Well, as you read this, I will be getting back to real life.
Yesterday was class day. A lot of people were done with the conference – tired, ready to go home, out of money, etc. I was ready to sew, so a class was just what I needed.
We got up at, what felt like, the crack of dawn and hustled over to the classroom. We wanted to get there a little early because we wanted seats that we wanted. There were two different Janome machines to use. We both chose the 6700 models (I think there were letters after them, but I forget what they were.
Libs Elliott is a lovely person and a great teacher. The content was sufficient to complete in the class and she was available and supportive during the entire class. The class was Dynamic Stripes. If you want more than that, take the class. 🙂
We made stripes from solids and semi solids and then cut them up. There were several options. The strip sets I made were two of the options. One was the regular set and the other Libs called Biggie Smalls. I decided to go with the easiest options so I could get the jist of the technique.
Once I cut up the strip sets, I was able to put the blocks on the design wall and look at them. The triangles don’t all go together, because the fabrics were slightly different. Still, I was pretty happy with my first version.
I moved the units around and then started sewing. I came away from the class with a small finished quilt top and I am pleased. I need to press it a lot better, but I am happy with it.
I added in the solid HSTs to fill in where I was two blocks short. I think this is an ok piece. I think the technique is interesting, but my piece is definitely a practice piece. I’d like to try the technique with actual striped fabric (smaller blocks) to see what I could make. I am not sure I will use this technique in general, but I am glad to know it and I am really glad I took the class.
We are starting to get tired. walking on concrete all day for several days is difficult. The show and the ancillary events are super fun, but also tiring. We went to the main hall to finish looking at the quilts and finish looking at the vendors. Today was also class day for both of us.
Other people are also getting tired, I think because even though people were friendly, they were not as gregarious.
Probably the most important event of the day was the Sarah Fielke class I took. This was a fabulous class on Big Stitch. I was concerned that it wouldn’t be what I needed. I started to obsess about the class being a hand quilting class when I wanted to learn any special techniques to use Perle Cotton. My fears were unfounded. It was a great class. It was, basically a hand quilting class, but Sarah built on my existing store of hand quilting knowledge and refined it so I could wield a needle with Perle Cotton like a pro.
The instruction lasted about 10 minutes, once the introduction was finished and a lot of techniques and information came together in my mind. I finally understand the rocking motion that is so critical to good hand quilting. Not only do I understand it, but I can do it with confidence. YAY! As an added bonus, I got to try out the many spools of Aurifil and Sue Spargo Perle Cotton I have been collecting. But wait! There’s more! It was fun. I enjoyed sitting there and practicing the stitching. The class was totally worth the time and money.
Julie took an Angela Walters class while I was in Big Stitch. We have another class tomorrow with Libs Elliott.
I was pleased to see a SAQA exhibit, Modern Inspirations; Art Quilts From the 1970s through Today, in the back of the hall near the demo station. It was filled with ‘modern’ quilts made over the past 30 years. Some looked like they would fit right in with the quilts in QuiltCon’s 2018 exhibit.
Waves by Etsuko Takahashi, 1998 was one of my favorites in this exhibit. It is made from Pointillist Palette fabric and is such a fantastic use of the fabric that it takes my breath away. Though the fabric is already ombre, the gradation between fabrics is incredible. All of the quilts fit right into the QuiltCon exhibition.
Early in the day, we heard the Keynote Carolyn Friedlander. She spoke about her inspiration, her various fabric lines and a book. One thing she does is make quilts over and over exploring different options in each iteration. I was interested in her talk and thought she did a great job. Many people walked out, grumbling that the keynote wasn’t what they expected. ??? I was confused about that, because I got what I thought I was going to get and thought Carolyn did a great job. People are weird.
The keynote was right at noon, which made lunching difficult, so, perhaps, people were cranky?
I think the vendors were tired as well. They were perfectly friendly and helpful, but not as perky. Early in the day we walked around the hall a little. I bought an interesting template handle. It is much smaller than others I have seen, but I thought it might be useful for my smaller rulers as well.
I also bought a Daylight lamp. It is a small, portable clip on lamp that I hope will illuminate my work surface even more.
