The posting for this fall retreat is long overdue, but the experience was so invigorating and the memories so vivid, that nothing is lost! It was also fortuitous that we had a professional photographer along (as any quilt retreat of this caliber would have). The photos posted for this writing were taken by Audra Bayette. Thanks, Audra!
We arrived Friday afternoon at our large weekend estate on Christopher Lake in Bryant Pond, Maine. The house would sleep 34, but we only had 21, so some folks got private rooms: the aged and the invalid and one who didn't bring earplugs! Others shared a room or a small dorm! There were 7 bathrooms, so no lines, no waiting!
As most of our retreats, we run sort of like a girl scout campout with capers charts and a little bickering among the scouts (I did have to intervene in one squabble between Kathy T. and Skippy … once we convince Skippy it is not nice to lie, everything went well.) Everyone dutifully completed their chores of prepping for meals and cleaning afterwards.
We had elegant meals, as usual. "Egg Retreat" (a homey version of Eggs Benedict), egg tortillas, pasta night with lasagna, Portobello pasta, and mac and cheese with Deanna's Caesar Salad, barbeque pulled chicken luncheon, soup night with Corn Chowder, Tomato Bisque, and Garbage Soup, and pesto/cheese sandwiches for Sunday lunch. With the abundance of food and variety of ingredients, scouts could fix a meal catered to their own likes, also. Holly brought bags of chocolates and thankfully took home the leftovers – I would have dreaded bringing all that chocolate home with me after clean up!
I had provided several projects for everyone, but some preferred to work on their own. Gail made owl pillows for my niecette, Kathy G. toyed with my little kitty items, Deanna made cat and dog beds for the animal shelters, Linda and Sandy made whatever Vivian told them to, Jocelyn worked on a vintage silk cocktail dress, Audra created sewing placemats (because she wanted to keep up with the big girls), and much more.
We had recreation time, too. We played a couple of games, went for walks, and some had magic treatments from Priscilla. Pregnant Kim loved the soothing results from some of her special creams.
The good sport award for the weekend went to Carmen who left Winterport without her fabrics! She had a few things to do and made the most of the relaxing weekend.
Sandy's husband, Max, enjoyed the weekend in the area also. He found that there was "Gold in them there hills!" or, at the least tourmaline in Oxford Hills. He's even agreed to bring Sandy back again next year!
Be sure to click on the photo album to see more photos!
Who is Natasha? This was asked in the class on Saturday the 5th, and the answer is "I don't know!" The qulit was in an older issue of Quilters' Home and templates were downloaded from the internet. We don't really know who Natasha is, but we like her quilt!
We began with 32 strips of fabric and sewed them into 8 sets of 4 strips each. Kathleen is sewing her lucious groups together.
After sewing the strips, we pressed and then cut them into 60 degree triangles.
Thenyou are ready to assemble the fans into rows.
Everyone got theirs laid out on the design board (flannel backed table cloth) so they could assemble or at least roll up and take home. How great they all looked!
Eight new and experienced quilters came together Friday night and Saturday to create wall/lap quilts using the Friendship Star block (also called Spinning Stars, Ribbon Quilt, etc.) This is a basic 9-patch that uses half-square triangles to create the block. To make the piecing easier for the beginners, we used the Accucut to cut the triangles and the squares. Everyone had stacks of triangles to match and stitch. These were easy to chain stitch together - 96 total sets. Shannon has quite a pile of triangle squares here!
Once quarter inch seams were established, everyone stitched along merrily with only the occassional sewing machine jam or a set sewn wrong sides together. Seam rippers did not gather dust!
Once the triangles were assembled, blocks were laid out in a 9-patch arangement. Rows were sewn together and the blocks assembled. Now comes the "wow" factor as everyone sees how their chosen fabrics work together.
At one point, Michelle realizes that she is now a quilter; she arrived in the morning as an ordinary person, and by afternoon was a quilter. She needs the T-shirt! And she needs to add her borders! Be sure to measure across the middle to square it all up.
Once the borders were added, we pin-basted so the quilts could be quilted by machine. No one opted for hand quilting this time! Linda decided she would try free motion quilting and did quite a nice job on her Pfaff! Gardening gloves and all!
Cindy also chose free motion quilting (first time), broken needles and stress. She remembered to breathe, but still tightened up the muscles across her shoulders. Would a glass of wine before stitching help? Maybe we'll try that next time!
Others followed lines drawn onto the fabric.
We ended with the binding, mitering corners and all! Hand sewing the binding is a job for at home, but what a day! Everyone deserves a T-shirt! Click on the photo album for more photos!
