Return from Retreat

Retreat Treats
Retreat Treats

I got back from the guild retreat on Monday night. I had time to relax, look at my projects, unpack as DH was out at a class.

Friend Julie was much more organized than me and took some photos of getting ready to leave. I thought about it several times as I packed, but it just didn’t happen. You can imagine what my living room looked like: bags, sewing machine, tools all piled by the door ready to be loaded into the car.

SIL#2 and I drove down to San Juan Bautista  on Friday where they have a Retreat Center. The guild went there last year, too.  We couldn’t get into the sewing room until 2pm, but they have a quilt shop in SJB that is a great place to visit. We got there a little late so we went straight to lunch with the group and then looked around SJB and went to the quilt shop as well as the Rock Shop after lunch. The Rock Shop had charms and tiny lobster clasps that I started using to make zipper pulls. They didn’t have as good a selection of clasps as they did last year and the ones I was able to buy are a little small.

April BAM Retreat setup
April BAM Retreat setup

I did take photos of my setup at the retreat center.

We each got one 6 foot table on which to work. I put some of my larger bags, like the ruler bag and my Sew Steady storage bag in the car so they wouldn’t be getting in my way with limited space.

The space worked out well for me. I sew in such a small space anyway that the 6ft table was plenty for all of my tools and supplies. In the background of the photos you can see two Tupperware storage boxes with a load of baking in them.

Retreat 2024: View from my table
Retreat 2024: View from my table

The room is large and there were about 20 people in attendance.

Friend Julie sat next to me, on my left, in the corner, which was an upgrade from last year when she was right in an aisle and kept getting bonked as people walked by. Bonnie, the Retreat coordinator, was on the other side of me. Rhonda sat across from me with Peggy the Charity Queen next to her and to my left. SIL#2 was in the corner across from Julie. I was happy with the people around me.

Retreat 2024: View from my table
Retreat 2024: View from my table

Across the room, Michelle and Nicki, who has been absent from the guild since before COVID, were the anchor in the other side of the room. They had a lovely little set up with a lamp and a vase of flowers. I was envious of the lamp as the light changed throughout the day, but had my neck light and that worked very well. I need to put a lamp on my list. I have one I often bring, but didn’t even think about it this time.

Retreat 2024: View from my table- right
Retreat 2024: View from my table- right

To the right from Michelle and Nicki was the rest of the group. Anna, LeeAnn, Sue, Nancy and Joelle were behind Rhonda. The Cravens covey was over there by the cupboards with Amy, Christine and Claire. I thought the setup was really good. There were no design walls, but we used the floor and the cutting tables and any horizontal surface we could. It wasn’t ideal, but it worked.

Peggy's Scottie Dog donation quilt
Peggy’s Scottie Dog donation quilt

People, as you might expect, worked on a variety of projects.  Peggy finished at least two quilt tops. One was an adorable Scottie Dog pattern made from 2.5 inch squares. She claims to have over 2,000 2.5 inch squares to use up, so she is a master at coming up with new patterns in which to use them.

I made a few green strip donation blocks, but these two efforts were the only charity projects going. There was no incentive to make charity blocks or quilts, which was a shame.

Rhonda's cat quilt
Rhonda’s cat quilt

Rhonda worked on a class project quilt from about 8 years ago. She was able to finish the top and the back, which was a great achievement in my mind since the project had been languishing for so long.

Rhonda’s project served as a great discussion starter for various ways of putting quilts together. I, of course, talked about chunking. Others talked about the webbing method, which I have to try some time.

Bonnie's Christmas circles
Bonnie’s Christmas circles

Bonnie get my prize for determination. She started a quilt at last year’s retreat and finished the top at this year’s retreat.

I really like the design. I am not sure what tool or pattern she used to make the quilt, but it is great. I like the delicate line of the curves. I want to make Black Jack from Color Girl Quilts, which also has circles, but is not the same sort of design. Perhaps I’ll have to have a year of circle quilts?

