Sunday, May 20, 2012

Retreat Report

...And a good time was had by all.

Actually, a fabulous time was had by all! Have I mentioned before how much I enjoy my guild peeps? And there's a handful of women who aren't members of our guild but are linked through friends and such, so they come to our retreats on a pretty regular basis as well. Might I say, they fit right in. Very, very entertaining women.

I didn't bring the kitchen sink.

However, after a few years of going on retreat, the furniture I pack seems to grow each time. I just get a lot more done if I have a decent set-up. My Sew-Ezi table (somewhere under the bins on the left, there) is a godsend. Love that thing. I also have a lightweight, foldable craft table that's only an inch or so shorter than the Sew-Ezi. I brought that this time and mostly used it as a small pressing station with my travel iron, but sometimes moved it over to sit next to the Sew-Ezi to hold the extra bulk of larger projects while I worked. Also extremely useful, so that's now made it to my list of "always pack" items.

This time I'd also volunteered to bring my ironing board and iron as one of our four communal pressing stations, so that added just a bit to the stacks. Everything else pictured here are projects. My clothes? Last packed, least planned, lightest weight.

Sadly, the one project I really wanted to work on--a baby quilt for a friend--I stymied myself by packing all the fabric but forgetting to print off my EQ7 design and cutting instructions. Dang. Couldn't touch it. But I got a lot else done!

First, the setting...

A nice Methodist church camp/conference center on Silver Lake in Western New York. It was about 85 degrees most of the weekend. Gorgeous!

(Forgot to take a picture before I left so this one was shot out my car window as I was driving away--sorry about the rotten composition.)

This was the building we pretty much lived in for the weekend, although our bedrooms were in another building. The lower floor was our sewing room, the upper floor the dining room. There were a couple of other groups there that weekend but we only saw them briefly during meals. It's a nice space, although we can't plug too many irons in at once or we blow a fuse. Hence the communal pressing stations. However, we've also got fewer women going these days than a few years ago so we've been able to loosen up the restrictions on small travel irons. The conference center cook, Becky, is excellent. I probably gained five pounds.

Ah, but on to the quilting! What did I get done?

I got the binding put together and sewed onto the front of Fortune. All I have to do now is the hand-sewing on the back, a good TV project. (Planning on doing that tonight after I get this blog posted.)

And yes, our tradition is to tape our finishes to the wall as we go. Wall space gets slim by the end of the weekend!

(That's my little craft table with my pressing station on the left, btw, if you're curious. And our retreat schedule taped above it so I could keep track of when we were going to have our ice cream social so I didn't disappear at the wrong time. Priorities.)

I also finally found fabric (more about shopping trips below) for the third border on my medallion challenge quilt and was able to get that done. The colors are a complete departure from what I'd initially imagined, but the store didn't have what I'd thought I'd wanted and at this point, frankly, I was tired of trying to figure this out. So with guild-mate Florence consulting, I decided to go with this set of a light gray-with-blue/green speckles background, and a green and blue deconstructed star. The blue fabric is the same as the lighter blue fabric in the center block, so that was a happy find. Now I just have to do the last border, which will be that same black/gray as the other narrower border--if I still have enough! (I designed the border as paper pieced blocks in EQ7.)

...and I put borders on Paintstik Peacock. I'd made borders with blue/green/turquoise fat quarters using the stack n' slash method. I wasn't sure I wanted those borders all the way around because I was afraid they'd overwhelm the peacock. I had it all laid out on one of our communal cutting tables and a few folks walked over to see what I was doing and offer their two cents--as we quilters like to do. It was Vicki that hit on exactly the right idea--offset the borders. Only use the blue on two sides. Finish the third border with black, and leave the top alone.

Absolutely perfect.

Peacock has now been renamed Vicki's Peacock, although I told her that didn't imply she was going to get him!

I also started some receiving blankets but didn't get far on them, so more on that later.

Onto the shopping! Of course, any good quilter's gathering always includes some visits to local shops. A few of us went to Mt. Pleasant Quilt Company on Friday, and a couple of us went to Material Rewards on Saturday. Both great shops!

Got some fat quarters, just 'cause.

Some end-of-bolt stash fabric--pretty decently discounted so, why not?

Now, for just a minute, feast your eyes on this one. Mmmm.

A white batik.

Does anyone else love some fabrics so much you just want to ingest them?


So I had to find something to go with it.

Found these to start. Very pretty.

But it needed something.

Decided it needed more contrast. So I found the dark teal (bottom of picture) to add to the stack.

Still not quite enough.

There it is. Purple.


So that's my retreat report. Guild-mate Lori will be posting pics of everyone's projects on our guild blog, so as soon as that's up, I'll post a link. There was a lot of eye-candy going on!