Wednesday, June 19, 2013

More About Retreat

     I go on 2 retreats a year with this group. One in February, and one in June. It is a really fun group of women, and I am always so happy to see them! And, I just love beeing surrounded by all of that creativity, and all of those beautiful projects! It makes it very sad at the end of the June retreat, when we contemplate not seeing each other again for 8 months! I think this came about this way because our first retreat ever was in February, something to chase away winter blues. Mary our fearless leader, and beloved organizer is a school teacher, and wanted to have us get together again during her summer break. We have talked about having another in the fall, but I think the fall is too busy. Several of us are in jobs that seem to be busier in the fall. Often, there are rugs that need to be woven in time for the holidays. I think the fall season is a bit busier for most people. A group of us are getting together to have a fall art show in November. So, hopefully, you will soon see blog posts about what I am making to prepare for the show. I have plenty of large quilts; but, I wanted to make some smaller "gifty items" for the show. This show will be a continuation of a show that used to be at my house back before I was blogging, and more of my personal work was weaving. This was before I found out how much I love quilting. We quit having that show because I moved into a smaller house. Now, a friend of ours, who was at retreat with us, has graciously volunteered to let us have it at her house.

     Anyway, back to retreat. We always have a fabric swap. In Februarys  we have door prizes, but in June we have the beloved pincushion swap. After doing this for several years, we are all getting quite a collection. Some of them are more practical than others. It is so much fun to see all of the creative pincushions they come up with. This is a photo of the pincushion, sitting on the fabric I ended up with in the fabric swap. I love them both. I had always wanted a chicken pincushion, and I am beginning to collect fabrics for a future red, purple, brown and (some form of) orange quilt; so I was thrilled wth this deep red fabric. Ironically, they both came from the same person. I think we must have similar tastes. Thanks Angie!

     This is a group shot of all of the pincushions.

     I forgot to take a photo of mine before I wrapped it. It is in the 2nd row, just a bit towards the left. It is predominately blue, with a blue ribbon. I made it out of a hand dyed hand woven wool scrap from my blanket weaving days. I like to make pincushions that would be easily usable as a pincushion. I always put a piece of template plastic in the bottom of mine, to keep the pins from going all the way through. I hate when you grab a pincushion, and get stung! I hope this cuts down on that experience. 

     Most of the time at retreat, I spent working on my Etsy quilt. When I was in the car, riding to DC, I pinned groups of a set of star points with a set of background pieces.

     I came to retreat with a whole box of them. I think I counted that I need 226.

     As you know, an Ohio Star has 4 flying geese in it, so my first task was to sew the first seam on each goose. I chain piece, and cut the chain in between each block and pin the  unused background squares and star points to the chain. This keeps each block together, and helps me stay organized.

       Then, of course, I had to press that seam. The running joke of the weekend was, how long it would take for me to get to the bottom of my box for each step!

     I got both seams on all of my flying geese sewn and pressed. Yesterday afternoon, I went to sew with some friends, and instead of bringing a sewing machine, I brought my box with a small cutting mat, ruler and cutter.

      This carrying case is one of my favorite quilting tools.  A  friend made it for me many years ago. It stores all of the tools I need to make small cuts, trim, and mark. It holds a 6" square ruler, a 6" long ruler, a small mat, rotary cutter, scissors, a piece of sandpaper to keep fabric pieces still while marking, marking implements, and even a spare set of reading glasses! All in a case that will fit in any project box. It is so so handy to have all of these things packed this way so I can just grab it and go-knowing that everything I need for certain tasks is in that case. 

    I trimmed the dog ears off of my geese, and choose a center square to go with each block. I got through about 1/3 of them. 

    Last night I did some sewing on the blocks I had trimmed and chosen a center for. I sewed a background square onto 2 of the flying geese, sewed one goose to the center square, then cut from the back of the chain, and sewed the other 2 background  squares onto the other sides of the first 2 geese, then cut from the back again, to sew the last goose on the opposite side of the center square. I ended up with this.
      They are still chained together, so they will stay organized. All I have left is to press these seams, and sew the 2 sides on either side of the center. Then I will be done with all of my small stars. I will need to put another round of star points on 20 of them to make the larger stars.

     So that is what I am up to. Thanks for stopping by!


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