Thursday, July 28, 2016

Really Random Thursday, 7/28/16: The Grubers Retreat 2016 Edition

Last week at this time I was attending the yearly retreat of the Grubers Girls, in St. Cloud, Minnesota.

I left Fresno early Monday morning, and used some of my time to work on English paper piecing. (In case you are wondering about those scrabble tiles, they are needle minders.)
Usually I am routed through Seattle (using my Alaska Air miles) but this time I went through Portland. I think every time I have been in the Portland airport I have taken a picture of the carpet, thinking I would make a quilt based on it.
They have been replacing the carpeting, but little did I know it was a "thing." So when I texted our son asking if he needed anything Oregon Ducks-related, he said no but wondered if there were some carpet souvenirs. Funny he should ask...and you can actually buy a 12" square of old carpet for $40.
A whole display of carpet-related items!

I ended up only purchasing this postcard. See what it says there? "World famous PDX carpet."
My brother-in-law, Leon, always picks me up from the airport, and then drives me to stay with my good friend, Amanda Jean.
I love staying at her house. Besides feeling like I'm living in a park...
everywhere you look, this is what you see.

On Wednesday, we made the 20-minute drive to Gruber's, where there is not only a fabulous quilt shop, but a great retreat center. So the next four days were spent sewing, talking and laughing.

Amanda Jean gave us a lesson on "squircles" after we fell in love with her quilt based on a project in Carolyn Friedlander's book, Savor  Each Stitch.

Every year we exchange "happies," called that because receiving these little gifts makes us all so very happy. They are always amazing and I cherish each one.
This is what I made.

Rene' and Michelle are both members of the Orlando Modern Quilt Guild, which is busy making quilts after the tragedy at the Pulse nightclub. We each made a block for this one.

This year, for the first time probably ever, I decided to be realistic and not pack too many projects to work on. I always overestimate how much I can actually get done. This turned out to be an error in judgment. I only brought two projects, and neither of them seemed to work out the way I planned.

Project no. 1:

"Find Your Inner Peach."

This seemed like a great idea at the time--working with Kate Spain's new batiks line called Latitude and pairing it with a pretty peach Kona cotton.The single shade of peach made me decidedly unhappy. So in 1 1/2 days, I made about six blocks. And I didn't even takes pictures at this point.

I switched over to project no. 2.

"Quad Control."

I started cutting triangles for kaleidoscope blocks and began working on the blue quadrant. Ran out of white fabric that I will need for the outside blocks, and decided I can't start sewing blocks until all four quadrants are up on the design wall at the same time, and at this point it just looks like one hot mess.

It was getting frustrating. Amanda Jean, who is making one pincushion each day in July said, "Make a pincushion." So I did. It is probably the first improv-y thing I have done and I love it!
It's amazing what a few words of encouragement can do. The pincushion got my creative juices flowing again, but I knew I couldn't keep going on the peachy quilt without making some changes. I ended up adding four more shades of peach and now I'm excited to finish making these 9-patch blocks.
While we eat most of our meals in the little kitchenette right next to the sewing room, one night we always get a little more dressed up and go out for dinner.
From left to right: Rene' (@renecreates), Michelle (@speechyquilter), me, Stephanie (@stephiepeterson), Terri (@terriw), Doris (@madebyabrunnette), Mary (@maryonlakepulaski), Amanda Jean (@crazymomquilts), and Shelly (@prairiemoonquilts).

On Saturday, after a few days of hot and muggy weather, some different weather rolled through. I loved it, as Fresno rarely gets weather like this, and certainly not in the middle of July. But yikes, that was a lot of severe weather in the forecast!
It was raining so hard around noon-ish that cars had to turn on their lights!
A few more snapshots. This is what it is like sitting next to Amanda Jean, queen of scrappy quilting (and endless inspiration). She is always way more prepared than I am, and also she lets me use one of her sewing machines so I don't have to drag mine on and off the airplane!

Among other things, her scraps turned into these:
(I'm not posting a lot of pictures of everyone's works in progress as I'm not quite sure which are ready for public viewing, so I'll wait a bit and show those later.)

I love all these women so very much. These yearly retreats have been life changing. The dates are already on the book for next year, and the countdown has begun.
Sunday was a long travel day. You can tell when you are in the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport because you will see Snoopy here and there (Charles Schulz came from this area).
The view from my window before landing in Portland.
And the plane from Portland to Fresno. I was bummed when I had to walk right past the one decorated with the Oregon Ducks, and instead had to board the one with the Oregon State Beaver. Sigh...
Awaiting me was a beautiful vase of flowers. Mark is so thoughtful.
I saw this somewhere.
However, it is not necessary to wait to be cremated. Nope. Just living in Fresno will probably do the trick...

Have a lovely weekend.


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Mary on Lake Pulaski said... #

<3 <3 <3

Grandma G said... #

Sounds like you had another great retreat. I thought about you last week, wondering how you were liking our wicked muggy heat. Just for the record, it's the law that you're supposed to turn on your headlights when driving in rain. You probably don't have to put that into practice much out there. ;)

Anne / Springleaf Studios said... #

So wonderful to have such a great group of quilty friends to get together with year fate year. I think peach can be a hard color to work with but adding more made it really work. Keep going. Now go stick your head in the freezer.

Robby said... #

I am green with envy at your retreat time with so many great, creative ladies. Wishing you many more!

Mama Pea said... #

It was such a great time. I loved seeing you, my friend. I miss you already!

Sue said... #

Wow look at that heat! Hope you survive the weekend. Great post as always. I must visit Minneapolis St Paul some day - I just love Snoopy!

Debbie said... #

Sounds fun! And hilarious about that carpet!

Terri said... #

It was such a great weekend together! I miss everyone already. I see you shared a picture of us in our pajamas ;) Since I didn't get there on Wednesday, I totally missed the squircles lesson; didn't even know that happened :( Funny story about the Portland airport carpet. We often have to turn on our headlights around in the middle of the day when it storms.

FlourishingPalms said... #

What a fun time you all have together. Of course you're looking forward to 2017! I am feeling the same anticipation about going to QuiltCon in 2017. I can hardy wait! And what a long way some of you have to travel to get to St. Cloud! AJ's got it easy compared to the rest of you! :-) It's nice to see your happies, and the projects you worked on. Definitely worth blogging about, and keeping as a special remembrance.

SarahZ said... #

i can see why that carpet would inspire at least a mini or a cushion!!! Thanks for sharing what is obviously such a fun time :)

Rene' said... #

Each retreat gets better and better!!! So glad we have that time together. Miss you!

OPQuilt said... #

Fun to get a recap of your weekend! SO great that you have such a valuable set of quilty friends and a week to spend with them all. And hooray for tiny projects which get us going again!

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