Discussions (224)

What did we do right? What did we do wrong? What could we do better? What could we do more?

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Lynne @ Lilys Quilts is a group administrator Lynne @ Lilys Quilts says:

We are trying to work out the best way to get feedback from you guys - we were going to do a surveymonkey survey but those things are so restrictive so are not sure whether that's the best route to go down. I'd just love to hear all your thoughts, good, bad and ugly. And, if you think an anonymous feedback form would be good too, I'll set that up. BUt in the meantime, please just throw it all at us - ideas, suggestions, constructive criticisms, un-constructive criticisms, niggles, wish lists for next year etc etc etc.

Our sole aim is to make a retreat that is as good as it can be for the attendees so all feedback is helpful for us. Thank you!
12:47AM, 23 July 2013 PST (permalink)

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verykerryberry says:

I really enjoyed it being spread over 3 day experience and the 1/2 days at the beginning and end. It was a great help with energy levels. From a teaching perspective- next time I could do with a formal 15 min break between 1 1/2 hr table top sessions as 1 session ran into the other and was a lot more intense than teaching the 3 hr class.

It was great, I loved it more this year than last- and I loved that too, and this time I don't need to sleep for a week.
56 months ago (permalink)

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Lynne @ Lilys Quilts is a group administrator Lynne @ Lilys Quilts says:

Totally agree, Kerry - Mandy and I said the same thing.

I thought we needed to make the show and tell more structured and make the ending of the weekend better (i.e. more time to celebrate the end of the event and say proper goodbyes). I think we need microphones in the big hall - at the very least for the opening and closing and possibly also for the big classes that take place in there.
56 months ago (permalink)

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MetroQuilter says:

Do again:
Enjoyed it being done over the three days.
Thought the mix of classes / social / events worked well
The table top sessions worked well in the main hall as it was good to see what was going on at the other tables.
Felt like the right number of people
Good to have a shared lunch on Saturday
Venue works well
Loved the Saturday night market

To think about:
I agree with Lynne microphones would be useful in the main hall
I did a sewing machine class upstairs that worked well in that space as it was easier to hear and felt more like a class as it was contained. I think sewing machine classes in the main hall worked less well, it was hard to hear, we were more spread out and maybe too many in the class
The 1.5 hour table top sessions felt too short, I was lucky in that Judith was able to run hers for three hours and we got so much more out of it.

Hope this helps, loved the event and thought the team and teachers did a great job.
56 months ago (permalink)

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trashalou says:

Because the brain cogs are spinning all the time may I hijack this thread a little and throw in questions about swaps too? Would you like even more swaps to choose from? Would you like broader or more specific themes? The "ugly" fabric swap back again?
56 months ago (permalink)

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MetroQuilter says:

trashalou:

Thought the swap worked well, I was in a group of 5. Making four items seemed about right. Thought it was good to have a choice in what we could make as in that way people can make wht they feel comfortable with. I had a fab group, thanks for organising.
56 months ago (permalink)

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Confessions of a fabraholic says:

Loved the retreat and am definitely coming again!

I liked the tabletop sessions in the great hall and the possibility to walk around. Sometimes it was difficult to hear everything the teachers said.

I missed out on the fugly fabrics swap, because I didn't see it announced anywhere, but perhaps that was only me?

I'd wished for clearer instructions where the classes were held; I know you had it all somewhere, but still I was often looking and looking...

The swaps were great; if you offer more, I'll do more.

Didn't like the hostel people, but that's nothing to do with you.
56 months ago (permalink)

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pennydogaccessories says:

Being at the bottom of the alphabet it meant that I was in at 9 but sat around for an hour and a half until my tabletop session was up. It would be nice to mix these up a bit next time so it's not always the same people in the first and last groups.

I didn't join in with the Show and Tell as I thought it was something to do with the Siblings Together thing and hadn't realised that was what it was, despite bringing a quilt with me so the structure suggestion would be good there too.

Swaps could do with being a bit more structured too, I was elbowed in the head (accidentally!) and had a bruise for a few days in the fugly swap because it was very chaotic.

I wasn't in everyone's class but can definitely vouch for Brioni and Lu as being excellent teachers, I hope they both teach again next time!

Also loved the goody bags, quilt market, the raffle, the wide variety of workshops to choose from and the fantastic organisation of the days as a whole. The quiz was good too though I very nearly misseed it as I was setting up my market table, so it would be good if that didn't clash next year.

Hope that helps!
56 months ago (permalink)

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Lynne @ Lilys Quilts is a group administrator Lynne @ Lilys Quilts says:

Keep it coming everyone, this is really useful and actually so far is echoing a lot of what we have been thinking about various things - good point on the alphabetical list Kerry!
56 months ago (permalink)

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kettleboiler says:

I agree that the first evening needs to be more structured. Maybe the pub quiz then? It would help the newbies out I think. I also agree that the show and tell needs better structure as no-one seemed to know what was going on and a lot of great work that could have been shared more widely was missed. And it was great that Delma was there but the siblings together bit could have been a celebration for us all to enjoy - it was a bit lost which was a shame.

