Sunday, August 1, 2021

Quilts and Classics: Pop Beads/1959 Rag Top VW

Pop Beads is a quilt I began making in 2010. It was based on a quilt I saw in a book by Mary Hickey. She based her quilt on a vintage quilt.

Each "bead" in Mary's quilt was very scrappy, but I wanted to use my precious stash of Flea Market Fancy fabric by Denyse Schmidt in a non-scrappy way, so I changed the construction.

When I started mentioning my intention to print a calendar with classic cars, friends Chuck and Dayla Anderson reminded me of their 1959 Rag Top VW in a beautiful dusty aqua color, much like one of the colors in the quilt. 1959 is of special significance, as it is the year Chuck was born. The car and quilt seemed like a perfect fit, so one night in August 2020, we met for the photo shoot at the home of Dayla's mom, Dotty (my dear friend who initially taught me to quilt). 

There is a large parking area on the side of their house, and we moved the car around a little bit. And took a lot of pictures. 

I had been shooting toward the east because I didn't want to be shooting into the sun. But all of a sudden Mark noticed what was happening in the west as the sun went down. Our valley had been enduring lots of smoke and poor air quality from the Creek Fire, which burned over 400,000 acres last summer, but sometimes we were treated to a spectacular sunset. 

Dayla quickly drove the car to the other side of the yard. 

This sequence of photos occurred from 7:53 p.m. to 7:57 p.m.

The "money" shot--taken at 7:55 p.m., with no photo editing whatsoever. I love how the sky is even reflected a bit on the back of the car.

It would have been so easy to miss had Mark not turned around when he did. I think of all the photos I took of quilts and cars, this is my very favorite. 

Quilt Name: Pop Beads
Designed By: Based on a quilt by Mary Hickey, which was based on a vintage quilt
Size: 54" x 54"
Quilted by: Darby Myers

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Stitch Supply Retreat 2021

 I looked back in my previous blog posts to see exactly when the first quilt retreat was that I attended, back when we referred to ourselves as "Grubers Girls." I started attending the second year of the retreat, so my first year was in July 2011.

Back row: Doris, Michelle, Rene', Terri, Amanda Jean, Mary, me and Stephanie
Front row: Toni and Shelly

This is how I ended the post from that year:

"We traveled from all over to spend time with each other: Wisconsin, Missouri, California, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Georgia, Florida/Montana. People are always surprised to hear that I have close friends from blogging and emailing, and I know they are thinking 'friends' with little air quotes around the word. Nothing could be further from the truth. We were ten women who shared a common bond. We laughed, ate, shared our lives, sometimes shed a couple of tears, were blown away by the creativity we saw, and were inspired by each other. I have strengthened bonds with those who invited me, and have formed new friendships that I know will be long-lasting. Thanks to you all. I hope we can do it again next year."

And next year we did it again. And every year after that until 2020, when of course nothing happened. Over the years, one or two couldn't make it for various reasons, so we just had fewer friends together.

This year came with major changes. First of all we changed retreat centers, from Grubers in St. Cloud, MN, to Stitch Supply in Altoona, WI.  Along with that, for the first time we added three new friends to the mix, and because they were good friends of some already attending, they blended in seamlessly. 

I will start by saying that if you ever have a chance to retreat at Stitch Supply, do it! Ann, the owner, has thought of every single detail to make the stay there seem both luxurious and comfortable. From the moment you walk into the door, you know your stay is going to be special. 

The kitchen and dining area. Don't you just love those lights hanging over the tables?

And the famous mug wall. I wish I had a mug wall in my kitchen...

There are four bedrooms, each able to sleep four. I roomed with Amanda Jean and Brianne, and like every year at retreat, sleep under one of Amanda's fabulous quilts. Each room had a lovely private bathroom as well.

There is a living room (Ann also added a quiet meditation room for yoga, massages, etc.)
I want to make a cross-stitch/pegboard piece of art like this...
Outside was a nice table and chairs. The weather cooperated so in the evenings it was nice enough to sit outside without humidity or bugs.

And the sewing room. A completely well-stocked sewing room with Uplift tables (I now also want one of those tables in my sewing room!), lots of design walls, cutting mats, rulers, kitchen area with full-sized refrigerator and bathroom), and a connecting door to the Stitch Supply quilt store--very handy. :)

We ate most of our meals at the retreat center, and only ventured out for two evening meals. Mark said he would have a hard time eating there, but that's what happens when you are from Minnesota--there is a rivalry with Wisconsin. Anyone up for Tater Tot Bacon Mac 'n Cheese??

One evening, Rene' and Caroline made beautiful charcuterie for dinner.

Stitch Supply still isn't open full time, doing most of the business online. But on Thursdays it is open from 10-3, and then we also had a one-hour appointment for private shopping on both Friday and Saturday. And remember that handy connecting door to the shop? Maybe a little bit too convenient. :)

And the sewing...
Caroline brought along this luscious lace. She is French and makes her own bras! That was super impressive.

I didn't accomplish too much, although high productivity was not on my personal agenda--I just wanted to soak up being with my friends after missing last year.

I did work on these blocks, which will be part of a quilt called "Time Out" as I have taken them to so many retreats, put them in "time out" and on to the next retreat, etc. Now that I have this many done, I'm beginning to like what I see.

I also began a print/solid version of Delta Breeze using the Blooming Bunch fabric line by Maureen McCormick of the Brady Bunch. I purchased a few different background fabrics at Stitch Supply and I'm really happy with this one so far.

There were a few show-and-tell past projects as well.

Brianne's fabulous Anna Maria Horner color fade quilt.
Mary's beautiful Sonnet quilt in shades of brown and butterscotch.
Doris's house quilt where there are nine personalized houses (mine is the bottom row in the center--so cute). I would love to live in a neighborhood with each of these friends in real life.
Another amazing quilt by Doris.
And "happies"--little gifts we give to each other. I can't tell you how precious these gifts are to me, and how happy they make me each time I see or use them.
Brianne also included a chocolate chip cookie the "size of my head," as my grandchildren pointed out when they saw it, and some homemade biscotti, which I saved for my trip home and made the travel day much sweeter.

Mary always includes her wonderful homemade caramels, which amazingly I shared with grandchildren when I got home. 

I have become a fan of 3 mm felt and made these little bowls.

We always dress up a little more one night and go out for dinner. This year it was Saturday night.
Have you had cheese curds? These were ordered as an appetizer and they were seriously larger than golf balls!

It was also Doris's birthday. Brianne and Stephanie made a secret excursion to a local bakery for a variety of sweets for later in the evening.

There was a white board in the sewing room where we posted the daily agenda. And of course time just flew by.

As always the time with these women is way too short. The words above from my very first retreat capture the same feelings I have ten years later. These women are my tribe. They have changed my life and I will love them forever.

L to R: Pam (@purduepam), Brianne (@baker_brianne), Doris (@madebyabrunnette), Mary (@maryonlakepulaski), Caroline (@caroline.jg), me (@liveacolorfullife), Stephanie (@stephiepeterson), Rene' (@renecreates and @craft.table.orlando), and Amanda Jean (@crazymomquilts)