Saturday, March 5, 2016

Girl Gang Retreat Recap

It was a fabulous time...and also bittersweet. This was our last gathering at this particular venue.

Our Gang has attended 11 retreats together, 10 at this location. Each year we made bed quilts for a room in the lodge, of which there are 7. The first year we made a quilt from Spirit of the Northwoods to hang in the lodge's dining room. One set of quilts was made for the staff, and one of the quilts was given to the former director of the foundation that owns the facility.
Quilt from Spirit of the Northwoods by Debbie Field
We always gain weight while we are here; we are fed 3 squares a day and there's always dessert (and none of us need it!). We never have to lift a finger; we show up for meals and then we're back to the classroom to quilt.

The downside? Besides it being our last visit, we were inundated by Asian beetles (they look like ladybugs) and buffalo gnats. If you wanted to go for a walk, you had to wear a net over your head and face.

Let's look at the pretty, shall we?

This year we made Rise & Shine, a quilt designed by Cheri Saffiote Payne, and made it large enough to cover the bed in the upstairs "suite". We'll have it quilted and I'll make the label. I'll have to put something special on it to commemorate the years we gathered there.

Becky took a tumble and hurt her wrist. She was just happy to be there! She served as our group's secretary and took notes about our monthly workshops for the next year.

Mary's projects:
A block from Mary's Autumn quilt
Skinny Strips Quilt by Minick and Simpson
Karen's projects:
Pachyderm Pals minus the elephants
Pattern from Animal Parade 2
Jan's projects:

Blocks from Pumpkinville
Tammie's projects - she is Jan's daughter, and this was her first retreat with us:

Blocks from Amish with a Twist 2 by Nancy Rink
April's projects - April was the cruise director for this year's Rise & Shine quilt:

Blocks from Camp-Run-A-Muk
Marilyn's project:
A sweet baby quilt from Quiltmania's Special Kids
...and mine. Remember I said I was taking 6 projects?

We found out after my last post that our stay would be shortened from 7 days to 5. I wondered if I should omit one of my projects since I knew we'd spend some time working on the Rise & Shine quilt. Three days before I left, I realized I was killing myself trying to get 6 projects ready to take, so I cut back to 4:

The retirement quilt: All blocks are pieced and trimmed! Well, maybe not all of the blocks. I started out wanting to make 30 blocks and only had enough of the purple fabric with me to make 25 blocks. I'll finalize the layout this weekend:

A UFO from 2004! The pattern is "Plaids, Flowers and Flannels" from Four Corners. I taught a class on this pattern at the shop and never finished it--it only had about 6 seams left to complete the main body of the quilt! And when I dug it out of a bin, I found another one from the same pattern that I started. The plan is to finish both of them this year, but I only brought this one, and finished those 6 seams; I'm hoping to add the borders by the end of the month. The funny thing about this one is the pattern description says you can complete this quilt in 2 days; it took me 12 years!

The Christmas low-volume Burgoyne Surrounded: I started piecing Thursday morning, and it's been close to a year since I worked on it. I could not wrap my head around my plan of attack on this one because of the way I cut it. I will soon spread it out and do some more cutting; then I'll be on the right path (I hope).

Broken Crayons: It's a flimsy!
Auditioning the blocks
Flimsy status achieved!
I brought Under the Stars for handwork, but never worked on it. It will be my new to-go project.

More happy photos:

Karen prepping her pachyderms
Becky, Karen, Mary and Marilyn 
April, Tammie and Jan
Tammie and Jan (daughter and mother!)
Marilyn concentrating!
Tammie looking at a "quilting" magazine...
We talked about where we can go next year and Becky is exploring our options. We want to stay within a couple of hours' drive from central Arkansas, and it has to be a reasonable cost and pet-friendly. Hopefully, we'll know something within the next couple of months.

One of the great things we are taking away from this is that we are scheduling mini-workshops for each month for the next year. I'm going to teach a label-making class and a thread catcher project.

Favorite quote:

"I didn't think I'd come in seeing sewing ladies intensely studying Asian beetles," said one of the facility employees.

Marilyn's reply: "We're not just a bunch of pretty faces!"

It was a fabulous time. Oh, I already said that, didn't I? It bears repeating. Time spent with friends and fabric is one of the best cures for all the troubles in the world. If everyone quilted, the world would be a better place. I love these girls and can't wait to see them again next month, and Marilyn and I have scheduled a date to work on her Blooming Nine Patch!

If you've made it this far, thanks for looking. Now, go quilt!