First and foremost, the Beaver Island Quilt Retreat was AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am not the only one who thought so since there were ladies who have been going for 20 years or more. Can you imagine? 20 years of sewing with Gwen Marston? I don't know how their minds can contain the inspiration....my brain has been bubbling over with quilts I want to make, heck, I have been dreaming of them at night and wake up tired from my quilty dreams.
This one is kinda a compiling of all the NEW techniques I learned while there, both from Gwen and from some of the other crazy talented quilters. I really wanted to learn how to make bias vines and little berries. Gwen operated on a "need to know" basis. You want to know how to do something, she makes a big announcement that she will be teaching such and such and then she sits down beside you and shows you how to make whatever you wanted to know about. She showed me all sorts of brilliant things!
I didn't really know how much fabric to bring, so I brought my whole stack of Cake Rock Beach (by Purl Soho for Moda. I think it is one of my very favorite fabric collections and I have not used it because I just didn't know WHAT to make with it. You know how that goes right? you buy some great fabric and it just sits on the shelf begging to be used?) and some text fabric and some chambray blue.
On the first morning of the retreat she did a big presentation of a ton of her quilts. After word we could go up and touch them and really see how she constructed each piece. That was amazing. I have seen most of the quilts in books so it was like seeing famous movie stars up close...well better really for me. The only actor I really want to see up close is Hugh Jackman....
Here are some of the quilts all folded over a railing. So totally awesome and inspiring. So after the presentation she turned us loose to begin working! I guess I kinda was under the impression that she would say...."ok everyone lets make baskets" or something like that. It took me a minute of two to get going, but after I begun cutting I made fine strides!
Gwen had a quilting frame set up so we could learn to hand quilt if we wanted to. I spent about 2 hours at it one evening talking with some of the other night owls and I a amazed by how WRONG I was doing my quilting before. Not wrong, but this way is so very much better. I shall demonstrate here on the blog eventually. Don't you worry!
Here Gwen is showing ladies to make Liberated Stars. It is good to see that we totally make them the same! This was Nancy's spot and she had some of the best fabric around. I liked hunting at her station for scraps on the floor.
Here are some of the ladies working away on their projects. See how I am keeping their identity a secret? Cool, huh?
The location of the Beaver Island Quilt Retreat was not at Beaver Island ( my husband thought is was hilarious that I was going to a quilt retreat at Beaver Island. He can be so crude sometimes. I looked for a Beaver Island t-shirt for him, but I was unsuccessful) it is at Elk Lake. Elk Lake is quite possibly the most glorious lake I have ever seen. I am more of a river gal (I like to swim in the rivers up in the North Carolina mountains and Pisgah Forest.) but I have never seen lakes like this. The lakes I am familiar with are mucky and have gross seaweed and you can't see the bottom. The lakes up North were crystal clear! It was so so pretty with the slightest tinge of fall in the air.
This is the view I had for the week. So fresh and hydrating! I will bring my bathing suit next time.
Mom and I stayed in a room through that little red door. Very basic rooms, but who needs TV when you have a week of quilting to do??!!! A perfect vacation for me. I had my mom and lots of inspiration. I did miss the kiddos and my husband, but they were just fine. Thank goodness my dad was able to come spend the week with them there is no way mom and I could have done this trip without him.
Next years retreat is going to be focusing on small studies. I got to look at some of her tiny pieces and they are quite glorious.
OK, I have sewing to do and a house to clean and bags to make and yoga to attend. I hope you all have a great next couple of days.