Preparing for our Weekend Away

Our quilting retreat weekend at The Mount Hotel in Wolverhampton is at the end of this week, and we’ve been preparing the projects we want to work on.  Tracy has cut out all of her pieces ready for sewing (so organised) while I’ve been pulling together a collection of fabrics to make a start on a sampler quilt.  I have Barbara Brackman’s ‘Civil War Sampler’ on Kindle, but I decided there’s nothing like a hard copy for ease of use, so I bought the book as well.

Angie has taken a laid back approach to it all and had decided to wait until the weekend arrives to be inspired.  At our last sewing group she did narrow her choices down to just a few, but In the meantime she’s been having a big push to finish all her UFO’s.  She bought a fabulous ladder display unit to hang her quilts from, and I think that’s been part of her motivation to get going.

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I’ve taken out the Medallion quilt, President’s Pride, which I began while on our last retreat in November, to try to get that up and running again.  All it needs is the last border of 4½” shoo fly blocks sewn on all the way around and then it’s ready for batting and backing. I seem to have the attention span of a firefly at the moment with so many UFO’s at all stages of development it’s time I set my shoulder to the wheel too.

We’ve been having a bit of fun making some bags to hold our equipment.  One of them is from a pattern I found on Craftsy called the Bionic Gear Bag.  It’s as eccentric as it sounds, but it really is a clever thing with loads of zip pockets, a fold down ‘tray’ at the front and some nifty little accessories to go with it.  One of them is called a Dumpling Dish but it reminds me more of a Cornish pasty when it’s zipped up.

Not long to go now….  I can’t wait.  (Tracy’s had her suitcase packed and ready for days!)

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A Quilting Weekend

No sooner home than off again, with Angie this time, for a glorious weekend of nothing but sewing from morning to night amongst like-minded people.  Jackie Taylor from White Cottage Country Crafts organises regular weekend quilting workshops at the Mount Hotel in Wolverhampton. They’re very popular, and from the moment we arrived we could see why.

We dumped our suitcases into our smart single hotel rooms and headed straight for the conference centre. As we set up our sewing machines in the spacious room, we were greeted with afternoon tea and coffee with biscuits – just the ticket – and that set the tone for the whole weekend. The sewing room was open to us for as long as we wanted to sew, and our only interruptions were for meals and tea breaks – breakfast, lunch and three course evening meals – a feast of good food every time.

Jackie had already emailed us with some suggestions as to what we might like to make, although there were plenty of people just doing their own thing. Everyone there was pursuing their passion for sewing, which made for good company all round, and we soon realised that some people had travelled long distances to be there.

I decided to make ‘President’s Pride’ a medallion quilt from Mary Etherington and Connie Tesene’s book ‘Civil War Remembered’. I was told it was a good choice but that I’d have to get my skates on if I wanted to finish it over the weekend. By Saturday evening I realised I wasn’t going to get it done, so I just relaxed and carried on carefully sewing my blocks to see how many I could do without rushing. I decided to put it away until after Christmas when I got home. I’ll pull it out again when I’ve got my Jackleberries quilt finished.

Angie chose to do the bed sized ‘Sophie’s Quilt,’ a White Cottage Country Crafts original pattern, using ‘The Cookie Exchange’ fabrics by Moda. They’re a lovely bright and breezy Christmas collection, and she soon got down to business. She’d almost finished the quilt top by the time we were ready for home.

As the weekend progressed we saw some lovely quilts coming together. A large area in the centre of the room had been left open so people could lay out their work on the carpet to get an idea of how things were coming together and to rearrange blocks before sewing. On Sunday we took the opportunity to meander around other people’s desks to see what they’d been up to. Though many had been coming to these workshops for a number of years, and we were complete newcomers, still we knew we were among friends. Angie says quilters tend to be gentle folk and I tend to agree.

Throughout the days we were there Jackie was on hand to give advice, encouragement and suggestions so help was always at hand – she’s a great teacher. I know we’ll be back for more of the same when the next quilting weekend comes along (because we’ve already booked!!)

Angie has finished her beautiful quilt now. As a bonus she bought extra fabric and magicked up another complete quilt top, based on the disappearing nine patch pattern, for use as her backing. It’s double quilted too for extra warmth.