Before we could check in to the Retreat center we spent some time in downtown (old town?) San Juan Batista. We had lunch at the Jardines de San Juan. The food there was really good. We sat outside at a big table and enjoyed the sunshine. The restaurant was down the street from the quilt shop.
There weren’t very many people around the town as in it wasn’t packed, but there were plenty of people around.
After lunch we walked around the old part of the town. They had a lot of porches over the sidewalks and a lot of old buildings.
I couldn’t tell if this building was tin, but Julie and SIL #2 said it was decorative brick.
This building is a style that I really like, because of the big windows. I always thought it would be great to have a studio in a building like this, because of the light. I know that light isn’t good for fabric, but I really like working in a nice bright space.
In this building one of the shops was a candy and ice cream store.
There was a San Juan Batista Historic Park. There was a HUGE cactus, which had a lot of cactus apples on it. Julie knew that they weren’t ripe yet and what color they would be when they were ripe.
It’s interesting how many different textures there are on this plant.
There were also a lot of flowers and blooming plants around. I don’t spend a lot of time outside beyond my walks. I seem to enjoy it when I am outside. I also seem to take photos of a lot of flowers and plants.
One thing we did was put all the projects, both finished and unfinished, up on the wall and take a picture of them. I thought it was a good way to acknowledge all the work we had done and all the progress we made.
Other people made amazing projects as well. That big amazing quilt with all the curves is Mary C’s project, Kaleidobloom, Crafty Nomad Block of the Month project. I have seen the pattern and many people in the guild are working on, but I wasn’t very impressed until I saw the blocks on the wall.
I think there is just a border or two left, but I wish those corners would be built out some more. I’ll have to wait and see before I make some pronouncements beyond: awesome!
She cuts off the top and adds fabric to the bottom, then boxes the bottom using a 1 inch square. The bonus is that she doesn’t have to insert a zipper and the plastic bags are pretty inexpensive. She is working on developing a project that uses the bottom part of the bag as well. She may do a class or tutorial. I said I would be her tester, so you may see a few of these here later.
Amy worked on her Sew Kind of Wonderful pattern, Metro Twist. Amy’s looks awesome! I love the Tula Pink True Colors dots and stripes she used and want to make one exactly like it. 😉 This is made with the Quick Curve Ruler, a ruler I thought worked very well. Amy talked about the certified teacher from whom she took the class and getting that person to come to the guild. Somehow that morphed into Amy and I teaching the class! If we do it, it’ll be fun. We’ll see.
Anna finished a Kaffe Fassett quilt she has been working on for awhile. It looks a little like a watercolor quilt. Remember those? She has a goal of only working on UFOs this year. This was encouraged by the President’s challenge, which is to work on (and maybe finish?) projects that have not been worked on in over 6 months. I plan to finish some of the bags from the 2018 Crafty Gemini Organizer Club. Remember I gathered all the pieces and parts recently? I just haven’t done anything about it yet.
Melinda and Mary M were working together to make a quilt for Mary M’s daughter. They used an Elizabeth Hartman pattern called Allie Owl**. The owls were quite large and will make a lap quilt. The pattern shows brighter fabric; these fabrics look nice, too. I was really amazed at the size.
Some of my blocks are under the owls.
Deb is a new member and this was her first retreat. Where I worked on 3+ projects, Deb worked on one project and she ended up with a quilt top.
I haven’t seen most of the fabrics she used in awhile. Some of them looked like aboriginal style fabric. This pattern doesn’t look like one that I have seen, but there are some elements that look familiar. The zigzag sashing looks like a Streak of Lighting quilt, but the blocks don’t fit with that design. It’s definitely interesting.
Melinda, Bonnie and Julie have their projects above Amy’s Metro Twist. Melinda’s blue and brown piece will be part of the San Mateo County Fair climate change challenge. It depicts the amount of rain in sort of a graph format that her hometown got this winter.
Bonnie has been working on the circle piece for a few months. She had some acrylic templates made by Tap Plastics and has been steadily making progress. It looks good.
