Fat Quarterly – Review

Fat Quarterly Review

By  Patricia Lessell

 Fat Quarterly was started by 6 members of the online Modern Quilting /Sewing community from Britain and America to share project ideas and inspiration with other members of the Modern Quilting/Sewing community from all over the world.

The first issue was published in April 2010, named ‘Fresh Start’ written by the founding members Aneela Hoey, Brioni Greenberg, Kate Dixon, Katy Jones, Tacha Bruecher and John Q. Adams.  The E-Zine was an instant hit both here in England as well as in the U.S.  However, due to work and home commitments Aneela is no longer a permanent fixture but pops in every now and again and Lynn Goldsworthy has filled the empty space very aptly, I might add, as anyone who reads her blog can attest to as she is a brilliant quilter as well as her blog has amazing tutorials.

The Fat Quarterly team, of which there are now 5 members, Katy ,Tacha, Brioni, John & Lynn, met via various online quilting bees and swaps and shared a common admiration for one another’s’ style and aesthetic talents.

In the very first issue each of the 6 founder members had to do a challenge and the challenge had to include flying geese in a block and this is Brioni Greenbergs’ take on it

and this is John Q. Adams take on it.  If you want to see the others I’m afraid you will have to buy the E-Zine.

Fat Quarterly E-Zine is exactly 2 years old now and to say I have loved every single issue is putting it mildly.  Each one has had something totally different and inspirational to get my creative juices flowing.  There have been a further 7 quarterly issues since April 2010 as well as two specials.

In addition to sharing their designs and ideas each issue includes lots of well-known guests who have gotten my mojo to work overtime with their picture-perfect inspirational ideas which are a thrill and delight to read and digest.   The instructions for every single piece one can make in each edition is explicit and most can be stitched by even the newest sewist/quilter and if it can’t be the magazine quite clearly states this.

Each and every issue can be downloaded and viewed as a PDF file for any kind of computer, be it a PC or a Mac and can also be downloaded onto an iPad and is published four times yearly hence the name Fat Quarterly because each issue is very fat and is published once each season.

In the first year we had ‘Fresh Starts’, Scraps, Fussy Cutting and Solids all selling for a very reasonable $8.00 each or just $28.00 if you buy all four at once.  I really don’t know which one is my favourite to be honest.  Because I loved them all.  We also had Holiday Special 2010 which sold for only $5.00.  All of the e-zines are still for sale and can be purchased singly or buy four at a time HERE.

From Lynn Goldsworthy for Issue 8

Then the second year we were further delighted with issues names Pre-Cuts, Substrates, Colour and the 8th issue was named Paper which I personally was really looking forward to as I love paper piecing and I certainly was not disappointed.

Now I am eagerly awaiting Number 9 which should be out soon.  But in the meantime if you go the Fat Quarterly WEBSITE you will see that not only can you buy their incredible magazines but they are hosting a Community Retreat in London on the first weekend June.  I wish I could go but …..

MAY MEETING ~haberdashery swap!

Hello everyone! 

As mentioned at the April meeting, we are having a “HABERDASHERY” swap at the May meeting!  In case you aren’t sure what that means (or perhaps you think you don’t have any ‘haberdashery’ to swap), here are a few ideas of things that you could include in your baggie:

~buttons (we all love buttons); embroidery floss; quilting thread; needles and pins; brooch/jewellery findings; lace; ribbon; trim; sequins; patches; binding strips; bias tape; beads; boning; elastic; cord; fasteners; feathers; fabric glue; components like teddy bear eyes etc.; hemming tape; labels; velcro; zippers; clasps; magnets; aida cloth; hoops; crochet/knitting needles; thimble; seam ripper; tape measure; keychains; clips; bobbin holder; sewing kit; scissors; string; fabric dye; templates; laces; interfacing~

Get the idea?  Anything used in sewing or used to help with sewing would be great!  There are some talented people in our group so what you may think are standard sewing supplies or tools, others may not have seen or used them before!!  This is a fun way to beef up your collection of useful haberdashery and sewing kit bits+pieces and a chance to pass on your duplicates (if you have such a thing!?).  In the interest of fairness, some bags may be opened and shared out to lesser bags – we want everyone to go home happy and with some good stuff!  

And don’t forget to bring your ‘Modern Mini Quilt’ (with hanging triangles in the corners) to the meeting as well.  Questions about the haberdashery swap or the mini quilt?  Please email me at amysalbums2004@yahoo.com.

See you in May!



April’s meeting

We had a lovely spring day for this month’s meeting, held at once again at Tricolette. With 19 members, all getting settled, we had a surprise visitor – Aneela Hoey. Pennie had befriended Aneela upon discovering that they lived not too far from each other, and invited her to join us. Aneela shared her story of how she got started designing for Moda and about her book project. Here’s the gang with Aneela (thanks Michael for the pic).