MaryC's Buffalo Plaid
MaryC’s Buffalo Plaid

MaryC, sitting in the Covey of Cravens, was churning out quilts and various projects like there was no tomorrow. She showed us her Buffalo Plaid quilt.

I was impressed with how it really looks like plaid even though the fabrics weren’t particularly plaid- like. She chose the right colors to make it look like a plaid.

Friend Julie brought her City Sampler quilt project and it is a beauty. Seeing hers I am embarrassed at mine.

Christine's Anna Maria quilt
Christine’s Anna Maria quilt

Christine was on a finishing jag. She finished a silk table runner and I am really sad I didn’t get a picture of it. She also finished this Anna Maria Horner pattern. The back was a fabulous large flower print that everyone loved.

I think Christine had the right idea by bringing binding and sleeves to work on. It seemed like she was showing us finished pieces every 5 minutes.

Joelle's scrap quilt
Joelle’s scrap quilt

My favorite quilt was probably Joelle’s scrap quilt. She made the lines of piecing on adding machine tape** (do you know what that is?). I like Joelle’s work. Her quilts have a clean, precise look to them that is very appealing. This quilt is no exception.

I also like the way she has sort of gradated the colors. I sort of want to make one of these, but I also don’t.

SIL#2's Pinwheels
SIL#2’s Pinwheels

SIL#2 brought her Accuquilt Go Baby** and cut up scraps, some of which she used to make pinwheels. One of our nieces is having her second baby in August and the pinwheel quilt will be for that baby.

I am not sure how big she is going to make the piece, but she said she will probably put sashing between the pinwheels. I guess she doesn’t want to make another dozen pinwheels, but wants the quilt to be larger.

Claire's Make It Work donation quilt
Claire’s Make It Work donation quilt

Finally, Claire worked on some donation projects. This one is made from many 16 patch blocks that I made, so I was excited to see what she did with the bits. This is one of her ‘Make it Work’ projects.

One of the reasons I enjoy the retreat is seeing other people’s projects. I like to see people’s progress and how they problem solve.

I’ll talk about what I worked on in another post.








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A New 2-in-1 Case

2-in-1 Case interior
2-in-1 Case interior

I decided that 2-in-1 Cases would be great to use for the gifts going to the guild officers. I am, once again, in charge of organizing that effort. I think it is important to thank the officers, but I seem to be one of the few who wants to organize the effort. Sue and Carrie are helping, which is great. they are sensible friends who offer excellent advice.

2-in-1 Case #3 size test
2-in-1 Case #4 size test

In the past I have made large bags and then had people make small gifts to fill the bags. I didn’t have time for that this year, so I am gathering cash and gift cards. I needed something to hold cards and gifts and the 2-in-1 cases are the thing. They are useful for sewing supplies, but also the right size for cards and gift cards. I am gathering quite a hoard, so I hope they are large enough.

This strategy also means I do not have to cajole people into making large bags or small gift items. I was prepared to make all of these 2-in-1 cases, but a few people volunteered. I was very grateful for the others efforts. I am making one, as you see.

I had to take a break for some seam ripping on the Kit Supply Tote and do some handwork on the other bags I worked on over the weekend. That meant I was able to start sewing this bag. I cut it out at Sew Day earlier this month. It is going together much more quickly than the first ones.

2-in-1 Case #4 magnetic snap
2-in-1 Case #4 magnetic snap

One of the things I did was try a magnetic snap, which is recommended in the pattern. These are different than the other snaps, installed with a Snap Setter, that I used before.

Except for being quite large, I think the magnetic snap came out pretty well. The instructions in the book for installing it were a little vague, but I used some pliers to bend the arms of the snap down. That worked for me.


October 2023 Donation Blocks

The big question is whether I will make another QST 16 patch donation quilt with these blocks? Of course, I can’t make much with so few blocks, but hope springs eternal.

Stay tuned for the answer!