The piece with the fuchsia in the middle to the right of the circle piece is the back of a quilt Julie is making. She wrote a post about it recently. This back goes on the Stitch Happens quilt I talked about recently. I really like the little HSTs surrounded by the fuchsia.
Maria’s climate challenge is on the left of this picture. I didn’t have a chance to talk to Maria about her piece, but I will later.
Alison’s blocks are underneath it . They are from the Tula Pink City Sampler book**. She is using some of Denyse Schmidt’s fabrics she got in some swaps.
You get a peek at another one of my blocks.
It is amazing how much we got done in a short amount of time. I love seeing everyone’s projects.
**Obviously, you should shop at local quilt shops and small businesses. However, if you are too busy or can’t find what you need there, I use Amazon affiliate links and may be paid for your purchase of an item when you click on an item’s link in my post. There is no additional cost to you for clicking or purchasing items I recommend. I appreciate your clicks and purchases as it helps support this blog.
This will be a multi-part post on the recent Retreat I attended. I have to split it up, because I don’t have enough time to write a big long post right now.
I had a couple of specific goals in mind. I wanted to finish a Mother’s Day gift and I wanted to finish some gifts I am taking to my work colleagues later this week. Then, if time permitted, I planned to start a new quilt.
First, I was able to finish the Mother’s Day gift. It is small and you’ll have to read the post on May 14th to see what it is.
Second I finished the three I Spy pouches I started. I had some of the fabric cut, but not all. I cut the cork, yes cork, at the Retreat and sewed the pouches together. I cut quite a number of strips wrong, so will have to make some pouches out of odd sized strips.
In between, the top two projects, I worked on donation blocks. You saw some of these in the post a few days ago about donation blocks for April. I don’t think I mentioned that I used kits the guild team had prepared. The squares frayed a lot and made me quite crazy.
After these, except the donation blocks, were finished, I started a new quilt. I had a fabric pull from a couple of years ago that I wanted to use. I had some options and finally decided on a plan. This quilt is from the American Patchwork and Quilting Sew-a-Long. It is designed by Lissa Alexander. Because I seem to be incapable of following directions as written, I resized the EQ8 project to include 12 inch blocks rather than 6 inch blocks. The straight nine patches are quite large, but they provide some space for viewers to rest their eyes. Also, the small squares in some of the blocks above are much easier to sew when the entire block is 12 inches finished.
I missed the Sew-a-Long, which started in February, but this project is super easy. The pieces are, mostly, standard sizes and easy to cut. I think even beginners looking for a second or third project could do it.
One of the things I wanted to do to start was to use all the fabrics I selected to see how they worked together. I didn’t quite succeed, but I was able to use a lot of them. So far, so good.
My guild went on retreat over the weekend. It was held at a somewhat revamped Franciscan monastery. I say somewhat because the building with the sewing room was new, modern, spacious and nice. The building with the sleeping rooms was old. The rooms were small, the furniture clean and well maintained, but a mishmash and the bathrooms were super tiny.
The rain for the past 3-4 months has been difficult for a lot of people, but the result now that it has stopped is amazing.
SIL #2 told me this was a Redbud. I really enjoy these flowering trees. It was great to see this gorgeous tree whenever I walked to the ironing board.
Out another window, by Alison‘s workstation, was a field of purple and yellow flowers. I think lupin was one of them. I am sure if you check Friend Julie’s blog she will be able to tell you exactly what all the plants were.
The workroom was really nice. It was very modern and there were plenty of outlets and large tables. In this view, you can see Julie’s workstation in the front and the bulk of the other workstations towards the back.
You can see how many large windows there are. I had no problem seeing even late in the evening.
I felt like my workstation was large enough. You can see all the tools and supplies I bought. You also get a peek of the Ultimate Carry All Bag I made and ended up giving to Julie. I like sitting next to her. We kept borrowing supplies and tools from each other so it worked out pretty well.
All in all it was a great retreat. I got enough done – more on projects later – and got some time off from life. The Retreat was really well organized and had the right amount of activities.
Despite a lot of ripping, I finished the Mega Pinnie on Sunday in the mid-evening. I thought it would be a quicker project than it turned out to be :(. Now I am going to have to scramble for some content this week.
