Retreat = Relaxation

Last week I spent four wonderful days at my local guild’s retreat.  As I was working at my desk on the day prior to the retreat, I realized that I was clenching my jaw and grinding my teeth which made me think that I REALLY needed some relaxing time.  The quilt retreat did exactly that!!

We gather at an FFA camp that is about 45 minutes from my home.   It is a marvelous place, with a wonderful working area, 3 solid meals every day, endless coffee and tea bar, and great rooms for sleeping.   What more could you ask for??

Here is our quilting room……

IMG_8294.jpgIt is amazing to look at this and realize just how much STUFF we all brought with us!!

Joan, our fearless leader always brings a gift bag to get our days off to a good start and she outdid herself this year…..

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My favorite is the wonderful mug, although I am not so sure that I shouldn’t be offened by the sentiment……

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True to my plans, I immediately started sewing on my pineapple blocks…..

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The wool ironing mat and the travel iron were the perfect companions!!

Things went really well except for running out of bobbin thread.   My record was to have sewn strips onto ELEVEN blocks before I realized that I was sewing with air.   My sweet husband starting sending me texts reminding me to check the bobbin thread!!

I spent the first two days sewing blocks for the borders and then put the center section together to see how it was going to look.   I was not disappointed…..

img_8316-1.jpgI played a bit with the border blocks…..

IMG_8318.jpg…..and went right back to sewing!!!  It was great that I had already cut the pieces needed for the blocks so I could just sew like the wind!!

I did spend a bit of time walking around the beautiful camp and enjoyed seeing all of the spring flowers/weeds that were making their appearance.IMG_8307

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I was enamored with this lacy leafed tree that had been recently planted…IMG_8302

My local horticulturist told me that it is a Grancy Greybeard!!!

Other’s were madly completing projects as well.   The three Sue’s did some great work…..

Sue B. made a Quilt of Valor…..

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Sue T put together this wonderful top using a panel that she found…..IMG_8334

And Sue L. had us looking at stars…..

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On Thursday evening a group of us took a fieldtrip to a local-ish art gallery that contained the work of Steffen Thomas.  He was a very prolific artist and I was astounded with the many mediums that he worked in.   There were oil paintings, scultures, metal work, block printing and mosaics…..and they were all wonderfully done!!

One of the reasons for our expedition was that local quilters had been asked to make quilts that were based on his art.  Some were very traditional and looked much like the painting…..

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While others were much more representational……

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Our own Sue T. posed with her quilt based on one of his sculptures…..IMG_8392

I loved this mosaic and would have enjoyed making a “flying geese” quilt to go along wth it…..IMG_8418

But of course, I would never have been able to resist this lovely rendition of my FAVORITE flower…..

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The fieldtrip was well worth the time spent….both in seeing the magnificent art but in spending time with quilting friends….they are the best you know!!

I left the retreat at noon on Friday, feeling relaxed, encouraged and ready to enjoy the upcoming season of creating!!

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Here’s to the return of creative time…..

On Saturday, I officially declared an end to tax season.   It has been a good time and my clients were wonderful as usual, but it is truly wonderful to know that tomorrow I don’t have to sit at my desk all day long!!

Even better is the fact that my quilt guild is having a 4 day retreat starting on Tuesday and I am going!!!   It is a UFO retreat where everyone works on their own projects and I am looking forward to several days of quilting on the Aussie fabric quilt that I made back in December.

So, on Saturday, Michael helped me to move the furniture out of the way and I got organized to baste the quilt.  I use a Hobbes Heirloom Fusible Batting and love that I can baste a quilt in less than an hour, just using my iron.

The first step was to lay the batting out on the floor and iron the backing fabric to it……..

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The batting sticks a little to the carpet but doesn’t seem to make much difference.

I then turned it over so that the batting side was up and ironed the quilt top to the batting….

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So, in about 45 minutes, the quilt sandwich is ready to go.

 

Then I headed upstairs to get everything ready for the retreat.   As I said, I am going to be quilting on a large quilt, so this meant that I want to take the drop-in table for my sewing machine, the board that sits under it to bring it up to the correct height, another folding table in case I need an extra, my swivel chair (so that I can raise it to the right height),  my 16 inch square ruler and 24 inch rectangle ruler (in case I get it finished and want to square it up before I add binding),  oh yeah, I need to take the binding that I made to go with it.  I wonder if I will need an Ott light….better take one just in case.   Now, am I REALLY going to be happy just quilting for almost 3+ days….maybe I should take along a hand project, but that requires at least three more boxes of stuff…..

Anyway, after an hour of trying to figure out what I would need, my stack looked like this…..

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I guess that it is good that I am driving by myself!!!