We skipped the QuiltCon Happy Hour. Julie went back to the hotel and I went to dinner with Tim and Cyndi at an Italian restaurant. The waiter was fabulous and my pizza was delicious. The restaurant was far away so it took me awhile to get my food. 😉 It was worth the wait.
Day 3 was just as good as Days 1 & 2, but I don’t feel like I saw as much. We stayed mostly in the vendor hall, which also has quilts. All of the winners are in the hall with the vendors and we decided it was time to look at them. I saw so many of them posted on social media that I didn’t think it would be worthwhile to see them in person, but it is such a different experience. Social media is awesome if you can’t be there in person, but I see the quilts differently in person.
We spent the first part of the day looking at the quilts. The winners were pretty amazing in some manner. The secondary winners (challenges, etc) were interesting as well. Once quilt I really liked was Clambake by Heather Black. I liked it when I saw it, but liked it even more after reviewing photos on my phone.
It is a simple design, but not boring.The background red is an interesting shade.
I also really liked the Heart of Gold quilt by Beth Chinderie.
I like it that the pieces that make up the heart are not pieced or appliqued, that they are fused (possibly), then quilted down.
This endeavor migrated to looking at vendors after about 5 rows of quilts.
Michael Miller is collecting charity blocks to make quilts. We got some free charm packs to make blocks for the quilts. After QuiltCon 2017, they made 9 quilts out of donated blocks to donate to kids with cancer. I have a charm pack of 12 charms and I am thinking about how I can use it to make the most 6.5×6.5 blocks possible. I might make some checkerboard blocks just to maximize the number of quilts I can make.
In the Michael Miller booth, as an added bonus, I got to meet HollyAnne, a Twilter, who is the CEO of Quilts for a Cure. She is a lovely person, which made the meeting fabulous. She turned us on to a little giveaway game. We went around to different booths and got punches, chatting with people as we went. In the course of getting punches, I found out that my rotary cutter, which broke recently, has a lifetime warranty! I have to call the customer service number and see what they can do for me.
We also checked out the Daylight Lighting company and I am sorely tempted to buy multiple products. We’ll see what I actually do buy. I plan to to at least buy one of the clip on, portable lights, but may buy a larger one as well.
I did buy some things .There is so much available and I have my limits in terms of space and time. Some of the things shown in the photo (right) were freebies as well.
I found a bag pattern that I had to buy. It is a tool tote with an interesting design and a super cute look. I have a the Oslo Tote by Sew Sweetness, which I think is similar. Of course, the fabric helps to make it appealing. It is a tester for a project on which I might be working (far left, top) and it is called the Tool Tote. It has a frame to keep it wide open (see photos below). I have tried a pattern with a frame, though I have another pattern that calls for one. I am kind of excited about trying out a pattern with a frame. To go with that pattern, I bought Bosall and a zipper. The Bosall is like Soft & Stable, but is fusible. My Organizer Club by Crafy Gemini calls for this product. I thought it was a Soft & Stable knockoff until I talked to the lady at the Elkhorn Quilts booth (great company, fab bag patterns and supplies, BTW). I didn’t realize the Bosall was fusible. Not only does the Organizer Club call for this, but this tool tote does as well. I am not sure *I* would use a bag like this, but I might and the design is so fabulous.
Gretchen has been talking about the Jelly Roll Rug. I saw a pattern and bought it on impulse. I got a brief lesson on the making of it in the Moda booth and can visualize how it is done in my mind now. I am not sure where I would put one, but may make one anyway.
I bought a few pieces of fabric. I couldn’t find any Northcott charm packs in white, but I did find some by Paintbrush Studios, so I bought those to have on hand when I need to make more donation blocks. These were the one thing I planned on buying. I bought a great red and a text fabric. I am still trying to be restrained.
Not all of the booths were there to sell things. Some were promotional only. I stopped by the Moda booth while Julie was ont he phone and talked with Vanessa Christensen about her new Confetti (metallic dots) Ombre Line. It is Moda, but I love the designs.
Vanessa Christensen was in the booth showing the ins and outs of her ombre/metallic dot fabric. I am particularly fond of the heart quilt. I am not much of a heart person, but this quilt is really great.
