Sunday, April 6, 2014

Concentrated crafting fun

Boy is it amazing how much sewing you can get done when all the chores of daily living disappear and you're entirely focused on the sewing machine. I returned home today from my first sewing retreat at a lovely B&B on Lake Huron and I'm pretty amazed at all I accomplished. We got there a day early, giving a day and a half of concentrated sewing before the retreat officially kicked off.

Jumping right in as soon as we arrived, I pulled out my stack of Laura Gunn fabric and Tula Pink's City Sampler book and got cutting. I worked out a good system, cutting at least 10 and then lining up the stack of pieces for each block on my long ruler to make it easy to bring back to my little station. Then I sat down and got sewing.

I finished 35 blocks, and both the rectangles and stripes chapters. (Stay tuned for lotsa photos!)

Then on Saturday I got started on the retreat project, learning a few new things along the way thanks to our super helpful and encouraging teacher Deb Beirnes. Before brunch on Sunday I finished the twelve blocks. Now I need to square them up, sew them together and add a few borders. I really like how the three prints of Chirp Chirp fabric I picked worked together. "Like a picnic" was an expression many of the fellow retreat sewers used. It's so bright and cheery with the green florals and pop of orange, which will be picked up in the binding.

Even better than putting together these nifty blocks, the teacher taught us a neat trick to eliminate waste while producing a whole whack of ready-to-go blocks. I love the wee triangle in the middle of the bigger blocks. And there's plenty for a good-sized project.

I'm kicking myself that I didn't get photos of the blocks made by the other three women (including my mom who kindly invited me to join her retreat group as a pinch quilter). They were all so very different, even though they were all the same block. Mine looked very modern, while others looked elegantly traditional. But thinking now the oversight is not too surprising when I think of another moment in the retreat. On Saturday night there was a brilliantly red sunset shining on the lake's calm frozen waters. Truly a rare sight. Someone mentioned it and everyone looked up from their sewing machines, marvelling for a few moments before returning to the task at hand. Beautiful sunset, yes, but there was sewing to be done!

The retreat was an amazing experience, meeting so many quilters with a wealth of experience and knowledge and seeing such an array of projects and fabrics. I realized just what a novice quilter I am, but it's inspired me that much more to keep quilting. Even after long days of sewing into the early hours of the morning, I can't wait to get back in front of my sewing machine.

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