Sunday, April 1, 2012

Quilt Retreat

Many thanks to Susan Brown of TQM Products for welcoming me and Madeleine to her quilt retreat in Okoboji, Iowa!  'Boji as it is referred to by those in the know, is a vacation lake spot in Northeast Iowa.  We stayed at the Okoboji Lutheran Bible Camp (my first bible camp experience). 

Packing up all my supplies was pretty stressful. Even for a quilter like me who tends to avoid a lot of tools, knick, knacks, etc, but the time you get your machine, cutting supplies, ironing stuff, and fabric together, it's enough to pretty much fill the Prius.  Especially combined with Madeleine's sewing accoutrements. 

ready to sew!

We arrived ready to roll.  After setting up our gear, we went to bed.  Nothing could prepare us for the reality of quilt retreat...

In the zone.
We got right to work on Friday morning.  As our fellow sewists arrived, we remained focused, not yet disrupting the quiet peace.  Slowly, as we became accustomed to our new environment, we let loose and chattered the rest of the weekend.  Surprise, surprise...

Little did we know, but at quilt retreats people stay up sewing all night.  Literally all night.  The champion quilter stayed up until 5am and was back at it at 8am.  Whoa.  Madeleine and I created unattainable goals the first night and stayed up until 4am, however we slept in.  The Swoon block above was my goal for the 4am night. 

Also is very helpful

The Six Swoons
 The following day at retreat, I continued to pound out the Swoon blocks.  All the cool kids have been making this quilt for months, so I figured I should too.  I used to be one of those quilters who proudly proclaimed "I do NOT use patterns."  I was a graph paper snob, but realistically my creations for variations on incredibly common pieced quilt patterns.  That said, the lack of patterns in my quilting life was a point of pride (wow, I am so LAME).  Over the last few months, as I continued to perfect my procrastination skills through the thesis writing process, I began to gravitate towards quilt patterns.  It was easier to have mindless sewing while watching trashy TV to distract myself rather than have to pretend to exert creative energy while reinventing the nine patch again and again.  I started with some free patterns on blogs, and luckily I found one that I LOVED which resulted in me mass producing the blocks for it.  Due the the unfinished gift nature of one of these quilts, I cannot reveal the pattern.

Another step in my new found love of patterns was helping Carolyn Friedlander by testing one of her new patterns.  Again, no pictures or identifying information, but it was super fun, and I learned a new skill, paper piecing!   

So, that gets me to Swoon.  In order to become complete social media junkies, Madeleine and I got a Twitter account for The Printed Bolt.  Like quilt patterns, I used to be against Twitter.  Well, I pretty much still am against Twitter, however, I have found both a sociological crater and some quilting inspiration on Twitter.  Although, I do feel like a bit of an outsider looking in to all these weird personal conversations, but in a sort of Nancy Drew/Carmen San Diego investigator sort of way...Anyway, someone had a link to a Swoon quilt with something other than a white background, it was a black newsprint.  Since I don't really understand Twitter and just click around, I have not been able to relocate said image.  I was determined to make the Swoon quilt and not do the whimpy shabby chic color combination in the picture for the pattern.   

I bought the pattern online, and I'm sorry, but even in my limited pattern experience, I was not impressed.  Yes, I did figure it out, and yes it is super EASY, but there were a few fatal flaws that caused me to almost drop F-bombs every ten seconds at Lutheran Bible Camp.  Not a good situation.  For example, there are two square sizes that you need to cut out, however they are both the same size in the drawings, WTF?  Second, there are two colors used in addition to the background.  Color 1 refers to the secondary color with fewer pieces.  That does not make sense.  Color 2 is the main color, but it is second.  There is a giant 1 floating above something that is supposed to go with Color 2, FML.  Let's just say it's a good thing I wasn't using the minimum fabric requirements since I effed up cutting a million times. 

Many of the ladies questioned my color scheme for the Swoon, but as I had already named it the Greatest Color Combination in All of Quilt History, there was no turning back.  And I am glad I didn't!  I LOVE IT! 

Many thanks to the sewing crew around me for literally swooning over the quilt, motivating me to stay up too late, and keep going.  We met a fellow quilt blogger, Tasha from Ric Rac and Ribbons, who kept us laughing all weekend.  She's going to start her own Swoon soon, so I am anxious to see another interpretation!  While the quilt was originally going to just be four blocks, I increased it to six, and then after careful consultation with Rita, she convinced me to go for it and make three more blocks to balance out the colors. 

Really bad picture of the fabric that will help me make three more Swoons.

Momma Rushman was in town the last few day with her dog Lola.  Fortunately Maybe and Also were good hosts in the sense that they didn't eat Lola.  Maybe almost accidentally ate Also though...I think she mistook her for a bunny, but she definitely scared Also.  Maybe *might* be showing some signs of aging...

1 comment:

  1. I think I am ready to start the beast. But am a little weary of the way the pattern is written. You also got me thinking of graph paper patterning for quilting. (thanks a lot) I actually have an old sewing book that explains that process. Since I have always been your opposite, as a pattern girl or sew by the seat of my pants girl, I am not sure I can tackle such a method. You are impressive indeed.