We spent time in another lecture today. Today’s lecture was with Pamela Wiley. If you haven’t seen her quilting, it is amazing. She talked about finding your own stitch identity/style. Her talk was about getting inspiration from her surroundings and using the inspiration for her work – what she sees, how she thinking about it, how she tries to translate into something I could read.
Happy was spent at Porto Alegro. We started out there with Tim and Cyndi. When we left, Anna L, Mary C, Amy M, Christina T and Christy were all there as well. We had some drinks, talked about whate we liked and disliked about quiltmaking and the world and generally had a rowdy time.
ColorPlay and the Creative Spark will return soon!
Day 2 of QuiltCon 2018 started out slowly. We didn’t have any classes and our lecture wasn’t until late, so we lazed around a little bit in the hotel. It may not have been the wisest move, because I poured hot water all over my hand and had to stand letting cold water run over it for several minutes. It was painful all day, but after many applications of cream and some Argan oil, I don’t have a blister and it doesn’t hurt anymore.
Once we got to the show, we went straight into the hall that just had quilts. (The other hall has vendors and quilts). It was a nice viewing experience. There was good light and it wasn’t super crowded.
Overall impressions: solids, improv
My favorite quilt, Singularity by Jenn Nevitt of Fort Worth, TX, was almost the first one we saw it was made up of half square triangles. This quilt does not have any improv, which is an added bonus for me. I like the precision, the distribution of color and the varied sizes of blocks. It shows the power of a single block and the impact that one block can have if a design is executed thoughtfully
I thought I would feel resentful at all of the solids, but I didn’t. Some quilts I didn’t care for, but the ones I liked I thought were really well done – good fabric choices, interesting designs. I do know why the Carpenter’s Wheel didn’t get in this year. It wasn’t made of solids.
Canvas Fabric, Day 1 QuiltCon
We haven’t gone through the entire vendor hall, but there seem to be more vendors that last time. We have gone through about a row and a half of vendors and I bought one yard of fabric. It is canvas and I plan to use it for a bag, perhaps the Rockstar bag by Sew Sweetness. Perhaps something else. We will see. I am determined to make something out of it soon and now allow it to lay around.
The FreeSpirit fabrics are flying off the shelves. I saw bolts that had just been cut in almost all of the booths we visited. I am sure the designers, if not FreeSpirit itself, will be snapped up quickly and things will continue, mostly, as before. Still, I guess the smart move is to get your fabrics while the getting is good. 😉
I saw a lot of fabric and supplies I liked, but didn’t want to commit to buying yet. Beyond the Reef had a lot of great fabrics, but I restrained myself from buying the Palm Country Layer Cake and random other yards of fabric from them for the moment. I did want a few of them, but don’t have an immediate use. I may go back and buy some things later, but want to see if I am still thinking about them tomorrow or the next day.
Brooklyn Haberdashery was there and they had a knitting needle case that I covet. It was $95, however, and that is just not happening, especially since I just bought needlecases with some Christmas money.
One thing I may buy is a binding buddy. They are about $17 and slightly too cutesy for me, but they seem really useful. Shari Butler was showing how they work. You roll your binding around the body of the binding buddy, When you are ready to bind a quilt, you put the Binding Buddy on the thread holder, which allows the binding to roll of the buddy either from the back or the front depending on the way it is originally rolled on to the binding buddy. The nice part is that you have somewhere to store your binding while finishing the quilt.
As mentioned we had a lecture yesterday. The speaker was Christopher Tomlinson (IG: the_tattooed_quilter). He spoke about using prints in quilts.
He comes from the fashion industry so is influenced by the work they do when creating fashion lines and color ranges that support those lines. Surprisingly, he uses the focus fabric method (that I describe in one of my tutorials)! Chris, like me, also considers scale while selecting colors. In the process, he uses terms that are more fun than mine. Instead of focus fabric he calls it a Hero print. Large Marge is a large scale print, Tiny Dancer is a small scale print, etc. Perhaps I’ll be up there presenting if I had better terms and was more entertaining. 😉
He admitted to not knowing the technical terms for color theory, so there was some confusion when he was talking about shades and tones, but I ended up getting the jist.
The lecture wasn’t a revelation to me but it also wasn’t boring and was definitely entertaining. The slides were really well done.
