Beachside Quilting Retreat

quiltretreat2016_Shortly after meeting Mary at QuiltCon, she texted me to say we ought to get together for a weekend at the beach, and suggested a date: September.

quiltretreat2016_1 quiltretreat2016_1aThat seemed so far away, but finally the weekend arrived and Lisa (L), Leisa (R) and I drove over to Carpinteria, where her beach house is located.  We were more than happy to spend time with her as we think she is the Cat’s Meow, besides being a great quilter.

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First up: exchange little gifts with each other.  I always like what Simone de Beauvoir said: something to the effect that if the universe were run by women, they would bestow little gifts upon each other all day long.  She certainly knew about quilters!  I had a package which contained socks, a candy bar brought from Denmark with funny words on them, and a few other trinkets.  We set up our machines and began sewing.

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View from the balcony towards Arco Island.  While the official name is Rincon Island, the locals call it after the oil company.  They also never call the city by its full name of Carpinteria, but rather, call it “Carp.”quiltretreat2016_4a

After sewing all afternoon, and after dinner, it was time to go and watch the sunset.  We adopted the rhythm established by Mary and her family, and were always happy to have a break out in nature before we tackled the evening’s sewing.quiltretreat2016_4b quiltretreat2016_4c quiltretreat2016_5

Leisa, Lisa and Maryquiltretreat2016_5a quiltretreat2016_5b

Many of the rocks on this area of beach have holes in them and through them.  We joked that all our suitcases were pounds heavier with our souvenirs from Carp.quiltretreat2016_5goodbye quiltretreat2016_6

Saturday morning, Mary told us all it was National Sewing Machine Day, so I documented us all at our machines.

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Since Mary and I like to cook, I’ll give you an idea of the food we had all weekend, beginning with her shashito peppers from her garden, lightly heated with a bit of oil, then dipped in soy sauce.
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We all contributed to this stack.quiltretreat2016_11c

Mary’s Tomato and Cheese Galette, served with fresh greens.quiltretreat2016_11d

Melon wrapped in proscuitto, tomatoes layered with fresh mozzarella.  I’d forgotten my vinegar, so Mary’s BIL lent some and it was amazing (the “good stuff” he said, and he was right).quiltretreat2016_11e

For lunch one day we were out at The Spot, where the ladies were photo-bombed:

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Another day we went to Summerland Cafe, known for its breakfasts. . . so I had breakfast, while the other quilters had a lunch entree. quiltretreat2016_11g quiltretreat2016_11h

After finding two pumpkin-shaped Le Creuset pots in an antique store, Mary taught us all how to make her famous bread.  Link to the story and the recipe is *here.*  We also visited the famous Roxanne’s Quilt Shop; write-up with photos in the next post. I’m still recovering.quiltretreat2016_orchid1

We visited one of the local orchid farms, Westerlay Farms, where there were a gorgeous array of colorful orchids.quiltretreat2016_orchid1a quiltretreat2016_orchid1b quiltretreat2016_orchid1c quiltretreat2016_orchid1d

Westerly also had a planter of beautiful succulents out front.
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So did we do more than eat and have field trips?  Yep, yep.  I brought my unfinished Traveling Threads Bee quilt, as it had languished too long.  After we taped up the design wall (see below), I slapped all my blocks up there and began moving them around.  And around.  And around.quiltretreat2016_project1a

I went downstairs early the first night to be the first in her jammies, and got quilt-bombed with Lisa’s batch of 50 nine-patches.  This was Lisa laughing with me in the morning, as it took me a minute to figure out why my quilt looked so great, but then she made me give them back.  Pity. They were sunny and bright in my quilt of fall colors.  She did this set of 50, and then another set of 50 three-inch nine-patches for a guilt swap she is participating in.quiltretreat2016_project1b

After noodling on this for a very long day (asking everyone what they thought of it about every time I moved something an inch — they were very patient), I finally got it sewed together.  Now to quilt it.  I took mine down and Lisa put hers up:

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This is the photo at the end of the weekend, after she sewed and sewed and sewed. It’s a Lizzy House pattern.quiltretreat2016_project2 quiltretreat2016_project3

I completed two backs for quilts: Oh Christmas Tree, and Halloween 1904.  Sorry they are so wrinkled.
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Mary had the actual First Finish, when she held up this appliquéd chicken, quilted and bound.  She used a special technique to appliqué the pieces down.
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Leisa worked on several projects, but this is her quilt from a Road to California class using Little House on the Prarie fabrics. quiltretreat2016_project8 quiltretreat2016_project8a

