North Star Quilters - the little guild that I belong to - has held Quilt Camp early in November for four years now. The location isn't far away - about half an hour from our house - but it might as well be in another world. It's on the east fork of the Lewis River, and we can hear the river every time we step outside. There are wonderful woods all around the buildings that are filled with color this time of year. The camp was built in the 1950's and is similar to every other church camp I've ever been to - cabins, a lodge, a large dining hall, etc. We stay in the lodge in bunk beds which always takes me back to my childhood. This year and last we sewed in the dining hall so we had plenty of table space, a cosy area by the fireplace to do handwork, and meals on small tables at the opposite end of the room. This year's caterer prepared meals that were perfect for women - attractive, tasty, not too heavy with fats and sauces, and just the right amounts. She even made a traditional Mardi Gras King Cake for Saturday night's dessert. I can't think of a single thing that would have made for a better retreat.
This year's theme was Mardi Gras, and the committee went all out. Decorations were marvelous, goodie bags were full of delightful things, door prizes were great, and the company was fabulous. Time went all too quickly, in spite of the fact that I got WAY less sleep than usual because I stayed up so late each night sewing. We drew another string of Mardi Gras beads out of a jester's hat before every meal, which told us which table to sit at for that meal. I love the fact that they always do something similar at every retreat - that way we get to eat at least once with every other attendee. They also had a "fortune teller" - Madame Pascal (one of the guild member's daughters) tell our fortunes with Tarot cards, as well as a massage therapist giving chair massages for $1 a minute. That $20 was the best money I've spent in some time LOL!
My goal was to combine the two sets of PINS exchange blocks into a finished quilt top. It took until Friday midnight to accomplish that goal. I had cut WAY too many 1 1/2" strips but that was OK - I didn't want to run short. I just put the rest into the 1 1/2" strip drawer. Saturday I worked with a whole stack of 4 1/2" squares of reproductions that I found in a drawer when I was cleaning my island. I have no idea where they came from - they weren't pinked so it wasn't a fabric club. I can't remember anyone sending me a bunch of squares. I knew I'd not cut them because there were many I'd never seen before. I added the small number of 4 1/2" squares in my scrap box, and brought along all the shirtings left over from cutting the setting triangles for my president's quilt. I turned them into double four patches, which resulted in 108 seven inch blocks - enough for a twin size charity quilt. This used a bunch of scraps and stash as well as cleared out a plastic shoe box and island drawer. I couldn't be happier! I'll post a picture once the top is finished. That took most of Saturday. Saturday evening and Sunday morning I sat by the fire hand quilting - a perfect way to finish the weekend. I didn't win any door prizes - but a quilty weekend spent with great friends is priceless and makes everything worthwhile!
I'm constantly amazed at the creativity of each year's Quilt Camp committee. They work hard all year to make sure we have a wonderful time and received lots of neat little gifts - many handmade. This year a big thank you goes to Connie, Mary, Alana, and Gail. Well done ladies!