mellicious: pink manicure (breathe)
[personal profile] mellicious
Nobody that's not a quilter (or otherwise an artist/crafter type) seems quite to get the concept of the quilt retreat. Maybe it's because it gets conflated in people's heads with a religious retreat, which it is not. Actually, we hold our retreats in special retreat facilities, and they are in fact religiously-affiliated. (This one, where we have the spring retreat, is Catholic; the other one in the fall seems to be run by Protestants of indeterminate denomination. It may be that they are deliberately vague on that point.) The sum total of the way they impose their religions on us is that they require us to have a morning devotional. Attendance is not required, and since I do good to get up for breakfast, much less earlier, I have never actually heard what they say at these devotionals. That is a level of religion I can deal with.

OK, so what do we do?
We bring our stuff, we set up our sewing machines, lights, piles of fabric, needles, thread, rotary cutters, mats, seam rippers and other assorted gadgets, and we sew. We also talk a great deal, eat a great deal, and in many cases shop a great deal. Expeditions to the local quilt shops are a major activity.

At quilt retreat

That is my tablemate's prized Singer Featherweight in the foreground (well, next to the water bottles, anyway)  - a machine 40 years old or older. They are highly sought after to take to events like this one. The white thing on the right is its polar opposite - a brand-new Swiss-made Bernina. (Apparently both work quite well, but the Bernina costs many times as much, as I understand it.) I brought my small machine - a Janome Jem Gold - but decided that since I intended to quilt I ought to have my Mom's, so I went and got it. Then I realized I hadn't brought a darning foot and couldn't quilt anyway. So I settled for a new project I had dreamed up for my collection of Japanese indigoes I have been amassing for a couple of years. I found an Asian-style panel that could be cut up into 4" squares with a little piece of nature artwork on each. So I cut blue strips, carefully cut apart the squares from the panel, and I was off. I wasn't sure how it was going to work, but so far so good.

log cabin blocks

Here are four of the six blocks I finished, and I have more in various states of progress. You can see the little colored drawings in the center blocks, although you will have to turn your head on most of them. I will be able to get them turned correctly in the final quilt, but for purposes of the picture I had to make do.

Probate court in the morning. Cross your fingers for me.

Date: 2007-05-01 12:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I didn't have any problem picturing what the quilt retreat was like. When I called it a "quilting bee" the other night I was only kidding. I pictured it in a VFW hall or some other more secular place, but apart from that, my idea more or less matched your description.

My first thought when I saw the top photo - before reading your comment - was, "Wow, an antique Singer! Bet it still works like a charm too." Which proves something, but I don't know what.

I thought for a minute that Bernina only made sergers, but then I realized I was thinking of Babylock. (Their sergers look almost exactly alike.) I just went to the Bernina web site - apparently Bernina is the Singer of Switzerland.

I don't know what a darning foot is though.

Date: 2007-05-01 06:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The VFW hall does not have a place to sleep, that's the major difference there. (Otherwise, at least in this case, the facilities are quite similar.)

Date: 2007-05-01 03:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That's the thing about retreats--seems I always forget something. This year it was scissors and the quilt I planned to quilt. I like your backup project.

I almost bought a Featherweight once, mostly because it was purple--not authentic but pretty.

Date: 2007-05-01 04:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Fingers crossed.

And Quilt Camp sounds exactly like I imagined, too. I am not a quilter (or a sewer, not by any stretch of the imagination), but if I were, I think I would enjoy the social aspect of it. I've dabbled inexpertly in various crafts, and while I enjoyed them on their own, it was always more fun when I had a partner or two in crime. And it's nice to have someone around for advice and support.


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