Friday, February 16, 2018

Retreat :: Packing :: Swag Bag

I'm so excited to be heading to our Guild Retreat!  Today didn't come soon enough for me.  Our last Retreat was two years ago, which means we're all ready for another one.  This one promises to be even bigger and better than the last!  

There are a few things I learned from the last one.  Bring your own pillow!!  By far the greatest piece of advice I can give!  You will thank me for this, your neck will thank me for this.  

We all know how long it takes to cut out pieces for a quilt.  I highly suggest you pre-cut your pieces before leaving home.  One reason is, it's easier to cut where you are comfortable.  Another is you don't have to spend all your time cutting and very little sewing.  

That being said...I have been cutting and cutting all weekend through this week!  If I hadn't I'd would easily have spent my entire time at the retreat cutting!  Honestly!

I'll show you!

I have a quilt on my bed that I made eight years ago.  Recently I've wanted to make it again and figured there is no better time than now.  The quilt requires 4 different sizes of a Churn Dash block.  The first time I made it it was under the guidance of my daughter Britt.  (she taught me to quilt BTW)  Back then she cut all the pieces for me.  Today...I had no idea how much work that was!!

I decided it was high time I use as much of my Anna Maria Horner stash as I could for this quilt.  Which is exactly what happened.

The original quilt was designed with a tone on tone background for each block.  This time I decided I'd go straight solids.  I might be taking a risk, but what the hell!  It's only fabric!  YIKES!

Side note:  We will have a Pop Up Shop on Saturday featuring fabric from Craft South:  AKA Anna Maria Horner.  My source says her new line will be available...good thing I cleared out my stash!

I hope I'm not making a big mistake!  Time will tell!

Another quilt I cut was my latest design that is chock full of Flying Geese!  My goal here was to use my fat quarter bundle of Alison Glass Handcrafted that I've had for years!  

I spent far too much time searching for just the right pattern that incorporates a variety of sizes of Flying Geese.  Frustrated that the search wasn't yielding what I was after, I gave in and decided I'd design my own!  Let's hope it works since I've already cut everything!

But if it turns out...I could be a genius!

Another tip for a retreat:  bring a small project that will break up the tedium of a quilt.  A quick change, a quick project and chance of pace.

For me, I pick little blocks that I've wanted or want to make, but haven't taken the time to do so.

This paper pieced 'Fishy Bones' by Unicorn Hearts recently popped up on Instagram.  I cannot wait to make it!  And then she came up with 'Mr. Squeak'...there is no end to the cuteness!  Best part is they both are free patterns!

Mr. Fox is also a free pattern by Stars & Sunshine.  My son's girlfriend loves a good fox, so I thought I'd surprise her with this 5" mini. 

Yes, another paper pieced project!  This one isn't a free pattern, but I thought it would be really simple to throw down!  I'm going to make a 'J' using Quiet Plays Geometric Alphabet.  She has some of the best paper pieced patterns! 

Have I overwhelmed you yet?!  

Lastly, is the swag of all swags!  Aurifil thread!!  Some of you may know that I'm an Aurifil Artisan.  I'm among a very talented group of people who love to quilt and are supported by Aurifil thread.  It's a wonderful honor and Aurifil has been amazingly generous is my personal ventures and now with our Retreat!

I reached out to Hilary Jordan (Aurifil's Social Media Coordinator) and asked if Aurifil could sponsor something for a swag bag or just a giveaway item.  Imagine my surprise when this arrived at my front door!  Big, beautiful spools of thread!  I imagined small spools...this blew me away.  I'm sure everyone attending the Retreat will be just as surprised as I was!  I cannot thank Hilary and Aurifil for their generosity!

The past week I have been trying not to quilt a darn thing!  What would it be like to go to a Retreat and be burnt out from quilting?  Doesn't make sense to me either!  I know I'm getting super excited to have two uninterrupted, action packed and being around people who have the same passion as I do!

Which brings me to another very important tip:  Take time to chill out!  By that I mean, don't put your nose to the grindstone and try to get as much quilting done as you can.  Take the time to talk and interact with others.  My first retreat, I admittedly spent too much time trying to knock out as many projects and being as productive as I possibly could be, but I didn't take enough time to have FUN!  

Fun, connecting, enjoying each others company is where I want to take this retreat for myself personally.   

What are you best tips when you go on Quilting Retreats?    


  1. earplugs for snoring roommate protection! I like to bring a small cutting/ironing station and a small iron for my space.Have a wonderful time!

  2. Enjoy the retreat and I am looking forward to seeing your progress. :)

  3. Looks like you have lots to keep you busy and out of the bars while out from under the watchful eyes of your family. Looking forward to seeing the churn dash quilt finished. Simone Freelander

    1. There was supposed to be a ha ha ha in there somewhere but tired, up all night fingers and brain didn't communicate. I'm new to your blog so looking forward to "catching up" with what you've done. Simone F.

  4. Those wonderful piles of future-churndashes pieces have me on tenterhooks, eager to see them sewn together--I've long been wanting to make a multi-sizes churn dash quilt for myself, and have a bag of coordinated-by-me fabrics just waiting for the right pattern. (I accidently hit a huge best-sale-ever at my LQS one day a few years ago, and went crazy with the batiks I found.)
    susanprincess at att dot net

  5. I've never attended a retreat, so I'm living vicariously through you :) I really like the idea of bringing a smaller project as a palate cleanser!

  6. like Louise I have never been on a retreat before, sounds wonderful. And how wonderful that your daughter taught you how to quilt. Role reversal there

  7. I've never been on one! I need to go on one. I MUST go on one!!! My tip would be GO ON A RETREAT! Love your fabrics for the flying geese project. Flying Geese, my FAV block design. I am planning my 7th project to use FG since I started back to quilting last summer. Obsessed much? I am.

  8. Have a great time!!! That's a very generous gift from Aurifil.

  9. Like you I take a variety of projects - you never know what you'll want to work on! I LOVE a pop-up shop - that just adds to the fun. I like having a hashtag for the retreat too so everyone can add photos. Be sure and take a group photo! And I always take a quilt from home and lately, a homemade pillowcase, just for fun!

  10. I hope you have/had a wonderful time on retreat, you surely took plenty to keep you busy. The one thing I remember to take on my embroidery weekends is my cushion for my back, it saves a lot of pain and I get more done.

  11. I did the same thing at my first retreat. Focused on getting a lot done, and didn't have as much fun as I could have. Have a great time!

  12. I know I am late to comment but I have been watching your retreat progress over on IG. You picked some great projects!

  13. Like you, I pre-cut my pieces for a retreat so I can hit the ground running. I stack my pieces on my big square ruler and cover the whole thing in plastic wrap. It arrives organized and ready to go.

  14. It looks like you have some great plans and projects ready to go, have fun!!

  15. Fun projects! I'm late, I know, but I bring a Body Rite Posture Pleaser, and my own spotlight lamp. Hope you had a great time!!!

  16. This place is stunning. The architecture is beautiful and the decoration is spectacular. Environment was transparent and resonant and warm and immediate. I loved these Chicago venues and my experience here was very exciting.


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