Quilting is my Therapy, too.

Angela has a familiar sounding blog title; I’m not sure I know a quilter that hasn’t used the phrase, or at least agrees with it!  Quilting is my therapy, and quilt retreats are the best form of that therapy!  Last weekend was spent with seven lovely bloggers in Waite Park, MN, at Grubers Quilt Shop Retreat Center.  This is our third Summer retreat, and each year Day 1 is just like a reunion of old forever friends.  I am blessed, and honored, to call them friends.  Here we are just before heading home on Sunday (standing in front of Terri’s lovely patchwork):

back row, l to r:  Me, Michelle, Rene, Terri, Mary

front row, l to r:  Cindy, Amanda, Stephanie

Most of the people I know don’t understand why I enjoy quilt retreats; and I’ve never found a good way to explain it to a non-quilter.  But maybe visually, with a few shots of our sewing space, I can make it a little easier to comprehend.

Sewing and quilting can be a very solitary activity, lots of quiet time for introspection, relaxation, contemplation.  But at retreat–cutting, piecing and sewing is surrounded by a flurry of conversation, laughter, shared obsessions; room to spread out with our sewing machines, iPads, laptops, etc., play together and inspire each other:

I borrowed this pic from Stephanie, because it is a great shot of the space, the table, and of Rene!

In a room full of bloggers, you’re bound to see some blog reading, writing, emailing, and texting going on…

Last year, we started a practice of exchanging happies (Rene explained the origin of “happies” in this post), no one is expected to give happies, but if you want to, they are always received with open arms.  Last year I was not on the ball, I did not give happies.  But this year I arrived the evening before everyone else, so I used the extra time to make each of my friends a vinyl zipper bag to hold sewing and quilting notions:


And what they look like inside:


I’m trying to decide if I should write a tutorial for those bags… what do you think?

and (OH, my!) the happies I received:

  • A mini-trash-bucket made by Amanda (at the top of the photo);
  • Lucy’s Crab Shack sachets made by Stephanie, along with a copy of The Quilted Fish book she is featured in!
  •  A zipper bag made by Terri from her own Spoonflower designed fabric!
  • A Mardi Gras themed FQ and “therapy in session” door sign from Michelle;
  • Gourmet chocolates and FQs from Rene, each representing part of where she calls home.

I brought home plenty of things I “treated” myself to in the way of fabric, as well as an autographed copy of Amanda’s book, Sunday Morning Quilts.  Such talented friends–thank you all!!!  We already have next year’s July retreat booked.

  • Do you go to quilt retreats?  Have a favorite you return to over and over?
  • Does your family or group of friends have a tradition or practice similar to the Harper family practice of giving happies?
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12 thoughts on “Quilting is my Therapy, too.

  1. It’s really hard for me to let my BFF Cindy leave for the retreat! But I can see why she has so much fun!!! She’s coming home tomorrow! Yay!

  2. I haven’t had the chance to retreat, but I know I’d love it. Love all the happies. and those vinyl bags you gave out are just adorable! Glad you got to do this. It’s good for the soul.

  3. Love your post. You can have any photos of mine that you want! I’ve got a LOT more! LOL. Love your happies. I just love the bag you gave me and would also love a tutorial! So, YES, please do it! I enjoyed our special time together at the other quilt shop, too, Doris! Keep on smiling! Miss ya!

  4. You know my favorite retreat 😉 We had such a great time!! I would love a tutorial on your zipper pouch. As far as explaining retreating, or quilting for that matter, I use ALOT of fishing analogies with my husband…he finally “gets it!”

  5. Quilt is my therapy too! It’s a wonderful hobby to have, especially since it brought all of us together. Your recap of our fabulous retreat weekend warms my heart because I never felt so comfortable with a group of women as I did with you all. Well said! Thank you to everyone for the fun happies – I love them all.

    This is the only retreat I go on. I would love to do more but time and money (and connections, or lack of) have held me back. My family exchanges names at Christmas time; my sister and I exchange handmade ornaments each year; and I do a handmade ornament exchange every year with two blogging friends.

  6. Doris, this is a perfect recap of our retreat and why retreating is so important! I need to bookmark this for handy reference anytime someone asks me why I travel so far away to quilt with friends. Gruber’s is the only retreat I attend although I am lucky enough to sew once a month (if no conflicts) with my quilt guild friends. Thank you for my lovely happy zipper bag and would love to see a tutorial. Looking forward to our next year’s retreat!

  7. What a wonderful recap of such a wonderful weekend. Last year, before I knew you all, I would never have imagined who comfortable I would come to feel with all of you. It will just keep getting better and better.

    And yes, a tutorial please! 🙂

  8. Pingback: Looking forward… | made by a brunnette

  9. Pingback: Wrapped in Love (Part III) | made by a brunnette

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