Perhaps I subconsciously made Halloween themed blocks this month?

Mary M’s Door Prizes

Mary and I talk about bags all the time, which is super fun. I was pleased and surprised to see that she was working on various projects for the guild Door Prize team.

Door prize in process
Door prize in process

First, she is making a couple of bags from Aneela Hoey’s Stitched Sewing Organizers** book. I reviewed this book a few years ago. I also made the 2-in-1 Case from the book.

She wanted to change some of the fabrics after she already started the Fold-up Sewing Folio, so that project is in a bag like the I Spy pouch waiting for another day. I am not sure of the designer or the name for the I Spy-like pouch. This will be a set.

Book and Tool Folio in process
Book and Tool Folio in process

She is also working on the Book and Tool Folio. I love the fabric she chose for this pouch. I think Mary’s choice of the flower fabric paired with some tone-on-tones. It is a great combination of fabric.

I feel like I should try the Book and Tool Folio now. Mary is fearless when it comes to making bags. She just tries and works through the challenges. I am impressed and inspired.





QST 16 Patch Continues

QST 16 Patch in process
QST 16 Patch in process

The QST 16 Patch donation quilt is coming along pretty well.

I used some random blocks I had been making for the guild, as I mentioned, but I also added a few more to make the quilt just a little larger.

I used some of that striped black fabric I bought a lot of twice( !!!) by accident. I think I have enough of that stripe to make another one of these quilts. Of course, I should finish this one first. 😉

Sew Day Donation Projects

Sew Day was Saturday and it was great! There is a lot to tell you, but I’ll probably have to spread it over a few posts.

First up, community quilts.

Ends n.17 (Plaid) finished
Ends n.17 (Plaid) finished

Friend Julie finished the Ends n.17 (Plaid). She even did the binding! What a star!

I am so thrilled that this will soon go to a good home. I really hope that it will provide comfort and nice snuggles for someone who needs a hug.


Julie's community quilt
Julie’s community quilt

Julie worked on a second quilt, which I did not make. My first comment, upon seeing it was that it was a weird shape. I quickly realized that it will be a great crib quilt. It is just the right size and shape for a crib, or a toddler bed for a slightly older child.

BAM June Door Prize

June 2022 BAM Door Prize
June 2022 BAM Door Prize

I spent yesterday afternoon at the guild meeting. I went to drop off the Ends n.14 (Typewriter) top and back and the American Jane Plus donation top and back. I also needed to hand over the door prize.

The skills of the whole team are shown off here. Sue’s drawstring bag and Carrie’s little wallet are in evidence. So many people from the door prize team contributed to this bag that it warms my heart.

Lee Ann was the lucky winner this time and she was at the meeting, so no mailing required.

Door Prizes from Mary

We stayed with MaryM to and from Portland. I love her house and would love to spend time working in her sewing room.

Door prizes from MaryM - March 2022
Door prizes from MaryM – March 2022

On our way home, I picked up some items MaryM made for the door prize bags.

She said the bag is made from a pattern I sent out. I need to find it again. When I do, I will link it.

I am always really excited to see what people are inspired to make for the door prize bags.

Door Prizes

Door Prizes by Month
Door Prizes by Month

I am leading the door prize team again this year for the guild. I finally got around to organizing all of the things I have. What I do is lay them all out, sort them by month and then put them in ziploc bags with with the month written on the outside. I try to create themes, like red or hearts for February, but I don’t mandate what my team members make, so sometimes I have to make due. Nobody has ever complained.

When the month comes along, I can grab a ziploc, stuff it in a bag and go to the meeting. Usually, I have to do this in advance so I can take a picture and send it to Maria. She needs info in advance for the hybrid part of the meeting. Theoretically, I can put the bag together at the last minute and just go, but I almost never do that.

