Hat on Top, Coat Below


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Archive for February 26th, 2007

Back from Retreating

February 26, 2007

Today I am living proof that going on a quilting retreat is more tiring than one might imagine. The sitting and sewing wasn’t so strenuous, of course, but the staying up late and getting up early and near-constant social interaction wore me out. Not that anyone forced me to do any of that–I chose to. I’ll choose to again next year if I can, because it was fun.

Like last year, I skipped the Friday morning part of the retreat. Instead, I used that time to cut the rest of the pieces I needed for baby quilt #1 on my to do list and finish packing and make a few stops along the drive up. Amazingly, I bought nothing at the first quilt shop I went to and only a spool of thread and a handful of fat quarters at the second (and those were a gift for someone else). Maybe the time spent digging in my stash for prints for the baby quilt that morning impressed on my subconscious that I already had quite a lot of fabric and didn’t need any more. (If that’s what it was, it wore off later in the day when I took a field trip to quilt store #3 for the day, but even then I didn’t go wild, just got a yard from the sale bin and a few fat quarters and another couple spools of thread.)

About 10 miles before I got to the hotel (so approximately 110 miles from home), I realized I’d forgotten baby quilt #2. I’d brought the pins I needed to baste it and the thread I needed to quilt it, but left the top and batting and backing at home. I had slipped a swatch of the backing into my purse, so I was able to buy the bobbin thread to match at that second quilt shop on the way up–one would think it would have dawned on me then that I didn’t have the quilt with me, but no.

Once I got there and checked in and settled at my table, I started sewing the baby quilt I had brought. Because it was all precut and not too complicated, I was able to get the whole top done by Friday evening. Plenty of people told me it was cute, so I do feel better about the main fabric than I did before. Then I moved on to the scrap blocks I worked on last year, which is when I discovered I hadn’t brought any scissors other than a tiny pair of embroidery snips, which sure didn’t work for hacking up scraps like I was doing. Fortunately my tablemates had theirs, so I was able to borrow some.

There were fewer people at the retreat than last year, and we had a bigger room, so there was plenty of space to spread things out on the floor. There were also two toddlers in attendance, which meant any blocks laid on the floor were at risk for being stomped on, but no one seemed to mind. There was also a three and a half month old baby there with his mom, grandma, great grandma, and aunt. I don’t know that the people responsible for the little ones got much sewing done, but it was sure entertaining to have baby antics to watch when taking a break from sewing.

Another option for break time was working out (yes, I may indeed be crazy). Two of my running buddies were at the retreat, so Saturday afternoon we all went out and did a couple miles on the rails to trails path behind the hotel. They’re faster than I am, but were nice enough to slow to my pace so we could stay together. It was cold but sunny, and nice to get out along the river and see squirrels and birds and the cutest puppy ever–a little malamute that was still all fuzzy. I wanted to scoop him up and take him with me, but I think his people would have objected.

Saturday evening someone heard there was a winter storm on the way, which caused much discussion and several people changed their plans to leave earlier–the woman sitting next to me packed up and drove home that night. I stayed put. For one thing, I had plans on Sunday with Lil which I didn’t want to miss (though I wasn’t sure she’d be able to make it back to town since the storm seemed to be coming from that direction). For another, I figured it was better to drive in the daylight and after the salt trucks and plows had a chance to get out there. For yet another, I was hoping it wouldn’t be as bad as people were saying. I did feel some anxiety about it, though, since the last time we had a snowstorm here, I didn’t get where I was going thanks to Mrs. I Don’t Adjust My Driving to Match Road Conditions. (I was also annoyed, as I’d stopped to get the car washed Friday morning for the first time in weeks, maybe months, and it was all clean and shiny. I should have known better than to tempt the weather gods like that.)

Sunday morning I peered out the window and didn’t see huge snowdrifts, just a couple inches of slushy mix, so I felt good about my decision to not panic in the face of a winter storm warning. After breakfast, I helped one of my tablemates finish the quilt top she’d started at last year’s retreat and then it was off to Lil’s (they had made it back). She’d warned me that the girls would probably be hiding, which they were, but soon enough they emerged and even decided I was not too scary to talk to during lunch. After we ate, Lil brought out her baby quilt in progress and it’s gorgeous–something I wish I had made myself. Too soon, it was time to head out into the snow for my long drive home. I saw four cars off the road in the first half hour or so, but after that the snow turned to rain and the rest of the trip was no problem–I even got up to posted speeds at times.

One of my coworkers who was at the retreat told me she’d gone home and finished up the Minky baby quilt she was working on while we were there. Wow. I was too wiped out to do much besides sit on the couch and knit after I got home.

Pictures here.

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