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  1. This Saturday I spent the whole day – from my late arrival at about 10am 'til 11pm in Kensington at the first ever Fat Quarterly Retreat.

    Although I had been assigned to 2 classes – I didn't attend them as it wasn't the reason I was going to Retreat – I was going to spend time in the company of other Quilty people – it also meant I didn't have to carry too much with me as I already had my newly basted quilt and my new EPP project to carry.

    As I was late in arriving I missed the welcome and the name bingo – I was supposedly on a few cards but only signed one – so if you had Danielle Coolbear Jenkins on your card I do exist and it is my real name (I proved this to Lucie with my passport). I was met by Lucie and Mandy and given my goody bag – the 2 fat quarters have been claimed by my boys – I will make them something this weekend – I'm thinking softy buses and cabs.

    Even though I did take my camera I didn't take any photos – although I have spotted myself in the background of a fair few on Flickr and Twitter.

    Although I didn't attend any of the classes I was an interloper into a couple – as I decided to start on a new EPP project – making a quillow to take to LMQG meetings and to use when stitching at home – so I spent my time cutting up my Kate Spain Good Fortune Layer Cake and starting the piecing of the 4 inch blocks.

    This was a good ploy as a lot of people stopped to ask what I was making – so I talked to quite a few people without having to put my stitching down.

    I also got to spend some time with the other members of the LMQG – which I always enjoy doing, it was great to have time to talk to everybody – we just don't get the time at meetings. Some of this time was spent drinking in the bar – which would be great to do again. I'm so glad that I found the LMQG (thanks to Lynne and Kelly, as I found Kelly's blog through Small Blog Meet and it was where I found out that the LMQG existed), such a great group of people.

    Lucie also joined us in the bar – when we first moved to the UK I lived in the next village to Lucie, I wish I had known that at the time.

    After dinner and before heading home I was lucky enough to be part of the winning pub quiz team – with Lucie and Claire (they were in the room when the quiz was devised so didn't receive a prize) and Amy – Amy and I were lucky enough to receive the first year of Fat Quarterly CD.

    I wish I had bought a weekend pass – but I couldn't leave Al looking after the 3 boys by himself for another day, going back to being mum was difficult and I was so wiped out that Sunday night I went to bed at the same time as the boys and was asleep before them. Definitely getting a weekend pass next year if we are still in the UK.

    Thanks so much to the Fat Quarterly team for such a great day, you have inspired me to look into holding a few LMQG retreats (also I'm jealous of my mum who attends quite a few retreats a year).

    Fat Quarterly Retreat Kinky Party



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  2. Next Saturday - the first day of the Jubilee long weekend, I will be ignoring the Jubilee, abandoning my family and heading to South Kensington to immerse myself in Quilty culture.

    As a precusor we are having a linky party:

    Fat Quarterly


    So a bit about me:  My name is Danielle Coolbear Jenkins and yes Coolbear is really my surname and so unique I kept it when I got married almost 2 years ago, there are no young male Coolbears left in my family so my 3 sons all have Coolbear as a second middle name.  I'm a Kiwi and have lived in the UK 6 and half years with my British husband and for the last 4 we have lived on the River Roding (in Barking, East London/Essex) on our partially converted Peniche - a French version of a Dutch barge.  We have 3 sons - J 4.5, A 2.5 and L will be 1 on the 22nd of June.

    my little family

    This is what look like on a really good day - I look more like the photos on the LMQG blog - that's me in the bright orange t-shirt at the first workshop at Lucie's or in green from Aneela's post about her first meeting.

    I have been making patchwork (I hand quilt, but don't do it very often) since I was 9 and have been obsessed since I was about 15 - so I have spent the last 15 years obsessed over English Paper Piecing and the last few years making EPP miniatures, it has taken me 15 years to get around to making any hexagons (intentionally anyway).  Back in New Zealand I was immersed in the Quilty world as my mum and the majority of her close friends are quilters as was my grandmother (and my sister-in-law and mother-in-law), but up until this February when I joined the London Modern Quilt Guild I have been stitching in isolation.