Microphones in the big hall would be great. I really enjoyed Trudi's class but it might have been better in a classroom (like Amanda said)

Last year the coffees/teas were in the bar bit and I felt that worked better cos we could sit and have a chat if we wanted to, especially between classes. Maybe it wasn't allowed this year.

Maybe a notice board in the foyer that people could pin messages to? Maybe a quilt gallery?

Are you looking for workshop suggestions too?
56 months ago (permalink)

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Follow the White Bunny says:

I was lucky enough to attend the Liberty talk Friday morning and absolutely loved it, very inspiring. So I'm all for an exclusive extra curricular event! Maybe some kind of tour or talk in the V & A that has to do with textiles? It's nearby the venue...

The Quilt market worked out lovely. The raffle was great too even though I didn't win. ;) And the goodie bag + bottle of water at the beginning was lovely as well. I do wonder how to use the push pins in my sewing though ;)

I second (third?) that the first evening could use a little more structure. Maybe the team & helpers could mingle a bit more as well? I missed out on the pub quiz but that would indeed be a nice one for the first day. Especially if people are placed in teams randomly.

It was kind of unclear what classes were 3 hour classes and what classes were 1.5 hour? I'm also in the second half of the alphabet so unexpectedly started with some time off as well in some cases... I quite like having shorter and longer classes but the 1.5 hours did seem a little short.

I thought my PJ class was a little crowded, but was happy that there were two teachers helping out. Trudi saved me from a major mistake!

I heard the date was already set for next year (but will not be made public yet) I thought the timing this year wasn't great. London is hot, flooded by tourists, hotels more expensive etc and it was right at the start of the summer holidays (if you have kids).

I appreciated the variety of workshops. I wonder if it's worth doing classes for different skill levels as well? I'm sure some (not me) would like to do really advanced quilt stuff..and others (me) could use a class in a basic skill like last years zipper class. I didn't mind doing only one class that involved using the sewing machine btw :)

New/more/better irons!

That's it for now, I'm sure there is more I wanted to say but can't think what right now...
56 months ago (permalink)

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jorob_exeter says:

I totally loved my first FQR - I'm looking forward to next year already!! There is very little I didn't like....but a few ideas for improvements

I agree with Penny - I was a bit frustrated that I rushed in on Saturday morning for a 9am start only to find that my tabletop session wasn't until 10.30. Perhaps these split sessions could have been better explained before hand or the lists put up the night before. (my Friday afternoon one ran for the whole 3 hours with no split). Perhaps a 10 minute 'notices' session with everyone in the hall at the beginning and end of each day so that things can be communicated - could this be combined with tea/coffee breaks?

Also perhaps we could have been asked to bring things to do during these sessions - hand sewing or there could have been a project that everyone could join in with/contribute towards during the weekend in the these chunks of time between table top sessions. I felt a little lost and forlorn until Susan from NZ took me under her wing and showed me how to do EPP!

CLEAR prep instructions for classes and some printed info to give out during the workshop - having to go collar the 'teacher' for every little question made me feel like an irritation. I'd like to have have had something to refer to myself. Some sessions had this but not all.

I wasn't aware that the majority of people would have name tags. As I hadn't entered the swaps I didn't have one. Thankfully my friend made one for me as a surprise...but I met others who were feeling like the odd one out because they didn't' have one.

I really enjoyed meeting so many lovely people, and was so glad that people just stayed around to socialise in the evening/

Thanks to all involved!
56 months ago (permalink)

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sairzey_c says:

My first retreat - overall I thought it was FAB! My head is still a whirl, and I'm on a bit of a come-down now.

LOVED:
* Workshops
* Saturday market
* Raffle - even though I didn't win either! ;)
* Meeting so many wonderful people
* Liberty talk

SUGGESTIONS:
* Clearer instructions about all workshops, tabletop sessions etc (timings, locations, material and prep required)
* Namebadges - I didn't know about these either and felt a bit 'naked' without one. Started working on one for next year already! ;)

Thanks again to everyone involved.

Sarah
56 months ago (permalink)

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verykerryberry says:

Show and Tell.
This was organic, groups of people showing quilts informally, I liked that even though I might have missed every quilt. I know there is a feeling for something more organised/structured but its a fine line- many of the people attending are very shy. If it was too formal with everyone as an audience and people coming up to the front, I would imagine it would be a bit much for some!

Sending out Pre prep
In terms of pre-prep from the teachers can I ask where do others think the best place is to draw attention to this? Some teachers did put threads up about in this group/on their blogs. Would you all prefer it emailed to you direct? Does everyone check in with the Flickr group regularly before retreat?

