Monday, September 29, 2014

Quilting Retreat with the Idaho Monks

I finally went on my yearly quilting retreat a few weeks ago. Once again it was hosted by the lovely Carmen Geddes, but this time we went to a monastery in Jerome, Idaho. Ha! Did you go to the link? All those monks were there. One of them told punny jokes before all our meals. One of them skulked around the drink machines and didn't say a word. One of them called to Kristi and me from his room that we'd blown a fuse by using both microwaves in the kitchen at the same time. Good times! The reason Kristi and I ended up at this retreat instead of one of the Fairview, Utah, retreats was because all these hardcore quilters have convinced Carmen to make the Fairview retreats almost a week long. No can do for two mothers of small children. We had to rearrange the whole world for the two and a half days we took. As always, I came home with a new finished quilt top, more knowledge, and a better attitude. :)
I finished this 38" lone star in the first nine hours. I cut everything at home, so that saved time. This one is for me! I love the Nantucket-inspired fabrics. It's going in the entryway during the summer.
I have big plans to make Colin and Emil quilts for Christmas. This one is for Colin (lucky he doesn't read my blog). It's interactive! I won a big stack of fat 16ths six or seven years ago and I thought I'd never use the weird colors. Not my style. But, hey! They match the panel with the planets! My plan was to surround the panel with the 1 1/2" grid quilt, but I ran out of the fabric after two panels. Bother. I actually had to buy that stuff. (I'm going to find Colin a few spaceships and rockets to play on this quilt with. Don't you think!!!!)
One of the best discoveries I made at the retreat this year was mini charm packs. Each mini charm pack comes with 42 2-1/2" squares. I used one of Carmen's 2-1/2" grid interfacing (2" finished) to make this table topper. Even with the border it took under an hour to make this. Because I didn't have to cut any of those squares, you guys! Teacher gifts! Hostess gifts! Done and done. It was fun to finish something so quickly after discovering that I didn't have enough fabric to finish Colin's quilt.
This looks weird right now. I know it. I cut about 1500 1-1/2" squares (out of fat quarters) of Sarah Jane's Wee Wander fabric for this small quilt. That took a while. Then I carefully arranged my ironing board and interfacing and placed the squares where I wanted them. I ironed them down. THEN I discovered that I was secretly ironing the interfacing to my ironing board and all the little squares came floating to the floor. That's when I packed up my stuff and started getting ready to go home. For real. Since I've been home I've ironed all the squares to the correct side of the interfacing and I'm about halfway done with the first set of stitches. That's one of the discouraging things about the grid - you think you have this giant quilt, but then it shrinks once the stitching is all done. I'm still very excited about this one. 

Kristi and I always have our noses to the grindstone at these retreats - it's such a pleasure to get to work without interruption for a few days. I think I like the monastery better than the home in Fairview - we had so much elbow room! The flies, though. You guys, THE FLIES. My creative juices are still flowing and I'm trying to take advantage. :)

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