Today was also a day of visiting with friends. We ran into a number people from the guild, had dinner with Tim while Cyndi took a class. We ran into Annie Smith in the vendor hall as well.
We were also able to have some coffee with Luana, the owner of eQuilter. We had about 45 minutes to chat and the location was pleasant since we were surrounded by charity quilts.
We chatted briefly with Zina (IG: zanymouse) about dinner.
At one point, Julie wanted to sit down , so I went into the vendor hall. Almost immediately ran into the fabulous Christa Watson (IG: christaquilts). I chatted with her for 10 minutes or so until I had to leave to meet up with Julie. We talked about her new line of fabric and I helped her rearrange her display of quilt samples and books. She told me about her fabric and that she will be coming out with a new line as well. It was great to catch up with her. She is just as positive in person as she is online.
We went to Tokyo Wako, a restaurant across from the convention center for dinner with Tim (IG: timnrwc). It is. The food was really good and the whole experience was fun!! They were very attentive to my #glutenfree needs, which was great.
The chef came over and put on a little show while he cooked on the grill in front of us. He was nice and was able to cook the food exactly to our liking.
It was a great day, though tiring. I look forward to a good day today as well.
We are already having a good time. I drove down to Julie’s house Tuesday and spent the night. I had dinner with her family and looked at all of her quilt stuff before we left. We set off for SoCal on Wednesday.
The drive was not bad. I mean we were in the car for several hours, which isn’t that great, but there was limited traffic. Julie was able to drive the whole way, probably because we needed to stop every two hours or so.
We made it to Pasadena by 3 or so. We checked into our hotel room and got settled a little bit. Sadly, my ladies maid was sick, so I had to do most of the settling myself.
At about 4:40 we headed over the Convention Center to get our badges and enjoy happy hour sponsored by Culcita Fabrics. The line was LONG.
It was fine. We saw some people we knew so we could chat while we waited. They started checking people in a few minutes after 5pm. Julie and I both received goodie bags, which were moderate this time, but had some useful stuff. We met Tim and Cyndi as well as Kathleen and Sarah. The drinks for the happy hour were really expensive, so popped over to the Sheraton and took advantage of their happy hour prices.
We checked out the Culcita Fabrics booth, which was right outside the registration area. They have a modern fabric subscription. They send out bundles of fabric every month or two months. They have specials for QuiltCon. The fat quarter bundles seem reasonably priced, but I thought the half yard options were a little on the pricey side. Of course I am tempted, but 1) space in my fabric closet is at a premium, 2) I have plenty of fabric. They have bundles from past months for sale and I might buy one of those. We’ll see.
Kathleen rushed us off to dinner and it turned out to be a group of 7 – Julie and me, Kathleen, two Canadians, Marianne and Susan, and two ladies from Sacramento, Angelina and Judy. It was great to chat with them. It was a very intelligent group of women.
We gorged ourselves on Brazillian style skewered meat served at the table by cutting off slices. There was also a buffet of a variety of salads. I ate a really nice beet salad, some rice, fruit and cheese.
We had a lot to talk about so the conversation was free flowing the whole time. There were definite opinions about a lot of things (me and improv!).
All this and guess what? The actual show doesn’t start until tomorrow!
Boermas was the last quilt shop we visited and it was amazing. It isn’t exactly in Portland. It is about an hour and a half away in a quaint town called McMinnville. That day it was pouring rain and I had Mom drop me off at the metro station. I took the metro to the end of the line so Amanda didn’t have to drive all the way into the city to fetch me. It is a quiet and clean system and it was easy to take some time to write while I was riding.
It was probably the largest shop we entered, though Pioneer Quilts was close if not the same size. I think it used to be a downtown department store at a time when all the major shops were on the main street to make shopping more convenient.
The store was three stories. The upper story seemed to be offices and staff areas. We didn’t go up there. The basement floor was all sale fabric. They had quite a lot, though their minimum was a yard, so I only bought a piece or two.
The street level floor was full of fabric. The aisles were narrow and full, but the place was scrupulously clean and did not seem disorganized. I could have bought a lot more than I did, but I made quite a dent in their stock. They had a wide selection of fabric styles – from Cotton and Steel to Civil War, etc repros. They had a large novelty fabric section, organized by theme, as well as about two aisles of batiks.