Microphones
Microphones in the hall, I like but wonder what it would be like with several going at once for different sessions?
56 months ago (permalink)

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isisjem22 says:

Yes, definitely would have helped to be clearer on class timings etc especially when things were changed from the original list or added. (I only heard about the raffle by word of mouth).

I was down for a table top session on Sat afternoon. I checked where I was supposed to be and the time on the board just before lunch. Some time after the class was split into two. I turned up, sat down then discovered the group had been split and actually I needed to come back at 3 pm. That meant 1.5 hours on my own as I'd already told free people that I couldn't go shopping or do stuff with them. I actually ended up missing that session altogether.

Maybe consider a hang out area for next time so people know they can go there and meet other retreat people at a loose end. I like the idea of a board with messages so maybe if someone wanted to go to a fabric shop or the V&A or something they could state the time they were free and other people could tag along too if they wanted too?

I also think it was hard to hear the class I had in the main hall because the table top sessions are more aimed at chatting and interaction and that made for a lot of noise if you're sat at sewing machines listening to a class. Yes, we did end up gathering round to try and hear but then if you're short like me it can be difficult to see. I still learnt a lot in the class and enjoyed it.

Show and Tell was brilliant as it's a chance to see so many great quilts up close.

Learnt a lot in PJ class although had to wait ages doing nothing for free space to trace out my pattern so I'm glad I had no expectation of finishing anything in the time.

It would be good if there was some kind of mixer for newbies. From the show of hands it seemed there equal numbers of past attendees and newbies. But as many people understandably come along to meet up with friends they've already met, it can mean a lot of small groups that are hard to break into if someone was shy. Thankfully I'm not that shy!

Quilt market was a great idea. Although I wasn't feeling well by then so was far more restrained than I might have been :-)

Raffle was good even though I didn't win. Some really great prizes!
56 months ago (permalink)

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jorob_exeter says:

No I don't think everyone knew about the flickr group Kerry - we met a couple of people who hadn't' heard of it at all, so didn't know about swaps, name badges or the other things that had been announced or organised on there since the retreat info had gone out.
56 months ago (permalink)

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ayliN--Nilya says:

I would love a List of all People being there with first Name, flickr Name and Blog... Maybe picture if linked. That would have helped me to meet the People and remembered their names.
Loved the Retreat soooo much!!!
Originally posted 56 months ago. (permalink)
ayliN--Nilya edited this topic 56 months ago.

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trashalou says:

sairzey_c:

Just so you know there will be a nametag swap next year if you want to hang fire on making your own.
56 months ago (permalink)

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NickyShe says:

LOVED it! I was more relaxed this year and knew more people so that made it better for me. But I understand how easy it would be to feel left out as it might seem everyone knows everyone else - perhaps a buddy for newbies could be arranged? Especially if they were on some of the same courses!

Echo the desire for a list as afterwards I want to follow up on meetings and get to know people better - however we could just do a thread on Flickr to cover that!?

Love the mix of sewing and non-sewing classes!

Maybe show and tell could have quilts hanging up somewhere so everyone gets to see them - though that would require more planning.
56 months ago (permalink)

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Flying Blind On A Rocket Cycle says:

Loved it!!!

An end of May/beginning of June, like before, would be preferable, with schools finishing this week, it made preparation a bit of a balancing act.

I am guessing booking out a hotel/conference facility works out a million times more expensive? It would be nice to have everyone staying all in one place, with more meals together, no back and forth and parking etc.

I was lucky to have a first half table-top session on Saturday, but would have been a bit miffed to get up and in for 9am only to have to wait; full lists on Saturday, or even before, so shopping plans etc could have been made, would have been useful.

I would have been very intimidated walking in on the first lunchtime alone if I did not know so many people already. The hall was very busy and there was not much room to move about; I am not sure of a workable solution though.

If it had been raining, I think the lunch, show and tell, socialising etc would have been really difficult and not the success it was. We can't rely on the weather, like last year, and it really was luck we could use the roof-terrace.

Definitely would have liked lunch on the Friday and Sunday as a gentle intro and not so rushed ending (I was dragging my heals to leave!).

Loved all my classes; I think maybe expectations of how much we would achieve in the time slot would have been useful, I cut and did not use most of my prep, and could have left the rest at home.

Flickr is currently awful - unless it changes back by next year, I definitely think each teacher should have email lists to contact their 'students' directly so nothing is missed. Also make better use of the FQ blog for info about swaps etc.

Well you did ask! And you know that if you change nothing I will still be there! xxx
Originally posted 56 months ago. (permalink)
Flying Blind On A Rocket Cycle edited this topic 56 months ago.

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Follow the White Bunny says:

NickyShe:

I like the idea of the buddy system! :)
56 months ago (permalink)

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isisjem22 says:

A lot of very good points raised there!
56 months ago (permalink)

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lizzie allen says:

I felt that the show & tell should have been more structured. I noticed that a lot of us had brought stuff, but as the Siblings Together quilts got shown mainly, ppl began showing stuff in little ad hoc groups so a lot of us missed out on others' work.
Or perhaps do a 'gallery' of ppl's quilts & other work etc.

