Friday, April 22, 2011

Quilting Retreat: an awesome weekend!

This past weekend I had the wonderful opportunity to go to a quilting retreat in Ft. Collins at the Inn at City Park.  It was so awesome!  The workshop was taught by Penny of sewtakeahike, and she is so inspiring, encouraging, and all around great.  She makes the most wonderful paper pieced blocks that just amaze me, so I was so happy to get to soak up some information from her on how to paper piece.  We had three workshops over the course of the weekend on paper piecing, improv piecing, and designing/executing your own paper pieced design.  I met the neatest people, and it was great.
These are all the fabulous people I got to hang out with all weekend:

When we arrived, Tara had put together the greatest gift bags for  each participant.  The bag is in the top picture stuffed to the brim with cool items.

She made us tags to wear so we could all learn each other's names.  I love my name tag! 

She also made a dresden pincushion for us to use on the trip.  Can you believe that I previously did not own a single pincushion?  I don't know how I made it three years of sewing without ever having a pincushion, but somehow I did.  Thankfully, that was quickly resolved by this beautiful pincushion!

There were all kinds of goodies in the bag, including homemade soap, lip balm, and lotion.  I can't wait to use the Saral paper after reading so many good things about it on Penny's blog.  I am just starting to try embroidery, and I think this would be perfect for that.  There was also a bag of scraps, a laminated notebook of graph paper, and an American Patchwork magazine.  So many goodies were inside!

There was also a key chain that Tara made which I love.  I am now using it everyday, and it really helps me find my keys in my huge bag of a purse.
On the last day, there were prizes for all the participants.  I won this lovely stack of fabric.  My favorite colors are blue and green, so this was perfect for me.

Isn't that bird print on the far left perfect?  I can't wait to put these to use in a quilt.

At the end of the retreat, we swapped potholders!  Everybody brought a potholder to swap to the retreat.

These are all of the potholders together from left to right: Penny, Carmen, Tara, me, AmandaJean, and Melinda.

I brought this potholder that I made.  It was really fun to make, but I did not do the best job sewing the binding to the back! 

I received a potholder from Penny, and it is so beautiful!  I love that it has a pocket for your hand, so your hand doesn't get burned.  The patchwork is so cute, and I adore the blue floral print.  It is perfect!

The back has the most perfect fabric for a potholder that I have ever seen.  This is such a great print.

On Saturday morning, we worked on paper piecing.  We worked on a couple different projects to practice with, and I made this pincushion.  Did you notice that I now have two pincushions?  My collection has now doubled!  This was really quite fun to make, and I think it would be fun to have the whole alphabet.  These would be neat for beanbags for little kids, too.

On Sunday morning when I came downstairs, there was a brand new pincushion on my sewing machine that was a gift from Amanda Jean.  Isn't it adorable?  I love that it is reminiscent of her ticker tape quilts.  She is so nice and funny in person, and it made me so happy to have a little pincushion that she made for me.  Thank you again, Amanda!

So I went from having no pincushions to owning three in a period of three days!  I love them all, and it will be so nice to be able to have one next to my sewing machine, one next to my ironing board, and one next to my cutting board.  Now I want to make pincushions!

On Saturday afternoon, Penny taught us about improv piecing.  I want to make my daughter a quilt one day out of the fabric I have used to make all of her dresses, so I made a dress that mimicked one that I had made her.  I drew out the dress and then improv pieced it together with a curved seam at the bottom.  Penny did a great job explaining how to do all kinds of different seams and piecing, and I feel like I learned so much from her.  She is a wonderful teacher, and I encourage everyone who has the chance to take a class from her to do it!  You have to go to her blog and check out all the awesome paper pieced blocks she has put together!

Sunday morning we worked on taking an idea and creating our own pattern for piecing it together.  I created one for a dress based off one of my daughter's dresses.  I am still playing around with it to figure out the best way to sew together the neckline, but I am really inspired to be able to figure out a pattern on my own.

There was also time at the retreat to work on our own projects, so I pulled out my ABC blocks from the Sewconnected Virtual Quilting Bee that I was a part of a while back to work on while I was there.  I thought it was neat to work on this quilt while I was with Amanda Jean who had been part of that virtual bee.  So I actually got to meet and sew with someone from a virtual bee in real life, which was really fun and exciting.  These are the two blocks I finished for that quilt while I was at the retreat.

I couldn't have asked for a better experience.  Tara cooked delicious food, Penny was a fabulous teacher, and Melinda, Carmen, and Amanda Jean were all such funny, nice, and wonderful people that it really made the whole weekend an outstanding experience. 


Greenstylemom said...

We missed you at the FRMQG sew-in, but the retreat looks like so much fun! I want to go next year.

I also don't own a single pin cushion. Horrible, isn't it? I keep meaning to make one, but something better always comes up. Your new ones are lovely inspiration!

quirky granola girl said...

it was wonderful to meet you in person :) i still need to dig through my piles of fabric to find you some fun novelty stuff and take pictures. don't let me forget!

seaschell said...

It was great to meet you! I really love weekends like this one, and I'm glad you had a good time, too!

sewtakeahike said...

It was so fun, Audrey, to meet you and spend time with you this weekend. I can't wait to see the new improved version of the second dress block you were working on. I'm definitely thinking "Y" seams will be the way to go. Once you get a revision on paper, please do email me with it, I'd love to help you more with it if you need!

amandajean said...

i'm glad i got to meet you and sew with you all weekend. i wish we could do it once a month! wouldn't that be great?

i'm also happy that you now have enough pincushions for each station of your sewing set up. :)

your dress quilt is going to be AMAZING! i'm excited to see it come together!

Karen said...

Wow, Audrey, what a fun weekend you had! You got so much done, too. I like your pincushions. I only have one myself. I am planning to make one for a gift this week so who knows, maybe I'll make more!