Monday, November 9, 2009

Quilt retreat!

This last weekend, Evelyn and I (along with 60 other ladies) spent three days at the Falls Creek Conference Center for a quilt retreat hosted by Karen Snyder.

It was awesome!!! So awesome that I failed to take any time out to take pictures. But, I can tell you that the retreat center was beautiful (albeit a little stormy), the food was plentiful (and tasty), the ladies were all welcoming and friendly and fabulous, and having nearly 3 days to just sit and sew was amazing.

Evelyn finally reminded me that pictures were pretty nice for blogs, and helped me take a couple at the very end so that I can at least show you what I managed to accomplish.

me and my Prairie Pinwheel blocks
I spent the majority of my time (all but about 3 hours!) working on my version of the "Prairie Pinwheels" quilt (from McCall's Quilting, August 2008). I managed to complete 33 blocks, which means I now have all of the 48 blocks required to make the quilt. Woo hoo! Evelyn took this picture of me standing in front my blocks. The design wall wasn't big enough to hang all of them, so there are also few sitting in the chair nearby. I hadn't planned on working on this quilt the entire time, but I just found myself wanting to get the blocks DONE. So I kept going until they were all completed. Hopefully, I'll be able to start putting them together soon.

Needing a little break from the pinwheel blocks, I took a time-out to participate in a retreat project that Karen put together. She requested that we each bring two half-yard pieces of ugly fabric. She took them all and then randomly drew names. We each received a bag pattern and got to go up and choose two pieces from the pile that we could use to make our "ugly bags".

This is my completed bag. It took me just a little more than an hour to put together, and was a nice respite from the grind of pinwheels. And the bag isn't bad at all!

More pinwheels followed. Finally, on Sunday morning, the last pinwheels was complete. With only a couple of hours left before we planned to head home, I decided to get a start on the "My Friend Maisy" quilt.

Maisy red stars
It was a huge joy to be working on these after spending the entire weekend on pinwheel blocks. And they were so quick in comparison! This is going to be a very happy quilt.

On the way home from retreat, we made a stop at Sisters Fabric Shop in Chehalis. They had a lot of fabric packed into that little store! It was actually a little overwhelming. But, I managed to come away with a little something:

fabric from Sisters
The brown is going to be for binding Felix's quilt (assuming I ever get it started!), the peachy floral is for my last Autumn House block (so I can make it match its mis-cut opposite block), and the green is for my Jane quilt (because I just couldn't resist!).

I also wanted to show you this:

my ironing table
The day before I left for the retreat, I took a little time and made a portable ironing station for myself, a la the fabulous twiddletails. I bought a TV tray at Target for about $9 and transformed it following Anina's instructions. It was a super-quick project (less than an hour!), and I was wildly grateful that I had it at retreat. I was able to just stay at my spot and do all the pressing I needed right there. I cannot even contemplate how much time it saved me to not have to get up and go to an ironing station every time I needed to press. And I think it will be just as helpful at home.

My first-ever retreat was amazing fun! Though I wasn't as productive as I had hoped (those pinwheels took a lot longer than I had hoped!), I feel like I really got a lot done. I got to hang out with my friend and meet some amazing ladies. I got to sew. And I can't wait until I can do it all again!


  1. looks like a ton of fun and your pinwheels are great! I love the Maisy blocks!! It is definitely going to be a fun quilt!

  2. I am so glad you had fun! Did you miss your son? :)

  3. I can't believe you posted so soon! I'm just now catching my breath, I think. I slept 9 hours last night, and it was heaven!! Thanks again for coming with me. :)

  4. That sounds fun! The Maisy blocks are adorable! I love the colors of them.

    Thanks for the info about the TV tray ironing station. I have one of those small ironing pads and never thought about putting it on a tray table so I wouldn't have to get up to iron!

  5. Sounds like a bit of heaven. I must do a retreat someday. Your pinwheel quilt is looking great - I love your fabrics.

  6. Fantabulous pinwheels. I'm just reading along and you mentioned Chehalis. The only one I've known is in Washington State (along with Centralia). So I clicked on your retreat center and sure enough, it was in Washington. I visited some friends there in 1972. They ahve since moved to Arizona. Small world!

  7. WOW! It looks like you got a lot accomplished.

    I have never been on a retreat but one day I will get there.

  8. I'm glad you enjoyed the retreat and I love your portable ironing station. An excellent idea.

  9. Robin, it was so fun to have you at retreat--and your blocks are gorgeous! Hope we can do it again.

  10. It was so fun to meet you Robin! I love the quilt you made and I was oohing and ahhing over it and was just about to come over and ask you if I could take a pic... and then you took it down - I'm so glad you posted a pic. It's STUNNING!

  11. 3 days and 60 women. That is a lot of sewing going on.
    Your pinwheel quilt is fabulous.

  12. That Pinwheels quilt is amazing! So much movement, and I love all the secondary patterns that you see the more you look at it. You used really good values in your fabrics too!

  13. I love retreats!
    I'm glad the little ironing table worked for you.