BAM Door prized organized
BAM Door prized organized

I used the fabulous Poolside Tote that Angela made for me as a thank you for organizing the officer gifts for a few years. I love that bag. It is great for this purpose. Sometime I’ll use it for something else, but for now, it works really well for this purpose

Carrie's contribution
Carrie’s contribution

Carrie is a fantastic team member. She recently put together zipper pouches for the monthly prizes that are super useful.

These items arrived in a zipper pouch, so all I had to do was toss the zipper pouch in my plastic bag. I did take one out so I could take a photo. I think having an extra pair of scissors is always useful.

Drawstring bags by Sue
Drawstring bags by Sue

Sue G sent along some small drawstring bags she made. You can see some of Sue’s in the picture at the top, but I mentioned them when I received them. She did a great job fussy cutting.

Sue G's Drawstring Bag
Sue G’s Drawstring Bag

Drawstring bags are popular this year as I received a large one from Cyndi for March, then I received another one from Sue G. It is really pretty. I love the piecing. The ties are also perfect. I believe both Sue G and Cyndi used the In Color Order Drawstring bag pattern.

Cheri never comes to meetings, but she always contributes to the door prize bags as well. This year she made some gift bags like I make for holidays.

Canvas Jane Market Tote (outie)
Canvas Jane Market Tote (outie)

Sue S donated some canvas bags I can use to carry all the gifts and the recent French canvas bags I made are for door prizes.

We need a few more bags, but are coming along.

Sew Day – June 2021

For the first time in over a year, we had an in person Sew Day! It was GREAT. We took special precautions to keep everyone safe and followed the guidelines laid out by the church where we meet.

SIL#2 and I drove down together. We drove my little car and it was filled pretty well. We had a lot of stuff to bring for projects as well as items to hand in or exchange.

I mostly cut out projects. I cut out napkins for the YM, a pillowcase for the YMG (YM’s girlfriend), starting cutting out 3 more Sew Together Bags, which will be gifts, the Westchester Dolman shirt and a few other projects.

BAM Sew Day - June 20211
BAM Sew Day – June 2021

There was a lot of standing around and chatting. Even though most of us have been in touch over the course of the pandemic, most of us have not seen each other in person for months. Also, there are things people don’t really want to talk about in email. There was a lot of catching up to do.

Amy commandeered a table and everyone at the table worked on a quilt with Amy. She has been making slow progress on the piece for months (or maybe years), which is a gift for another guild member.

BAM Sew Day - June 2021 - Design Walls1
BAM Sew Day – June 2021 – Design Walls

The design walls were put to good use. These large office dividers make great designs walls because of their size even if  one does need some pins.

Joy-Lily came a bit late and worked on an improv block piece. I think she was using some of her hand dyed fabrics. A number of people worked on their Put a Ring on It pieces from the class with Latifah Saafir. The one in the photo above is Gerre’s.

BAM Sew Day - June 20211
BAM Sew Day – June 2021

I believe this was Christine’s first Sew Day. She worked on a quilt using the Quilt-As-You-Go method. The large design walls enabled people to work together to lay out blocks or see problems through fresh eyes.

Technically, it was a Community Sew Day. I didn’t work on donation quilts as I have Tim’s Improv piece and the Yellow Strip donation top in progress. SIL #2 finished a charity quilt from the last Community Sew Day. I really like the way it came out.

Peggy's Community Quilt - June 2021
Peggy’s Community Quilt – June 2021

Sue S created a new pattern for the Sew Day and Peggy made one quilt top using the pattern. This is a variation on one design that I have made with the 16 patches before. Just goes to show that nothing is new in quiltmaking. This design is made with all half square triangles rather than including Flying Geese, like mine does.

I might have made a couple of the 16 Patches in Peggy’s quilt. I love the joint effort!

During the pandemic, people have still been working on donation quilts. 12 were handed in at Sew Day, including several of my tops that had been quilted.



Pinwheel Donation Top

 I saw a pinwheel quilt. Since I am trying to teach my students about block structure, I showed them this quilt. I was trying to make the point that they  had the skills to make it.