No matter the model, the age, the type, all machines “mess up” once in a while. And that “messing up” is usually in the form of tension problems, skipped stitches, or bird nests under the fabric. Occasionally it is the fault of the sewing machine, but often it is what I loving refer to as OMF (operator mal-function). Most of the malfunctioning occurs because over the years we have acquired bad habits, and, until it is pointed out to us, we continue making the same mistakes expecting better results (isn’t that the definition of insanity?). Before you panic as you are trying to finish that birthday gift for a party 2 hours later, take a deep breath, unthread the machine, and go down this list:
You probably know what a synonym, an antonym, and a homonym are, but do you know what a retronym is? It is such a new word that my computer is underlining it for spell check! A retronym is a new word invented to replace an old word that now needs definition because of new technology. Like this: acoustic guitar is now the name of what we used to call guitar; land line is the new name for a telephone, and snail-mail is the new name for mail. And how about all those bridges in Bangor: when I was a kid there was the New Bridge and the Old Bridge. Then another was built and that became the New New Bridge, and the others were renamed (at least I call them this) the Old New Bridge and the Old Old Bridge. I hope another isn’t forthcoming!
As technology changes, so does our vocabulary. We have had to coin new phrases for our sewing machines. A conversation with a customer today might go something like this:
“I’d like to buy a sewing machine?
“Great! You’ve come to the right place. Are you interested in a mechanical machine, a computer machine , or an embroidery machine?”
“How about a sewing machine?”
And then we begin. Any wonder folks might get confused? We start in describing the wonderful features of each, especially the computerized machines, and then are asked, “But does it sew a straight seam?”
They might be swayed into buying a machine with all the marvelous features. After all, they just upgraded their computer to Windows 7 so that they can e-mail. They can now go home and sew a straight line (if they touch no buttons). Some might even question, “These features are great, but how do I use them?”
And that is where our job comes in! Come to the free new owners classes to learn not just what those features are, but also how to use them in a practical setting. Some have told me that they don’t need classes, been sewing for years, even made a wedding dress. Does all that experience help one figure out mirror image, pattern start, and balance functions? I’m guessing not, so don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know everything about that new machine. And, FYI, you can bring any brand machine to our classes (just be sure you have your manual – I pretty much know all the features and uses but may not be able to locate them on another brand.) And, wouldn’t it be great if Windows 7 came with a year of free classes? … Now that is my idea!
I I recently had the pleasure of attending the Area 5 Spring Meeting of the Pine Tree Quilt Guild as a guest of Mary Ann O'Brien of the St. Criox Quilters. We had a delicious meal of mostly salads and desserts and a nice talk by Evelyn Caruso of the Cotton Cupboard. Show and Tell was a highlight of the evening. Several of the guilds have made raffle quilts to raise money for various projects. I especially was taken by the quilt made by a group of ladies from Corea, Maine. It is a queen size quilt and can be seen at the Corea town hall. Tickets can be obtained from email@example.com.
Other raffle quilts were made by the St. Croix International Guild and by the Hancock County Quilters. All will be on display at their upcoming shows: Hancock's is in Ellsworth in August and St. Croix's is in Calais in September.
¼ yard each of two fabrics
18" x 28" piece of thin batting
2 ½" strip for binding
Compass or 6" plate to trace for circle pattern
Optional: pieces for appliqué and fusible web to adhere them with
From each of the ¼ yards, cut a piece 9" x 26". Cut a piece of batting to match.
Layer one fabric and one batting and quilt in a grid pattern as follows by using your quilting bar.
Draw a diagonal line across the middle of the fabric. Set your machine for a stitch length slightly longer than your usual piecing stitch and sew across on the drawn line.
Insert the quilting bar into the little hole behind the sewing foot and tighten the screw. Position the bar to the right about 1" away from the needle.
To stitch the next row, place the bar on the first row of stitching and stitch another line parallel to the first. Repeat this process across the fabric/batting piece. Turn to complete the other half of the piece.
Now draw a diagonal line that intersects the first rows of stitching and repeat the process.
Do this for the remaining 9" x 26" piece of fabric/batting.
Outside: 18 ½" x 8" and 6" circle
Lining: 17 ¾" x 7" and 5 ½" circle (cut the 6" circle and then trim a scant ¼" around it)
Using a ¼" seam allowance, stitch the 8" seam for the outside, right sides together.Repeat for the 7" seam of the lining. These are the bucket sides.
Attach the sides to the corresponding circles by marking quarter sections in the side piece and in the circle and then matching those points.
Turn the outside right side out and insert the lining piece. Trim across the top if needed.
Make a top binding with the 2 ½" strip.
Cut a length 18 ½" long. Sew into a tube. Fold in half right sides together.
Pin binding to the top edge with raw edges aligned. Stitch around the top. Fold over and sew by hand or machine.
Cut a piece of batting
1" x 14"and lay insert into the folded piece. Fold in half and topstitch down the sides. If you want a more finished look, tuck in the raw edges on the ends.
Attach the handles to the bucket by sewing on large buttons.
We embellished our bucket with a big, fancy flower!