Then it was straight on to show and tell… with last month’s wonky log cabin causing much laughter as several confessed to ‘adding a few scraps from my own stash’. Here’s Annie, Aita and Danielle’s designs…


We’ll certainly be raiding our stash piles for May’s challenge (especially as our favourites will go on display at John Lewis on Oxford Street!). Can’t wait to see how we all take ‘What modern quilting is’ and mix, stitch and quilt this into a 12inch block.

Meet A Member: Pennie Haslehurst

As part of our Q & A series to find out a bit more about our LMQG members. Pennie Haslehurst answers some questions…

Tell us a little bit about yourself   I’m Pennie, I run a catering and events business with my other half who’s a chef.  We have 2 springer spaniels and live just outside Reading.  I love sewing and quilting, just wish I had more time!

When did you begin quilting and what inspired you to start?   I say I started 3 years ago when my niece was born and I made her a playmate from a cheater panel, hand quilting most of it, and machining the back and making it up using a little E&R sewing machine bought for £49 from ebay.  My local sewing machine shop said I’d never be able to make a quilt with it.  In fact I’ve made 3 in that time, although OH bought me a lovely new Janome for Christmas last year.  I remembered today, from an email conversation, that I had made a cushion cover from EPP hexagons in my early teens, although strictly speaking that was patchwork rather than quilting.

Where do you work on your quilts and keep your fabric stash? I’ve just converted our 3rd bedroom into a sewing room, and my fabric stash is all kept in big plastic boxes at the moment.  Although I have the sewing room, I do still seem to manage to spread everything all over the house!

Wedding Ring Wall Hanging

What fabrics do you love right now?  I’m really loving getting more involved in the quilting world and finding a whole new range of modern quilting fabric shops in the UK.  I’ve recently bought some of the fab Pezzy Print by American Jane and the Ruby Star Shining Typewriters and co-ordinating solids.

How do you start a quilt, fabric or design first?  It depends, sometimes I love the fabric first and then find a design to show it off, like my Sherbet Pips quilt, and sometimes I see a design and then go and find fabric to make it with, like the Raw Edge Circles quilt I’m working on at the moment.

What is your biggest quilting mistake? Did I mention the patchwork hexagon cushion cover……..

Do you stick to one quilt at a time or do you have several on the go at once? I tend to have one big project and then smaller ones running alongside, but just now I’ve got two large quilts on the go and another set of fabric winking at me from the stash box waiting to be next!

Sherbet Pips Quilt Front

What are you working on right now?  A layer cake quilt for my in-laws in Maison de Garance by French General, and my raw edge circles quilt made from over 40 different fabrics.

You can read more of Pennie’s quilting adventures on her blog – Tuppence Ha’penny Quilts.

Thank you Pennie for sharing your quilting journey with us.

EPP Tutorial: Pencil Roll

LMQG English Paper Piecing Tutorial: Pencil Roll/Tool Case/Clutch/Pouch  by Danielle Coolbear Jenkins

I decided to design a project as I know that there are seasoned EPP’rs in the Guild and I thought they might like to join in rather than just having a how-to tutorial.

You will need:

•    2 copies of the pattern (see PDF) 1 cut into pieces and 1 keep as a piecing guide
•    Fabric – the choice is yours – go minimalist with 1 or 2 fabrics or scrappy with as many as you like
•    Thread – 1 for tacking/basting and 1 (or more I used 3) stitching – your stitches will be seen so choose a contrasting/complimentary colour if you like
•    Scissors – fabric and paper
•    Pins
•    Needle/s – nothing too big as it will make stitching difficult
•    Thimble – especially with smaller needles, they have very sharp eye ends
•    Fabric for the lining 12 in X 8.5 in ( 30 cm x 21 cm)
•    Fabric, ribbon or other (I used a broken retractable tape measure) Anything from 12 in up – mine are 20 in
•    If you want add little pockets to the inside

I designed it for what I had on hand.

Basically customise as you would like: – add more strips to the basic pattern and make it bigger, add a magnetic closure, a shoulder strap – the possibilities are endless.

•    Cut out all the pieces – storing them in a small box or zip lock plastic bag.  If you are daunted by the small pieces in the flower blocks – A,B,C you could fussy cut a flower to the square that the finished pieces make – using the uncut square as your paper piece.
•    Pin the pieces to the wrong side of your fabric – all pieces except F, L and K are reversible – for F, L and K pin them letter side down.
•    Cut a ¼ inch around – this is your seam allowance – more than ¼ inch isn’t a problem as it will be folded over.
•    Tack/baste the fabric over the paper: start by threading your needle – you can choose whether to tie a knot in the tail (I do – but it’s just habit), not having a knot makes removing the basting stitches easier – but you do need to make sure that you leave a long tail as the thread could work it’s way free.
Place the paper piece in the middle of the wrong side of the fabric piece with sufficient seam allowance, if the pieces are quite big and you find it difficult to hold the paper in position with your fingers pin the paper onto the fabric.