If workshops are going to be split, can the alphabetic list be mixed up?
Also, if ppl have a free 1 1/2 hr, can we not have a message board so we can put last minute notices up about going to V&A / shopping etc so others can tag along. May be it can be suggested that ppl can bring something to work on if they want to hang out at the venue, waiting for their next class. It was just as well I had brought my current piecing project with me.

Could attendees be sent emails by the 'teachers' as I don't check flickr everyday unlike my email, and I am sure that things can be missed, especially if it's at the bottom of a thread.

Having it spread over the 3 days was great. Something like the 'name bingo' ice breaker from last year's retreat would have been great especially for this year's newbies.

I enjoyed Quilt Market on the Saturday night, but missed out on the quiz as I had gone to get something to eat and came back part way through.
56 months ago (permalink)

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sairzey_c says:

trashalou:

Hi Trash, sorry you couldn't make it this year. I'm working on a generic name tag, so I can fill in the 'blank' nearer the time. I know they're supposed to be tailored to the recipient, so I may scrap this idea nearer the time. I'd rather have more options and/or a spare next time! ;)
56 months ago (permalink)

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Tammy@Happy is... says:

A notice board would be great, and would solve the only issue that I had, the evenings.

I think the evening events could be later say 8.30-11 to allow people to go out for dinner or visit some of the Sponsor shops, I thought Friday night was a a bit quiet and that we crammed far too much into Saturday night. although I loved the market event. I also felt the team distanced themselves this year, choosing to sit downstairs rather than on the terrace.

I talk a lot but am actually quite shy and found arranging dinner difficult, in the end I had great company on both nights, but the notice board idea would help. People could sign up for a time they want to eat or certain food/restaurant or even arrange takeaway together.

I also really missed the Iron Man competition, it was a great way of meeting people and making friends and keeping busy in spare time.

Other than that, it was fab, great classes, lovely projects, good teaching, looking forward to the next year already.
56 months ago (permalink)

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Lynne @ Lilys Quilts is a group administrator Lynne @ Lilys Quilts says:

Keep em coming. This is all really useful for us! Thank you.
56 months ago (permalink)

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libertyjsy says:

I preferred the event over two days rather than three and think that might have put some off if they work and especially if they're teachers. Perhaps have a social or mixer on the Friday on the terrace instead.

The little game you used last year to get people to meet new people worked very well and was missed this year as there were about 50% new people.

Enjoyed Kerry's fabric selection class which we were able to participate in as we had finished the Touch Draw session with Lynne - must practise. :)

I agree July is not a good time for the event, and May June would be better.

Love the lunch provided by the venue, but not enough seating for everyone.

I think the evening timetable would be better with a formal slot for dinner so we don't miss any fun.

Quilt market had lots to buy, I loved Liz's badge station, but wondered about giving a separate time for an attendees market as their lovely stuff seemed swamped by the professionals.

I like the idea of an attendee list. Also hand outs in some classes would be helpful. Could each teacher introduce themselves both at the opening and each class?

It was lovely to meet some of the new friends I made last year, members of the FQR bee and new friends.
56 months ago (permalink)

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Eddie Harris1 says:

As an attendee who is not a blogger, not on Twitter or Instagram or anything else like that I found it incredibly difficult to make friends! When I arrived on Friday I was signed in, given my bag and that was it! No official welcome and no name badge (I wasn't on Flickr until today so didn't really know about the swap.) It was incredibly daunting walking into the hall which was already full of the buzz of friends chatting etc. and I honestly did not know what to do with myself for the remaining time until the first class started! When I finally found somewhere to sit I was told it was someone else's seat! So I went outside the building and sat on the steps and waited there. It wasn't a great start! I did, however, enjoy my classes and did eventually make a friend! My main suggestion is this: have a dedicated welcome team, maybe get a group of volunteers together who have been in previous years, to really make people feel welcome and chat to them as soon as they walk in. You can then identify people who are new immediately and help introduce them to others. Maybe having tea and coffee on arrival would also help break the ice. Also, how about spare name tags, stickers even, to help people who didn't do the swap. It's these first experience of FQR that can really set the tone for the weekend.
56 months ago (permalink)

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pennydogaccessories says:

Oh Eddie that's really sad! I wouldn't mind being on a welcome team or being a newbie buddy as suggested earlier next year, I love talking to new people and it doesn't scare me at all :)
56 months ago (permalink)

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Follow the White Bunny says:

Eddie Harris1:

Sorry to hear that Eddie! I can imagine that you felt lost. I was there for the second time, knew people and walked in with a friend and it still seemed a bit scary stepping into that big hall! I definitely think this is a point that should be addressed!
56 months ago (permalink)

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Sara SewLittleToSay says:

Eddie Harris1:
Eddie, you weren’t the only one to be in this situation on the Friday. I arrived about 10 minutes before the official welcome and found the hall full of people already in groups. After the welcome address, I discovered my table top session didn’t start until 3.30pm and so I was at a loose end for 90 minutes. Not having been last year, I didn’t know what facilities were available or where I could wait, but my hotel was only round the corner and so I went back there instead. Not the most sociable start to FQR. I was surprised that after the classes/tabletops finished on Friday, the list with Saturday morning’s tabletop splits was not available, but I asked one of the organisers for the details so I could plan a lie in or a later shopping trip.

