Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Quilting Retreat!

I love quilting retreats!  My guild sets up 3 or 4 of them every year (probably more that I'm not aware of) and I can usually manage to get to one a year.  I love being in a room full of people indulging in their craft.  Seeing all the projects, all the colors, all the ideas and beautiful workmanship is very inspiring.  I always bring much more with me than I can ever complete in the time frame, but I always manage to do more than I really expect.  This weekend was no exception.

I had a delay in getting to the event, but once I was there I went straight to work.  I brought all the blocks I had completed for Scrapitude.  I don't really have the space at home to set up a design wall, so this is the perfect venue to try different designs (the Franciscan Guest House supplies tables, irons and ironing boards and design walls.)  I set everything up and stitched it all together.

This is the lay-out prior to stitching is all together.  I put them up at random and only had one block that got moved around.  I still have to decide on borders once I figure out the size I want.  I was afraid that some of the reds I chose would stand out too much, but I have to agree with Charlotte that all the scraps just go together.

My next project was a baby quilt for a friend.  I had won most of the blocks from a guild block of the month, but had to make 10 or so to make the top this size.  I didn't take a picture of this, but will once it is quilted (in the next week or so.)

Then I moved on to some very old UFOs.  My quilting 'resolution' for this year was to do something with three particularly old UFOs.  The first is a fractured landscape design.  This was a project from a class I took probably close to 20 years ago.  It's been sitting in a bag in the closet for that long.  My goal was to get it out and decide whether to finish, donate or chuck it.  I got all the blocks ironed and took a close look at what I had done.  The entire piece is probably 30" wide by 26" tall.  In order to make this a usable piece I would have to add a lot more sky pieces at the top (it's supposed to be sort of a forest scene and have a lightening bolt appliqued down the center.)  Many of the women around me were trying to convince me to save it - it does have quite a bit of work in it already.  I decided not to finish the piece.  Then they tried to convince me to donate it as a project in the next UFO auction.  But, I decided to toss the project and here's why.  The one thing I learned from this is that I do not enjoy putting things up on a design wall and forever fiddling with it.  I would much rather put a design on paper and execute once I have it all decided upon.  Moving fabric around, stepping back and moving more pieces has absolutely no appeal to me.  Once I get to the fabric part, I want  it to be a sewing project, not a design project.  That's why one reason I decided not to finish this myself.  Then, when I looked at the blocks, I thought they were not very well constructed.  And that's why I decided to let this one go.  Not every project deserves to take up space in my closet or my head.  I learned what I learned from it and let it go.

And, on to the next.  This curved star pattern was also started decades ago.  It was a hand project I carried with me to softball games, gymnastic classes and many evenings of stitching on a winter's night.  I think I got the top completed a year or so ago and put it into that seemingly endless closet to rest while I figured out what to do next.  This weekend my goal for the top was to get borders basted on so I can hand applique the curved pieces at the edges.   I like the top a lot more with the squared edges and will start the applique once I get the socks I'm knitting completed.

This last project I worked on that weekend will be a charity quilt for my guild.  One of our members must have a die cut machine and she makes up packets of cut fabrics for members to take home and sew.  This is another project that has been sitting in my sewing room for a while (months, not years) and I've been putting off working on it because I don't have a design wall, and because (as I've just learned) I don't like tinkering on a design wall.  So I pulled in a friend and we both played with it for a while.  I did learn her process  of arranging a scrappy quilt; how she approaches it and her thoughts.   I have to admit, working on the arrangement with a friend was actually enjoyable. I guess in a social setting, I could get used to using a design wall.


  1. I enjoyed reading this post, and especially appreciated you sharing your thought processes around deciding whether to finish the UFO, donate it, or toss it. As I've mentioned in past podcast episodes, too often we carry too much guilt around about our UFOs. Your description here gives a great rationale for one possible solution and why! Thanks! And thanks for linking up!