I was amazed when one of them came up with a method of making the quilt that was completely different than what I was thinking. She was thinking QSTs and I was thinking Flying Geese. I was so impressed that she was really thinking about how to make it. It validated that I was getting through.

Pinwheel Donation Quilt
Pinwheel Donation Quilt

I decided to make the quilt her way – using QSTs – to see what I thought. I ended up thinking there too many seams  and think I will try the pattern using Flying Geese. Still! I am just excited that a skill I think is really valuable is getting through.

I made the back also, but don’t think I took a picture and the whole package is off to the Community Quilt chair for quilting, etc.

June Donation Blocks

More blocks for June! I really scraped the bottom of the donation patch bin at the beginning of the month, so some blocks look a little strange. It was good to clear out that bin and start afresh.

CQFA Saturday

As mentioned yesterday, I went to CQFA on Saturday as well. It was held at a different location, Needles Studio in Palo Alto, because A Work of Heart was not available. One of the reasons I went was the location. I am pretty much done with driving to San Jose on a Saturday morning after getting lost one time too many with an added dose of a Google Maps failure (Google Maps is not infallible, so have a backup plan).

Another reason I went was a number of people at the retreat asked me to go. That was odd and I hoped they weren’t going to give me a gift or something for organizing the retreat. They didn’t and I was relieved. I think, now, that they just wanted to see me.

Finally, Julie said she would come and we were able to go to lunch and catch up afterwards.

The space is great. It is partly a workspace and partly a retail space. The items available for purchase are tightly ‘curated’. There aren’t many, but they are nice.

Show and tell was great. I brought the bags I have been working on lately, the Running with Scissors Tote, the 4 Zip Organizer, and the All Rolled Up Tote. I think they were wowed by my explanations of what I did differently on the two Crafty Gemini projects. That made me feel good until someone said “oh, I could never do that”. That phrase makes me so angry. I wasn’t born knowing how to make bags. I learned. Ergh!!! I didn’t have any quilts or tops to show.

Sonja with her amazing fabric
Sonja with her amazing fabric

Sonja brought a suitcase full of fabric she has been working on for the Nancy Crow class she is taking next week. She explained a lot about how she dyed the different tones and hues. There were a number of colors I would have cheerfully taken from her.

I missed taking photos of Friend Julie‘s finishes. She is working with a Finish-a-Long group and finished 6 of her 10 projects!!! I was so happy for her. Some will be in upcoming shows.

Maureen has been working on her fabric postcards for some upcoming boutiques. She thinks that she won’t do this next year, but her stuff is great. She didn’t bring any work to show, but she passed out postcards of the upcoming boutiques.

Dolores talked about some sales she has had recently. That is pretty exciting. One piece was sold to a man from Qatar who showed up at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, UK!

There was a discussion of precious textiles. Bron brought a mola she found in a box of FabMo donations (she sells precious things from FabMo donations on eBay for the the group). Maureen showed Katangas from when she lived in Kenya. They were really interesting to look at and I loved hearing how they are used. Reva brought a Marsailles weave tablecloth her grandmother or great-grandmother was given upon the occasion of her wedding. It was in good shape, if a little stained. There was a note attached telling the provenance. I thought the overall design would have made a great wholecloth quilt.

I enjoyed myself, though I was getting a little antsy as the clocked ticked away as I wanted to get to Sew Day.

Sew Day Progress

Sew Day for September was Saturday. I know I always say this, but I really enjoy seeing what other people make. I was focused on a couple of projects of my own, so I didn’t even really get a chance to see everything that people were working on.

Patti's Class Project
Patti’s Class Project

Patti’s Project caught my attention right away. She had the pieces from the guild’s recent Latifah Safir class on her table and I loved the look of the block! I loved what she had done, because of the HRTs I have been playing with on and off over the past several months. I know the design is not original and came from a Latifah Safir pattern. It is cool and makes me wonder if I could do something like it with the Split Recs ruler by Studio 180 Designs.