I joined Flickr especially for FQR and was surprised at how much information was put in the discussion group and how little was sent by email. Perhaps it needs to be made clearer that Flickr is the main way of disseminating information about activities, swaps, etc. For people without a name tag, I like sairzey_c’s idea of a generic tag. If people would be willing to make a few blank tags, then with a simple stamping set, names could be added to these on arrival for those who are tagless.

I don’t know how this year’s attendance numbers compared with last year's, but I felt that the facilities would struggle to cope with any more people than this year. It was lovely to be able to make use of the terrace, but more seating would be nice and I did wonder what the wet weather plan would have been had we not been so lucky with the weather on Friday/Saturday evenings and Saturday lunchtime.

I’m guessing that each year the number of FQR first timers will get smaller, which makes it all the more important to think how they will be welcomed into the FQR community.
56 months ago (permalink)

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zaynoo1 says:

Hi, everyone,

It was my first FQ Retreat ever and - I have to confess - my first trip to UK ever too. So I felt quite lonesome and confused at the beginning. I agree with Eddie Harris1 about the welcome situation. Just sat at a table knowing nobody there. Later on some of the women came to me asking if I might be the one they had some swaps with and it turned out right. But it was confusing nevertheless. A kind of welcome team would be a great idea as well as a "goodbye" team cause I was a little disappointed at the end just hearing a short "goodbye"...

I would love to have hand-outs too because everybody feels so overwhelmed during the weekend, taking some instructions at home in a printed form would be very helpful. I attended Mandy Nobles handquilting class and she already did - I really enjoyed it! Thank you! I loved all classes I joined, just figured out that time wasn't enough to learn all that was planned for that class.

I was not able to bring my machine with me and asked if I will be able to attend classes that would need machine though. Maybe I got it wrong but I understood "no". How surprised was I when I saw there were machines to use in the classes... Sigh! So I didn't sign in for some classes I was so greatly hoping for...

I loved the provided patterns (embroidery patterns with John) or practice samples (like Mandy Noble did for the handquilting) cause it turned out quite useful... I fell in love with eraser stamp carving as Tacha did a wonderful job, as well as with the flexi pouch she taught us! Great thank you! I am already planning to make more and get some of these cute japanese books!

Some of the supply lists I found a little "short" for a retreat newbie and so brought some things wrong or too less... Some measures or piece numbers were a little faulty too and caused me some stressy moments...

Alltogether it was a wonderful experience for me, I took great ideas with me, improved skills, met lovely people! I will come back surely! Thanks to you all for your organization and many efforts!

Kris from Germany
Originally posted 56 months ago. (permalink)
zaynoo1 edited this topic 56 months ago.

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zaynoo1 says:

Nilya2011:

I would suggest such a list too. Still struggling to find out who attended me at dinner and walks...
56 months ago (permalink)

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zaynoo1 says:

Confessions of a fabraholic:

I agree with May concerning the hostel people. I had some not too good experiences with the reception stuff. As it was my first UK trip I felt really disappointed! For an example there were only 2 key cards for our room of 6 and the the 2 persons which already took them seemed to be out of hotel... Lynne helped me with that, thank you sooooooo much!
56 months ago (permalink)

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thewoolpalace says:

It was my first retreat and I really enjoyed it. My classes were excellent and I thought the standard of teaching was very good.

Suggestions for next year:
Microphones in the large hall, at least for the welcome and goodbye session and for the raffle etc.

Although I knew a few people, I would have liked some sort of icebreaker activity - people were talking about some sort of name game that was done last year, which sounded fun.

A bit more structure on the Friday night. It doesn't have to be planned down to the last detail but maybe do some sort of mixer that helps people get to know each.

London in July is hot! Plus, the last week of the school term isn't the easiest time to prepare if you have children. Personally I would prefer May/June time, although I know you are going to be limited by what facilities you can book.

Would it be possible to have a dedicated 'social table' where people waiting for their tabletop sessions could hang out. It could also be used for tea/coffee breaks.

I liked the mix of table top sessions in the large hall, but I felt that the sewing machine class worked less well in there - the noise levels were high and it felt like there were maybe too many people in the class to get the full benefit of the teaching. I did a sewing class upstairs in the one of the smaller classrooms and felt that worked very well.

Seating on the roof terrace was inadequate for the numbers attending, and I wondered what the plans were for wet weather.

