Monday, February 13, 2017

Quilting Fun at Retreat!

The weekend before last I attended a quilt retreat at Thumper Pond Resort in Ottertail, MN.  This is my third year attending this retreat, but the first year that I lived only about 60 miles away.  Since the weather forecast was good, I opted to take mostly county roads rather than state highways, hoping for some great scenery as well as the opportunity to see some of the area near our new home.  I was not disappointed.  The drive was beautiful in both directions with lots of lakes, woods, winding roads and rolling hills.  I also discovered that there are Amish living about 30 miles from us.  My husband's heritage is Amish, so we find it very cool to be living so close to them.  We will definitely be going back to that area as it looked like there was at least one family that made furniture and we want to see what other goods we might find.  When I traveled through Amish country in Wisconsin last spring I came home with 3 quarts of honey, some pure maple syrup made by a Gingerich (my husband's surname) as well as several yummy jams.  Scott's father was raised Amish until he was 10 and I wish he were still alive to go with us when we go back to the area.  On my way home, I came across a buggy on the road while in a no passing zone and on a hill.  The horse pulling the buggy was beautiful, but I obviously couldn't get a picture of the horse as I was passing them!  It was just a treat to see them out and about.  On my way TO the retreat, I passed a group of Amish children and their mother playing outside in the snow and having a lot of fun.  While I wouldn't care to give up my conveniences of electricity, computers, etc., it was refreshing to see children outside playing on a nice day rather then glued to various electronic devices.  Of course there are adults who are just as bad and just as addicted to their cell phones, computers, etc.

So back to the retreat.  My first goal was to get some quilts quilted since I was in free motion quilting mode.  I believe I took 5 basted quilts and I got two of them completely quilted and a third one is in process.  The first one I quilted was Tumbling Nine Patch by Sweet Jane's Designs.  This quilt is for a shop sample and I will be putting together some kits.  I really, really like quilting swirls and allover swirls were a good pattern for this quilt, so off I went with my swirls.  Below is the quilted quilt and a closeup of the quilting.

Next up was quilting my Reef table runner.  This should have been a quick and easy job, but it was anything but.  The Sulky rayon thread I was trying to use on the top keep shredding and breaking.  I tried a different size needle.  Same result.  I went and bought Microtex Sharp needles from the vendor and tried one of those.  Same result.  I re-threaded and tried yet another different needle.  Same result.  After consulting my quilting friends, the only thing we could conclude was that the batik fabrics were shredding the thread due to the tightness of their weave.  I have a practice quilt sandwich with me that is made from muslin so I tried the thread on that and it seemed to work fine, so it could very likely be the batiks.  Fortunately, I had a cotton thread with me in virtually an identical color, so I was able to keep going with the quilting without ripping out the first quilting done in the rayon thread.  The two threads look so similar that you really have to inspect to figure out which end of the runner was originally started with the rayon.  The rayon has more sheen than the cotton, but you even have to look for that, so problem handled and the quilting got done.  This little quilt is also a shop sample and it is a free pattern included with the Reef Charm Pack by Timeless Treasures.

Once those two quilts were quilted, I decided to give my shoulders and arms a break and worked on making and attaching some bindings.  The little quilt below had the binding completely attached by machine so I could send it back to Grand Forks with one of my quilting friends for donation to our Guild's Outreach program for foster children.

I got a couple more bindings attached and ready for the hand sewing and then I went back to quilting.  Next up was Oh Christmas Tree and more swirls :-).  What can I say, I've got those down and they look nice as an allover pattern.

I got about half of the quilt quilted and then I reached machine quilting burnout for the weekend and switched to piecing for the rest of the time.  I only brought one piecing project to the retreat because it is in the early stages and has 10,000 pieces, so I was pretty sure I wasn't going to get anywhere close to finishing and needing another project to work on lol.  I've continued working on the project since I've been home from the retreat and I am now working on blocks for row number 4 of 20.  There are 20 blocks in each row.  Now that I've got 3 rows laid out, the design is starting to emerge.  The pattern is Perkiomen Daydreams by Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville and it's in her first book titled Scraps and Shirttails.

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