    I am looking forward to spending time with other members of the LMQG (we will all have LMQG badges so you will know who we are), and meeting everybody who I have been blog, flickr and twitter stalking.

    I am bringing the EPP quilt that I started to make for my niece 6 years ago - which has been a finished top for 5 - so I can baste and start quilting it, hopefully to get it finished for her for Christmas.  And maybe also my Kate Spain Good Fortune Layer Cake (my favourite colours are purple and orange) to start working on a quillow for myself (I have yet to decide on the design).


    Bethan Star with border

    Looking forward to meeting everybody!




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    This is the second time I have joined the Bloggers' Quilt Festival.  The quilt that I am sharing this time is similar to the last one as it is also made up of a lot of pieces and was English Paper Pieced, but is very different.

    Amy's Creative Side

    This is 'Peonie' - I know that I am using the plural for an individual image, but essentially this quilt is 2 sided.

    'Peonie' is 11.5 inches x 11.5 inches all hand pieced over papers and it is an idea I have had for many years - just on a very small scale.  I want to show that EPP can be something more than hexagons, that a very traditional method can be contemporary.

    'Peonie' is not quilted in a traditional sense - more a quilt as you go as the papers and tacking stitches are left in.

    I love the textural and tactile quality.

    'Peonie' was made as my entry into the London Modern Quilt Guild first exhibition to be held at John Lewis Oxford Street (flagship store of a department store/supermarket chain) during June.

    What I learnt during the making of this quilt: too much EPP - ie 2 whole days without doing anything else can give you RSI in both hands especially your left non-dominant hand and your arms up to your elbows.  That I can make a miniature quilt containing 1042 pieces - a mixture of HSTs and squares - in less than a month, even contending with 2 of my children having a vomiting bug at the same time.

    That as much as I love my art - devoting so much time and energy to hit a deadline can make me ill.

    That I love EPP so much more now than I did when I made the quilt I submitted to the Bloggers' Quilt Festival last time.



    (I'm number 320 so you might need to set aside some time to visit as many of the quilts as possible.)



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  4. In the end a competition was not needed as LMQG President (and founder and brilliant shop owner) Annie negotiated to have all 17 mini quilts exhibited.  They will be displayed in the Bistro (on the 3rd floor) of John Lewis Oxford Street - as far as I know from the first Wednesday the 6th until the end of June.

    A couple of other updates:

    Can't Grow a Mo' Sew a Mo': I'm waiting on the artwork, hopefully the pattern will be available in time for the Fat Quarterly Retreat (2-3 June), I will be there on the Saturday.

    I still need 2 more comments to reach the magic 15 for the Birthday giveaway - so if you would like to own something I have made for you, or already have commented and know somebody who would like something leave a comment on this post.

    I am curently working on A LOT of tutorials, which I will hopefully be able to share in the next few weeks.




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  5. I have had 12 comments relating to my Birthday (mine and the website's) giveaway, so only 3 more needed for everybody who has already commented to receive something that I have made.

    So to enter:

    Comment below - tell me what your favourite colour is, and your favourite moment of the last year.

    Please make sure there is an email address so I can get in touch with you to arrange delivery of your item.

    If I get more than 3 more comments I will endeavour to make something for everybody.

    There is no deadline to when you will receive your gift, basically it will be whenever I have time.



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  6. The LMQG Challenge for April was to answer the question 'What is Modern Quilting to you?' with a 12 inch square 'quilt' with 12 to be chosen to be exhibited at John Lewis on Oxford Street in June.

    I define my self as a Patchworker more than a Quilter – so this is reflected in my entry.

    I have had the idea for this project for almost a year – when I was making my entry for the Miniature section of the Festival of Quilts, I discovered that the reverse of the EPP was more interesting, tactile and textural than the front – mainly because the pieces are so small that the paper is completely covered by the fabric on both sides.

