Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sew & Tell: Retreat and Baskets Around

Go give Amy some love today!

I went to my first quilt retreat last weekend.  Three days of nothing but sewing and eating food not made by me in a place with no cell service.  I feel completely recharged.  My friend, Kristi, came with me, which made it even better.  We accomplished a lot in those three days - I finished a difficult Baskets Around twin-size quilt for Bridget's bed and two points of a 58" Independence Day Lone Star.  We also met some lovely people... and some kind of strange people.  Like camp!  One of my favorite people ever hosted the retreat, Carmen Geddes.  I met her three years ago when I took her Quiltsmart class.  She has taught me pretty much everything I know about making quilts.  She's one of those people who remembers every person she ever met along with the details she learned about that person.  Everyone she knows thinks of her as a friend.

Back to the quilts!  A few years ago I won a pattern and interfacing for a Baskets Around quilt from the Eagle Mountain Quilt Show.  It was my least favorite pattern because the handles were too difficult for me at the time.  Too hard!  I wasn't going to make it.  Knowing that Carmen would be at this retreat to teach me an easier way (always!), I decided to do it.  I had all my arcs sewn and turned, the background squares cut out, and the bottom of the baskets cut out before going on the retreat (many hours of work right there). At the retreat, I had to cut out and sew all the bias-cut handles (48 of them from my fat quarter scraps - the worst), mark the points where I wanted the handles to start and stop, trace the curves using a plastic bowl, glue (Elmer's washable school glue - who knew, right?) the back of the handles and place them on the background square and iron them, THEN I could iron down my arcs and the bottom of the basket and sew a zig-zag with clear thread around everything.  Forty-eight times.  Now I know doing the handles plus putting it all together takes me roughly 18 hours.
I worked on this one all day Friday and I finished the last block at almost midnight Friday night.  I was exhausted and sore and SO HAPPY going to bed that night.  On Saturday I had all the rows sewn together and I was about to gather everything up and finish it at home (it was getting close to time to leave) and the women who had been sitting by my quilt (on the floor so I could see where I wanted to place everything) boo-ed me and insisted I finish it.  One of them even pinned a row for me.  They needed the closure.  Ha!
I used Moda Urban Chicks line called "Urban Cowgirl."  I knew I'd need to really be in love with the fabric for such a big project and I am in love with this line.  It's very vintage-y and yet modern and the colors are my favorite. 

Last weekend was like a master class in quilting.  I feel like I know so much more!  Hooray!

Also, I need to document somewhere that I got all the Final Four teams correct on my March Madness bracket.  Come on!  That's awesome!


Jill said...

That's beautiful! What a skill!

melissa said...

Amazing! You did it! It really is gorgeous and very you. I'm so glad you had a chance to recharge your batteries. High-five!

allyn said...

It's AWESome. It looks like it took forever and it sounds like it took forever. The retreat really seems to have breathed new life into you.
Cngrats on the final four. Aron was dumbstruck when he realized your picks.

Katie said...

What a beautiful quilt! I love the pattern, I need to find it!!

Heather said...

What an amazingly gorgeous quilt! I love it! :o)