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I love all things sewing!  It's all about the creative journey.  All my blog posts are letters to my sewing alter-ego - Lola!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Nothing Like A Little Mystery!

Dear Lola,
How fun it was to travel to Winston-Salem last weekend, stay in the historic Brookstown Inn, and spend 3 fabulous days with like-minded sewing enthusiasts!  Wish Upon A Quilt, my go-to quilt shop, hosted the event!  Cathy McKillip, the owner of Wish Upon A Quilt, is a dear friend and an amazing shop owner.  She knows how hard it is to set time aside for sewing, so she hosts a couple of retreats per year.  I think Cathy loves the retreats more than anyone because running her shop takes away a lot of her own sewing time. 

This event, my first, was a Mystery Quilt Retreat, and featured a mystery pattern by quilting rock stars, Swirly Girls – Susan Emory and Christine Van Buskirk.  These ladies are beloved by many of us for creating the Perfect Ten Quilt Pattern and others.  The Swirly Girls are fun, funny and clearly love what they do!  Who wouldn’t?  They design fabrics; develop patterns and notions; and travel the world spreading a little quilting and sewing love!  At the end of the weekend, we were all devoted “Swirlettes”!  They were even kind enough to pose for a photo with me!  Like them on Facebook!

Me and the Swirly Girls!

Each participant was given some instructions on fabrics to bring.  For example:  1 ½ yard of a focus fabric, 2 yards of a background fabric, 1 yard of fabric color 1, ½ yard of fabric color 2, etc…and the exciting part was not knowing what the pattern looked like!  It was called the Secret Square!  Don’t you just love secrets?  I know I do!

The event was held at the historic Brookstown Inn in the heart of Winston-Salem and the Ballroom for our cooperative sewing was beyond terrific.  We each had our own banquet-sized table, there were many cutting-height tables available, many pressing stations, lots of lighting, lots of treats, and more sewing enthusiasm than you can ever imagine in one room.  The event pricing was very affordable because it included the room, fabric, several meals and lots of goodies!  We had a wonderful wine and cheese reception on Friday evening.  They served the best little pumpkin turkey bites ever, hummus, veggies and cheeses.  And on Saturday we were served a yummy Turkey Pot Pie, salad and a White Chocolate Bread Pudding for dessert that was absolutely sinfully delicious – the best I have ever eaten! Kudos to Cathy for being a hostess extraordinaire.  

Each participant had selected unique fabrics, brought different sewing stories and came from near and far.  We were given our cutting instructions and then the real fun began.  The ladies in my bank of tables were a hoot.  A special shout out to Anita, Chris and Debbie!  Y’all are now officially my “Sewing Sisters”! We laughed and giggled like little schoolgirls.  We stayed up into the wee hours sewing, un-sewing (code for seam ripping) and laughing.

The Swirly Girls presented a trunk show of their totally new Swirly collection of fabrics called Poppy Love for Michael Miller and all the Quilts and Projects that are part of the 2013 Michael Miller Clubhouse.  They gave a demo on a new ruler they have created in conjunction with Creative Grids and Karla Alexander…. that cuts circles like no ruler I have ever seen before!  Wow.  They have also developed these fun, easy patterns that utilize circles in creative ways that seem fresh, fun and modern.  Saving up for my CircleSavvy Ruler!

I have already signed up for next year’s Clubhouse at Wish Upon A Quilt and believe me, so should you!  Each month you work on a block for a gorgeous, ambitious quilt that will be completed in 12 months.  As you know, I am working on this year’s Weekend Clubhouse Quilt in the Cabana color way, and it is my most ambitious project ever.  The great thing is that I haven’t been stressed about it all – I’m doing a little at a time and that makes it awesome and very doable.

Throughout the weekend, ladies worked on projects they brought and the Mystery Quilt too.  Some of the speed quilters finished theirs while chatty quilters like me got about half way through.  I had the absolute best weekend I can remember even though the quilt was full of Flying Geese (see my previous post about my conflicted relationship with Flying Geese)!  I am sew happy I bonded with lots of new sewing friends and felt great about all I learned.  I came home energized, inspired, and looking forward to attending my next retreat.   Here's a little video with some highlights from the weekend.

Hugs and stitches,