Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Retreat Review - April 2017

I recently spent 5 days at the Jane Stickle Retreat held in Shipshewana, Indiana. As always, I had a wonderful time. Some people say "What happens at retreat, stays at retreat", but I haven't done anything I need to keep secret. I'm going to share my retreat time with you on a day by day diary basis. Be prepared for a lot of pictures.

Wednesday - The retreat officially starts at 3 pm when we are allowed into the conference room. See my sewing space for the next several days. See how nice and organized it is? Hmmm, maybe it isn't so organized.

I received my tulip quilt from Lori Null who long arm quilted her. For a great photo, I draped the quilt on the buggy in display on the west lobby.

Lori did a wonderful job with the quilting. I did select this feathered pattern for the large spaced area.

I wanted something similar for the border and she pulled this design, excellent choice.

She came up with her own design in the tulip blocks and in the chain squares.

She did a wonderful job and I am very please with her talent and skill on my quilt. 

Would you like to see the back? I had purchased the floral fabric several years ago for a different quilt and never used it. It wasn't wide enough so I added this section of white fossil fern fabric which shows the quilting quite nicely.

Another view. She used red thread to quilt the tulips. You can see the thread on the white fabric but not in the busy flower fabric.

I spent the rest of my day attaching the binding by machine then turning and finishing by hand.

I know the new have to have tool are the little Clover clips. I think they look like they could easily be knocked off. I use these hair clips and have for years. They cost a lot less too, at least in the area I live in.

I also sewed a sleeve on the back. When I went to hang the quilt Sunday afternoon, the sleeve wasn't wide enough. I removed the hand stitching Sunday evening, sewed a strip onto it and will hand stitch the sleeve this evening.

 Thursday - Starting around 5:30 am, I spent most of the day Thursday sewing the square blocks I need to surround the Wilfred & Cloves Medallion center. This is a pattern from Carolyn Konig's book Creating Heirlooms, One Stitch at a TimeThese blocks are stacked several inches high.

Of course I'm making it larger than the quilt in the book, so I've made double the number of blocks. Sometime this summer I will lay them out and then move blocks around; sometime, not this week though.

Also on Thursday, Nancy Mast Troyer, an employee of Yoder Dept Store, came and gave us a demonstration on applying misty-fuse to fabric. 
She also demonstrated using specialty rulers.

She used the misty fuse and rulers in making the Kaffe Clam Shell Quilt from the book Hearts and More by Sue Pelland Designs

Nancy did not make her quilt with Kaffe fabrics, she used her stash of 30's fabrics.

I and several other friends intend to make this quilt. My friends spent most their time at the retreat prepping for their quilts. I didn't. I do prepping in the peace and quiet of my home. I don't know what fabrics I'll use. I'm hoping to make a practice clam shell crib quilt sometime this summer using the rulers and see if I like this technique before I jump into a large size quilt. If I don't like them, the rulers and book will be for sale at the resale table at the November retreat.

Friday - I spent Friday working on 3 charity crib quilts. I always stick some projects into my kit bag just in case I need something extra to work on. I had prepped these crib quilts last November and took them to the fall retreat as just in case projects but I had enough to keep me busy. I decided to sew them this spring.

The pattern is titled Go Baby! and is found in the January/February 2013 issue of Quiltmaker magazine.

That year Quiltmaker was taking a block from a quilt in each issue and enlarging the block to be used as a Big Block Baby QuiltI thought this was an easy looking pattern and it is. 

I'm an early riser, so I was sewing along, making good progress when the lights flickered then the electric went off. I turned off my machine, then the lights flickered again and the electric came back on. 

I decided to go for breakfast. I didn't like this on and off bit. As I was eating, the lights flashed on and off several times. This was strange; this has never happened before at retreat. 

After eating, I went back to the sewing room and was considering trying to sew again when the power again went off. This time it stayed off. Then an announcement was made. There had been an accident on State Road 20 west of State Road 5, a vehicle had crashed into a transformer pole. NIPSCO had to replace the pole, hook up downed lines and repair the transformer. All of Shipshewana and the surrounding area was without power.

I had planned on driving to Caroline's later in the afternoon but quickly changed my mind and went in the morning. They were not in the outage area. {I forgot to take my camera along but here is link to Rosemary's blog where she makes a visit to Caroline's.} I purchased a some fat quarters for future projects and a few for my Nearly Insane quilt.

When I returned to the Farmstead Inn, the power was still off. I had taken along some embroidery, you know, just in case, so I sat, embroidered and visited with friends. I didn't get many stitches stitched when the power came back on. By then it was noon and I resumed sewing on the crib quilts.

At retreat, we often have an Amish meal or some other kind of activity at the Carriage House. This is a business run by Elaine Jones and her family. They are Amish and I enjoy visiting her place. She invited the retreat participants to an appreciation open house on Friday afternoon. Refreshments were her wonderful, delicious cinnamon rolls and coffee. 

One of the activity she provides is an old fashioned quilting. People can come and hand quilt at the old style sticks and stands frame. Everyone who quilts is allowed to put their name and phone number in a box for a drawing that is held at the end of the season. The prizes are one of the quilts that were quilted by the varying groups through the summer and fall.

She had several of the quilts to be quilted on display at the open house.

