Sunday, 17 June 2012

What I did at FQ London 2012

Slightly after the event I know, and you will no doubt have seen A LOT of photos like the one above by now, but I really had to post about the weekend or you might get the idea I hadn't enjoyed it!

Sorry about the long break from posting, this is the first day at home I have had since I got back nearly 2 weeks ago. I have either been working or away again ever since, and coupled with the fact that we had no broadband at the shop for 10 days (!!) and then once that was fixed it went off at home, this is actually the first chance I have had to write about my adventure.

I am completely rubbish at taking photos at events so that one above is the only one you will see here, taken as everyone was packing up to go!
I thought instead I would show you all the stuff I made. Here is my gorgeous frame purse made at Katy's class on Saturday morning (a really informative, inspiring class - thanks Katy!).
I arrived at the retreat at about 9.50 on the Saturday morning. Everyone else was already busy with their ice-breaker game (I lost mine the minute after it was handed to me) and mingling. The first few hours were just so overwhelming and intense. The first person I saw was Marg, which was lovely as she was one of the few people there I had met before, and then I got to finally meet Lynne! I think I was looking forward to meeting her above everyone else except maybe Dolores (more on her later!). Lynne and I have often said that we feel like we have already met and seeing her in the flesh felt exactly the same is she is just so familiar to me!
And then there was all the FQ crew - so great to see them all in person! Each one a total delight.
And then I got the most amazing goody bag! I just wasn't expecting all that free stuff!!
Oh and here is the inside of my purse...
I absolutely loved the whole weekend, but at the start it was almost too much to bear! There were so many people to talk to and I just spent the whole time staring at people's chest trying to work out who they 'really were'. "Yes your name's Amy/Diane/Claudia - but who are you really? What's your blog/Flickr name? Oh it's you - how lovely to meet you!!" was how most of my first conversations went!
Things settled down a bit after a delicious lunch and more friends 'ticked off' my meet and greet list. Oh and the Sample Swap too - such fun! More on that later too!
My afternoon class was with Lynne and the lovely Mandy assisted. Mandy has a wonderful calm, warm manner. Lynne is an excellent teacher, very precise and, of course, funny! I was having a go at paper piecing the Union Jack in Lark fabrics above.
I very kindly made a deliberate mistake on the top right-hand block just so Lynne could point out what NOT to do for everyone else - because that's the sort of pal I am ;)
It was very difficult to decide what to do in the evening. I would have loved to have gone out with all the Brit Bee lot for dinner, but in the end decided to hang out with Dolores as she was only there for the Saturday and had come all the way from the USA! Lovely Mandy (Mandalin), Trash and Marg joined us as we got takeaway Indian from Waitrose (they do all sorts down in London!) and hung around for the Pub Quiz (we came second if you discount the cheaters!). I was exhausted but totally over stimulated as I climbed in to bed in my very cute little room at the Radisson, and had to watch mindless TV to calm myself down and get to sleep!

The Sunday was much more relaxed. Both my classes were in the same place and I got to hang out with Fiona all day as she was sitting right behind me, filling me in when I didn't listen properly and lending me stuff.
First of all we did Freezer Paper Piecing with Kerry. I made that cute little pincushion above and learnt how to do perfect (ish) Y seams. You could tell Kerry was a teacher in real life, she was so confident and enthusiastic and was clearly having a great time. She also shared her scraps with us!
In the afternoon I did Portholes with Lucie, who is just so funny! She was a real delight to spend time with, and I loved this class the best. A great technique that I know I will expand and use again and again.
And then just as I was getting into the swing of it all it was over! It was so sad saying goodbye to all my new friends, but I know we will all meet again next year!
I wanted to show you a photo of ALL the amazing free stuff I got, but by the time I managed to get my camera out the other day I had messed everything up - used some stuff, given other things away and assimilated everything else into the mess that is my sewing room at the moment.
So here is a photo of the 2 raffle prizes I won (book and pattern), a sweet little mini quilt that Dolores made me, and all my sample swap goodies (minus the beautiful flower corsage that Mary gave me which is on a jacket that I left at work - sorry Mary!). The bag with the London map on was full of all these random things like batteries and magnets that came with a poem telling you how these things would help you through the weekend - very clever!

Phew, I have written much more than I intended, but I just want to say a BIG THANK YOU, to the whole FQ retreat team for putting on such a treat just for our benefit. I know it must have been a huge amount of work but it was so worth it as you made a load of people really happy.
And one more thing...
You may remember that little secret that I spoke about before leaving for the retreat? Well Dolores (Deeroo Designs) had planned to come over to visit her daughter, Maria, in June and decided she could make one day at the retreat too. She told me and Mandy and Lynz but kept the whole thing secret from Marg. That was the secret and funnily enough the person most bothered about it, who tried again and again to guess it after I mentioned it on the blog, was Marg! I missed the great reveal on Friday night, but I hear Marg was pretty gobsmacked!
On the Wednesday after the retreat Dolores made it up to Edinburgh! Here she is with me in my shop. I got to spend a few hours with her, Maria, and Dolores's lovely husband Don, taking them around a very grey, rainy Edinburgh. It was a perfect way to round up the whole FQ retreat adventure!


  1. It was a fantastic weekend, a pleasure to meet you, and I was gobsmacked at Delores being there too! Great secret!

  2. It really was a great weekend!

  3. So lovely to meet you and to read about the retreat from your point of view - and I agree with you about Mandy!

  4. Oh there you are, nice to 'see' you again, see you at the end of July!

  5. Glad to hear that the brooch is being worn! Lovely to meet you in 'real life'

  6. Great post Jo, so lovely to hear it all from your side. It was great to see you again and I can still not believe you all kept the secret from me!

  7. Your blog post just made me relive it again. It was lovely to meet you and if you ever turn Hester into a pattern you can be sure that I'll give her a good home :-)
    See you again next year!

  8. Excellent - can't believe it was two weeks ago already.
    Can't wait for next year, because I am planning to actually have conversations with people next time!

  9. Great to meet you on Sunday and a lovely blog post. It's so great reliving the weekend through everyone's posts! Your shop looks lovely, another reason to visit Edingburgh!

  10. It was such a pleasure to meet you Jo. Great round-up of the weekend.

  11. It was soooooo great to meet you Jo and everyone...if you are ever in Edinburgh you HAVE to go see Jo's's amazing! Thanks again bud....Mortimer is sitting right next to my computer!:)xo

  12. Sounds like a lot of fun - even if it was intense!

  13. Love your start to your Union Jack pillow. I've enjoyed seeing everyone who went to the FQR choices of fabric for this project.

  14. Sounds like you had a brilliant time. I really enjoyed reading your blog.

  15. Lovely report on the retreat, thank you, and the shop looks fab

  16. Sounds like you had a fabulous time - it's been lovely to read a retreat post a few weeks after the others!