RETREAT!! It was a great time of sewing renewal for me. See my little work station on my table above? I wrestled with whether to muscle my Genome 6600 with me or barrel through the long weekend with my Featherweight (only 11 pounds, soaking wet).
The Featherweight won out and I felt a little more awkward, and therefore slower using it, but all in all everything went well.
I have some issues to solve before piecing much more with the Featherweight (more later on that in another post).
I only took one picture that had some of the other ladies in it...I should have taken a group shot, but we were a group with many comings and goings. They all knew each other from previous retreats and projects and come from all over. "Florida Farm Girl" invited me along because she knew I needed to run away from home. She was right and I am so glad she did!
We all stopped to get a funny "education via the Internet" in this picture below, but I won't tell you what the NON-QUILTING RELATED topic was..."what happens at retreat, stays at retreat!" But my eyes...and ears... have been opened...LOL!
I took it as a good omen that I passed many cotton fields on my way across north and central Alabama to get to the retreat center. With the drought, the plants didn't look like much, but the cotton bolls were beautiful!
OK, what did she get done?? Well, I took many things to work on, and among them were materials to work on the pieced setting blocks for my "Afternoon Delight" project (pattern by Sue Garman).
There are 64 of these Double Nine Patch blocks in this quilt (that finish 6-3/4 inches). I finished 8 of them, but in my defense, they are TINY and I got a lot of additional units pieced together so it won't be hard to finish a few more toward my goal.
They are made with Reproduction fabrics and are very scrappy. They will be on point, as pictured here, and the holes will be filled with 40 applique blocks and 9 Shoo Fly Variation (Prairie Queen) blocks, all to finish 6-3/4 inches each.
I managed to get all 9 Shoo Fly Variation (Prairie Queen) blocks done. You laugh, but I have always told you I am a slow piecer...I piece as slow as I hand-applique fast!
These were fun, but I am glad there are only 9 of them in the whole quilt. I had a feeble start on Sue's "Ohmigosh!" quilt pattern before moving from Michigan, and if I remember correctly these blocks feature prominently, and are much smaller in that project...same with the Double Nine Patches. Yikes!
I have over 30 of the 40 hand-applique blocks finished, so I couldn't help throwing all the random pieces up on the design wall, even though the block order is all screwy, just to catch the effect.
Oh, I am loving it! Now that I have seen how the Double Nine Patch background blocks will interact with the other blocks, I am more excited to make 56 more of them...ugh. I will admit, they are kind of boring. I will need to watch some movies while piecing.
Remember me sharing these sweet little hand-appliqued star blocks before? Each block finishing at 2-inches? Well, I should NEVER do math before 10:00 in the morning...
I was making the little star blocks to serve as an inner border between the following block and the rest of the project.
Well, the size of the medallion applique block will be 16-inches finished, and the next part of the project will measure 18-inches. That only allows for a 1-inch little border all the way around, not a 2-inch one!
Doh! Head slap! Now I am making a sawtooth border, which is TINY, too...why am I punishing myself with all this tiny piecing crap?!? Anyway, I took the sawtooth border pieces to retreat as "leaders and enders" to "accidentally" piece over-sized half square triangles as I pieced other projects. (Thank you, Bonnie Hunter! She is a GENIUS!!!)
I pressed the seams open, and brought them home, where I am trimming them down to 1.5-inch half square triangles and constructing my inner border.
It will take 68 of these little suckers to surround this one applique block, but I think it will be worth the effort.
OK, I also took along a long-term, insane project with me based on a Blackbird Design quilt employing these tiny hand-appliqued basket blocks (finishing 5-inches). I showed you the following picture before I left...
I recycled this older photo of the baskets from before my move because I was too lazy to take them out of the box and photograph them before leaving. And there they sit...right on top of the Brooklyn Revolver that I was trying so hard to find before I left. That invited some funny comments from some of you saying, "there it is...right there in that picture!" I had to laugh!! Incidentally, I DID find the rotating cutting surface the morning I left. I went down one...more...time to look, and it was right where I had looked 500 times before...zeesh!
Anyway, it was much less sad to post THAT old picture of the baskets than this one with Weasley's feet in it, which made me SOOOO sad when I came across it...
But I digress...the original Blackbird Design project just features the basket blocks with a very few nine patch blocks thrown in for grins. I was toying with the idea of alternating my basket blocks with some pieced Puss the Corner blocks (how appropriate, right?? I mean, his feet are right there...in the corner?).
Here is how that would look...
So, I made a handful of those pieced blocks, and now I am not sure. I may like it better the way it was intended...
...just the baskets on point, maybe with a sprinkle of some other exciting little block...just a sprinkle. I have quite a pile of baskets finished and a few more in process. I think the original one had over 300 baskets in it. I am not sure I am THAT ambitious with this project, but I do love the little baskets.
I did cut out 164 blocks worth of Reproduction pieces to make scrappy little 5-inch finished Puss in the Corner blocks...new UFO project starter...
Here is the original quilt from their book...
A few years ago, these little baskets were all the rage in the blogosphere, either with the little cut-out square, or not. Every now and then, I see some form of them in a quilt at a quilt show. They really are fun to do and such a nice little snapshot of favorite stash fabrics.
Huh...look what I just found in my new Quiltmania magazine...seems pretty similar to me...
I really hate how American quilt magazines repeat stuff and just slap another name on it...now it is happening in my new favorite magazine...
But I digress...AGAIN...I did manage a "finish" at the retreat! I started this project over 13 years ago (using my old, not-so-great applique method), pulled it out a few years ago and added a slogan (with my much-much-better applique method), and now it is ready to be sandwiched and quilted.
Ta-da! It measures almost square...52-1/2 inches wide and 54-1/2 inches long.
Look how pointy my curves used to be with my old method of hand applique! It pains me to see it, but I love this pattern, LOVED the fabrics, so I thought I would swallow my pride and finish it. I may just hang it in the quilt cave!
This is, or at least the center is, "Rabbits Prefer Chocolate," a pattern by Anne Sutton of Bunny Hill, with a few little tweaks to a couple of the blocks from me (I just can't leave a pattern alone). I wasn't crazy about the pattern's original outer border either, so I came up with my own, twisted version. I did fight the urge to "bite" the head off one of the rabbits...here is the original pattern.
I also worked on the next border of my original anniversary quilt project, "Contentment." I will show that next time. Maybe by then I will have the second border attached to the quilt and have some idea of the design of the outer, final border.
I stayed up waaaaay past everyone else every night of the retreat. I just couldn't stop working once I started. After almost 2.5 years with no significant quilt piecing, it was like it was just exploding out of me! I had to leave early...on Saturday before dinner instead of Sunday morning...due to a family situation, but it was just amazing to get to work without the pull and draw of home stuff and unpacking that still needs to be done.
After all that searching for that Brooklyn Revolver...the "lazy susan," turning part didn't really work well. I need to get another revolving cutting mat for trimming down blocks.
I think Mr. Fabric Therapy missed me! He offered to cook for me some weekend so that I can have a "home retreat" some time soon. What a sweety!
Unrelated, I think my comments are emailing to me again, but my blog list is still vacationing somewhere out in the ether...