It may not be possible costwise, but a lunch on the Friday would have been a nice start to the event, or alternatively have one on the Sunday as part of the farewell.

Having said all that, I had a blast - and I'm already looking forward to next year!
56 months ago (permalink)

A life in lists [deleted] says:

I had a FAB time, absolutely brilliant, would come again if absolutely nothing changed, but here's my feedback for what it's worth.

Loved:
- shorter tabletop sessions, so plenty of time for chatting/shopping
- Saturday's activities. Unlike many I really liked the chatty informal show and tell - maybe if people kind of knew it was informal (formally informal?!) that would work better, so they knew just to get stuff out and start showing it off?
- All of the teachers. Although all the approaches were different, I absolutely thought that my teachers (John, Kerry and Brioni) were absolutely brilliant, well prepared and interesting. Couldn't comment on the others, but suspect they were equally fab.
- The swaps - I felt Trash did a FANTASTIC job organising it all. Felt a bit sorry for poor LJ trying to shout out swap groups though - that bit needed to be managed better, as there was a mad scramble, it was too loud for later groups to hear their names etc. I would also happily make four samples next year, so maybe groups of five as standard, rather than four, if that makes things easier as well? I wouldn't have minded receiving, for example, two pincushions.

Could be improved:
- telling everyone in advance (like on Friday, if not before) which table top session will apply to them, for better planning of shopping trips/socialising etc.
- more classes for techniques rather than finished projects and/or that are suitable for intermediate quilters. I appreciate that there's a real mix of abilities coming to Retreat, and you absolutely need something for everyone, but a few people seemed to feel that there was less on offer for some quilters, especially those who had already done portholes last year (I completely understand why it was repeated, as it was v popular, but it left some with only cathedral windows as a technique class, especially if they didn't want to do EPP. Not a problem for me as an EPP addict, but not everyone is!).
- The venue. I don't think BPH could support a bigger number of attendees (and even what was there would have been too much if the weather had been dreadful), and I don't feel the main hall works as a combination teaching and socialising space (it was SO hard to hear during the main hall classes), although having the table top sessions in there was lovely, as if they weren't full people kind of pulled up a chair.
- I knew lots of people from last year, and had lovely Bee friends for company, but did feel that there was a complete lack of mixer activities for newcomers. I think that on the whole Brits are a bit crap at randomly grabbing people and making them socialise (too stiff and polite!), so something a little more organised would be good. I'm happy to be part of a buddy system too! Maybe people who are happy to pull people in and socialise could have something on their name tag to identify this, kind of like a camp counsellor badge, so people have someone defined to go to? The team felt a little more removed this year than las year, which didn't bother me in the least, but I think maybe made it more intimidating for new people to go and ask them for advice on what to do/timings etc.
- More organised evening events - I hated having to find out when the raffle/market/show and tell/swap would take place by word of mouth! Also felt that Friday evening was very sparse and Saturday very full.
- Making it clear that Flickr is used for information purposes - I knew because of last year, but it was never desperately clear that the flickr group was the MAIN way of organising swaps, accommodation etc.

Gosh, that was a bit epic. All that aside, I did love love love it.
56 months ago (permalink)

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shecanquilt says:

I really loved all of it, so please mark all that you did as good. Good classes, good food, good activities, really great people - instructors, FQ team and attendees. I loved the market and the time on the terrace too.

I like most of the ideas already suggested. I met so many new people, that I am surprised that new people did not too. Maybe Canadians are just more comfortable walking up to others and saying hi who are you? After all, I knew that everyone there shared an interest in quilting with me and therefore must be interesting.

Thank you again to everyone, including the attendees. I had the best time, well worth the long journey there and back again.
56 months ago (permalink)

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Shark's Dinner says:

I loved having the retreat over three days as I didn't feel exhausted at the end of it. I also loved the fact that the table top sessions gave me time to go back to the hotel and lie down when I got a really bad head ache.

I was a little disappointed that the name bingo game from last year wasn't on this year. It really helped me meet some people as I came on my own. This year a lot of people were sitting down when I arrived and even though I had been before and knew a few people it was a little intimidating until I bumped into someone I knew.

I absolutely loved all my classes and learned so much. Like last year I came home totally inspired.

The show and tell was something I was really looking forward to but because I was trying to finish sewing the binding on my Siblings Together quilt I missed all of it. It would have been lovely if it had been a bit more structured so that I would have known when to look up and see all the beautiful work being shown.

I took part in a few swaps and loved them all. Some of them were a bit confusing but in the end we got there.
Quilt market was brilliant. I wish I had had more money as there was so much loveliness that I would have loved to buy.

The end was a bit of an anti-climax. It would also be nice if there could be a possibility to find other people going to the same station so that cabs can be shared. I was lucky that I knew of a few people travelling from King's Cross so I soon found the lovely Sarah to share a taxi with.