I am pleased with the way it came out, however, and think someone at the retreat will enjoy it.
When I was printing my last label, I had some extra space, so I decided to print the BAM logo on some fabric and use it for part of the Mega Pinnie. It will also be a souvenir for the Retreat. I adjusted the size of the pocket on that side so the words wouldn’t be covered up.
I made the handle a little smaller than the pattern called for this time, so I had an extra piece. I decided to sew it in as a way to attach the Mega Pinnie to another bag or a place for clips. I didn’t think about putting a lobster clip on this time. I completely forgot!
I did make a super cute Mini Pinnie! I really like the fabrics and the way the Mini Pinnie came out. I think it is a cheerful addition. I also made the needle safe a little different this time. I sewed it to fabric RST, then turned the piece and top stitched. It worked ok.
I forgot to top stitch the pockets, but that isn’t critical; it just makes the piece look a little nicer.
This is kind of large, but I think I might try and make one using charm squares. It would be smaller and might not work for some tools, but might be more convenient to transport.
Last weekend one of our members commandeered her clubhouse and we had a mini-retreat. A ‘mini-retreat’ for our guild is where we don’t stay over, e.g. no hotel or travel. As far as I know everyone, except the hostess, drove back and forth to the location.
I didn’t take a lot of photos, even though I thought about it. I worked on a new Running with Scissors case and did a little with Frolic! as well. We didn’t have a ton of time to sew – 10-5 every day. The bonus was being together and seeing what other people did.
People were also able to come and go. A few people stayed for a couple of hours and others attended both days all day.
Julie and I sat across from each other, as per usual. I got to see all the things I have made for her in action. Check out the Mega Pinnie with mini-Pinnie in the wild!
I had a great time. I would prefer to go out of town, but sleeping in my own bed is good, too.
I originally planned to publish this post on September 19. Somehow, the time got away from me. While I did finish the Running with Scissors tote, this post has mostly to do with working with vinyl. I thought it might still be of interest.
One thing that happened while I was working on my project was I had to develop some tips/tricks of my own.
The pattern, in general, is really good. It says, however, in the vinyl pocket part of the pattern to mark the vinyl to make smaller pockets. It didn’t say how to mark the vinyl. I didn’t have access to the video at the time, which may have some tips. I didn’t want to use a Micron pen, though I know that the ink can be washed off of vinyl pretty easily. I also don’t have one of those wash away pens, so I decided tape would work. I used tape to mark the lines I needed to sew along.
I sewed right next to the tape. I didn’t want to go through it, because that would create a mess. This was tricky, because I also needed to sew with the vinyl covered by tissue. As I have talked about many times, you need to take care when working with vinyl. I didn’t have my teflon foot with me (duh, oversight), so I used the wrapper from the vinyl. You don’t need much, but you do need longish strips. The only issue was that there was a little residue left on the vinyl from the tape. I’ll clean it off later.
The zippers from ByAnnie are gorgeous. You can imagine that I was a little annoyed when I had to sew over the zipper ends.
I had to open the zipper – move the slide to the center, so it wouldn’t end up on the wrong side of the sewing line. That left the end of the zipper tape flooping around. I wanted the zipper teeth that would remain in the bag (not cut off) to be as close together as possible. I held it together with some tape.
This project has a lot of steps, but it does go together very well.
I brought 4 projects with me and only worked on one. The project I worked on was the Running with Scissors tote I cut out last week at Sew Day. The project is pretty complicated and had a lot of steps. It was complicated and I really enjoyed working on it.
As you might remember, I cut out all the pieces last week. My first step was to do all the little things: install zippers, make pockets and handles, etc.
That took a long time and I started to feel like I wasn’t making and progress until I started to install the parts. The thing about making bags, I find, is that all of a sudden the bag starts coming together.
I really like the supplies I got from ByAnnie. First, the zippers were really nice. Good quality, operated as advertised. I also got the supplies two days after they had been shipped. It was amazing service.
