Monday, September 28, 2015

August Retreat!

Are you ready for some good reading...and some great creations to look at? Well, read on about what Cathy has to say about our retreat last month!

Hello DC Modern Quilters! As most of you realize, the weekend of August 14th was the first (of hopefully many) successful sewing weekends at the Blue Ridge Mountain Retreat Center in Knoxville, MD.

I (Cathy) was asked to do a write up on how the weekend went and what kinds of things the November retreat quilters have to look forward to. Let me start by saying the retreat was a GREAT success! I think everyone who attended enjoyed the beautiful location, the fabulous food, and the collaborative efforts of sewing with friends.

Let’s start by talking about the fabulous location; Liz did a great job of finding this venue for our guild. The Blue Ridge Mountain Retreat Center in Knoxville, MD is located about 90 miles outside of DC and was easily accessible for everyone that attended. The property the center is located on has been in the family of Beth Ehrhard since the late 70’s. Many years ago Beth’s parents turned their 27 acres of land into an organic farm and began selling high quality food within the local area. Beth, who is also a licensed massage therapist (she offers massages throughout the weekend!) took over the farm and has turned part of the property into a lovely retreat location for groups to come together. The property has a main house with two floors providing plenty of overnight accommodations for everyone. The house also has a big open kitchen, dining and living room area with plenty of room for eating, drinking, chatting, and working on hand projects. It also has a great deck for sitting outside and enjoying the quiet beauty of the surrounding area.

Photo of the main house by @quirkygranolagirl on Instagram

Steps away from the main house is the room/building where we were able to set up for our sewing ventures. The room had tons of fabulous natural light for us to work by during the day, it is fully air conditioned and has a nice deck off to the side where many of us spent time laying out quilts and gathering opinions.

Photo of the Sewing Space by @quirkygranolagirl on Instagram

The room has enough space for two long rows of six or seven tables as well as another seven tables around the perimeter. One of the tables was used as a cutting table and we also had two ironing boards set up. Throughout the weekend we received visits at different times from some deer near both the main house and the sewing room. The property is very beautiful with plenty of places to venture off and take in some scenery on foot. A few of our more hearty quilters even got up in the middle of the night to observe the meteor showers that were happening that weekend. You can ask Susan and Phyliss about if you want to know more about what they were able to see. 

Now let’s talk about the food. The food was amazing. Plain and simple, there it is, AMAZING. We were basically on our own for breakfast but Beth provided cereal, a variety of milk types, fruit, eggs, bread etc. No one is going hungry when you stay at the center. Lunches and dinners were prepared by Beth in her home, using fresh delicious items from the farm, and brought up to the main house for us. Every meal had multiple options including vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free, etc. to accommodate a wide variety food restrictions. We had a delicious smoky barbecue style dinner one night with fresh vegetables and salads, followed by chocolate cake for dessert. We had tacos for lunch a fabulous quinoa salad, purple salad slaw, veggie salads, cookies…  honestly there was SO.MUCH.FOOD. It was all delicious. Heads up November retreaters--Beth sells copies of her recipes, she has a printed and bound cook book for sale for $15 so bring some cash or your check book because after you taste her meals you will want to be able to replicate them at home.

A few logistical notes: Wireless internet was available although I didn’t personally use it, I had a good signal on my phone (ATT&T) so I can’t say how fast the connection was. There were water coolers and cups in both the sewing room and the main house. There was also plenty of snacks, cocktails, and refreshments to be had throughout the whole weekend. Nearly everyone brought something to share and no one went without. Thanks to everyone for your generous contributions!

Shall we talk activities?

Left Right Center--One of the fun things planned by Anjeanette was a game of Left, Right, Center. I have never played this game so I wasn’t familiar with it before this weekend, but basically it’s a dice game where you need to be at the right place in the right moment to walk away with some loot. Of course this group was gambling for Fat Quarters. To be able to participate in a round you needed to throw in a Fat Quarter. Madness ensued, there is only one winner in each round. Linda, Sabrina and Anne were the lucky winners of the three rounds! We all sat around afterwards petting their fabric and admiring the new additions to their stashes. Someone had thrown in some FQ’s of Tula Pink Hushabye and Nightshade so these ladies can also supplement their retirement funds with these OOP lines if they need to.

