Monday, June 29, 2009

And Speaking of Retreat.......

Meet my dear friend, Rosemary. She's so much fun and I love her to pieces! She's really a talented quilter, and I'm so glad I get to see her a couple of times a year. You have to love the internet. How else would I have ever met this cute little gal from Arkansas?

Last year at Retreat, poor Eve (I love her to pieces, too!) fought her camera the entire week. The battery compartment was kept shut through the very classy use of duct tape, and a quite lovely rubberband kept the whole thing from completely falling apart. All 40+ retreaters signed a petition which we mailed to her hubby requesting a new camera, and I just had to take her picture with it. Ahhhhhh, sweet victory!
And this is my adorable roommate, Faye. We met online about seven years ago and keep in touch that way. Chat, emails, message boards. We have so much in common we sometimes wonder if we are really twins-separated-at-birth! (Alright, alright -- I love you, too, Faye!)

Faye loves animal prints so when I saw the Jean Ann Wright kit for this quilt I had to make it for her. I love the pink and green zebra prints! I call it "Faye's Safari." My friend Angela ( quilted it for me and did a beautiful job, as always!!

I wish I could post pics of ALL the gals I get to visit with at this Retreat. Each one is special to me in her own way, and we always have a great time when we get together. I'm so grateful for each and every one of them and can hardly wait to see them again next time!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

More Retreat Fun

One of our favorite things to do at Retreat is a contest of one kind or another. One year it was something ordinary, like name tags, but this year it was "Monkey Pants." As you can see that's just a silly name for pajama bottoms. My roomie, Faye, was the organizer of this fabulous event. Turns out neither of us remembers enough about garment sewing to get a pair of pants to fit properly, so she wore mine (because I couldn't get into them!) and I wore hers (because they were too big on her!)

Let it never be said that our fashion show was anything but fun! These gals - Becky, Debbie and their mom, JoAnne, are always good for a laugh and they didn't let us down this year. They really should take their act on the road!
This was the first year Shirley was with us, but turns out she isn't at all shy!

And our dear, sweet, introverted, Rilla. Well........what can I say?!?
She loves to make us laugh -- I bet she's already planning something for next year!!

Retreat Report

One of the things that makes Retreat so much fun is having a great sewing area. The Mercy Center in Frontenac has a huge auditorium with plenty of room for all of us (this year there were 39 retreaters.) Pairs of two share an 8' table so we get to spread out a fair amount. (Of course there are always those few, and I won't mention any names, who like to encroach on their table mate's space, but most of us can make do with half a table!) The stage is the perfect place to display some of our work. We use the center of the room for cutting tables and set up ironing boards in one corner. Sewing goes on nearly around the clock, and shopping trips are made to Local Quilt Shops daily.
One of our traditions is making charity quilts, and this year we decided to support two groups. In an earlier post I mentioned the 22" quilts we make for the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit for St. John's Mercy Medical Center. This photo shows the 154 Preemie quilts and 9 Pediatric sized quilts we made. The representative who came to receive them was deeply moved and very grateful.
The next evening a representative from Voices for Children, a Court Appointed Advocate Program for children in foster care, came to receive the quilts we made this year especially for teenagers. We made 30 quilts and collected 7 afghans/blankets for that cause.
I think after hearing each of the representatives speak to our group, I can safely say that every one of us was glad that we put so much time and love into this project. I bet we can make even more next year. Some of us have already started!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

"Gramma's Toy Box" Baby Quilt

I'm not sure I have ever seen someone so completely and utterly excited to be a new gramma as our friend Patricia is! Her little grandson Grant is 2 weeks old, and I was so anxious to get his quilt done that I stayed up late the other night to put in the final stitches and then run it through the washer and dryer so I could gift wrap it. It finished at 40" by 48" and is just as cute as can be. The hand-quilting doesn't show up very well in the photo so I added a close-up shot with the backing folded over. And guess what? She love love loves it!!!

I'm glad I bought extra of the backing fabric (uh, actually I emptied the bolt!) so I can use it in another baby quilt. After all, I have plenty of brights to go with it!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Retreat Report

Ahhhhh, Retreat! Why do we call it that? I looked up the word retreat and it's defined as "a place affording peace and quiet" or "an area where you can be alone." A Quilting Retreat is anything but! I stayed up too late, sat at my sewing machine too long, rested too little, and ate too much. I got caught up with some very dear friends, laughed at lots of sillyness (even acted a little silly myself!) and came away feeling like I accomplished something. It was absolutely great and I loved it. I'm already looking forward to next time!

I had the opportunity to quilt on a Lenni Longarm Quilting System while I was there, and I liked it! My friend Angela spent most of her time there overseeing many of us taking turns getting our quilts completed. I was a little nervous at first but got the hang of it quickly. It's not every day I can quilt a twin sized quilt in only 3 hours! Here are some photos of my quilt loaded into the machine -- first the backing, then the batting and top, and even a photo of me quilting!

Poppies are my favorite flower so when Clothworks Textiles came out with this Poppy Fields line several years I bought a bunch of it not knowing how I would use it. I finally found the Big Blossom Trio pattern that was perfect for it and this is my finished quilt. I just love it, and the big news is I am actually keeping this one for ME!

I'll fill you in later on some of the other projects I worked on last week. Right now, I need a little retreat --- aka NAP!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Headed to Retreat

I have only known about the Quilting Retreat I am going to tomorrow for a year, but I just started packing for it this morning. Life just seems to get in the way of my fun these days. What I need is a real retreat -- you know the kind -- massages, facials, pedicures, SLEEP!! But since this retreat involves seeing some very dear friends, sewing, laughing, and chocolate, I know it will be just what the doctor ordered!

This photo only shows a part of what I need to fit into my car. I still need to pull together the ironing board, cutting mats, kitchen supplies for which I am responsible, prizes, charity quilts..............Oh, yah........... And clothes!! I'm afraid I may spend the whole first day unloading the car. Gotta get back to the packing right now. Next time I blog, I will have lots to tell you about and lots of photos.

Friday, June 5, 2009

NNICU Quilts

Making 22" x 22" quilts doesn't take much time, but it sure does bring a big blessing to the recipients! These quilts are just the right size for the babies in the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit at a local hospital. I just finished one this afternoon, making my total for this year 7. (Far below the goal I have set for myself, but I still have time!) They will be delivered in a few weeks along with about 120 others made by my friends in an on-line quilt guild. Some of the gals in this group have made a whole lot more than I have, but I did want to share these few with you.

Most of these quilts, affectionately referred to as "Love Covers," were made from leftover fabrics from other projects. And I think that the quilts for boys are just as cute as the girls' quilts.

This quilt was made from a sample packet of a fabric line made by Benartex a few years ago....

......and this center block started out as a redwork quilt I decided not to make after all, when I had only completed one block. I love embroidering, but not sure I love it THAT much!

All of the quilts gave me the opportunity to practice my machine quilting and to use up a little of my stash. Very little at this pace! But it is an ongoing project for me which I hope to continue for a long, long time.