We had lunch at an American diner sort of place that uses historic buildings to house their eateries. The food is diner style and the building is historic. We also visited a yarn shop. I didn’t buy anything there though I sort of regret a couple skeins of a grey yarn variegated with turquoise. It was a fun day.
The Portland region has an amazing number of quilt shops. I thought Pioneer Quilt shop looked creepy from the outside. From the outside, I kept imagining an old lady held captive and mute in the upper floors of the tower. The inside, however, was filled with GREAT fabrics and fun employees. I think, despite the creepy Grandma prisoner in the tower 😉 , this was our favorite shop.
The inside did not give me the creeps at all. The shop was an old farmhouse that had been transformed into an event center at one point. There is a disco ball still hanging over, what was once, the dance floor in the main shop. The building had all the trappings of an old house: kitchen, dining room, etc.
I believe they used the dining rooms (perhaps one used to be an old parlor?) for retreats and classes, but there was nothing going on the day we were there.
We went right when we went in a saw no people, just the rooms above and the sale fabric. We dutifully looked through it all and must have not appeared in the actual shop for so long that one of the employees came looking for us.
We were kind of disappointed with just the sale fabric, but that was quickly remedied when we got into the actual shop. The shop was bright and airy, well organized, had high ceilings and had fabric for everyone. They had a lot of fabric, a lot of which I had never seen. Bright and cheerful, Civil War repros, solids, a lot of different things. Ann, our friend from BAM who now lives in Lake Oswego, was talking about Marcia Durst fabric and we saw some here.
One thing I liked was the wool felt. They had a ton of it. They teach classes, have really fine spools of embroidery floss and would allow me to switch out colors for brighter ones if I took a class. I checked out their website to look at their classes and they do something really interesting. They have sort of mini classes that teach just a few complicated stitches. One class includes Cast on stitches, Bullion, Drizzle and Double Cast on. These classes appear to focus on improving skills and really learning these complicated stitches. I would imagine students would have to take some sort of beginner class first. I’d like to see about taking a 1 day class there next time I visit.
I also found Renaissance Ribbons there. I bought a few yards to go with the pattern I bought at A Common Thread, Crafty Carriers. In stead of making a strap, I will use the Renaissance Ribbons instead. I had never seen these ribbons on spools in a shop before.
I would love to have a shop like this near where I live.
Pioneer Quilt Shop
3101 SE Courtney
Portland, OR 97222
The third shop we visited was the Pine Needle Quilt Shop is in Lake Oswego, Oregon. The shop can be found in downtown Lake Oswego in what looks like a nice area in which to walk and shop. It is a large shop and had a lot of interesting fabric. It is also near Kyra’s Bakery, a completely gluten free bakery at which I could order ANYTHING off the menu without asking if it was gluten free. Fabulous!
The Pine Needle Quilt Shop is a large shop with lots of fabric. They could have crammed more in if they had tried even a little. I do know that inventory costs money. I was pleased to see a lot of fabric I hadn’t seen before. There were some large non-Philip Jacobs prints (see the blue watercolor print hanging up on the right of the photo?) that I really liked but restrained myself from buying.
Pine Needle also had a very large selection of batiks, which I hadn’t seen in a shop in a long time. (I really think the MQG has done a disservice to batiks) There were a LOT of sample quilts. Not so many small projects, such as bags and gifts.
The sample quilts were interesting. There were a variety of styles including easy, hard, different styles and colors. I thought the shop was a little dark, potentially from the chocolate wall behind the cash register, but there were a wide variety of colors of fabric. Yes, they had some of those Civil War repros, but a lot of other colors as well.
I did see that they were having a tuffet class and I liked their example very much. The bottom of this tuffet uses a border print. I still want to make covers for my tuffets to change the look at different times of the year. This tuffet gives me an idea. I have to get back to that project – so many projects so little time.
The one thing I thought was a waste was the two large tables in front of the cash registers. They had half yards and FQs laid out very neatly next to each other. I thought more fabric could have been displayed there, but I am sure they know best. It was very easy to see the choices.
I was glad to go there and probably would visit again.
Things looked up when we saw this shop. Amanda had been here before and wasn’t impressed that time. Things had improved this time and we both found things we really liked.