Leisa also finished up her Halloween 1904 quilt (on the right).  It was part of the Quilt-A-Long here on the blog this summer.quiltretreat2016_project9

Mary finishing up her Christmas Tree skirt, using the trick of a glue stick to hold the binding in place for top-stitching. quiltretreat2016_project9b

Here it is!quiltretreat2016_project9a

She also finished up a quilt-a-long with Bonnie Hunter, with stars and strips.
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Lastly, Mary made two red Xs for the 70273project by Jeanne Hewell-Chambers, found *here,*  with Introductory Post *here.* Mary’s set is on top, mine’s on the bottom.  We had one more set by the time the weekend was finished.

quiltretreat2016_goodbye2Stuff ready to get packed into Lisa’s car.

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Good-bye until next year!

Good Heart Quilters • Quilt Retreat 2016

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The 5th Annual Good Heart Quilters Retreat began last Friday morning (7/8/16).  For those of you who don’t know yet about this small quilting group I participate in, The Good Heart Quilters began meeting about 20 years ago, and have been meeting about once a month, taking summers off.  Five years ago, Lisa decided she wanted to do a retreat, so she clears out all the furniture, brings in tables and chairs and we come and sew (or mostly sing and talk, it seems like) for two days in July.Retreat2016_2

She also invites her relatives to join us, so they all schlep down from Utah/Washington, which is really fun.  Above is Elly, our newest member.  In the background are Nycole and Brittany. Retreat2016_4

I always believe I will get something done, which is a complete fantasy.  On Friday, I made four log cabin bee blocks, all the wrong size, and put this Chuck Nohara square together, then had to rip it apart when it didn’t fit.  I did make it over to Costco at dinner time and brought back an  “All-American Chocolate Cake” (aka, “Death by Chocolate”) so the day wasn’t a total loss.

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Lori just puts her head down and goes.  This is the culmination of her LQS Sampler Saturdays.Retreat2016_6

Jean is another who quilts and quilts and gets her blocks sewn together at retreat.  She’s amazing.Retreat2016_7

Coming back from dinner.  I think we had about 12 sewers on machines, and one doing handwork.  Retreat2016_8

We had two more join us on Saturday, which is when I pulled out all my words from the Spelling Bee I’m in, and tried to make some to fill in where I didn’t have.  Again, a total illusion that I’ll actually get something done. Retreat2016_9

We do Show and Tell at Saturday lunch.  This is Brittany’s.Retreat2016_10

Charlotte did a quilt with Monopoly Fabrics.Retreat2016_11

Nycole made a quilt in her husband’s favorite soccer team’s colors, and played us the RSL song that is sung at the games.Retreat2016_12

Laurel finished her exquisite Millefiore Hexie Quilt-A-Long, and even has it backed to a border.  I love this one!  (Mine sits in pieces on the guest room bed–six months down, six to go.) Retreat2016_14

Simone’s been working on a baby quilt: free-form hexies will be appliquéd to a very creative front.Retreat2016_15

And YES!  I finished something: Simone’s word for this month’s Spelling Bee.  She’s playing with all our minds and asking us to make the names of colors in a color other than is indicated.
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Lisa sent us home with lots of goodies, all in a Daiso Japan zipper case — thank you, Lisa!! See you all next year!

Good Heart Quilters Quilt Retreat 2015

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The Good Heart Quilters had their 4th annual quilt retreat at Lisa’s home this summer.  She is the smiling blonde marathoner in the lower right (I am in the yellow T-shirt).  Some of our group isn’t here, and we also had a couple of newbies join us this year.  We meet at Lisa’s home Friday morning, eat lunch together (Lisa gets it all beforehand) and this year, we went out for dinner, then sew into the night. Saturday the group meets up again (we always lose a few on Saturday) and goes again until they can’t anymore.

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From this industry. . .

Quilters working on Quilts

. . . came these results.

EPP Laurel

We had some handwork going.  Laurel shows her Rosette #1 of the New Hexie Millefiore Quilt along, and the start of her third rosette is the inset.

House Block CentesrLisa was more than patient with me as I auditioned centers for this house block for her to comment on.  At 16″ it is to be a mini quilt for a swap I’m in.  While the easy way would be to use the popular Swoon pattern, I went back to Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Quilt Patterns and went to the source: a block titled Rolling Star from 1932. This brilliant little house idea came from Blue Mountain Daisy.

LemoyneSawtooth Star

(from here)

After setting in umpteen Y-seams and a billion more V-seams, I finished the mini quilt top.  I think using the Swoon Block method of half-square triangles would have been easier, but the center of the original Rolling Stone block is also a Lemoyne Star, rather than the a Sawtooth Star block, so inset seams it is (although I suppose I could subdivide them like the lower block on the right).  I like to try this original Rolling Star block again, now that I’ve got one under my belt.  We’ll see which one ends up going to my partner!

