April 25, 2010

Quilt Retreat

Do you "do" quilt retreats? I hope you have the opportunity, and attend a quilt retreat. I returned last Thursday afternoon from a wonderful quilt retreat I'm fortunate to attend twice a year. It's not far from our home, but it feels miles removed from the daily hustle and bustle of our lives.   These reunions are priceless. Some quilters travel long distances each year to Bishops Ranch so we can all be together to share in the embrace of this lovely place and memorable time. 

For four wonderful days that pass far too quickly we talk until the wee hours of the morning about everything to do with quilting, and of things not so quilty. We laugh until tears roll down our cheeks! We also quietly share sobering moments with each other.  We catch up with what has been happening in our lives since we were last together. The family celebrations, the trips, the quilts---ah, yes, the quilts. 

We share a lot in such a short span of time.

Pat taught how to use Solvy stabilizer and all our throw away scraps & sewing machines to make these colorful free form bowls. 

Pat showing us this technique.

We spent time exploring our favorite hiking trails and enjoying the natural and peaceful beauty of the ranch offers to us.
Looking east across the valley from Bishops Ranch.

Wisteria on the arbor.


And of course there are the inspiring quilters & quilts.


Then there is the food! There is not a retreat what we don't discuss the great food!

Or that we don't mention the animal life around the ranch.

Sue's fantastic applique bear.

Next door to the ranch is a dairy which at times can make for odorous evenings.

These are indeed the Happy Cows of California!

Even in these wonderful surroundings we managed to finish some projects. 
I hand stitched the binding onto the flannel tye-dye quilt and the string quilt. Two down.  I put the binding and the hanging sleeve on the Diamond Log Cabin. The center still does not look quite right, but after much ripping out and re stitching, I thought it best to call it finished. The fabric was starting to fray.  From a distance --- on a wall. I love it. Up-close--it's never going to be a favorite. I have inspected, dissected & re-evaluated it to death.  It is what it is.

I finished piecing two more quilt tops for the Quilts for Kids foundation and finished the quilting on the kit they sent and sewed the binding.  

This is the kit that I received. Eleanor Peace Bailey fabrics. Easy to follow instructions for making the quilt come with the precut fabrics. A fun way to learn to make a quilt if you are a beginner, and a great opportunity to practice a new machine quilting motif.

It was hard saying good bye as I headed down the road from the ranch to what I call the reality of the world. Traffic and newspapers, and TV, and cooking dinner! 

The peace and quiet of the ranch is so refreshing. Seeing everyones quilting projects and the activity at the retreat leaves you with the sense of how much can be accomplished, and  it inspires me to spend more time in my sewing space creating. Once I get this mess put away!

Chair cushions, cutting mat & rulers, fabrics, machine tote, portable design wall, portable sewing table, extension table, cutters, tools, quilt projects, iron, books, magazines and etc.

This is the last picture I took of the pond at the ranch as I walked towards the car for the drive home. I think this picture is so serene and lovely and a reflection of how it feels to attend this special retreat at Bishops Ranch. Thinking of you dear friends,  until we meet again.


onlymehere said...

This sounds and looks absolutely fabulous! Maybe someday! What a wonderful way to bond with other quilters and keep in touch with old friends as well as making new friends.

Christine said...

Looks like you had fun again this year. We enjoyed coming up in the evening to see you.

Mary Johnson said...

What a wonderful setting. I love going to our HeartStrings sew- ins but I've never been to a retreat.

Diane said...

Wonderful quilts on that retreat and it looks like a fab place for one. And I L-O-V-E love your diamonds quilt. love it!

Diane Perin said...

What a wonderful summary of the ranch -- it was great to see you there. And that pond picture -- STUNNING!

Purple Pam said...

Don't you just love retreats? So many creative quilters and crafters. So many wonderful projects are finished. All your pictures are so inspiring.