The store is light and airy. The ceilings aren’t particularly high, but the shop feels large and open.
One thing I liked about the shop was that they had displays with the related products everywhere. Bag patterns were displayed near bag samples along with all of the hardware and supplies needed to make the bag.
As a result, I bought a bag pattern called the Crafty Carriers. I could see the design made up: the size, the height, everything. I thought it looked like a great design for carrying project materials around. Yes, I already have a bag for this purpose, but…
Yes, they had a lot of machines. In some shops this is annoying to me because it seems like machines take up more space than fabric.
I didn’t look very carefully at the machines, but saw that they had a big variety of machine accessories as well as the machines. I did look at the Janome feet. I was impressed by the selection. I almost bought a 1/4″ Acufeed foot with a needle plate. However, I looked back at things I had bought recently I switched to purchasing an ‘in the ditch’ Acufeed foot sans needle plate instead. It cost less and now I have a full compliment of Acufeed feet. I also now have no excuse not to get busy and quilt.
I noticed their Handi Quilter display, which includes machines, but also had longarm rulers nearby. Great marketing.
The machines did not impinge on the fabric and we had plenty of fabric choices to tempt us. I also liked it that the shop had put up different quilts and BOM examples near the machines, integrating the two parts of the shop somewhat.
They are dealers for Bernina, Janome, Miele, and Handi Quilter. All in all a good shop. I would go there again.
5495 SW Sequoia Parkway, Suite 140
Portland, OR 97224
I went to Portland last week and had a very quilty time with Amanda. We made our own shop hop. Amanda looked up a bunch of shops and we decided which ones to visit together.
I had planned to spend more time with the YM, but he told me at the last minute that he was going on tour with the Wind Symphony and wouldn’t return until after I left. As a result, I invited my mom to come along and we had a good trip.
Mom spent a lot of time with an artist she met so I was free to roam local quilt shops with Amanda.
The first shop we visited was Holly Hill. It was closed (on a Wednesday?!? WTH!?) so we were only able to look in the window. Someone in the shop kept waving at a us and finally came to the door and said they were closed. We knew that, being able to read the sign. She asked us if we had checked their FB page and we said no. We told her that we had checked the web page and it was not up to date. Later, when we looked, she had had someone update it. I never check FB pages, do you?
The first shop we were able to enter was The Speckled Hen. The decor fits in with the name of the shop. There are a lot of chicken themed decorations. It is a small shop, but really crammed with fabric and quilty items. Sadly, a lot of the fabric was brown and beige – Civil War and repro type stuff. They had a good selection of chicken fabrics as well. The shop also had a good selection of non-brown 1930s and 40s reproductions as well.
The shop did have a great line by Janet Wecker-Frisch called She Sews Sea Shells by Quilting Treasures. I liked (and Amanda did, too) the mermaid with the diving suit and would have bought a print with just that motif. Unfortunately, the diving suit was only on a panel.
There is something about the steampunk nature of the diving suit that was appealing. At this point in our adventure, I was trying to be reasonable about my purchases, so I didn’t buy any.
I didn’t buy any fabric, but I did buy a retro style apron pattern. I had never heard of the company before. I liked the style of the garment, though the pockets aren’t large enough. Also, the pattern uses really a clever layout for cutting. I can’t wait to try it and bought some fabric to make some gifts.
There were two ladies in the shop filling kits, I think. I am not sure the owner (I assume it was the owner) realized we weren’t retro fabric people, because every time we looked at a display, she told us the price and the designer, etc. It was kind of a hard sell that was somewhat useful, but also a little off-putting.
One of the things she mentioned was her sale on magazines. She mentioned Primitive Quilts, but also Simply Moderne. I was tempted, but I have a lot of magazines in my to-read pile, so I didn’t buy any.
I bought some gifts in addition to the pattern.
Speckled Hen Quilts
25455 NE Boones Ferry Rd
Aurora, OREGON 97002
TUES-SAT: 10am - 4pm
Closed Sunday & Monday
I wasn’t the only one busy at Retreat. A lot of charity blocks and tops were made. People also worked on their own projects.
MassDrop gave the guild a bunch of fat quarter packs to use to make charity quilts. The group did not disappoint. Right there, at least 5 were made. There were only about 4 packs left at the end of the day on Sunday, so I think others are in process.