This one took longer than others, but it is complicated. More complicated. The inside of the bag required a bunch of pockets and some of the pockets had zippers.
One thing I didn’t like was that I had to manipulate the zippers. One I had to cut up and remove one of the slides, then put it onto another zipper. I don’t want to have to do stuff like that. I think it is a good skill, but I’d rather buy zippers that were correct.
I did modify some of the pockets this time. I don’t always do it when I am making a bag, but I decided I wanted space for a rotary cutter this time. I might put a small piece of binding over the stitching on the rotary cutter pocket. I am not sure if I did something wrong. It seems somehow unfinished, but I’ll have to believe the pattern.
I am pretty far along, but the bag isn’t done yet.
I had organized a class with Rosalie Dace. Due to circumstances beyond my control, we couldn’t have her teach, so we had a mini-retreat. We basically sewed for two days.
Due to more circumstances beyond my control, I brought home more stuff than I took with me. I took plenty with me, too, so I didn’t really need to bring more stuff home. Still various people needed me to bring stuff to the meeting next Saturday, so I have to house a few things until Saturday.
We moved the retreat to the place where we normally have Sew Day. There was plenty of space for people to work and people brought some serious projects on which to work. I liked the little chest that Maureen brought. 😉
Marie made this quilt and was contemplating the quilting. I really like the way it looks like some squares a flying away from the center of the quilt to the lime/chartreuse border.
Colleen came to the Retreat as well. She is doing great work. I have seen some of her finished quilts, but never her in process quilt. I love what she’s doing.
First, she finished the top that will be a duvet cover. I love the way she has gradated the colors. I also like the way the rings interlock
This is a John Flynn Double Wedding Ring pattern. The intersecting section looks cool and is made from a pinwheel type block. It makes the centers look better – more spinny, I guess. The thing that always bugged me about John Flynn’s patterns was the blockiness of those intersections. Those pinwheels take care of that and make it work.
Colleen was also working Tucker’s Taco Loco pattern. This looks like my Interlocking Triangles quilts, Spiky Stars and Interlocking Triangles quilt #1. You can get this pattern from her website – you may have to email her and tell her you want it. I don’t know if the templates are on her website yet.
Now that I know Colleen can get templates made, my mind is spinning about Interlocking Triangles quilts again. Rotary templates would prevent me from having to make these quilts with paper piecing.
I took the Undercover Maker Mat on the CQFA Retreat. I got to try it out. That was why I made it.
I thought the front pockets worked pretty well. I can see where a pincushion might be handy, but I don’t plan to transfer my pins from pincushion to pincushion every time I use the mat.
I think the pockets would be more in use depending on the different projects I might be working on. I might use the larger selvage pocket on the left for a 6.5 inch ruler as needed. For what I did at the retreat having my snips and seam ripper handy was fine.
I had a couple of issues. First, you can see that the snips sleeve is in the pocket. Without the snips sleeve, my snips kept getting caught on the inside of the pocket. I added the snip sleeve because I didn’t want to cut the mat. Perhaps I should have used oilcloth for the inside of the pockets?
I didn’t notice it at the retreat, but I did notice it at the Jen Carlton Bailly class. I couldn’t get the legs of my Sew Steady table level when using the mat. I may want to make another mat that is larger so the Sew Steady doesn’t have to try and deal with different heights (mat/table).
None of this is fatal or a problem with the pattern.
I talked a little about the CQFA Retreat a few days ago, which discussed a lot of the projects on which I worked. A number of projects were worked on and finished.
Angela, of course, made the bag in which they placed my birthday gifts. I was not suspicious at all, because I didn’t think anyone besides Julie knew about my birthday. I crack myself up sometimes. 😉
Bron found a wonderful piece of fake fur at FabMo. It isn’t fur like a fur rug, but was like velour, but had longer hair. She made a shawl out of it and it looked elegant and fantastic.
A friend of hers is going to a wedding in St. Petersburg and will get to wear it. It is so wonderful that we told Bron to make sure she gets it back. I have to think of a place to wear it so I can borrow it. 😉
Julie’s first finish was an apron. She bought the pattern and fabric after seeing it at PIQF. She wrote about it on her blog. She did great fussy cutting on the pockets.