All in all, though, it was another fantastic retreat and I truly enjoyed my time in London. The teachers were all great and I would like to say a very big thank you to everyone organising, teaching and attending!
56 months ago (permalink)

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naartjies1 says:

As a first timer I was very nervous as I only knew a few girls from a bee. I was so lucky that Moira allowed me to tag along with her so I was never on my own.

I would prefer an earlier date as it was very difficult at the end of the school year. A more structures show and tell would have been great as it is so inspiring seeing other people's creations ( maybe on the Friday night)
Name bingo or other games to get to know others would have been great. A buddy system would be an idea.

I loved the classes but a few more technique based ones would be great as some of us have the basic skills ( loved the pj course so another dressmaking class would be fantastic as would inserting Zips be great)

That dais I really do appreciate the work that was done before hand to make the retreat the success it was. Thank you very much.
56 months ago (permalink)

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Liz DandeliondD says:

I really loved the Retreat and think that you guys did an absolutely awesome job.

I would have loved to see some of the Team's work in real life for inspiration.

We were also saying how great it would be to have some challenges going on - like you give out a few scraps of fabric and see who can be the most creative with them.
56 months ago (permalink)

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Narcoleptic in a cupboard says:

sorry to butt in here but on my fqr ticket it actually gave the flickr group address and told me to go there... so the info was there....
gutted i wasnt there, sounds even better than last year and many have told me how much they appreciated the more laid back vibe this time.
only wish is that its off peak time next year, and please, please, some where cheaper than posh london?!
56 months ago (permalink)

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Follow the White Bunny says:

Narcoleptic in a cupboard:

I really like that it's in London actually! Easy to get to even when you come in from abroad (like me) and lots of things to do before or after (or during) the Retreat. :)
56 months ago (permalink)

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trashalou says:

naartjies1:

Hi Kate.

so pleased to hear you had a good time at FQR. Did your nametag turn up in time? I sent you a Flickrmail dated July 17.

trash
56 months ago (permalink)

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Nikki Ward-Smith says:

Had an amazing time thank you! I think my major piece of feedback was that Saturday was just way too busy for me as I had two 3hr workshops followed by helping with a stall at the market (my choice of course) if I hadn't drunk two cans of red bull I would have made it! I was a first timer and came with three friends but came back with many more.
Loved all the classes especially the sewing machine ones...so worth dragging my machine across London!
I think the Baden Powell staff need some feedback about their reception staff who i found to be unhelpful, verging on rude over the weekend. Shame as it was a great venue...especially the roof terrace. As others said it would have been good to have a timetable of extra curricula events, rather than count on word of mouth. Raffle was awesome. ..I would say that as I won an amazing bundle of liberty fabric...thank you!
All in all I thought you guys did such a fab job, must have been a knakkering weekend for the team!
56 months ago (permalink)

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Lynne @ Lilys Quilts is a group administrator Lynne @ Lilys Quilts says:

Thank you all so much for all of this feedback - we're taking notes and have lots of things to add to our list of "How to make it better next year".

The message I am getting most loud and clear is that we need to improve the welcome, especially for those who haven't come before and I am so sorry that some of you felt a little lost during that first morning. We will have that as a priority for improvement for next year.
Originally posted 56 months ago. (permalink)
Lynne @ Lilys Quilts edited this topic 56 months ago.

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{Pink Stitches} says:

Had a wonderful time and as I stayed down there this year I felt that there were plenty of opportunities to meet and socialise with new people which was great!
Love that it is in London, as there is so much to do when you have a bit of free time, although missed going to the Village Haberdashery! Think I was too busy chatting up on the terrace.
I liked having it at this time of the year, although it was the last day of term and work for me but managed to get down there fine, however next year would be a problem. As long as it is in a school holiday or weekend is fine with me ;)
Luckily I knew a few people from last year so it was not as daunting walking through the front door and recognising a few faces but I did miss the ice breaker activity this year and thought it would have been a great opportunity for name tag swappers to also meet each other! I think if I had been new it would have been very daunting - I'm not great at introducing myself! It was only until Laura called out names during the sample swap that I could put names to faces.
I had wonderful classes with wonderful teachers, and really appreciated the hand outs with instructions from Katy so that I knew exactly what to do when I got home as often my scribbled notes make no sense. Loved the mix of workshops and tabletops, but felt some of the tabletop sessions could have been longer as I did not realise that they were going to be split sessions.
BPH is a great venue but doing a workshop in the main hall when tabletops were also going on made it a bit difficult for me to hear at times what was going on.
Having the terrace was a fab place to socialise and this is where I mainly found out what was going. Show and tell was a little unstructured and there was a lot going on at the same time.
Quilt market was fab and a great way to discover new suppliers and spend far too much money!!!
Would have liked some kind of Noticeboard - where people could have added a quick message about trips out to fabric shops etc as a lot was word of mouth.
The end I kind of missed! Everyone was meeting in the hall I went to the loo and when I came back it was all over! (and I was only gone a couple of minutes!)
I think that the whole FQ team, teachers and sponsors did a wonderful job and appreciate all the time and effort that goes into organising something like this and thanks for the wonderful goodie bag as well!! I shall stop rambling on now :)
56 months ago (permalink)