Thanks for trying the pattern. While I have made an effort to make this tutorial understandable, I have not had anyone test this before it was posted. Please let me know if you find any errors: firstname.lastname@example.org
February 13, 2010 was one of those rare, glorious days in the winter when the sun reminds us that there is hope for warm weather, the wind takes a day off, and the snow, for a change, falls in the southern part of the country. It was that day that I ventured to Great Cranberry Island to have a sewing adventure with the Ladies of the Ladies Aid Society.
A generous benefactor provided funds for a Ladies Aid Building dubbed "The Barn." Leftover funds were used to purchase three Pfaff machines and sewing supplies for the Barn so that the Ladies could continue their winter work for the Summer Fair in grand style. I was invited to The Barn to instruct a class to help them get used to their new machines. (Generally, when giving the "sew and go" lessons for new owners, I require them to come to me, so this was a sacrificial exception for me to go to them.)
I drove to Northeast Harbor to catch the mail boat over. (I photographed this license plate on the way down the dock – a nice piece of trivia for us to learn.) It was an uneventful ride, but on the way out, I enjoyed the company of Sous (another Pfaff owner from the smaller island) and the vibrant scenery on this clear, crisp day.
Mary Wallace, my hostess with the mostest, met me at the dock. From the dock, we could see her "summer home" by the boat yard. We got into a red pickup that belonged to someone other than her (I assume she had permission to use it, but heck, this was Cranberry, - as long as it gets returned unharmed). She chauffeured me around to take in some of the sights. The navigating that day was a bit difficult since Blair was trimming trees and leaving piles of branches all over the island. However, it kept us from racing in that red truck that belonged to someone else. Mary pointed out many homes of folks I know, many homes of folks I don't know, and many homes of folks I would like to get to know so that they could invite me to come stay with them. I got out and took a few pictures of places I don't remember the names of. I did enjoy the chat with the sheep, but they were a bit skiddish themselves.
We arrived at the Community Building (which I have used for our Lobster Cruises before) where a group of ladies were waiting with our lunch. We had tea and crudities and soup and cornbread and for dessert, very "melt in your mouth" cookies that Barbara had made.
The Barn sits behind and to the right of the Community Building. So, after our meal, we went there to sew. What a delightful room: lots of windows, light wood floors and walls, large draws with supplies, and ample tables. The kits were all cut, so sewing them up was a snap. (Well, maybe a rip or two also). We made it all the way to the binding before Mary had to run me back down to catch the 4:15 boat back to Northeast Harbor.
It was a most delightful day and hope that I will be called a back!
P.S. The wall quilts will be for sale at the Cranberry Island Ladies Aid Summer Sale!
Well, we're here in Houston! Deanna and I left this morning from Downeast Maine in separate vehicles. We traveled to Sew Portland where we unloaded my car with another 13 bolts of Mark Lipinski's Elements and some of the new Moda Evening Mist (don't worry Sewing by the Sea patrons - we left some in Trenton, too). Deb had just opened up the store and was in a quandary as where she could put the fabric - I'm sure she located some space. My very good friend Mary Jane from Portland came over and ferried Deanna and I to the Portland Jet Port. Thanks, Mary Jane! We checked our bags for $25 each and then went through the screening. When I sent mine through, the agent said "I guess you didn't read my note." I was perplexed, but then he pulled out a full bottle of water! I was quite surprised until Deanna fessed up that it was her water and unbeknowst to us, Mary Jane had put it in my bag! She donated it to his cause and all was well. We had about an hour or so to wait, so we chatted and chatted. While we were waiting, fellow seamstress Carol ventured by on her way to Baltimore for the weekend. We finally boarded for an uneventful flight to Charlotte, NC. We deboarded there and then reboarded onto a larger plane to Houston. There were vacant seats, so we shuffled around so as to have more room. As luck would have it, I ended up in a row with one other person - a young man with curly black, yet graying hair! He was carefully typing on some handheld device; I got out my new book to read, Julie and Julia, and he asked "Have you seen the movie?" I had not and said so, then we discussed the pros and cons of reading before vs after seeing the movie. The conversation finally came around to why he was heading to Houston, etc. and it turns out that he is an opera singer with the Met! He was returning to his high school to give a speech for a dedicaton ceremony. I asked him what he had done for roles and he told me he had the lead on Broadway in La Boheme, for which he won a Tony! How cool is that! I googled him and found he was called "opera's rising star, heart throb Jesus Garcia, tenor." Well, we shared stories and my homemade chocolate chip cookies (what else could a chunky, gray haired Gramma figure use to impress this young man?) After we arrived in Houston and got off the plane, Deanna was a bit annoyed that I had "ditched her for a good looking young man." Little did she know the whole story! (She's actually gone to bed now and doesn't know about his "googled" reputation!) Well, our Houston host and hostess, Philippe and Brigitte, met us at the airport and brought us to their lovely home on Malone Street! We dined on sumptuous pasta and peach compote! And now to bed! We will be heading out to Market in the morning.