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.
I wasn’t able to quilt at the Retreat (which I promise I will write about). This was a disappointment since it would have been the perfect time to get the final Thanksgiving decoration, a table mat I intend to put on the coffee table, quilted.
As mentioned briefly yesterday I was on Retreat over the weekend. CQFA had their annual retreat in Half Moon Bay. My big huge accomplishment was that I finished the last 41 blocks for the City Sampler.
I started in on them on Friday right after I arrived. I worked until about 9pm with breaks for food and water. Then I worked on them all day until 10pm Saturday with breaks for food and water, but no breaks for other projects. I finished the last block after 10. Angela stayed and kept me company for the last few minutes so I wouldn’t be alone, which was really sweet of her.
I had the idea that I would photograph each block as I finished, but the quantity was too great and after the first few, I gave up and focused on my work. I have cleared off my small design wall and will put the blocks up there and take a photo. The one shown (left) is number 59 and one of the few I think have potential in a larger quilt.
I feel like this is a real achievement and coupled with the finished Peacock top is good work towards getting me over the slog through the quilt mire I have been in. After thinking about this project for awhile, I have decided that I wouldn’t do it again if I had a do-over. I was coming off of the excitement of the A-B-C Challenge when I started this one. I thought this one would be a similar experience, but it didn’t turn out to be as collaborative. Also, the blocks are fiddly and, in most cases, not terribly interesting. As a group, I think they will be interesting, but singly, with very few exceptions, they are uninteresting and, as I said, fiddly. If I do such a project again, I will look more carefully at the blocks before I start.
It wasn’t all peaches and roses, though, I as I am really having trouble with the seam allowance on both machines. ERRGH!!! I can deal with putting different sized blocks together. I don’t want to be seen as an amateur or a poor quiltmaker when I work on collaborative projects (like the donation blocks). The DC5100 is going to the shop. I have to figure this out so I don’t worry about it.
As I have mentioned many times, BAM does a lot of charity work. Peggy and Michelle work hard to make it fun. Right before the retreat, the guild was the fortunate recipient of a bonanza of fabric. It wasn’t ugly, crappy fabric that people often try to offload. It was relatively new yardage as well as pre-cuts. There were charm packs, large and small jelly rolls and layer cakes.
As a result a lot of new charity quilts were put together at the retreat. The above is a small sampling. They are generally smaller, but so bright and cheerful! Peggy was pushing the Disappearing 9 Patch pattern, so a few of those showed up using the charm squares.
My pathetic effort to the charity endeavor was one block. the Charity Girls had the regular postage stamp kits available, so I took one when I needed some leaders and enders for my City Sampler blocks and made the block.
As discussed a couple of days ago, I went on the BAM Retreat. I didn’t just have boatloads of fun and eat until I was sick, I also made some valuable progress.
The Thanksgiving tablerunners have been hanging over my head. Thanksgiving is now 1.5 months away and the hanging became more like the Sword of Damocles than an item on my to do list. I am pleased to say that the two remaining have been quilted. I still need to make and apply the binding, but the quilting part is done. I didn’t get to the tablemat, but I am pleased with my progress.
One thing I did on the pumpkin tablerunner was use Aurifloss (12 wt thread). I used it in the machine with 50 wt Aurifil in the bobbin. There was more breakage than I normally experience with Aurifil. I really like the effect and was pleased that the 50 wt did not show through to the top. I didn’t have to adjust the tension.
I also made a few blocks for the Tula Pink City Sampler/ Tale of Two Cities project. The blocks were a good break from quilting, which I needed after I completed the quilting on the first tablerunner. Julie joined the #100blocks100days challenge on Instagram and, while I have not joined, it is inspiring me to work on them. Also, she is now ahead of me on making blocks! I need to get myself in gear. Michelle S was a good support for this project at the retreat.
I also FINALLY started the Valori Wells Little Cell Phone Wallet pattern. I really, REALLY need something to carry my phone and hotel key when I am wearing dresses with no pockets. REALLY. Since the project was small, it seemed like a good time to work on it. I had some trouble with the directions, which should be no surprise. I did get a good working sample by the time I left the retreat. It isn’t one that I will use for various reasons. I’ll write more about this pattern in another post.
While my descriptions might not seem like a lot, I was busy and working hard the whole time. I am pleased with my progress and will be really pleased when I can finish these various projects and cross them off my list.
We are going to take a break from the quilt class and talk about quilt retreats. I may slow down the quilt class just a little to catch you up on some progress I have been making.
I just got back from a quilt retreat. BAM went to Sunnyvale together, had a lot of fun, ate some food, got to know each other better and worked on our projects for 2.5 days. We did a lot and a lot happened, so I might write multiple posts.
It was a great retreat and I had a great time. I felt like I got back in the swing of sewing, at least a little. The Peacock Quilt is still on the design wall taunting me.
First, the sponsors were fantastic. You wouldn’t believe the gift bags that we got. I finally took everything out and looked at it when I got home and felt like the bag was magic. More and more kept coming out. I was very pleased with what I got, though I didn’t expect such a gift bag.
Not only were there actual things in the gift bags, but also a lot of codes for discounts and free quilt trials. I received two FQ packs of fabric as well as a pack of Aurifloss, a number of patterns, some other thread and many new things to try out. Amy, the vendor chair, worked hard and did a fantastic job.
My sewing space was small, but adequate. We knew in advance that we would only have a small amount of space so I planned accordingly.
The rest of the room was a regular conference room, but there were French doors that led out to a small grassy area, so we had plenty of natural light as well as fresh air and a nice spot to have cocktail hour. 😉
Meals were included, which didn’t work out super well for me, though I think everyone else enjoyed them. My stomach was still a bit off from my trip and from being sick, so I am blaming those things rather than the caterer. We also had cocktail hour on Friday and Saturday. I didn’t drink, but the snacks were well labeled GF and tasty.
Although I came home on Wednesday and left again right away on Friday, I was glad I attended the retreat. I think it was hard on my poor DH, but perhaps coming home and leaving again two days later gave him a taste of what he had been missing. 😉
My friend Kathleen is organizing a great event in beautiful Reno: Make it Modern. This is the premier Reno event for modern quiltmakers. It is a great opportunity to work with a couple of QuiltCon 2016’s hottest designers.
What: Fun and fabulous days of creating, led by modern quilters Christina Cameli and Libs Elliott. Additional help, discussions, and general shenanigans each evening at the sewing salon, and a trunk show on Sunday morning.
Where: Peppermill Resort, Reno, Nevada
When: June 9-12, 2016
Who: Christina Cameli and Libs Elliot will be teaching
Why: Because it is fun to meet up with other like minded quiltmakers and have some fun sewing