See you all next year!

Deep Summer

In deep summer, everything moves a little slower because of the heat.  The sewing slows down because we’re at the beach, or watching Endeavor on the television, or just lazily talking after dinner on the patio.  The dusk deepens, and we realize we’ve talked the evening away as we flip on the overhead twinkle lights and talk some more, maybe eating an ice cream bar.  Or something else cold and slippery and refreshing like a tall lemonade.

Backside Hills on EPP3

So I sip some lemonade while fighting the urge to take the scissors and whack off this veritable mountain of seams on the backside of Circles Block #2, which I’m currently working on.  I’ve made this section twice, and have now realized we need a Design Change.  It will work fine, but in Deep Summer, it’s best not to be thinking too hard.

BAckside of Large Circles Block#3

I finished the block this morning (this is the backside–full reveal the first week of August), went to add the background corners and realized I’d drawn the whole shebang one inch too large all the way around.  I slumped into my chair–it’s really too hot to do anything else, right?  Then after slumping for a while, I got up and redrew parts of it to make it conform to what we have going on so far in Circles Block #1 and #2.  I’m NOT remaking that center section, though, having already sewn it twice.  It will all be correct when I finally post it, and tested.

Retreat Ladies 2014

We had our annual Good Heart Quilters Retreat at Lisa’s house, and were joined by her two sisters-in-law, who traveled down from the Mountain West to join us.  This is just the first batch of quilters in the moring–more came and by evening, when the fudgy brownies came out of the oven, there were many more.

Jean and her quilt July 2014Jean was a phenom, getting several quilt tops to the finished stage so she can quilt them on her machine.  Others quilters were just as industrious, but I was head-down-fingers-stitching on the Circles Block and forgot to take photos.

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I also finished my Four-in-Art quilt, but that reveal is not until August 1st, so check back then.  I really like this one and tried a new technique of printing on fabric.  I’ll share the quilt and all the “deconstruction” details next week.

And in Deep Summer maybe something we ought to do is read a poem or two, while sitting outside under the twinkle lights on the patio downing the last of the frozen peanut butter cookies — a poem like this one, by Susan Hutton, found *here.*

Falling Through

My neighbor, perched high on a ladder
one weekend afternoon,
trimmed the wrong branch and sent himself
slowly wheeling through the sky.
He curved through the air as smoothly
as if he’d been drawn with a compass,
a graceful inflection discordantly accompanied
by crepitating branches and breathy leaves,
and landed in a lush, bent sapling.
To call it beautiful misses the point.
To say he stood and walked away unharmed
is true. For fifteen years I’ve remembered that shape,
its pace, but it’s the moment when he understood
it would happen that I return to: that fear,
and whether he resisted it or surrendered.
How often it happens that we step, half-consideringly
into the impersonal forces at work,
unable to pull ourselves back.
The tread of the stair beneath our feet
the appalling speed of our own blood.
The fifty years of our working lives limit our thoughts
as the pyramids’ size was ultimately determined
by what they could build within the pharaoh’s life.
The arctic whale moves through the water
with a century-old, ivory spearhead buried in its flesh.
My son was born early, before his body had developed
the reflex to suck. He spent his first two weeks alive
covered in wires and tubes amid loud, beeping machines.
I did not know him yet, in the lasting way,
but I saw he had my grandfather’s face.
And oh I was afraid. And we moved through it.
SUSAN HUTTON
Michigan Quarterly Review
Spring 2014

 

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Retreating from the World, Quilt-style

Last weekend, along with a ton of other quilters in various locations, countries and states, my small sewing group (named The Good Heart Quilters) had their second annual retreat.  First off, a little game:

Quiltersand Machines

Can you match the quilter to her machine?  Don’t worry, neither can I.

We had thirteen quilters come at some point in the weekend (two didn’t bring their machines), served two lunches, one dinner, snacks, chocolate, laughter, and lots of chatter.  We also did a Polaroid Block Swap.  In no particular order, here are some shots of the weekend, including our Show and Tell quilts, and a couple of WIP quilts.

Clyn

Lia

Of course she can climb on the counters–it’s at her house!  Thanks, Lisa!!

Lrel

Citrus quilt

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ShowTell 11

ShowTell Mirror Ball Dots

Jean’s Mirror Ball Dots quilt.  Now the rest of you, get out those stacks and get busy (like me).

