Retreat Revisited

Ah quilt retreat! There is nothing like it. Four days of sewing, chatting, sharing, laughing, eating and maybe some sleeping. There is lots of humming of machines, questions like “Does this border go with this fabric?”, answers of “I prefer the blue!”, whirring of rotary cutters and even some quiet times of hand sewing. One person can be absorbed in reading directions, two people can be sharing a new technique, three people can be giving an opinion on placement of blocks for a quilt and any number of people an be taking a class on a brilliant idea or some new sewing notion.

A retreat is many things and can be anything to one person. Maybe it’s a chance to finish that project . . . . finally. Maybe it’s a chance to start a new project . . . . finally. And maybe it’s just time, time to sew and sew and sew on anything and everything you have. It’s the freedom to do whatever you want.

Ah quilt retreat! Looking forward to it is a joy. Experiencing it is true heaven. Even the memories of it are a blessing. Here are a few of mine.

This is just one block for a quilt done in appliqué. Can you imagine how spectacular that quilt will be?

This quilt looks like it was woven. And it is made out of flannel. What a coy hug it will give on cold nights.

A beautiful Christmas tree already for the holiday.

A beautiful quilt done in squares. Very modern looking.

Is this too cute? I love the baby penguin!

A wonderful red, white and blue star quilt. Love those stars!

This quilt is big, beautiful and not even done yet. There will be more poinsettias when completed. How perfect will that be?

A quilt of foxes is being worked on here. How adorable!

A little Christmas village just got finished here in this cute quilt.

Several of us took lessons on making stars the Inklingo way. Here are our results.

This spectacular one is made from a zillion little pieces of fabric applied to the background. Isn’t it wonderful?


I love the brightness of this quilt. Must be all those primary colors.

This is going to be a great quilt when it is done. Don’t you agree?

Another very interesting quilt. The blocks are going in all directions. Love the clocks!

This quilt is very soft looking. I bet it is very comforting too.

Here is a special quilt of several blocks of the Lady of Guadalupe. It was made for a special friend. Lucky lady!

This is not exactly a quilt but still a real cutie. It is a wool mat for a platter. It is all done by hand with much embellishment.

A complicated quilt that is very lovely to behold. Can’t wait till this one is done.

This one looks very hard but actually it is the fabric that is printed to look like 36 square blocks. Interesting, right?

This is all I can show you of the marvelous retreat I went to. The best parts are the ¬†intangibles. They are the relationships we all have and the history of many retreats and gatherings over the years. They are the hours spent in each others’ company through good times and bad. They are the words spoken between us over coffee, tea and wine, sharing meals, ideas and feelings.

All these things we carry in our hearts until the next time we meet. Be it tomorrow or next year. Nothing is lost or forgotten. Retreat is forever!


Between The Layers

The quilting retreat is going along great! We are all sewing, cutting, designing, starting, finishing, binding, learning, teaching, sharing and generally having the best time ever. It’s amazing what 15 motivated women can accomplish in 4 days! Please have a look at some of the beautiful projects this fantastic group has been working on.

This quilt is all hand applique – stunning! And the colors are fantastic!

This is a bed size quilt. I love the color palette. It’s like an optical illusion.

This one I helped to lay out. What fun it was to play with all those colors and try to keep it balanced!

Even though this one isn’t quite done, you can see how magnificent it is going to be. Love the contrast between light and dark!

This one is so bright and colorful! Very fun and youthful! And those perfect points!

This is an old pattern with reproduction fabrics. Very charming!

Black, white and pink cows – does it get any cuter?!

What a grand mix of styles and color palettes. Love!

This magnificent work in progress is a tribute to the quilter’s mother, grandmother and aunt. She copied her dish patterns and used family heirloom hankies and jewelry. Tons of hand embroidery and crazy patches. There are no words! Just feast your eyes!

Are these spectacular or what? I believe spectacular is an inadequate word! But I can’t find the word that IS adequate for the magnificent results I’ve seen from these last days. It’s hard to believe all this comes from humming machines, clipping scissors, quiet hands with needles and low-key consultations. You would think sparks and fireworks would be going off to produce such unbelievable products!

Everyone sits in their own little space with their own sewing machine and all their fabric. We all laugh and talk almost constantly but work is going on almost unseen. Before long, quilt squares start appearing on design walls all over the room. In a day or two some quilt tops are completed and some small quilts are even finished with binding. Astounding, really! New projects are started and large projects are continued throughout the retreat.

If a new notion is found to be helpful, it is shared with everyone. If a source for fabric or trim is discovered, it is public knowledge within hours. If someone needs red thread, they will find numerous spools at their spot in minutes. If you can’t remember how to miter a corner, every neighbor will give you a refresher course. And when your squares go up on the wall and start forming a quilt, you will receive more appreciation and applause than you know what to do with. Doesn’t this sound like heaven? AND we don’t have to cook or do laundry! For real!

It somehow feels like a mini lifetime experienced in 4 days, between the other parts of my real life. Every retreat has been a true mountaintop experience for me. The combination of people has made each one unique but all truly special.

It mirrors the feelings I have for the quilts themselves. They are all unique, special, magnificent and include their own story. Each one, new or old, requires creative thought, deliberate planning, careful measuring, precise cutting, skillful sewing and lots and lots of love. Each needs specific colors, hues, tones, patterns and motifs. Each has a story stitched into it, between the top and bottom layers. We may not always know it but it is there.

The story of who made it, where, with what, for whom and when stays with the quilt. Even after many years, dozens of washings, being hugged, dragged on the floor or becoming frayed and raggedy, the story is always there. It can always be felt in the softness, warmth and cozy comfort each quilt provides through touch. Just sleep under a quilt or wrap yourself in one and you will understand what I mean. You can actually feel the history! I know I can!

I hope every quilt I make oozes with all the love, hope and care I sew into it. I want my kids to hold pieces of their childhood in their hands and remember the splendid times of our family. I pray my grandkids smile when they see their quilts and want to sit on them, play on them and sleep on them until they need repair. Which I will gladly do and sew on patches to add to the story.

I plan for these quilts to be handed down, generation by generation. Not that they’re so perfect but they tell my story. Long after I am gone, my quilt stories will go on. And that makes me so very happy!