Gerre had taken my Yellow Donation quilt and quilted it. She was working on the binding on Friday at the Retreat. She finished it and, thus, finished the quilt at the Retreat. I was pleased that she had worked on the top I made. I always feel happy when Gerre and I collaborate, especially when she says nice things about my color combinations. 😉
Michelle S was working on, what I think of as, a map quilt. She had a different name for it, but I thought the blocks looks like a map or aerial photo.
I didn’t take as many photos as I expected to. I was focused on sewing and getting as much done as possible. There was a lot of moving around to shared cutting tables and ironing stations. People were also very chatty and interested in what other people were working on. It is always interesting to be in a Retreat situation because you get to see how other people work, what they are working on and how they interact with other.
I have discussed the Retreat in passing over and over, so finally decided that I should get around to writing about the retreat itself.
The Retreat started on Friday at 10am. Following along with our year long theme, Scrap Attack, the Retreat followed that them as well.
Before arriving at the Retreat, I went to the gym, ate breakfast and packed the car. I had two days at home alone (YM gone at school, DH on a NSGW trip) in the evenings during which I prepared and packed and organized. After leaving to go to the Retreat, we stopped at Always Quilting and The Granary. I wanted to find an open toe Acufeed foot for my Janome 6600. I planned to quilt the Thanksgiving tablemat and needed to see where I was going. The Acufeed foot that came with the machine is good, but not for seeing exactly where the foot is going or following a line. I didn’t get my hopes up for the foot to be available at Always Quilting and I wasn’t disappointed. I resolved to try to quilt the tablemat anyway.
We went to the Granary, because I like that store and SIL had never been there. I bought a couple of pieces of fabric, thinking I might make an extra Cell Phone Wallet with one of the pinks.
Then we headed the 8 or so blocks to the Wild Palms hotel and to sewing nirvana. We didn’t arrive until about noon, but we set up and got to work right away. Nirvana isn’t easy and setting up took some time.
Once I got set up, my first order of business was sewing together all seven Cell Phone Wallets I had cut out.
Lesson one for quilting retreat is prep your projects. Having several projects already cut out made my output much better than expected.
I had cut out seven Cell Phone Wallets from fabric leftover from dresses and tunics. I spent Friday making them. I didn’t think I would get as far as I did, but I was able to finish all except for weaving in the last two ends from top stitching. I was shocked that I even had time to turn the pieces. Turning these and poking out the ‘corners’ is not for the faint of heart. I rose to the challenge and got the job done. Now I am going to feel a lot more confident when wearing my dresses, skirts and tunics. I made all of these with D rings and will use the same chain for all of them. I also think I can use the black one with other black outfits.
Next, I started quilting the tablemat. 🙁 It didn’t work. I want to follow the lines of the leaves and other Thanksgiving motifs and I just couldn’t see where I was going. I ripped stitching out three times before I gave up. I would really like to get it done before Thanksgiving. Not only to I want to count the yardage as fabric used, I also want to have one less item on my to do list. I have ordered new feet from Sew Vac Direct, a suggestion from Gerre, so we will see.
No rest for the sad or wicked. I was determined to get as much done as possible. So, next up was the Poolside Tote. Not only had it been taking up horizontal surface space for a long time – ever since I cut it out at Scruffy Quilts back in May, but Tim and I had decided to work on ours together. Julie said she would make one as well, but she wasn’t at the retreat and I have only seen quilts coming out of her studio. You can read about the sewing, etc of this tote in the post from earlier in the week. I am not sure if I will make this tote again. I may need to as it is large and popular.
I worked on this all day Saturday and a little bit on Sunday morning. Next on the list was the Mostly Manor Lozenge quilt. I had the blocks made so all I had to do was sew them together. Lucky for me, the raffle prizes had all been given away (I won a charm pack of grey Northcott solids-YAY), so I had a table right behind me to use as design surface space.
I sewed fast and got this top done in a couple of hours. I used the Terrain donation blocks as leaders and enders.
In between everything I made three donation blocks. We received kits for 3 donation blocks in our goody bags. I didn’t have a lot of leaders and enders opportunities, so I rushed at the end to get these done. The Committee gave extra raffle tickets for handing in donation blocks and charity quilts and tops.
