

Fat Quarterly Retreat 2014 Report

A very belated report on this year’s Fat Quarterly Retreat! Once I got back I had a big deadline looming and I also needed to get all our Autumn/Winter craft classes listed and released, so I’ve not had a moment!

Finally I’ve caught up and can share the magic with you. First up is the Sample and Nametag swap. My very cute mini bearpaw block nametag was made by Nessy of Ecccentrically Green (and anyone who met Nessy this weekend will know where her name came from!). Thank you so much Nessy!

The other 3 items are from the Sample Swap, which this year took place inside for the first time and was still SO EXCITING! Waiting for your name to be called out and join your group is just ridiculously adrenalin raising!  I lucked out again with my group. The beautiful Liberty log cabin pin cushion was made by Birgit from Munich, the uber cute and funny little ‘chicken gonk’ is filled with Lavender and made by Tammy (who was in my group at the first FQR!) and Amanda Metro Quilter made the gorgeous linen covered notebook and zippered pouch! Thank you so much ladies, and thanks to Trash for all her hard work organising the swaps!!

I didn’t think I was going to get a Goody Bag this year as officially I was a ‘teechur’ not an ‘attendee’. But Trash rushed up at the end and thrust one at me! I went to visit my Sister-in-law straight after the event and shared quite a bit of the bag with her, so these are only the bits I kept above – lovely fabric from Robert Kaufman, Dashwood Studio, Riley Blake and Moda. Plus Aurifil thread and sachets of a new starch ‘Soak’. There were also some cute Makower charm packs, thread from Coats and some Koribond haberdashery that went to my SIL. Thank you to all the sponsors for the lovely goodies!

My lovely pal Dolores came over for the Saturday and Sunday all the way
from Virginia! As Dolores made it over to the first FQR and last year to
the Stitch Gathering I really didn’t expect her to make it this year.
But last minute she decided to accompany her daughter Maria who was over
visiting friends. It was SO great to see her again and get to hang out and sew with her on Sunday morning. Here’s one of the only photos I managed to take this year (I am always so useless at this!) with, from left, Betty, Jane, Trudi, Jenny, my room mate Sarah, and Dolores in the foreground.

Dolores is also incredibly kind and generous and always brings me tons of fabric!! Here is this year’s stash (tiny bit shared with my SIL too!), it was all wrapped up in that tea pot fabric, but the rest of it is all low and high volume including the amazing 5″ charm pack she made up for me herself! Can’t wait to get started using this – thank you Dolores xxx

In between teaching my 2 classes I managed to take one class with Thomas Knauer, Large HST’s. That block above is what I made. Not sure what it will become but I like it! The fabric is gorgeous Maisie by Maude Asbury by Blend, my current favourite fabric (though it’s all nearly finished!).

Thomas’s class was more like a fascinating lecture than a workshop – what an interesting guy! He certainly gave us lots to think about. So of course I bought his book…

And lovely Karen’s book! It was so good to see Karen again, we first met 5 years ago at a trade fair before this whole quilting/blogging community really got going and somehow we both ended up involved and both teaching at the retreat! I also couldn’t resist buying some of her beautiful screen printed fabric at the Quilt Market. I’m thinking this would look great with that low volume charm pack from Dolores!

Ahh the Quilt Market on Saturday night…
As you all know I really DO NOT NEED ANY MORE FABRIC! But somehow I still bought some!!
Those 3 pieces on the left are from Beyond Fabric of Bethnal Green, the top piece was a de-stash bargain from Brioni (a big panel of Cosmo Cricket quilt labels for £2!), and the 5 on the left are from Eternal Maker (who always have the most unusual pieces that I like), I even got a piece of Cotton and Steel – get me!!
I also bought some Aurifil from the Village Haberdashery (I like to spread my purchases about to be fair!) but I’ve already used up a lot of that in the last week!

And what about my classes? Well they went very well I think. A little rushed as I had originally planned them for a 3 hour slot but they ended up an hour and a half (!), but I got great feedback from my lovely and very talented students. And I’ve also seen some beautiful finished pieces including this adorable bag that Hadley made for her mum’s birthday!

Here’s a photo from Friday night, there were a lot of us! And it was in the same very hot restaurant (with the same VERY hot temperatures outside as last year – what are the chances??!), but this year we were at the front of the restaurant and I followed clever Reene who raced ahead to get a seat right by the open door! So it was actually quite pleasant.
And the company was amazing! From left to right (those with heads facing this way) Reene (so pleased to finally meet you!), Marg (my first blogging pal!), Sarah (Fairy Face), Jen (editor Love P & Q), Hadley (Flying Blind…), Cindy (fluffy sheep) ad Trudi (quilting prolifically as always!).

I think this was definitely the best FQR yet. Whether that is because with each year I’ve become more relaxed and able to be completely myself (loud and opinionated!), know more people and so enjoy the whole experience more, or whether the retreat itself is settling into a lovely vibe I’m not sure, probably a bit of both.
But a huge thank you to Lynne, Brioni and Tasha, for organising it, and also to all the other lovely Retreaters who make this experience so special every year.
See you next year *waves*!!


  1. Wasn't it such fun!! And I loved your class :-)) Glad to hear you got a goodie bag!!! PS don't I look serious listening to Thomas – he must have been in full flow 😉

  2. Yay – your were one of the fabbest (auto-correct keeps changing this to flabbiest!) bunch of teachers!
    It was a great weekend, can't believe it was all kicking off a fortnight ago already xxx

  3. Hi darlin'…..I've been home for 10 days but didn't have internet! It was soooooo great to be able to hang with you,,,can you believe three years in a row?!:)
    Your class was fab! I really learned a lot….A LOT…I can't believe all the stuff you taught us in just one and a half hours! I finished my piece but now I want to make something with it before showing it to you!;)
    Miss you bunches and hugs to Jonathan!!:)

  4. Jo, I'm home from my travels and finally catching up on the Internet as well. I just wanted to tell you how LOVELY it was to meet you. I only wish I could have spent more time just visiting! Thank you again for your help with the needles. I hope our paths cross again soon!

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