Feeling Recharged

For six years now, I have traveled to Waite Park, MN in July to spend a few days with some of the best friends I have ever known; a group of women that felt like forever friends almost immediately after our first meeting. My Grubers Retreat is a non-negotiable event on the calendar. I’ve written about the joys of this retreat in the past; but really, words cannot explain what this week means to me and does for me emotionally. Group8                               L to R: Amanda, Rene, me, Mary, Michelle, Terri, Cindy, Shelly, Stephanie

Amanda produces like crazy every year–many things with her new fabric collection for Connecting Threads this year! She free-motion quilted like crazy, and she and I made micro quilts. Amanda2015CollageRene worked on a scrap vortex quilt most of the weekend. Her 51 Kisses quilt, made for her sister, Michelle, is fabulous. Go check out her MUCH better photos!Rene2015CollageI finished up my Rock Pools quilt top from a class I took in May (it’s Christmas fabric), and worked on my Quick Curve Ruler project from last year’s retreat! My micro quilt is at the bottom left:Doris2015CollageMary made us the adorable egg-cup pincushions (top right photo) with the smallest EPP hexies I’ve ever seen. She worked diligently on a Moda Bake Shop pattern most of the weekend. Mary2015CollageMichelle first joined us for retreat in 2011 (year two). She is Rene’s little sis, and at the time she was just a newbie to quilting. She has come a long way! The girl is obsessed with foundation paper-piecing (and the movie Pitch Perfect, which we watched as a group Saturday evening). The quilt on the top right is the beauty she made for Rene this year:Michelle2015CollageTerri is fun to watch work; she makes the most of her time at retreat. She goes back and forth between projects, starts new ones when inspired by something she sees (see the blocks at bottom right, inspired by one Michelle shared-in my collage above), her creativity is inspiring. She came prepared with her suitcase of fabric (LOVE IT!)… Also, she made us those beautiful Dresden coasters this year:Terri2015CollageCindy accomplished much more than I took photos of. I couldn’t resist snapping the pic of her with the matching Hello Kitty sewing machine! She made us all one-hour baskets with fussy cut license plate fabric–so fitting! A friend made the cute bag at the bottom for her, it’s just too adorable not to share:Cindy2015CollageShelly and I share a ride from Des Moines to Waite Park, about 5 hours in the car (each way). She’s afraid she talks my ear off, but I love the laughs, the sharing, the brainstorming…and she tells the BEST stories. She was working on some top-secret stuff, so not many pics of her work, but she was very productive! I’m still tickled pink that she made us those perpetual journal calendars in the pint box (it’s one of the first projects I ever added to Pinterest and I have YET to make one–don’t need to, now!):Shelly2015CollageStephanie sat next to me this year, I was amazed at how quickly she made the Mini Disco quilt in the Allison Glass fabrics (the back is just as beautiful, photo on bottom right). She worked on a Quick Curve Ruler project as well, a current QAL on the Sew Kind of Wonderful blog.Stephanie2015CollageEach year we make (or “outsource”) happies for each other. Seriously, it’s better than Christmas:Happies4I gave the Cotton & Steel charm packs and scissors key fobs this year, Anna Maria Dresden coaster from Terri, Perpetual Journal Calendar & flashlight from Shelly, Egg Cup pincushion from Mary, Work in Progress bag and pattern, and mini-charms from Amanda, fabric tray and chocolate from Michelle, Her OWN honey and “Sew Sisters” bag from Stephanie (and fresh Michigan blueberries!), License plate basket from Cindy, and Mug and mini-charms from Rene.

Every year I come home feeling recharged and inspired–Love my Grubers gals!

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…and keep it company

BLOGTOBERFEST, Day 29

Anyone who lived through the 1970s in America probably remembers the coca-cola commercial with the theme song “I’d like to buy the World a Coke, and keep it company…”, originally aired in 1971 (when I was 2, but I remember it well so it obviously stuck around for a while– here’s a refresher of the Christmas version:

I kept humming this song while I made this mug rug for Jill, in October’s Des Moines Modern Quilt Guild Swap:

Jill doesn’t drink coffee or tea, Diet Coke is her liquid of choice.  And she happens to be a big fan of foundation paper piecing.  I started by sketching the Diet Coke logo, and then free-hand, hand embroidering it:

Then I drew up the bottle, transformed it into a paper pieced foundation and got to piecing.  I tweaked it as I went, it’s not perfect, but it looks pretty good.  Then I cut into a Munki Munki coca-cola nightshirt I’ve had stuffed in my closet for a few years, and started piecing patchwork around the fussy-cut double decker bus:

The back:

Giving this to Jill was such a joy.  She made me this fabulous pillow in our last Guild swap, so I wanted to really wow her with something made especially for her.

FREE PAPER PIECING & EMBROIDERY PATTERN for the Diet Coke bottle Coming Soon!!

Blogtoberfest Day XXIX–October Stitching

I’ve made 28 straight days of blogging–crazy.  (I missed October 1!)  Lest you think I’ve only sewn up Halloween themed things this month…

I completed a few more hand-pieced hexies for my Candied Hexagon Quilt:

 

I think that makes 71 completed hexagons now.  (33 to go…or something like that).  To view the rest, see my flickr set.  I made this tasty BEE block for Megan for One Block Over:

It’s only 6.5″ square, she asked for birthday cake blocks she is making a quilt of 60 of them for a friend’s 60th Birthday–isn’t that awesome?  Paper-pieced, of my own design–I embroidered the little flames on with my new obsession, Aurifil Wool 12 wt:

Here’s a sneak peek of my costumes for my sweetie and I, sorry sneak peeks only until after the party tonight!

Maybe you can guess what the ‘guise is with just this little peek?  I’ll be very impressed if you do…