Two Weeks, Two Retreats

I have just returned from two quilt retreats in as many weeks. Some folks told me that much intense quilting would probably kill me. But it didn’t.

In fact, it was exhilarating! It was inspiring! It was certainly a whole lot of fun! OK, it was a bit tiring. But I would do it again in a heart beat.

At a quilt retreat you join like-minded friends i.e. other quilters for a few days of sewing, laughing, sharing, learning and maybe a practical joke here and there.

dscn0301

At the first retreat, I and about 25 other women spent four days in a special center built for just such occasions. We had our rooms and food provided – what a luxury! All we had to do was plug in our machines and begin sewing.

And sew we did. Quilts began showing up on the design walls immediately and didn’t stop until we were forced to leave four days later.

The five newbies were a bit overwhelmed by the sounds and the sights of the big room. But the sounds of the workroom were so familiar to those of us who had been before. The hum of machines, the chatter of conversations here and there, the ring of laughter floating over all, the chime of an “AHA!” as someone finally figured out a difficult problem.

quilt

And what looked like mass confusion was really busy organization at work. Quilts were being planned, resized, sewn, ripped, resewn, quilted and bound. Advice was being given and received, knowledge shared, tips and tricks passed from one generation to the next.

All this was happening while relationships were being formed and strengthened. Actually, isn’t that what it’s really all about?

So, after four days, I came home, unpacked, washed my clothes, repacked and headed off to my second retreat. This time it was at a hotel and resort center.

img_6096

I roomed with a dear friend whom I have known since sixth grade. We joined 85 men and women for another four days of quilting heaven.

Yes, I said men! We have men in this group that quilt and they are wonderful. That is one of the great things about the art of quilting, it is very inclusive.

serious-quilt-guys

So how do 85 people quilt together? Well, first they take over the entire Ballroom with tables, sewing machines, irons, ironing boards and design boards. It was a tight fit, but we  made it.

We nearly drowned in fabric, scraps and thread. But thanks to the hotel staff that vacuumed every night, we kept our heads above water.

quilt-retreat

I have never seen such a flurry of activity anywhere in my life. It looked like mayhem, but was controlled work, in actuality. Again the quilts began to appear almost immediately.

The creativity and beauty I saw was amazing. It just kept coming, from every corner of the room. From young and old (Our oldest quilter is 89!). From skilled to newbie alike, the results were wonderful, spectacular.

images

Now I’m home again with my two finished quilt tops, one quilt bound and one quilt started. I got a lot accomplished, renewed friendships, met some new friends, ate very well, laughed until it hurt, learned some new tips and shared some others.

In other words, I had a perfect two weeks. The hardest part now is getting used to cooking again. Ugh!!!

Small Group, Big Results

Our Appliqué Group went on a four day retreat recently. There were only eleven of us that could go this time. We were a small but mighty group of ladies. I can’t wait to show you the great things we did in such a short time.

IMG_0929First of all there is this grand illusion. Don’t you love it?

IMG_0938This baby quilt is so sweet. I love the faces of the animals.

IMG_0941IMG_0945It just makes me smile and I’m sure it will do the same for the baby.

IMG_0948Here is a strange looking one. It is actually the beginning of a beautiful quilt built from the center out.

IMG_0952This is my French General quilt. I finally finished it after three years of intermittent work on it. What a relief!

IMG_0962IMG_0966Isn’t this one interesting? Very simple to make but looks so difficult.

IMG_0968Completely random but organized. I love it!

IMG_0970The contrast in fabric colors is very striking. It makes a simple quilt strong.

IMG_0973This quilt was made for a young man who will soon graduate from High School. I think he will love it.

IMG_0976How gorgeous is this one? Love the fabrics!

IMG_0980This beautiful little gem is all done by hand with wool. The embroidery is exquisite! Do you see Noah’s ark and all the animals two by two?

IMG_0981The fabrics are grand in this one. The fish were cut by hand and applied to the quilt. Stunning!

IMG_0982This magnificent quilt was put together with 1″ squares! Unbelievable!

IMG_0984Oops! Out of order! A closeup of the Noah’s ark.

IMG_0989 Isn’t the handwork wonderful?

Can you believe what eleven women can do in four days? Never underestimate a woman with a sewing machine!