Sunday, May 2, 2010

Quilt Weekend

My weekend began on Thursday afternoon when I placed an out-of-office auto reply on my email and changed my voicemail greeting to let people know I wouldn't be available until Monday. Aaahhh, freedom! But I was so tired, that I didn't really enjoy Thursday night, just got the kids into bed and hit the sack myself.

But Friday morning was another story altogether...

I didn't have the time or inclination to pull together fabrics and cut for the project that was featured at this year's quilt retreat, so I just grabbed some works in progress to work on - my Bright Futures Quilt that I am hand quilting, along with a snowball "I Spy" quilt and my Bonnie Hunter "Virginia Bound" quilt. Judi came through and lent me her machine to use - an Elna. Now, my machine is a $99 Singer from Wal-Mart. It is the only machine I have ever used. Once I figured out how to thread her machine and set the needle for a 1/4 inch seam, (over half an hour later), I started sewing. Oh, my! The difference was like the difference between my first car, an (at the time) 15-year-old two-tone tan Chevy Chevette, and my brand-new F150 Lariat SuperCrew pickup truck with heated leather seats, a tonneau cover, a moonroof, power everything and all the other bells and whistles. All of a sudden, I'm not so focused on fixing my own machine, and I am dreaming of getting a new one. It sewed like a dream! I didn't know what I was missing!

Anyway, day 1 of the retreat was fabulous. Our instructor was Barbara Cline, who specializes in Y-seams. I need to learn how to do Y-Seams, but this just isn't the time. Here's the class sample:

and here are some of the quilts the class was making:

She had samples and patterns for some of her other quilts there as well:

I loved this demin and flannel quilt, and hope to make something similar sometime this year.

In the meantime, here's what I was working on:

It was so nice to have all day to just quilt and hang out with friends. When I got home, after the delicious potluck dinner, always one of the highlights of the retreat, I felt so energized that I told the kids to round up some firewood - we were going to have a campfire! We stayed out late, roasting hot dogs and then marshmallows and trying to pick constellations out of the sky. My kids are so much fun - they are always up for anything.

Saturday was Day 2 of the retreat. We began with our monthly business meeting, which I missed because I brought the boys with me and we were running late. Another quilter has a daughter who is a few years older than Jason, and they all play very well together, so while they were with me all day, they didn't cut into my sewing time at all. I did get there in time for the slideshow and trunk show by Barbara Cline, though. I love that she didn't just show us her quilts, she also showed us her family. She's a neat lady. She has 6 sisters and one sister-in-law, and they all get together for 9 (yes, N-I-N-E!!) consecutive days each year for a sewing retreat. It gives me grand thoughts for my 2-day retreat with my sister every year... It was also cool to see the quilts that will be featured in her book that is coming out later this year, Star Strcuk Quilts. In short, they are AMAZING!

The woman who opened a quilt shop in the next town over last year set up a booth at the retreat.

I bought some Warm & Natural Batting for my Orphan Quilt, and I hope to put that together this week, maybe even in time for the drive-in next weekend. I also inherited some more juvenile scraps from a generous guild member, so I spent quite a bit of time on Saturday cutting, rather than sewing. The 6-inch blocks will go into my snowball "I Spy" quilt, and the other squares will go into their respective tins for use in a future project.

It is great to have a reputation as a scrap quilter - I am always getting surprise bags of fabric scraps.

The retreat wrapped up around 3 PM on Saturday. It was held at the Virginia Horse Center where they were also hosting a Spring Premiere Equestrian event. From our retreat room, we could look down on a Jumper competition in the coliseum, and I had been wanting to see more all weekend.

So, instead of going straight home, the kids and I loaded all my sewing stuff into the car, and walked around. It was fun, but I can tell that I'll be fending off frequent and fervent requests from the boys for a horse or pony for some time to come.

Last night, the boys and I went to the drive-in to see "How To Train Your Dragon" and "Sherlock Holmes." My brother came with his girlfriend and her two kids, and we had a great time, although my brother and I were the only two to stay awake through both movies.

Today, I slept in, and have spent most of the afternoon on the porch with Arlene Sachitano's "Quilt As You Go", a Harriet Truman mystery. It isn't my favorite series, but it will do. Oh, and how can I forget, while driving around this past week and weekend, I listened to all of Jennifer Chiaverini's "The Aloha Quilt." It was a good one, one with a current plot rather than one with lots of flashbacks to previous novels like some of her most recent books. I have already read those books; I don't want a new book to just relive what I've already read! If you like her Elm Creek Quilts books, then I recommend this one. And it has got me itching to try a quilt in the Hawaiin style, although that will have to wait until I get some others off my plate.

Between the retreat, the book, and the book on CD, I have immersed myself in quilting this weekend, and I must say, I feel better than I have, both physically and emotionally, than I have in months. Quilt therapy, there is nothing better!