Basting a square piece:
•    Starting with any edge fold the fabric crisply over the paper – using your thumb nail is a handy tool – make sure you don’t fold the paper over as you will lose the crisp edge.
•    Start from the right-hand side of the fold push the needle through the fabric to the outside and make as many stitches you need to tack the fabric to the paper with the last stitch coming back up to the paper side before the turn to the next edge.
•    Stitch through the fabric and fold the next side down and continue stitching along the edge as before.
•    Continue for all sides.
•    Come to the end and make sure the thread is on the right side (the non-paper side), knot and cut off leaving a tail.

For the triangle and pieces with angled sides I would recommend starting with the longest side – as the folds on the shorter sides become tails which can be trimmed to reduce bulk in the finished piece.
As with any hand-sewing you develop your own technique and habits and this is mine.  Tack as many pieces as you want to – whether you want to tack enough for one block at a time, or find tacking boring… which it can be when you are itching to get to the end result.

    •    The sewing technique used for English paper-piecing is whip-stitch – traditionally you stitch from the left-hand side of the piece and take the tiniest stitch through the edge of the tacked piece being careful not to stitch through the paper (although this is not vital – if you want to reuse the papers this is more important as removing papers which have been sewn through removes the papers straight edge). I use whip-stitch but stitch from the right-hand side (as I’m right-handed) and yet again this a habit and personal preference.
•    With the right sides together (the completely fabric covered sides) match the corners – you may find that the pieces are a few millimeters different in size, don’t worry you can ease them. I usually start with the side that the tacking was started on. Starting from whichever side of the piece you prefer (traditional whip-stitch or my opposite method) start with the first stitch as close to the edge of the pieces as possible underneath the fold if possible and continue on with the small, close together stitches trying to make sure that the tail of the thread is under the first few stitches to secure the end of the seam – when you come to other side of the pieces – making sure to stitch all the way to the fold. I finish the seam by backstitching over the last few stitches twice and then cutting the thread off close to the stitches.
The beauty of whip-stitch is that it is very strong and even when stitches are cut they need to be forcibly removed (unpicked) for the seam to unravel.
•    if you run out of thread or the thread breaks before the seam is finished cut a tail and start a new thread making sure to stitch over the tail ends.
•    It is important to make sure that all the pieces are aligned otherwise the finished block will be misshapen – making sure that the pieces are aligned is easy enough to do: match the seams together. Pins can come in handy when matching seams – pin close to the seams to keep them aligned whilst stitching.

You can choose which pieces to start with if you have basted all the pieces: We started with A,B and C as it is the trickiest and the piecing most likely to cause problems because of the small size of the pieces.  So if you want start with the simpler pieces of A, G, H, I,and J.
If you are starting with A, B and C – first line up the short side of B with A matching the folded sides, whip-stitch across and line up the next B piece as before, you will not need to cut your thread this way.  When all B pieces are stitched stitch the mitre seams for the inside out, then attach C – you will need to cut the thread on these seams.

The way I constructed the design was to make all 3 flower blocks (A,B,C) and then attaching E and D to make into a rectangular-ish unit.  The piecing for the flower block with the leaves (F, N, M, E, A)  is pieced in the same way as you would a log cabin attaching F to the block then N and so on – this is where the second copy of the design comes in handy as it makes seeing where pieces attach easy.

I then constructed the large triangles out of the angled pieces before attaching them to each rectangular-ish piece and then attached the 2 pieces together making sure to match the points of the chevrons.

Once finished piecing you can remove all the papers – except the ones on the ends – for the large strip triangles you can remove the papers and then re-baste the seam edge to allow you to attach the lining.  If you want to add internal pockets this is the time to do it.

To attach the lining lay the lining on top of the block – right sides together – and fold in the edge – basically the same as you did over the papers but without any paper and use pins to attach to the block and hold the seam allowance down.  Whip-stitch all except the top seam – the bottom of the flower with the leaves.

I made an extra piece an inch wide and as long as the finished edge – the finished piece will be slightly bigger than the original design as the stitching adds about a millimeter per seam.  I attached this to the end.

Turn the lining and block right side out – using scissors or a skewer to get the points of the triangles out.  I hand quilted in the ditch along most of the seams and then added leaves by cutting out 2 shapes from paper and pinning in place and hand quilted around and then a line through the middle of the leaves.

You don’t have to quilt it – but it does attach the lining to the block nicely.

To attach the ties I centered the tape measure and stitched it to the flap (the paper pieced strip) seam allowance making sure not to go through to the front and then attached the flap by whip-stitching the sides and hem stitching the long edge – removing the tacking stitches and removing the paper before whip stitching the second side.

To form the pocket – with right sides together fold the block along the bottom of the second flower block – not along the chevron seam.  Whip-stich along the side seams starting at the top – try to hide the knot – stitch along the block edge as if you stitch the binding when you turn it right side out the lining will be showing – you can choose to add a second seam through the lining if you want a fully enclosed seam.  Turn out and push the corners out as before.

That’s pretty much it – as I said before make it your own – make it bigger, fold it in a different way – make it your own.

There are tutorials for the basics of EPP on my website: www.djcoolbear.co.uk and if you have any questions just ask – Danielle.

To download a PDF of the pattern click here.