This quilt is in the frame and was standing on the sticks again the wall right now. There is a light colored border on the edge.

She said there was also a 4th quilt which was not yet pieced.

All of her quilts are made with solid fabrics, no prints.

She also has wall hanging for sale made by Amish women from her community. I asked permission before taking these photos.

Soon after I took this picture, the blue bargello was purchased and now resides in California.

I tried to get the pictures to be several across the page, but blogger and I are not agreeing how to do that. They will trail down the center of the page.

I loved this one, maybe I'll try it someday.

This one is my favorite. It looks a little dark here but the colors just glow.

These two were hanging on the west wall and the sun was shining in very bright which makes the colors look off. 

This is a full sized quilt. A lot of the quilts use light gray instead of white.

The fabrics in this quilt are blues, not gray.

There were more wall quilts but they were in a different room. There was a group in there who eating and I didn't want to interrupt their meal.

Show & Tell is held Friday evening. I didn't take any pictures, Rosemary always does and here is a link to her smilebox pictures.

After show & tell, I finished the 3rd crib quilt which I forgot to take a picture of.

Saturday -  Every month Amber of Gigi's Thimble and Amanda of Jedi Craft Girl have a Five Fat Quarter Fun project. Before I left home, I packed the January pattern, Cabin Fever, a bundle of fat quarters along with white background fabric I had on hand.

Because I hadn't done any prepping ahead of time, I cut my pieces early Friday morning. (I like early morning cutting, there are very few people in the sewing room up that early!)

I sewed during the day and had this top completed by 1:30 pm. This was a very good pattern, good directions and simple to make. I highly recommend it. However, there is 1 correction to the pattern. The directions say to mark all the 2 1/2" blocks with a diagonal line. You only need to mark 96 of the blocks with diagonal lines.

After I finished sewing this project, I cleaned and packed up my space. There were thunderstorms and heavy rains headed our way. I wanted to get my sewing things loaded into the car before the rain started.

Sunday - I had completed all the sewing projects I had brought so I pulled out the knitting needles and finished this dishcloth I had started at home.

I like using up leftover variegated yarn with a coordinating solid yarn.

I visited with my friends and finished it shortly before it was time for me to head home around 2 pm.

I hope you enjoyed my review of the retreat. I had a wonderful time and have many great memories. I really appreciate the great pictures Rosemary Youngs takes so I can link up to her blog and you can view what I miss.

Linking to - Show & Tell With Bambi, Fiber TuesdayEsther's Wednesday WOW!,  Sew Fresh Quilts, My Quilt Infatuation, Finished Or Not Friday, Crazy Mom Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict


  1. Hi Gretchen! I love your idea for using hair clips instead of the Clover clips. I agree - they do look like they could fall or be knocked off easily. Great idea! It looks like you had a great time, and accomplished a lot during the retreat. I have never been to a quilting retreat, but they sure look like fun. ~smile~

    1. I enjoy the time I spend at quilt retreats. There is nothing like 90 plus women in a room all working on different projects. It is so inspiring and so many new ideas. Thanks for commenting.

  2. Looks like you had a great time. I belong to a quilt study group that goes to the Farmstead in November when another Dear Jane (or is it the same?) group is there.

    1. We were formerly called the Dear Jane Retreat but Brenda P requested that we no longer use that name for the retreat. She owns the copyright to the name and we didn't want to be sued. We now call ourselves the Jane Stickle Retreat.

  3. Fantastic retreat sewing. With or without power you did an amazing job... fantastic day by day...

  4. What a wonderful time you must have had. So good to get up early and work in peace and quiet - 90 women is a lot.
    You achieved a lot while gone! I love the Tulip quilt - Beautiful piecing and quilting. All of the quilt pictures are so neat! Nice to see the traditional quilts. Looks like you made great use of your time even with the power outage - so good to be versatile.
    Keep us posted on the new quilt technique. Glad to have you back.

  5. Your retreat sounds like a great time, productive yet relaxing despite the power outages! Was anyone reminiscing about the days of treadle machines that don't NEED electricity? Hee hee!

    1. I didn't hear anyone mention using a treadle machine. The problem with that is how would you bring it to retreat or on the plane? What people did mention was how much fun it was to visit with people you see at every retreat but don't really know. It was nice to have some time to make new friends.

  6. Thanks for all the eye candy. Sounds like a productive retreat for you.

  7. Dear Gretchen thank you for sharing with so many photos I feel like I went on the retreat with you THANK YOU> Oh those old coloured amish quilts are so so beautiful they move my heart, they ahve moved in to many colours now but they dont move me as much as those solid taupe colours they use to only use. But every one has their own loves. I instantly like Kaffee clam shell quilt in the 1930s fabrics but could not see the clam shells LOL Had to look and look for some reason my eyes just kept stopping at the white border LOL Then I saw the clamshells WOW so much work there thats a lot of clamshells. Love your Tulip quilt lovely lovely pinks, do you have some one else some times quilt your tops because you don't have the time????? I'd love to have some of mine done but I'd be looking at around $600.00 plus down here, and I do know its worth it but I just don't have that kind money for quilting now. Love the green brown and black Amish quilt. Once again THANK YOU for sharing. Going to visit some of the links you added now, just love travelling by arm chair now LOL Hugs Glenda