Friday, July 22, 2016

Wonderful quilt retreat with far away friends....

About sixteen years ago, I joined several Yahoo Groups devoted to quilting. Back then, you chatted via emails...some days there were many and other days not so many. Most groups did swaps, and other fun challenges, but I didn't participate in many of those because of my work schedule. But it was fun and interesting to chat with people from all over the country and overseas about quilting, family and life in general.

Connie, Tennessee
I really loved one group in particular, Country Quilters USA. It was founded by Connie and Leween, who met through another yahoo group, and quickly became a popular group of friendly, chatty quilters. There was always chatter about quilting, but mixed in was also talk of our families and what was going on in our lives. So I started to feel like I knew these quilters. They would host sew-in days with us checking in periodically to see everyone's progress. We could make photo albums and shared our projects that way.
Leween, California
With the advent of Facebook, we all became friends there and were able to enjoy each other's pictures and comments about life with even more ease. We could have private chats with each other or with groups of several friends. We could comment on each other's posts and support each other in our goals.
Barb, Florida
Many of us have gone through life crisis, family changes, and moves...all with the support of each other. Sometimes we chatted more than others, depending on how busy we were at the time, but we all managed to stay in touch.
Rita, Illinois
Many, many times we talked about getting together for a quilt retreat, but with the distance between us I don't know if any of us thought it would ever happen. (I always liked to throw out the fact that I lived in IA and since it was central to all, it would be a great place to meet.)  Then last fall we decided to plan a retreat and see how many would be able to come. We decided on IA, so I contacted Robin at Log Cabin Quilting in Exira, IA to see what the availability was for July at her retreat center. I thought Exira was perfect, because it is about halfway between Omaha and Des Moines for people flying in to either airport. The group settled on a date and the retreat was actually going to happen!
Log Cabin Quilting, Exira, IA
Paula, Washington
I started a Facebook group to plan and listed all of the details of the retreat...airports nearby, other facts I thought we would need. We spent hours talking on FB messenger about it as everyone started to come on board and make their plans. Eight of us would meet in Exira on July 14!
Heather, Minnesota
During the month of June, our chatter became more and more intense as we realized that we really were going to do this! Most of us had never met each other, so the prospect was exciting. At one point, one of the group cancelled because of a family emergency, but it worked out that she could come after all. The last week before was filled with talk about what to bring, who was bringing extra machines for the people flying in, who was leaving on what day....
Angela, Oklahoma
Connie drove the farthest, leaving on Monday afternoon from Knoxville. She arrived in Lisle, Ill to pick up Rita on Tuesday and they drove the rest of the way on Wed. getting them there a day early. We contacted Robin (retreat owner) and she said the retreat was open and they could come there a day early.
Barb's flight was scheduled for Wed. so she had planned to stay in a hotel Wed. night and drive out on Thursday to the retreat. But when she found out that they could go to the retreat early, she made plans to do that as well. 
Heather started thinking about coming early, as she had a 7 hr. drive and thought it would be nice to get there Wed. night so she had a full day of sewing on Thurs. So she left a day early and arrived that night.
Sisters Leween and Paula arrived via plane in Omaha on Wed. afternoon and I met them at their hotel for a mini quilt shop hop and out to eat. We made our plans to leave in the morning. Angela had to work part of Wed. and then started packing so she could leave first thing Thurs. AM. She also had a 7 hr. drive.
We all brought our own projects to work on, but I agreed to teach the Circle and Spin technique to them as well. So Friday afternoon we all stopped what we were doing and I taught class for awhile. It was fun and since they are all accomplished quilters, it went very well.

They enjoyed the ease of cutting and sewing together these circles and tested the rulers I had gotten made not long ago. They loved the rulers! They are making various sized quilts and 2 of them finished theirs on retreat. One more has finished hers since we got home. I can't wait to see pictures of all of them, finished!

I  made the Log Cabin Star by Marci Baker during the retreat. I had cut out the pieces before I left, so it went together pretty quickly. My friend Cindy agreed to quilt it quickly since I haven't solved the issues with my machine yet. I will be teaching it in Sept. at Cut Up and Quilt.

Log Cabin Star

I also worked on a new quilt in the Circle and Spin series made using all Moda Grunge them! It is currently finished except for the borders, which I should be sewing  I will get it finished today.
As I talked about this retreat with people as it was getting closer, many were interested in the fact that we were spending 4 days together when we'd never met.  Others thought it was awesome that we were meeting after knowing each other online for so long. Robin (retreat owner) loved our story and couldn't wait to meet everyone, so as we trickled in, she greeted us with open arms and 2 bottles of wine so that we could have a toast when we finally all arrived. 

Sunday was sad as we said our good-byes to our quilting sisters, but we have already started planning next year's retreat and hopefully everyone will be able to come again. A tradition? maybe....


Heather said...

I sure hope we can do it again. I never knew you could pack so much fun and laughter (and sewing!) into four short days. Love and miss you all!

Krochet4kids said...

I am looking forward to seeing everyone again and have started my retreat fund! Just waiting to get the dates and will mark it on my calendar!

Krochet4kids said...

I am looking forward to seeing everyone again and have started my retreat fund! Just waiting to get the dates and will mark it on my calendar!

Karen said...

What a fun time! So glad you were able to connect with such a great group of quilters.

QuiltMama61 said...

I hope you all do it again too. I'd LOVE to go!

Barb said...

What fun...seems like you all have been through a lot together and now you can get together...great!

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

Oh what fun! I chat with lots of vintage machine owners, but, every once in a while, I get to attend a TOGA and meet some of them. The circle & spin blocks look great.