Thursday, July 1, 2010

Okay, Marsha, take a deep breath and carry on

As usual, I slept fitfully the first night of our getaway.  Since I was on the futon in the living room, I doubt that I kept anyone awake with my tossing and turning.  We all awoke early, had coffee or tea, showered quickly, and set out on our quilting adventure.  We arrived at the community center about 8 a.m. assuming that coffee would be waiting for us prior to the designated start time of 8:30 a.m.  Not so.  Apparently in the quilt retreat world, 8:30 really does mean 8:30!!!

You could hardly find a more beautiful place to wander around for 30 minutes than Gull Lake.  We watched the early morning fishermen, listened to the gulls, and took a few pictures.  Once the door was opened to the community center, we were ready to go.

The food at the retreat was spectacular.  We were treated to continental breakfast on both mornings (even warm cinnamon rolls), and one of the dinners featured homemade bread and individual quiches.  Definitely one of the high points of our adventure.

So, on to quilting.  I wish I had a better picture of the project wall to share, but this is the best I can do.  The feature quilt the first day (unpictured) had a dozen or so individual small blocks including a pinwheel, a house, a basket, etc., etc.  I spent most of the morning trying to figure out what exactly was going on.  A second project featured 3 totes with needle felting embellishments.  Ah, ha!  A tote.  I can make a tote.  So, by midday, I had concluded that the only way I was going to mentally survive this marathon quilting session was to pick a simple project and go for it.  Hence, the $500 tote was born.

As others were busily cutting strips, buying dozens of fat quarters, forging ahead with their quilting projects, I sat quietly at "my space" reading and re-reading and re-reading the directions on how to make a simple tote from 2 1/2" strips.  By noon, I had figured out how many fat quarters I wanted to buy to make the tote something I would actually use (9).  Whew!  I had a goal!  I might actually sew something at this quilt retreat.  I happily looked through the dozens and dozens of fat quarters and chose my 9.  Not my perfect colors, but they would have to do.

Lunch break!  Yippee!  Off to downtown June Lake for a relaxing lunch.  Oops.  There are only 3 restaurants in June Lake.  One is closed for lunch; one is the place we had dinner last night - third one must be the place!

Slow service (only the owner working diligently to make sandwiches, make pizza, clean the place up, take orders, etc.), but great sub sandwiches.  Unfortunately, lunchtime was over and we headed back to the community center.

Do you sense my negativity?  I was really struggling this first day to find my place among these experienced, accomplished, RELAXED quilters.  I did manage to get my strips cut that afternoon and even had a fundamental idea of how to sew this project.  And, I began to sew ... wonder of wonders.  My little Featherweight is a joy.  This is the most that I have sewn on the Featherweight since buying it two years ago.  It is a beautiful piece of equipment.  I scored big time with this purchase.  Not once during the quilt retreat did I have any difficulty with the Featherweight.  Others were not so lucky.  I'm going to take very, very good care of her.

By the end of the afternoon, I could see that I might be able to complete the tote bag before going home.  A quick glance around the room (filled with 30+ quilters) showed me that others were headed towards finishing a half dozen projects.  Hmmmmm .... Happy Hour was a much better choice than continued frustration!

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