Many of you attend an annual stitching retreat and some of you are lucky enough to have the time and resources to do it several times a year. I'm just home from the annual retreat with "my people" -- a group of students who were long time customers in my shop and we go back a long way! They are inspiring to be with because they are so independent and creative. I also love to see all the friendships that started in workshops and classes at my shop -- still going strong and growing!!
The rural setting we enjoy is lovely no matter the time of year -- I took this picture early Friday morning with the sun shining across the snow dusted fields. The large lone tree to the right is an oak, a favorite of mine -- I think farmers often left them growing in pastures because they live a long time and offer shade to animals during the summer. Love the shadows in this scene!!
Two years ago, we expanded the length of the weekend and now start on Thursday morning. As you can see, it doesn't take us long to take over the large sunny room and fill it up with stuff!!
Most of the group devoted Friday to shopping as there are several quilt shops in the area.
Saturday, it was all business and the room was full of cheerful conversation and serious stitching.
I decided to focus on making progress if not finishing an assortment of older projects.
The oldest was Doug's Market Ties -- quilted and bound, ready for a casing and a new life on the wall in my studio instead of on a shelf in my studio! Working on it this weekend brought up some happy memories of my husband's cheerful attitude!
I layered up this giant beauty -- we always make sure there are two or three empty tables available for layering up and cutting out and problem solving sessions -- plus I rarely have another set of hands around the house to help with one this large (81" by 90").
Now I have no excuses -- the hand quilting can commence!
This is a close-up of a stack of placemats I pieced several years ago. I love piecing them but find myself grumbling through the finishing process. With a couple weddings coming up this year, I decided to push forward finally -- that wasn't so bad!?! A second set that was still in the construction stage also got enough attention to get it back on track -- hopefully I'll find another 1/8th yard of the border print in my stash as I'm short 3 squares.
One of the highlights of the weekend was a surprise birthday party. I think it went something like this . . . . "since we are all together this weekend and someone is having a milestone birthday this year" . . . . I was so surprised that I could hardly put a coherent sentence together.
There was a singing hat?!? (Thank you for not making me take that home!)
There was a yummy cake!
There was a miniature topiary (long standing joke) which is a must-have for all important occasions.
And they gave me a quilt signed by everyone?!?
This is only the third quilt someone has made for me.
I'm not sure it's the crowning event, but supper together on Saturday evening is always a happy affair. By this point in the weekend, most of us are suffering from a serious carb overload but it's hard to pass up the country-style food.
At the end, we achieved a grand total of 119 goals (not the same thing as "finishes").
And we didn't have to drive home in a snow storm -- that was a welcome treat!!
I hope you have a "retreat" with your quilting friends in your future!
P.S. My actual birthday is still 3 months off but I'm partying all year!!