    I had the design and pattern filed away already. I used the V & A Patchwork Pattern Maker again – if you haven't had a play I recommend it. The original pattern is a grid of 30 x 30 but because the seams make the finished piece bigger than 30 cm (12in) I could only use 27 x 27 in total with all the HSTs there are 1042 pieces all 1cm. It isn't a quilt in the traditional sense as it doesn't have middle layer of batting – I suppose you could say that it is quilted as you go as the tacking stitches are through all layers.

    Photos of the finished challenge quilts were to be posted to the LMQG Flickr group ready for voting at the end of the day Monday – and I just achieved it – tho' without any hanging triangles (which are easy enough to add), I took some photos in the bathroom at just after midnight to be able to add it to the group – not being able to get the pins into the plywood I grabbed a microfibre towel which it just stuck to – bonus was the green background highlights the greens in the centre of the flower.  Unfortunately the sun hasn't really been out in London at all the last few weeks so the other photos are as much natural light as I could find.

    So here it is – 'Peonie' – the name was originally a spelling mistake but I think it suits.

    I'm hoping that the piece makes it into John Lewis as I have suffered for my art – I have RSI in both my hands and arms and have lost a couple of layers of skin off my fingertips and put the needle under my nail a few times too. But also to show that traditional methods can also be contemporary.

    Whilst at the workshop with Lucie Summers, Lucie took a photo of a strip of the piecing I had done, which she featured on her blog.




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  7. It isn't the 1st of May anymore - Al was home and I didn't get a look in with the computer - but yet again I am joining in with the Small Blog Meet over on Lily's Quilts.

    Lily's Quilts

    The last few months have been filled with lots of Quilty goodness and this month and the next and the next and so on are no different in fact some months have more going on than others.

    This month I am celebrating the 1st birthday of my website, it was also my 30th birthday 2 weeks ago and as a joint celebration I will make 15 commenters something (no deadline on delivery tho'), so far I have had 5 comments so just another 10 to go (so spread the word please) if I get over 15 comments I will endeavour to make something for everybody.

    You might receive something like these:

    Fairies playing around with miniatures


    or something else entirely...

    So to enter:

    Comment below - tell me what your favourite colour is, and your favourite moment of the last year.

    Please make sure there is an email address so I can get in touch with you to arrange delivery of your item.

    I also need some help with market research - so if you are an English Paper Piecer or have thought about having a go - can you please answer the 2-part survey? (the button is on the right sidebar.)

    I will soon be re-launching the Patchwork-a-long, so if you would like to give EPP a go - JOIN IN!




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  8. The last few weeks the weather has been horrible, more than the typical spring showers, and this weekend was no different so having an indoor activity was definitely welcome.  I had the best indoor activity to do yesterday – the first LMQG screenprinting workshop with 'Summersville' designer Lucie Summers.

    When I received the details for the workshop I discovered that Lucie lives in the next village from my in-laws, who we lived with we first moved to the UK – it's a shame I didn't know that then as I was stitching in isolation then even more so than I have been in the last few years.

    Because the workshop was so close to Grandpa's house we stayed the night on Saturday and I left Al and Grandpa in charge of the boys for all of yesterday – bliss!

    The workshop was held in Lucie's studio – it is gorgeous and is the kind of room I aspire to have, though at the moment I would be happy with a room which has walls...

    We had all sent Lucie our quilt label designs which she turned into screens using her magical thermofax machine as opposed to the traditional method of UV processing – it takes minutes instead of days.  Armed with our out-of-date credit cards, student IDs and Library cards and a rainbow of inks we set to work figuring out the right pressure and how many passes to make to do our designs justice.

    label screen


    label blue Label lilac Label pinkred label black

    After a gossip filled pot luck lunch we returned to the studio to be let loose on some of Lucie's 'friendly screens' with the aim of creating backgrounds for for more labels on both plain and commercially printed fabrics, as I only had some IKEA calico I didn't do any over printing instead I tried out using stripes – and didn't want to overprint these either as I liked them too much.