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Floh.Stiche says:

I loved it this year better than last year - but that doesn't mean I didn't like it last year. I loved it last year too! It was great. Only: I wished I knew earlier that the groups got devided so I had gone downton or somewhere else. And a list with all names, Blog- and Flickrnames would be great...
Thank you!!
56 months ago (permalink)

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Di @ Willowbeck Designs says:

Firstly, a huge thank you for such a great weekend. I loved the mix of tabletop and workshop sessions. The quilt market was really successful and fun.
I agree with the comments of it being hard to hear what tutors were saying in the hall (might be down to age!).
If you have a welcome team next year I would happily help on it as I enjoy meeting people and enjoy chatting!!!
56 months ago (permalink)

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hanies is a group administrator hanies says:

Thanks for all the feedback - we really appreciate you all taking the time to let us know how we can improve the retreat next time.
56 months ago (permalink)

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Poppyprint says:

This is such a thorough thread! As a first time attendee who is not shy, I too found the opening a little intimidating, but was quickly comfortable in the company of fellow quilters. I came to FQR mostly for the social aspect of meeting longtime online friends, seeing London, shopping for Liberty fabric and fun! All of these expectations were met entirely. I've already shared lots of ideas with Lynne, but though I'd jot down some here, too.

-Friday night in the main hall, an introduction of all of the teachers on stage with a small trunk show of finished work that could result from the techniques participants are going to learn in the weekend classes. That way, everyone gets to see what everyone else will be working on. OR a trunk show presentation from a featured quilter/teacher with inspiring work to get everyone motivated for a productive weekend!

-FQ team could 'hire' helpers for the busy work of schlepping machines/irons/notices/tables/chairs, thereby freeing them up to enjoy their guests and socialize a bit more

-a consideration that 150 may just be too many people for that venue. Seating was limited and awkward at terrace events and busting into pre-existing social groups was intimidating (as seen in this thread above).

-a little more formal "closing" on Sunday would be nice.

I think most other ideas I had were already covered by others above. I am so happy that I made the trip and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Thanks very much to the team, and also to the members of the London MQG that were so much fun and welcomed me into their late night gab sessions at the Grange.
55 months ago (permalink)

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ElitaS says:

First off, thanks to the FQR team for all their efforts. It's not easy but you all did a great job!! I enjoyed the classes and felt I had adequate info to finish at home. Alot of things have already been suggested but here's my two cents worth:

- Something like a Big Sis/Little Sis "program" to help integrate new people. Returning ladies can offer up to be a Big Sis to a newcomer & contact info exchanged beforehand. That way newcomers are coming "knowing" someone. Then the objective can be to introduce newcomer to at least 5 people from Big Sis' network. If they want to hang out otherwise, so be it. Ladies don't need a babysitter, just an introduction. :-) I'm happy to be on the Big Sis list.

- Show & Tell could have been better structured. My friend & I waited for it to start but decided to leave after an hour because the Quiz was starting & we wanted to eat & go to the Village Haberdashery. Enjoyed the VH very much but took a LONG time to get out there (45 mins). Not knowing that in advance meant we barely made it before closing time.

- Swaps (FQ & strips) could have been better structured as well. They were a bit chaotic and we were lucky to have at least one person who knew how to guide it a bit.

- Extra Nametags could have been made up for those who missed the Nametag Swap info. I know that a couple of newcomers felt very self-conscious not having a nametag but didn't know about it before. Could ask for volunteers to make up a simple patchwork nametag & write the name in fabric pen onsite. I'd be happy to help with this sort of thing too.

- Using Flickr as the main information point wasn't great for me. Perhaps because I don't use it alot on my iPad (no decent app so it crashes). I was lucky to get in just after the deadlines for the Nametag Swap & the Sample Swap but originally missed it because I didn't see the new threads. I would prefer an email to announce such things. Could also be helpful to make a general notice about it on the FQ website & then send an email blast to direct those interested to followup.

- The venue was decent but could be a potential problem if weather wasn't so nice. Might suggest to BPH that you have some comfy chairs/sofas put in the space just in front of the "office" (to the right as you come into the lobby) as a Sit n' Sew area so people could hang out there in good lighting if they had an extra few minutes. Makes it easy for others to join without feeling like they're intruding. Can appreciate that it's good to have the main hall & the terrace but overall, BPH is a bit too spread out for all the things going on and very easy to get muddled as to who's actually with the FQR grouping.

- Quilt Market event was nice but I had the sense that the smaller vendors felt intimidated by the larger ones. Tough to compete with the bigger ones.Not sure how to address that. :-(

I hope these are helpful suggestions. Every event needs a bit of tweaking but you're all doing a great job. I hope you're having as much fun as the participants!
55 months ago (permalink)

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