Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Retreat, Arizona Style

I was fortunate enough to attend a retreat in Arizona a couple of weeks ago with a lovely bunch of quilters who mostly met thru the About.com Quilting Forum. One of the activities at the retreat was to make a Mystery Quilt. The pattern is called "On the Road Again" by Debbie Caffrey. We sewed and sewed with clues being handed out every so often.

There was a main room where we ate and had gatherings - in the back of that room were three ironing stations with big board ironing tables (I gotta make me one now that I have experienced the joy of being able to iron large pieces easily!), and two cutting stations with oodles of rulers and rotary cutters. There was a smaller back room that had the sewing tables with two sewing spots on each table. Sometimes we spent more time gabbing and laughing than sewing, but it was all great fun!

Some of the other activities were an Ugly Fabric Challenge - the challenge pieces were hung in a local quilt shop and all the customers got to vote on their favorites. We tried to guess who made what, but most people were really sneaky and did not use their normal styles for making the pieces. I was even sneakier and entered two pieces which caused quite a lot of consternation when the numbers and the names did not add up!
Here is a picture - Mine are the Bad Sue cartoon quilt on the left and the flying geese on the black background on the right. The one that won Viewers Choice is the fan hanging between my two...

We also had a Birthday Gift Exchange (done in Chinese Auction style) - I made a scrap catcher as my contribution and ended up with a book on thread painting whose techniques that I want to try out really soon. There were some really nice gifts!

I was one of two that finished all the steps before the retreat ended - the rest got to varying stages of closeness. Here is my Mystery Quilt top, with a border added - the main fabric that I chose had this lovely border print so I got enough to make the borders and I think I have enough of the main fabric to make the backing (or at least most of the backing!) I was pleased at how the mitered corners turned out...not as hard as I feared, especially if use lots and lots of pins!