    Striped orange Striped 1 Striped Green

    After several hours of fun, it was unfortunately time to leave – Lucie gave us all a pot of ink to continue on with and also the name of a thermofax screen maker – I have had a look at the site this morning and have lots of fabric creation ideas floating around in my head.

    I would thoroughly recommend doing a workshop with Lucie – if you ask her nicely she might let you come and spend a great day playing in her studio.

    As it was a LMQG workshop it was great to get to know the other members outside of our monthly meetings.  I look forward to some more workshops with my fellow LMQG members.


    *my soundtrack as I write this: my 2 eldest children having tantrums about not wanting bread for lunch - complete with real tears.


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  9. By that I mean - do you think there are 'Rules'?  For the London Modern Quilt Guild May challenge - we are to answer; 'What we think Modern quilting is...' in a 12 inch block - for exhibition at John Lewis Oxford Street (exciting right?)  - I think my answer is away from the norm - below is the definition as devised by the Modern Quilt Guild

    • Make primarily functional rather than decorative quilts - I make both my miniatures are in no way functional except maybe when made into pencil case/bags etc
    • Use asymmetry in quilt design - I have used asymmetry but prefer symmetry
    • Rely less on repetition and on the interaction of quilt block motifs - I love repetition but admire a lot of quilts
    • Contain reinterpreted traditional blocks - I love traditional blocks, and reinterpret them in a more traditional sense - ie retaining the scale of the pieces
    • Embrace simplicity and minimalism - I love the look of large blocks of one colour
    • Utilise alternative block structures or lack of visible block structure - I love to use a plain colour eg calico to make up blocks to add to the textural and tactile quality of the piecing
    • Incorporate increased use of negative space - I don't use sashing or borders very much so the negative space is usually the interaction between blocks
    • Are inspired by modern art and architecture - not so much in my case, although I do see patterns in buildings
    • Frequently use improvisational piecing - English Paper Piecing does lend itself to improv piecing obviously not as much as machine piecing, I have done some improv piecing in the past but not recently
    • Contain bold colors, on trend color combinations and graphic prints - I have always been drawn to bold colours, my favourite combination being purple and orange before it was trendy, my first ever fabric purchase at the age of 3 was a remnant piece of lime green netting
    • Often use gray and white as neutrals - I use calico in cream more often than white, although I have used white
    • Reflect an increased use of solid fabrics - I love plain dyes, it used to be incredibly hard to find them and when I did see them I would buy a lot of meterage - I aspire to have the Robert Kaufman Bounty of Basics, both boxes
    • Focus on finishing quilts on home sewing machines - I prefer hand quilting, it was how I was taught to quilt and I would need a few more bits of kit to machine quilt ie a walking foot


    So I think the only criteria I meet is the use of bold and solid fabrics.  But that isn't what Modern Quitling is to me, to me being a Modern Quilter or in my case predominantly a Modern Patchworker is that it is 2012 and I am making what I want, using the techniques that I want, in the colours and fabrics that I want to use (I am a modern woman, hear me roar).  Traditional Quilters, Pioneer Quilters were all modern quilters it just happens that their modern is not our modern due to a separation in time and economics; a lot of early quilts, traditional quilts and pioneer quilts were very much of the make do mentality - they used what they had, whereas we have choices and equipment and fabric.

    Saying that my entry - which is still very much a WiP (I have just over a week to finish it), is nowhere near the norm for either traditional or modern quilting: in fact it will not even be quilted.  In fact it turns patchwork on its head.


    Do you define yourself as a Modern Quilter, a Traditonal Quilter, a Patchworker, a Sewist or a Textile Artist - or something else entirely?




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  10. I have a huge favour to ask.

    A call to all Patchworkers and Quilters (so please share) or anyone who has expressed any interest in starting.

    I am developing a range of English Paper Piecing Products and need some feedback - So can you please answer a 2-part survey and feel free to make any extra comments on this post or by getting in touch. Click on the Product Survey Icon on the right.

    The survey seems to have a few problems with Internet Explorer - so I have added a link to hopefully bypass this issue.


    Many thanks in advance.




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