Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Retreat sewing

Sewing retreats are wonderful things. One of my favorite parts is finally sitting down in the driver's seat after filling my car and then driving out of my apartment complex, free as a bird. This retreat was close to my house (!!) which is a big improvement from, say, Lancaster in April, which was 2.5 hours away. Anyway, it just doesn't matter where it is in the end. Retreats are rejuvenating and I make sure they are productive.

Photo by Neva

One of the things I dislike about retreats is the amount of stuff I end up bringing! The retreats I have attended have been 3-4 days, so naturally it becomes a problem to decide what to work on. I try to find a balance between chatting/laughing with old and new friends and actually hardcore sewing. I've found that chain piecing, basting, pressing, and making binding are the most productive tasks when I'm trying to socialize. :) You might also get sucked into technology like some of my guild members, lol!

I'm really happy with all the work I got done this weekend, even when I wasn't feeling completely well. First, I finished my last four Supernova blocks - I'm sending two of them out to Karin this week.

The blocks took 5-6 hours of sewing on Friday (they are huge blocks and require a lot of trimming and pressing. I couldn't wait to finish them!). Then, I put them all together, as you can see at the top of this post. I'm still playing with layouts and which color I'll use on the border. Stay tuned...

With Jess's help, I basted my voile quilt on a table. I'd never used a table for this purpose, and boy, was it a learning experience (especially at 12:30 am on Sunday morning - and we were up until 2:30 am sewing!). We used large binder clips to help and I have to say that the quilt was straighter than I ever could have made it on the floor. Here's a photo montage of our attempts:

Voile is super slippery and doesn't stick if you spray baste, so I had to use safety pins. I prefer spray basting, but what are you going to do? This quilt has bamboo batting in the middle and it's almost done, so I'll be sharing more about its wonderful softness soon!

Finally, my biggest achievement of the weekend was piecing together the top for the Central Jersey MQG's QuiltCon Charity Quilt.  Above are 17 of the 8" x 8" modern blocks I received at our November meeting from guild members. Aren't they fab? And here's the design I created:

I wanted to create a healthy amount of negative space with unexpected pops of color. Some of the blocks are a bit hidden on purpose. This was my first time setting blocks on point and I'm very happy with how they turned out. I really hope this quilt gets exhibited at QuiltCon because I'm really proud of the design and all the work members put into the blocks! Next, Jess will quilt it. I'll have more to say about it in January when the quilt is due. But for now, here's my "I'm-exhausted-but-so-happy-it's-done" face after piecing all day Saturday and Sunday morning:

You can see more pictures from the retreat over on the CJMQG blog!
I wrote up a post over there, too. See... productivity!

Linking up to Needle and Thread Thursday @ My Quilt Infatuation.


  1. What a fun weekend! The MQG here is really new, but I hope they have retreats like this, I could really use a 3 day weekend of sewing!! I am so sceptical of the table basting method, even though I've seen it work for lots of people! I kind of wish Quiltcon was a sewing retreat so we could all just sew together!

  2. It looks like you guys had an awesome, and productive weekend. I really want to do a guild only retreat sometime, I love our sewing days and I CANNOT WAIT until MOD in April :) I want to pet that voile quilt so badly! Re: supernova blocks, I think I'd put the more washed out peach/orange block (middle row, left) on the back because it's less brilliant than the others. I'd also move the teal chairs block to the middle (that one is my favorite, hehe). Maybe the limes, yellows in the corners for symmetry? Whatever you decide, I'm sure it will be awesome, you and Karin did such a great job on all the blocks!

  3. Looks like you had a fun, productive retreat. Good job on the charity quilt.

  4. Just love the colors in your SuperNova.! And great job on the QuiltCon quilt also.

  5. Oh my goodness you are so productive Jessica! Love those colors in your supernova blocks! Great work all around!

  6. My, you did have a productive weekend, didn't you?

    Those blocks just pop on the blue background -- an inspired choice, well done!

  7. Looks like you had a great time and I absolutely love your Supernova blocks!!!! The colors are amazing.

  8. This looks like SO much fun! I love those Supernovas against that dark background!

    :) Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation

  9. Love your quilt con quilt! Fabulous, the circle, wonderful. Supernova is lovely, can't wait to see how you put it together.

  10. Those modern blocks from your guild are awesome, just awesome. I am planning on going to QuiltCon, too, so I hope I'll get to see them close-up! Congrats on a productive and fun retreat!

  11. I came to check out the supernova blocks, but what an awesome charity quilt!

  12. I love your supernova! It is going to be fabulous when it's done!

  13. Your quilt top is looking great! Well done!

  14. Gorgeous Supernova blocks!! I love it! : )


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