Lynette worked on a batik quilt using squares. I love the sashing she worked on. I also think the lavender background was an innovative choice.
This is a good choice for a retreat project IMO, because it is something that takes a lot of time. It can just be worked on the entire weekend. It also doesn’t need a lot of attention to detail so the maker can pay attention to the banter around her as well. I know Lynette machine quilted one of her mom’s small quilts first.
Rhonda worked on a piece she started at Craft Napa and we all kibbitzed on that project. We also saw her finished Dropcloth Sampler squares. FANTASTIC!
Carolyn, one of our far flung members, sent Bron some squares. Bron brought them with her to make a quilt. She started out by redoing some of the squares in an Improv kind of way.
We all thought the fabrics were ‘very Carolyn’. Bron added a lot of the angles and worked to make the pieces around the same size. She got to about this stage when we had to pack up. Again there were lots of opinions about the blocks.
The quilting fairies were watching over Angela as she machine quilted a donation quilt for BAM. She ran over a safety pin without even noticing and there was no harm done to her, the quilt or her machine. WHEW!
Nancy worked on some embroidery for a class she is taking. Dolores worked on beading. Jen was putting together silk squares and was planning to applique’ some of her wool work on it.
I really like seeing everyone’s work and how they are working. Well worth the effort.
The CQFA Retreat took place January 18-20**. Angela organized everything. She is a great retreat coordinator. It was held at Asilomar (yes, the same place Empty Spools is held ) and I had a great time.
Since I live an hour north of almost everyone else in the guild, I got there somewhat later. The retreat started at noon and I got there around 2. I left at about 10:30 and drove straight through. I finally stopped in Pacific Grove. First, I went to Tuesday Morning to see if I could find a wheeled tote for my travel sewing machine. Amy of BAM got a great one at TM and I am desperately trying to find one. No luck. I may decide to buy one at full price.
Next, I went to Back Porch. I have been there a number of times and love that store. I wanted to get lobster clips, because I have a bug in my ear to make another Roadtrip Bag. I didn’t find them but I did find a few other things. 😉
I also stopped and got some Thai food since lunch wasn’t provided on Friday, then headed to the location. Friend Julie, Angela, Rhonda and Lynette had already arrived and were working away. Once I brought all my stuff in and put my car away, I got to work also.
The first thing I did was make a pet bed for schnibble collection. CQFA doesn’t really do pet beds, but I really dislike seeing all that fabric (scraps) go into the landfill.
Then, I started in on Serendipity Lady. I really just needed some space and a chunk of time to fiddle with the tiny pieces. I had planned to just get her to the point where I could satin stitch her later. The fusible I used was too old, so I ended up spending the rest of Friday and about 6 hours on Saturday satin stitching. Now she is ready to quilt. I have decided to baste and quilt her soon. I want her finished and have made so much good progress that I don’t want to lose momentum. I have limited wall space, but may frame her like Kissy Fish.
After getting as much done as I could on Serendipity Lady, I worked on the City Sampler. Yes, I am digging out UFOs and going to town. This was a good move. I just did something and while I changed some of what I did when I got home, it wasn’t wasted effort.
I continued to work on the City Sampler until we had to start packing up. 🙁 I could have used more days. Of course. I am happy – REALLY happy – with what I got done and, as mentioned, want to carry over the momentum to my workroom.
**the weekend of my birthday! YAY! What a great way to spend my birthday!
I wasn’t the only one busy at Retreat. A lot of charity blocks and tops were made. People also worked on their own projects.
MassDrop gave the guild a bunch of fat quarter packs to use to make charity quilts. The group did not disappoint. Right there, at least 5 were made. There were only about 4 packs left at the end of the day on Sunday, so I think others are in process.
Gerre had taken my Yellow Donation quilt and quilted it. She was working on the binding on Friday at the Retreat. She finished it and, thus, finished the quilt at the Retreat. I was pleased that she had worked on the top I made. I always feel happy when Gerre and I collaborate, especially when she says nice things about my color combinations. 😉
Michelle S was working on, what I think of as, a map quilt. She had a different name for it, but I thought the blocks looks like a map or aerial photo.
