Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Fabric... Welcome to the Patriotic Quilter where I like to share all things quilty as well as red, white, and blue! Please feel free to look around and enjoy yourself! I would love to hear from you.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Retreat Day Two

Hi Everyone,

I'm back with more about our retreat.  If you follow me on Instagram, this is old news to you, although I am trying to share more pictures here.

Day two was last Friday.  The morning began on the most wonderful note, despite the fact that we didn't have the furnace on at our cottage and spent a very cold night.  When we arrived over at the activities building (where our sewing was going on) my first task was to trim up all of the string pieces I had finished the day before.  This meant squaring them up and in the case of the 5.5" squares, I needed to cut them in half diagonally and I needed to cut all of the 16 8.5 x 11" sheets into 3 8.5 x 3.5" rectangles.  Several of the ladies had been interested in the process the day before and I explained it, so I jokingly offered to let them attempt to remove the paper foundation to see how easy it is to do if you used a large needle and set the stitch length very small.  The next few minutes were magical.  About six or so of the ladies gathered around the cutting table, and as quickly as I could do the trimming, they all pulled out every bit of the paper!!  That would have taken me at least an hour, if not 2 or 3!  While we were working, we were visiting and discussing our night, etc. Honestly, it was one of the best quilting moments ever for me--quilters are so nice and the act of quilting in a group situation has so many blessings.

It doesn't look like much, but this is the result of all that work--my stacks of string piecing bits.

With that finished, the next thing I did was change my machine needle!  What a huge difference that made! My plan for Talkin' Turkey on day 2 was to tackle the flying geese.  I believe I needed 456 total geese.  Two hundred and a few (I can't remember the exact number right off) necessary for the blocks, required cream-colored "geese" with red "sky" and the other 200+ (needed for the border) were the opposite:  red "geese" with cream "sky."

I got right to work, drawing the lines diagonally across the squares cut for the sky. I had done all of the cutting for this quilt back in January and didn't think to alter any of the cutting to allow for my favorite way to make geese:  with Monique Dillard's "Fit to be Geese" ruler.  The book instructs you to make the geese with what I call the "heart" method.  It is where you use one big square with 4 smaller squares and then you get 4 finished geese units.  At one point, the units look like hearts:  hence my nickname.  If you are confused, you can see a tutorial for the method here.  When we had the class on Talkin' Turkey with Bonnie Hunter, she shared 2-3 methods of making geese and some of the other attendees share a few more.  What is your favorite method?

I like using the Fit to Be Geese ruler but it requires you to cut a bit larger so that you can "square up" the units resulting in perfect flying geese every time.  Since I hadn't cut that way, I did figure out that if I used a really scant 1/4" seam allowance, I could still use the ruler to square up the small amount I needed.  I ended up tossing a couple of the really wonky ones, but all-in-all, I was quite pleased.

One of the other ladies had the BlocLoc flying geese ruler the exact size that I needed, so I borrowed it from her and I showed the group how to use both of them.  I love Monique's rulers because have the original and the mini ruler allow you to do almost every size of geese.  The blocloc rulers are only for one particular size, but it was easier to use--there is a channel underneath the ruler that "locks" it into place on the seam.  I needed much less downward force to hold the ruler in place as I trimmed.   Blocloc rulers are expensive though--I looked them up and the one I would need for this size:  1.5" x 3" finished was $18!

I was still trimming the first half of the 200 or so geese that I needed for the blocks when it was lunchtime.  We went to our friends' cottage.  There are 4 days at the retreat, and so 4 of us go together and each make one lunch for all 4.  It works great as we get much better lunches than if we all brought our own, and it is easy, too.  We decided during lunch to take a bit of a "field trip" into town to visit some antique shops.

At the first one, I was sorely tempted by this red painted firkin.

I thought the price was okay and even texted a picture to my husband to get his opinion.  He didn't reply, though, until after we left the shop.  I am just having a difficult time buying anything when our lives are in such limbo with not knowing where we are going to end up in a few months!