Photo of Left, Right, Center Game by @dcmqg on Instagram

Photo of Left, Right, Center winners: Linda, Sabrina, and Anne by @dcmqg on Instagram

Door Prizes Many thanks to our DCMQG officers for putting together door prizes for all of us. Melinda put all of our names in a bowl and randomly drew for the opportunity to pick a door prize. There was a great selection of sewing notions to choose from.

Photo of Door Prizes by @dcmqg on Instagram

EPP Supplies Heather received as a Door Prize Photo by @quiltsinthequeue on Instagram

Mug Rug Swap--Next up was our mug rug swap! We all got together out on the deck after dinner on Saturday to exchange mug rugs. Susan coordinated this swap for us and kept it simple by not assigning partners in advance. Melinda threw everyone’s name in a bowl and all the mug rugs into a bag. As your name was pulled you got to reach in and (blindly) grab a mug rug. Such fun and great talent in this group. Bonus- we were instructed to use a light colored solid fabric for the back of our mug rug, Melinda hand carved a stamp for us so we could all stamp our treasures with a permanent memory of our retreat. How fabulous is that? Thanks Melinda I think it’s safe to say we all loved your stamp!

Mug Rugs by Melinda and Ashley Photo by @smartash_b on Instagram

Mug Rugs by Amy, Cathy, Heather and Kerry Photos by 
@robinbirdrobin, @cbmauro, @quiltsinthequeue on Instagram

Mug Rugs by Bridget and Cassandra Photo by @pilarandolivia on Instagram

Retreat Stamp carved by Melinda Photo by @dcmqg on Instagram

Charity Blocks--Throughout the weekend Robin headed up a Charity Quilt project. She had packaged up individual block kits with all the components already cut up and ready to sew. I am not sure how many completed blocks she collected over the weekend but a bunch of us took kits home to finish up. Robin completed two charity quilts with those blocks!

Photo of completed Charity Blocks by @quiltsinthequeue on Instagram

Trip to Web Fabrics--On Saturday there was an impromptu trip to Web Fabrics in Purcellville, VA. I don’t want to name names but I’m pretty certain this was enabled by Carissa, our VP! The suggestion was made, two cars quickly filled up and off we went. If you haven’t been to Web, it’s a little off the beaten path but well worth the trip. I love when a fabric store will cut any size piece of fabric you request. They had a great selection of so many wonderful fabrics! I think we all left with a bag full of goodies!

Another great feature of our venue at the Blue Ridge Mountain Retreat Center was the space in the main house common areas. This allowed the guild to sell some day passes for additional members to join us for the day on Saturday. We got to see Jessie who trekked from her new home in PA, Melinda, Anjeanette, and Carissa. It was nice to be able to float back and forth from the sewing room to the main house and visit with everyone as they worked on their hand projects or just sit and get caught up with each other.

Here are some photos of some of the fabulous projects that were being worked on over the weekend:

Anjeanette worked on some English Paper Piecing Photo by @anjeanetteklinder on Instagram

Phyliss made headway on her Tula Pink Moxie Quilt Photo by @sewtogetherphyliss on Instagram

Anne worked on her Victoria Findlay Wolfe Dresdens Photo by @anneelizzy on Instagram
Megan finished a long standing WIP using some old school Amy Butler 
Photo by @subsistenceslicker on Instagram
Dara finalized her layout for some old Bee Blocks she had. We had to use painters tape 
to keep them from blowing off the deck. Photo by @sunchaser2626 on Instagram

Cassandra finished up two projects: a Cotton + Steel pieced back 
and a quilt top made with Doe Photos by @pilarandolivia on Instagram

Brandi made a cute business card holder Photo by @peekaboostitches on Instagram

Linda G made some piecing progress Photo by @sewwhyknot on Instagram

Heather finished a few projects as well, but here 
is her finished Super Nova Quilt Photo by @quiltsinthequeue on Instagram

All in all, I believe most would agree, it was a fabulous weekend and expect the attendees in November will have an equally fabulous experience!

Here is a group shot of everyone on Saturday after the Mug Rug Swap 
Photo by @dcmqg on Instagram

To see more pics check out #DCMQGRetreat hashtag on Instagram

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