I didn’t take as many photos as I expected to. I was focused on sewing and getting as much done as possible. There was a lot of moving around to shared cutting tables and ironing stations. People were also very chatty and interested in what other people were working on. It is always interesting to be in a Retreat situation because you get to see how other people work, what they are working on and how they interact with other.
I have discussed the Retreat in passing over and over, so finally decided that I should get around to writing about the retreat itself.
The Retreat started on Friday at 10am. Following along with our year long theme, Scrap Attack, the Retreat followed that them as well.
Before arriving at the Retreat, I went to the gym, ate breakfast and packed the car. I had two days at home alone (YM gone at school, DH on a NSGW trip) in the evenings during which I prepared and packed and organized. After leaving to go to the Retreat, we stopped at Always Quilting and The Granary. I wanted to find an open toe Acufeed foot for my Janome 6600. I planned to quilt the Thanksgiving tablemat and needed to see where I was going. The Acufeed foot that came with the machine is good, but not for seeing exactly where the foot is going or following a line. I didn’t get my hopes up for the foot to be available at Always Quilting and I wasn’t disappointed. I resolved to try to quilt the tablemat anyway.
We went to the Granary, because I like that store and SIL had never been there. I bought a couple of pieces of fabric, thinking I might make an extra Cell Phone Wallet with one of the pinks.
Then we headed the 8 or so blocks to the Wild Palms hotel and to sewing nirvana. We didn’t arrive until about noon, but we set up and got to work right away. Nirvana isn’t easy and setting up took some time.
Once I got set up, my first order of business was sewing together all seven Cell Phone Wallets I had cut out.
Lesson one for quilting retreat is prep your projects. Having several projects already cut out made my output much better than expected.
I had cut out seven Cell Phone Wallets from fabric leftover from dresses and tunics. I spent Friday making them. I didn’t think I would get as far as I did, but I was able to finish all except for weaving in the last two ends from top stitching. I was shocked that I even had time to turn the pieces. Turning these and poking out the ‘corners’ is not for the faint of heart. I rose to the challenge and got the job done. Now I am going to feel a lot more confident when wearing my dresses, skirts and tunics. I made all of these with D rings and will use the same chain for all of them. I also think I can use the black one with other black outfits.
Next, I started quilting the tablemat. 🙁 It didn’t work. I want to follow the lines of the leaves and other Thanksgiving motifs and I just couldn’t see where I was going. I ripped stitching out three times before I gave up. I would really like to get it done before Thanksgiving. Not only to I want to count the yardage as fabric used, I also want to have one less item on my to do list. I have ordered new feet from Sew Vac Direct, a suggestion from Gerre, so we will see.
No rest for the sad or wicked. I was determined to get as much done as possible. So, next up was the Poolside Tote. Not only had it been taking up horizontal surface space for a long time – ever since I cut it out at Scruffy Quilts back in May, but Tim and I had decided to work on ours together. Julie said she would make one as well, but she wasn’t at the retreat and I have only seen quilts coming out of her studio. You can read about the sewing, etc of this tote in the post from earlier in the week. I am not sure if I will make this tote again. I may need to as it is large and popular.
I worked on this all day Saturday and a little bit on Sunday morning. Next on the list was the Mostly Manor Lozenge quilt. I had the blocks made so all I had to do was sew them together. Lucky for me, the raffle prizes had all been given away (I won a charm pack of grey Northcott solids-YAY), so I had a table right behind me to use as design surface space.
I sewed fast and got this top done in a couple of hours. I used the Terrain donation blocks as leaders and enders.
In between everything I made three donation blocks. We received kits for 3 donation blocks in our goody bags. I didn’t have a lot of leaders and enders opportunities, so I rushed at the end to get these done. The Committee gave extra raffle tickets for handing in donation blocks and charity quilts and tops.
I really didn’t want to leave and stayed until the bitter end. The Retreat Committee did a great job organizing everything and I was thrilled to get so much done.