The class must have been great, because a number of people had brought their pieces to work on. I haven’t seen that before at a Sew Day – or I hadn’t noticed.

Runs with Scissors Tote
Runs with Scissors Tote

I worked on cutting out pieces for the Running with Scissors tote. I had pulled all of the fabric on Friday after work, so I got the whole thing cut out except for one piece, which I will cut next weekend. I hope to work on this at the mini-retreat I am attending next weekend. I am thinking of making a couple of them as gifts depending on how the project goes.

So far, the directions are very clear. I have some experience with bag directions so I was pleased. I don’t think I have made a ByAnnie’s pattern before and perhaps the good directions are a sign of quality. There are a lot of aspects to this bag, so I was a little worried. I was surprised that there was less to cut out than I though.

Lee Anne's donation quilt
Lee Anne’s donation quilt

Lee Anne is a major donation quilt maker and she was working on a really cool quilt at the retreat.

As you can see this is a lozenge quilt. I am not sure if she had the fabric or used fabric from the Community Quilts stash. It is a great looking design and wonderful quilt.

Another member, who we call Baguette, and I are planning a Bag-a-Long for the guild. We had a meeting during Sew Day to organize ourselves for the next meeting. We will all make the same bag using the same pattern. Baguette and I will stay ahead of the others (or try to!) and offer clarifications and modifications to the pattern. The pattern is the Ultimate Carry All by Quiltessa Natalie. I wrote about it a little bit in my Quiltmaking Go Bag post a few weeks ago. I will definitely talk about this bag in future posts as we make it. The creator, however, has video tutorials, so I probably won’t do a Bag-a-Long on the blog.

I also had a meeting with Mary about the retreat this weekend. It will be held at the church so we had to coordinate.

Tuleberg Community Quilt Day

Tuleberg Finished Pillowcases
Tuleberg Finished Pillowcases

On Wednesday the YM and I went to Stockton to spend the day making pillowcases with the Tuleberg Quilt Guild. My mom is a member. She told me about it and since we haven’t had a chance to get together alone this month, I decided to go. When I found out the YM would be home, I convinced him to tag along. He wants to learn to sew, so this was a good opportunity to start.

It is a far drive for us, so we go there a little late and, after setting up, he went off with my mom to get something to eat. Is tarted cutting up fabric to make the first pillowcase and quickly realized that he wouldn’t be able to make a whole pillowcase on his own. I decided to do the cutting and have him sew.

YM Sewing Cuffs to Bodies
YM Sewing Cuffs to Bodies

It has been a long time since he sat in front of a machine, so this was a good decision. He carefully guided the fabric through the machine, encountering the stop and start problems of the feed dogs not grabbing the fabric, thread bunnies and backstitching. We used the pillowcase tutorial I have cobbled together from experience and a variety of sources. He chain pieced the cuff/body burrito together. I also had him turn the burritos inside out and do a little pressing when I got behind. By the end, the three of us were all working together to finish the pillowcases.

Mom working on pillowcases
Mom working on pillowcases

I brought some yard sized pieces of fabric I didn’t think I would use, but cutting bits out for other projects does help with this. Fortunately, I have realized this and started cutting up the side of yardage, so I have a chance of having enough for a body (yard sized length) and cuff (half yard sized length). Newer fabric is easier to use, but so far I still like it enough to not want to use it for community quilts/projects. I suppose that is something I have to work on.

As a team, we made 5 pillowcases in about 3 hours. This is probably a bit slow, but I do French seams so everything is enclosed and that takes longer. I don’t have a serger, so this is the best way for me to achieve my goal.

They also had an ice cream social, which was make it yourself sundaes and banana splits. I love banana splits and made myself a small one. They brought real glass sundae holders, which was really classy.

Tuleberg Pillowcase display
Tuleberg Pillowcase display

The guild ended up with 121 pillowcases for the day, which I thought was a good effort.