None of us bought anything in that shop, but it was fun to look.  We had parked by a typical small-town drug store and it looked like it had some fun gift items in the window, so we wandered in to look around.  I went around the corner and found this:

An original 1930s era soda fountain!!!  Isn't it fun with those "bump out" counters?  I showed the others and even though we were still fairly full from lunch, nothing would do but to have some sort of treat there, right?  I totally wanted a chocolate ice cream soda, and Linda also had one.  Janice got a root beer float, and Lorna had an ice cream cone.  The employees were so sweet and took pictures of us with all of our cameras--in different locations.

My ice cream soda. 

We went to 2 more antique shops and the last one had a tempting item for me, as well.

I've been wanting one of these large, "walking wheel" spinning wheels for years, and when I inquired about the price, it was really good!  Some of the parts are missing, though, but the "deal breaker" was our future.  If I had my "forever house" and knew I had a spot for it, I would have bought it, but I don't.  I also shared this photo with my husband and he was really funny.  Instead of the usual "Where would you put it" all I got were diversionary texts that read "I thought you were supposed to be quilting?" and so forth.

We finally got back to the quilting room around 3:30 or 4.  I finished trimming the geese and began working on the second batch of those same geese.   I got all 200 plus geese done for the blocks that day, but I didn't even start on the border geese!  It was at that point that I realized I wasn't going to get the quilt done while at retreat.  More important, though, I had a lot of fun with my friends!

After supper on each night, we played "Left, Right, Center" with 2.5" fabric strips.  If you aren't familiar with the game, here is a youtube video.  In the video, they are playing with dollar bills--I've played that way in a large group before at a bunco game, and it is fun, but playing with the fabric strips is fun, too!  In either case, I think the bigger the group playing--the better!

The camp store at the retreat had the dice, so I bought myself a set.  I think it will be fun to play at family get-togethers, etc.  The game comes with chips, so you don't have to play for something.  One of the ladies said that she gets gift cards when she plays with family.  They use the chips and whoever wins the "pot" at the end gets a gift card.  At the next retreat, we decided to all bring a fat quarter and put them into the pot and then play with the chips--the winner will get all the fat quarters.  We had 18 playing, so for our games, the winner got 54 strips (3 per player), but next time, the winner will get 18 (or however many attendees play) fat quarters.

In case you are wondering, I didn't win.  Neither did any of the gals in my bee, but a few got close!  It was tremendously exciting!  After the game, thunderstorms and bad weather moved in, so we all stayed at the lodge longer than usual until the worst of them passed.  We didn't get anything severe, though, just pouring rain with some thunder and lightning.

I'll be back tomorrow to share the Blogger Girls BOM post!  More on the retreat later.  I actually have to run finish my second BOM block--I've been so busy this month playing around and traveling that I haven't finished yet!  Yikes!

Have a great day!


  1. LOVING your retreat blogs ... almost like being there with you!! Wanted to ask you which is YOUR preferred method of making flying geese. That quilt is moving to the top of my "bucket" list and thought you could shed some light on the flying geese part ... and tips on any other parts since you've made the journey (so to speak). The ruler is a nice idea but I really hate to buy something that is costly for a very specific task that could be accomplished otherwise. BTW ... know exactly what you mean about wanting to pick up things here and there but since you don't know where you're landing in retirement it's hard. Just know that part of the fun of settling into your new "forever" place is that you'll explore new thrift and antique places which will hold treasures for you to bring "home". Linda

  2. Sounds like you had a lot of fun at your retreat! How awesome to have everyone removing those papers--my least favorite job. I like to use the Eleanor Burns rulers for flying geese, but as you said, you need to plan ahead and cut the fabric larger. Too bad those Loc-Bloc rulers are so spendy--I've tried them, but they would be a splurge for me!What a fun idea to make the block as a momentous! I made my prom dress from a Vogue pattern--it was satin and crepe and thankfully, no photos exist!