This past weekend (Thursday through this morning) I attended a Quilt and Sew In Retreat in Blowing Rock, NC put on by heARTS Desire Creations. This was the first “retreat” I’ve ever attended. I’ve attended quilt shows and fiber festivals many times. I’ve taken classes along the years, but this was totally different and refreshing. First, there was no “must do” agenda. Participants were free to come and go as they pleased, to sew or not sew as they pleased, and no expectations were implied! A chance for me to totally relax. I had no phones, except what I chose to use my cell for, no animals demanding attention, no chores that had to be done, just free time to create as I wanted to (or not).
The lighting in the room was great! I took my Ott Light and never took it out of the bag. Everyone had their own table to work on, but the tables were in clusters so you had company to talk with if you wanted to. And there was a lot of joking and kibitzing over the weekend.
Thursday after arriving, I set up for sewing, and did a little. My goals for the weekend were to finish the hand-quilting on “Hope”s border, to make some scrap blocks for my 2009 Block in the Box from Lake Norman Quilters, and to make some Hunter’s Star blocks for that same project (aka UFO), as well as to spend some time knitting. I accomplished some of them and would have finished all if not for my machine, but I’ll tell you about that later.
First I finished the hand-quilting on the border of Hope. This was from a long ago class by Susan Brubaker-Knapp on hand applique.
I had originally thought to hand quilt the entire thing. Quite an ambitious project with the arthritis in my hands that I quickly gave up on. I machine quilted the center and decided I would only do the borders by hand. Finished one motif and gave it up for “another time” (UFO). With the arthritis more under control now than it was back then, I spent one day hand quilting the remaining border motifs while away. And while my stitches are far from the even tiny ones that I used to make years ago, I’m pleased that I can still hand quilt a little.
After that I started working on some scrappy (kind of) blocks. I had no plan for these. Before I left I looked at a couple of my Accuquilt Go Dies and thought “these should go together” and cut some pieces. Then the play started and I like the results. These are for the aforementioned 2009 Block in a Box project that I hope to finish soon.
Of course the project needed more blocks, so I used the GO to cut out pieces for eight Hunters Star blocks using the colors above and a white as background. While I didn’t finish them, I am well along. All the halves are pieced.
And two of the blocks were pieced, but I’ll be re-doing them as I’m not happy with the centers.
The fault of the centers was my machine. I took along a 1941 Featherweight that I just love. And while it goes great for some things, when I encountered the bulk of the center, the machine consistently wobbled around the bulk rather than over it. I did this block twice, then tried on another block and each time the same thing, wobbles between the arrows so I put it aside to finish on one of my newer machines.
In the evenings I did some knitting, the red sock is a test knit for Mary Hough Designs, and the striped sock is my go to plain vanilla sock.
Of course, who among us, goes on retreat, or on vacation and never shops at all? And I did do some shopping, at both of the two quilt stores in Boone where I added to my collection of batiks and splurged on a jelly roll (I LIKE those things!).
As well as the yarn store in Blowing Rock.
Will I go again? Most likely if I either the husband or the son are going to be home that weekend to care for all my critters! If you get a chance, I highly recommend this particular retreat as a fun long weekend away!