I really didn’t want to leave and stayed until the bitter end. The Retreat Committee did a great job organizing everything and I was thrilled to get so much done.
The week is nearly upon us. My house looks like a bomb of tissue paper, decorative paper and ribbon went off in it. There are gifts and baskets everywhere. I haven’t even begun to inventory my clothes for the week yet. That will only add to the chaos.
In addition to the physical chaos, we also had some other chaos: our washer broke and is unfixable and one of the Grand Officers died so some of our precious prep time was, understandably, devoted to a rosary and a funeral.
My SILs, a friend and I spent Craft Night on Monday boxing and wrapping favors for the Ladies Luncheon. These soaps were made my my sister, owner of Wooden Heart Soaps (go buy some-they are awesome), the wallpaper from which we made the boxes was from FabMo and one of my SILs dug into her stash of gift bag ribbon for our use.
The soaps are Grapefruit Bellini scent. I wanted something that most people would like and was not too strong. Cross your fingers.
I also had to procure a number of thank you gifts for the people who helped with all of the events.
I decided to use handbags as the holders since they were nice and could be used later. I hope the committee likes them. If they don’t, I know they won’t say anything. 😉
Maureen designed the centerpieces and Carol took them and designed a tableau around Maureen’s work. The plate holder will be clear or white (I can’t remember); the one in the picture is just a sample. Carol designed the waves and put together enough for all the tables. She did a wonderful job, especially using the lace doily to add a bit of finish to work.
After organizing my clothes, I think I will be done. We’ll see whatever other crises fate throws in our way.
Yoder’s Department Store is the place that is the main fabric store for the Shipshewana Quilt Festival. I never thought I would go to this place. It’s in Indiana. Do you know how far it is from my house? 5 hours on a plane, 3 hours on a bus, assuming your plane isn’t late and you don’t miss the bus, and about an hour in a car. We went to this store right after Zinck‘s and only had about an hour to look around. I was slightly jetlagged, so I had enough time, but I could have spent weeks in that store and not seen everything.
The other thing I noticed was that the store was scrupulously clean. Where Zinck’s was a little dark and slightly grubby – not dirty, just very basic – Yoder’s was spotless and bright.
For those of you who have not been to Yoder’s, it is a giant building with a few different and separate areas: fabric and clothing, housewares, hardware and a few others. We went into the fabric and clothing section, which also had shoes, table linens, baby clothes, and a few other things. The fabric section took up about half of that space. There was so much fabric that it was difficult to take it all in.
Finally, I decided to do a circuit around the outside of the department to see what I saw. One of the first things I saw was some Tula Pink fabric.
This made me realize that I was in a different sort of store. The fabrics weren’t closeouts or remnants; they were the latest fabrics and a lot of them. I saw several lines of Thimbleblossoms fabrics, tons of Moda, all the American Made Brands solids, Kona solids, Bella solids.
I think I saw more of everything than I have ever seen anywhere. I think there was more fabric here than in Portland at the Fabric Depot. It would be close. If a person couldn’t take in all of the yardage and wanted to just pick some pre-cuts, the task would not be much easier. There were so many pre-cuts, I really couldn’t look at them all. Also, there were new ones. I saw Lulu Love by Cory Yoder (coincidence???) as well as Sunday Drive, which I had seen in Oregon and Washington.
As with most quilt stores, there were quilts hanging everywhere with kits available for all of them. I found many of them to be quite appealing. Everywhere I went I saw notions, as well.
There was a whole large area with Creative Grids rulers. They had everyone I have ever seen including my favorite the 4.5″ x 8.5″ and the one on my list, the 20.5″ square. I bought a cut loose project sheet from this area to make a scarf hanger using a coat hanger, fabric and large WonderClips. Stay tuned for more on that project.
Outside Yoder’s was a farm and there was a great view of the barn. I love this view and would, theoretically, love to have my own version. I probably wouldn’t like the work, though and would need a superb farm manager like Patrick in The Beekeeper’s Apprentice.
My friend said there were at least 20 fabric stores within an hour drive from her house. I think I’ll have to come back. I am going to try and get a contract at her university so I’ll have a reason. 😉