Tag Archives: retreat

Front Page

In previous posts I’ve mentioned that I love words and language.  For a long time I had an idea of making a quilt that had the look and feel of a newspaper page.  For several months I collected fabric with text and interesting images and then began drawing up a pattern on large sheets of 1″ graph paper.

Once the pattern was done I began the fun work of cutting out the pieces.  I paid attention to colour balance and made sure that repeat pieces weren’t too close together.   Each piece was labelled with a number that corresponded with the graph paper pattern, then trimmed with a narrow cream border.

Assembly took place at the Denman Quilters’ Retreat on Thetis Island, in 2014.  Most of the blocks went together easily and in a logical sequence.  With some I had to sit back and think ‘what goes where, and when?’  Gradually it came together, but it felt to me that something was missing.  Fortunately there was enough leftover red text fabric to add a border.

The backing fabric was narrow and required a seam.  To disguise the seam I used leftover strips from the front of the quilt.    If you enlarge the photo of the backing you’ll see that the left side black/cream is all one piece but the right side black/cream is made of many horizontal strips sewn together.  Because the print is so small those seams appear less obvious.

The quilting is a series of fractured, random straight lines.  I thought this would be quick and easy, but soon found that that was not the case and I had to keep adding lines to make sure that the unquilted spaces weren’t too large.  The border is plain black, attached by machine and finished by hand.  The finished size is 62″ x 72″.

While there are things that I would do differently, I was really pleased with how this quilt turned out.  There’s a large stack of text fabric in my stash and a companion quilt is not out of the question.  Here are photos of the front and back of Front Page.

Thanks for reading.


Start To Finish #3 -Assembly

In the last progress report, on the colours of India quilt, I had cut out what I’d hoped were enough 2″ strips to make a quilt top that measures approximately 80″x 80″.  Those strips were set aside, waiting to be stitched together at my annual quilt retreat.

Retreat began last Monday afternoon.  I spent the first afternoon and evening working on another project, wanting to be fresh for this one.  Bright and early Tuesday I got the pile of strips out and sorted them by colour.  Then I started stitching them together, end to end.  There was no pattern; I just tried to keep them mixed up a bit.  The next step was to take this very large strip of 2″ fabric and cut it into 60 x 80″ widths.  So far so good, and it moved along quickly.  Here’s the pile of strips joined end to end:IMG_2176

Then came the tedious part.  I paired up the strips and sewed them together, creating 30 strip pairs.  Then those pairs were joined together, creating 15 quad strips.  This continued all afternoon and into the evening.  Each 80″ seam needed to be pressed.  Throughout this process I resisted the urge to see how it was looking.  It was all random and I just crossed my fingers and hoped that I wouldn’t end up with 20 pieces the same in one place.   Here are the 30 pairs of strips:

IMG_2195 3

By mid-day on Wednesday the top was assembled and I folded it up and set it aside for that evening’s show and tell.  Honestly, I was afraid to look at it.  The colours are bright and bold and I thought it might be garish, tacky or just plain ugly.  At show and tell I explained that I’d wanted to recreate the colours of India in a quilt.  It was well received and the comments were positive.  Two of the gals held it up so that I could have a good look and I was thrilled.  It was just as I’d hoped, only better.  Here’s the completed quilt top:IMG_2198

On my way home, after retreat, I stopped at The Cloth Castle in Langford to look for fabric for the back of the quilt and found three perfect pieces.  Better still, they were in the markdown section!  I’ve got them washed and pressed and am thinking about how to put them together in a way that will complement the top.

I’m really excited to see this one coming together.  It’s joyful and brings back such fond memories of our special Indian adventure.

Thanks for following.  Comments are always welcome.

Retreat 2016

I’m sitting on a ferry, heading back to the mainland after five days at a quilt retreat on Thetis Island. This was the third year that I’ve ‘retreated’ and, like the previous two years, I wasn’t disappointed. Our retreat takes place at Capernwray Harbour Bible School and Conference Centre, during their spring break. Most of the students clear out for the break and head off to do mission work or return home.   This frees up accommodation for 40 women, their sewing machines and stacks of fabric.

The school is located on a bay, adjacent to the ferry dock. The grounds are beautiful; with rolling green fields, barns, a pond, a playground and walking trails through a forest. We sleep in cabins that are spare, yet spotless and comfortable. Meals take place in the dining room and we take over two lecture rooms for sewing. The food is plentiful, healthy and very tasty.

You may wonder what takes place at a quilt retreat. Well, lots and lots of sewing; there are no lectures or workshops. The participants bring their own projects to work on. Take away the usual distractions of working, childcare, dog walking, cooking, cleaning, gardening and the rest and you’re left with hours of uninterrupted time to create. Some women worked on multiple quilts. Others focused on one. There were new projects and there were projects that had been started several years ago.

At times the sewing rooms were so quiet you could hear a pin drop. At other times there were many conversations going on, and every once in a while there’d be shrieks of laughter. Ideas, tips and techniques were shared. The more experienced quilters generously passed on their knowledge.

A highlight of the retreat was Wednesday night’s Show and Tell, which was attended by the quilters and several of the Capernwray staff.   Almost all of the quilters got up onto the stage and showed what they’d been working on. It was wonderful to see the variety in the projects.   Large, small, bright, pastel, modern and traditional, they were all there.  Everyone was supportive of each other and, regardless of quilting style, we all appreciated the work involved in turning out a quilt.

I’m happy to be home and sleeping in my own bed.  However,  I’ve paid my deposit for 2017 and have put March 13 – 17 in my calendar and will be counting the days until the next retreat.

Thanks for reading.



Start To Finish #1-The Idea


My slate is almost clean and I feel that I can comfortably start a new project.  The timing is perfect as it’s just three weeks until our guild has its annual quilt retreat.  I’ll post more on the retreat later, but basically, it’s four days where all we do is quilt, eat and sleep.

I like to go to retreat with my project planned and my cutting done.  With 40 women, you can imagine that there’s lots of distraction; not always conducive for concentrated thinking.  We will have shared cutting tables set up, but I wouldn’t want to hog one of these by cutting a whole quilt.

This post is the first in a series that will follow a quilt from idea to completion.  Each post will be titled ‘Start To Finish’ and will be numbered.  You will be able to go back to previous posts via the Archives.

Since visiting India in 2013, I’ve wanted to make something that reflects the colour and chaos that surrounded us.  Here’s a link to the blog that I kept during that trip:  Samosa Sojourn .  I’ve been collecting fabrics and tossing ideas around.  Yesterday I laid out the pieces that I’ve found, then I culled the ones that didn’t work.  It’s a good collection that includes brights from saris and markets, greens from tea plantations and rice fields, rusts  and greys from the soil and the buildings.

I’ve been having trouble deciding how to put all these fabrics together.  I want there to be  confusion and busyness, as that’s how India is.  But, there’s also such calm and beauty – how to represent that?  I thought back to an own-design quilt that I made last year.  (You can see it if you click ‘Finished Projects’ on the right side of the blog, it’s called Read Between the Lines.)  It uses three different strip widths – 2″, 4″ and 6″. My mix of fabrics includes several muted solids and I hope that these will add a touch of calm to the riot of colour.  To spice things up a bit I’ll add some random, narrow vertical inserts.  With the amount of fabric that I’ve collected I should be able to make a king-sized quilt.

What a relief to finally have a plan.  Now it’s time to get the fabric washed and the strips cut out.  Can I wait 21 days to get started???

Thanks for following.