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The interesting thing is that the royal blue is not mirror ball dots fabric; it just makes the quilt pop.

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A prequel quilt to taking Ruth McDowell’s class — Janet just wanted to learn the technique.

ShowTell2

ShowTell3

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JoDy worked hard on this applique quilt, full of lavender tulips both in the applique and in the fabrics.

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ShowTell5

ShowTell6

(Back of the above)

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Every year Jean heads to Minnesota where she picks up the annual Minnesota fabric.  I usually get this wrong, and call it by the wrong state.
Minnesota/Michigan?  I hope I got it right this time.

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I’m including this picture to show there was someone other than me wearing their “ambulatory boot.”  Mine is light blue.

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Tauni’s quilt is all made of minky–so soft!

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Lisa’s daughter, Leilani, made this for a Young Women project for church, as this is fabric printed with different values: Faith, Knowledge, Integrity and so forth.

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Simone had to pose so she could show her sister she really has finished a quilt top.

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WIP

And Jean was the worker bee, finishing up another project.  I quilted Citrus, Rhonda’s hot pads, ate chocolate, listened, talked, caught up with others, got tired and went home Saturday afternoon where I crashed on the bed and didn’t wake up even when the phone rang (it was my mother, and I called her back).  So, if exhaustion is a barometer–it was a great success!

Citrus

Citrus Front_ quilt

Citrus, 31-1/2″ square, finished July 2013

This is a simple Schnibbles quilt, with rail fence and sawtooth star blocks, in bright citrusy colors.

Citrus back_quilt

The back, with my sister’s gift of a tea towel as part of the backing.

Citrus quilting

As I was at our annual summer retreat, I chose a simple leafy pattern–one I could quilt while we talked about children, grandchildren, hymn-singing at church, marathons, and could-you-please-bring-me-a-piece-of-chocolate sort of conversations.

Citrus quilt Label

I was tired today, after nearly two days at our retreat, so no big fancy quilt labels for this one.  Just handwritten in Micron pen, the title, my name, the place, date and dimensions. Truthfully, this is 31 and three-quarters-inch wide, but just couldn’t face all that, so I’m calling it 31-1/2″ inches square.

Citrus and Village Faire quilts

Here are the last two Schnibbles I’ve made.  I’m thinking that whatever the next pattern is, it needs to be pink.  Or aqua.  Anything but yellow, orange and green.

Sewing on Binding_Citrus quilt

The house was quiet this morning as I sewed on the binding. My husband had not yet returned from his scientific meeting. The weather was cool so I had the windows open, listening to the faraway sounds of traffic, the nearby sounds of insects, birds, a dog barking his good morning.  I could have machine-stitched this binding down, the chunk-chunk of the needle going through so many layers of fabric, but instead, I picked up a needle and thread.

I thought about all the conversations I’d had in the past forty-eight hours at our annual summer retreat.  The topics of conversation varied from books to quilt tops to sewing pillowcases to “how do you make bias binding?” to no conversation at all as we concentrated on our tasks, letting others carry the call and response around us.  There is something so rich and rewarding about being in the thick of this, of feeling surrounded and accepted by all these creative, productive and interesting people.  We have all brought our fabric, thread, and know how to borrow each other’s books for patterns, search Pinterest or the web, or locate what we want in a magazine or on a blog.  We all seem to find the time to begin the quilt or table runner or creamy white blouse or Polaroid blocks and bring them to the communal sewing circle, so we can keep our hands busy while we solve what really is on our mind.  The machines hum a nice alto line while our chorus of soprano voices slip in those concerns and cares that worry us at night, all of us telling a story of being unable to sleep because a friend moving away, or how to find the money to go to another state to meet an adult child’s sweetheart, or how to recover from a foot injury, or recover from a broken heart of a life called away too soon.

The stories are as varied as we are, from new mothers (am I doing this right?) to mothers of teenagers (can I send them to the moon?) to mothers of grown children (everything will work out).  We are young, running marathons.  We are older, with a litany of physical complaints.  We are professionals, earning retirement and benefits, and we are under-employed, wondering how to find medical insurance.  We are so different.

We are the same, with thread and scissors and stars and triangles and squares of cloth.  After days of sewing together, we are tired and head back to our houses with our half-finished projects, our conversations, our new friends, our memories, all packed away until the next time.

All of this is on my mind, as I think about how this is being repeated at every retreat, every sewing circle, all of us being bound together like this quilt I am working on, a stitch at a time.

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This quilt is my first finish on my list of things to do in the Third Quarter of 2013’s Finish-A-Long (FAL).

FinishALong Button

It is #118 on my 200 Quilts List.