Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Wonderful Weekend

Now where was I?

Oh ya, Orillia! For the third annual Family Crafting Retreat. I would call this a photo journal because I have a lot of pictures to post, but we all know I will write a lot too. (What can you do.)

Thursday (a good day to start a weekend on!)

I packed up my car in the morning. I was a little scattered in the days before so I wasn't as organized as usual about packing. At some point I thought to myself, I have enough to keep me busy; surely this is enough.

Then I made myself check the list because you know that it is a good idea. First thing on the list: sewing machine. It was still sitting in my sewing room where I would have forgotten it. Lists are good. Consulting them, even better.

I had a meeting at noon and then left shortly after that. A cousin lives about two-thirds of the way there and she graciously offered me a place to stay for a night.

Despite some blinding snow in southern Ontario (along Lake Huron), the drive was uneventful. I arrived after dinner and we enjoyed some good visiting.


We got possession of the house where we were going to stay at 10 am, so I was determined to leave early and not waste a moment. I think what that turned into was leaving by 9:30 or so and stopping at a recommended quilt shop on the way!

I was happy to see sunny skies
but it was cold!! When I got in the car, it said 0F, but on the drive, it read as low as -10F. Good thing my car has a great heater! (And I wear a down coat and a hat and mitts...I am a knitter after all!)

I arrived around 12:30 to find my sister and a different cousin there already. (They really had gotten up early and arrived by 10!)

We stay in an old farmhouse. (Click Fireside Retreat, if you want to read more.) They get you in the right mood right away with the many quilt block boards hanging outside. It's a new one on the front porch each year. (Good for photo ops, of course!)
It has a spacious dining room:
(That's a design board on the left with my sister's quilt-in-progress on it.) We make a schedule of who's cooking and make two meals a day. For the rest, you are on your own.

The main gathering room is a converted porch. It's a few steps down from the main house. On the left is a sitting area with a wood stove:
and to the right is a work area with four tables and a cutting station.
It wasn't long until the cousin I stayed with arrived with her sister, and then my mom with another aunt. Another of my sisters would arrive the next day and that was our party of eight.

Friday I worked on:
  • cutting squares from cashmere sweaters to make a blanket. (That's what I'm doing in the picture above.)
Once I had them cut, that was enough on that for that day.
  • some hand sewing on some fabric wall hangings I was installing in a room at church:
The concrete block walls were depressing, so I installed this fabric behind the shelves. Made the panels the right size and hot glued them to the concrete. Worked a charm.
  • Then it was time for play. I had a lot of left over pieces from this quilt, but not quite enough to make another quilt. I thought about putting them together for a centre and adding borders, but it just wasn't appealing to me. So I took about half of the pieces and put this small top together:
It's about 40"x44" and by the end of the evening, it was sewn together!

But while I was still playing with blocks, I took the ones that were left and put this together:
I have plenty of the black fabric to fill in the outside rows with solid squares. I don't have quite enough pieces with coloured corners and I wasn't as convinced by this one, so it didn't get sewn together.


I know we didn't go to the quilt store first thing, but I don't remember what I worked on in the morning versus the afternoon, so this is how I'm going to tell the story.

The mother of the woman who runs the retreat centre owns the (very) nearby quilt shop. When we stay, we get a gift certificate for said quilt shop. Needless to stay, we visit the shop and, well, shop.

Here I am with a sister and my mom.
I am holding a panel of fabric, parts of which I found last fall in a scrap bin at a store where I live. It's the most beautiful watercolour style birds. (Click here to see on my IG account.) Now I have more to play with when I decide what to do.

Kim and I doing quilt maths:
I got lost half way through, but she was able to keep track (or at least know what she needed to buy at the end), so that's all that mattered!

At some point on Saturday, I:
  • pulled out my Plaidish quilt and got it basted. (I did it on the dining room table with my cutting mat underneath.)
Before I left home, I remembered a large piece of fabric I had picked up second hand, and when I looked at it, it was big enough to work as a backing for this quilt. So I threw it in my bag with a batting I already had, and crossed my fingers that I had everything I needed. I had to sew one seam in the backing fabric, but that was done easily enough.
Anything better than putting in 600 pins while talking with a sister? I don't think so!
  • took all the cashmere squares and laid them out. The sister who I helped with quilt maths, helped me with arranging the blocks. That's how it goes.
Once that was done, I sewed the blocks into rows. That was enough for that day. I'm using a stretch stitch which is much slower than a regular straight stitch, and uses more thread, and is almost impossible to take out if you make a mistake -- no pressure!
  • got out my Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses later in the day and added sashing pieces to a block. (The one with the cutest hedgehogs!)
I had about half of the pieces done by the time I stopped.


We started the day with breakfast and then some of us visited a local church for the service. (Same one as last year. We were happy to hear the roof they were fund raising for last year was completed.)

It's become a tradition to go out for lunch, the ones who weren't at church meeting us there.
We found a nice place last year so we went back there. I enjoyed the plum pockets (wontons with plum and goat cheese, dressed with hot sauce) -- they were good.

When we got back, I rectified a project that hadn't worked out. The quilters among us had agreed to exchange quilted postcards this year. (My "secret projects" on Instagram in the last month may come to mind!)

I had mine ready in good time except for sewing the paper onto the back. The first one -- fine. The second one -- completely jacked up. I got as far as taking the bad stitching out before I left for the weekend, but didn't have time to fix it.

So I gave it with a promise to fix it!

I'll show more of these postcards in a separate post. (Stay tuned!)

Then I pulled out a project that I knew would be a pain in the butt.

I had this block from a class I took a couple years ago.
More recently I had the idea that I could finish it up so it would pair up with this wall hanging I finished a few years ago:
I threw my blue and yellow scraps and a good number of fat quarters into a box (and a bag) so I could go through them to see how many of the same fabrics I had left and what new ones I could add to them.

That was a lot of sorting, then some quilt maths to see what to do to make the block the same size as the centre of the original quilt,
and then a lot of cutting of little squares.
I found a lot of the same fabrics. I got enough squares cut but I did not try to start to sew them together.

I also knit on my current Wool-Aid sweater, but no pics of that. The back has been done for a while and I got close to finishing the front.

Here are some projects finished by other people at the retreat:
My cousin (on the right) asked for indigos in our fabric scrap exchange last year and she used them for this quilt. She saved sewing the binding for this retreat and got it done. It was put to use right away:
Another cousin was working on putting together the latest Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt, "Frolic".
I've seen it with more of the blocks put together and it's gorgeous!

Here is another (smaller) one she finished:
On Sunday, we also ventured out for a group photo.
Six cousins and two aunts from four different "families".

Then my immediate family took a picture too.
I do not know what the rest of us are looking at, but Patricia, at least, is paying attention to what we should be doing! (And now that I think of it, I was controlling the camera with a remote, so why in the world did I take this one? Oh well.)

Here's a nicer one:
We're missing two sisters who weren't there. I have to point that out so they know that we did miss them!


We had the house until 3, but I had too long of a drive to be able to do any crafting on Monday. It was pack up, load the car and go.
A far cry from travelling with one carry-on!
(You know, by 11:30 or so...)

I took my favourite walk at the Guelph OnRoute to the Ellis Chapel to stretch my legs.
I got home tired after another drive that ended with snowfall, and Troy kindly took every thing out of my car for me
to be put away "later".
Taken by my cousin who gets up early enough for sunrises.
My only question now is, "Is it next year yet?"

May I suggest?

I Say! or at least I did once...