Yes, this is very much off topic from my usual posts, but it’s something I’d like to share.
In July I learned about a quilt retreat that was happening the last weekend in August, and very close to my home. As much as I have quilted over the years (just not the last few), I have never attended a retreat. I decided to go for it and reserved my spot, paid my fee, and made arrangements to borrow my boyfriend’s holiday trailer. (And yes, although it was close to home it’s just not a retreat if one goes home every day.)
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Let me start by saying I was very much out of my comfort zone. I had only met the owner of the venue once and didn’t know anyone else there. As it turned out, one of the attendees was one of my neighbours, whom I had never actually met. I met her husband shortly after I moved into my new house when I was looking for my dog, but had never met her.
The nice thing about a retreat is everyone has at least one thing in common. In this case, it was quilting. And quilters are eager to share their knowledge with others, as well as their opinions. One of the ladies jokingly said they’re always willing to share opinions. And if I ask for advice, I’ll get a lot of it.
I did have to ask for assistance not long after I got underway because I couldn’t remember which border strip got sewn on first; the long side or short side. Once I had the answer (and it didn’t take long) I got to work.
The first evening I finished a Log Cabin quilt top, which was my goal for that day. The second day I finished a Flying Geese quilt top, which needed sashing and borders. The third day I wasn’t quite as productive because I had a mid-afternoon meeting, but the project I was working on was also in lesser stages of completion than the first two.
By the end of Day 4, I had completed my third top; a 3-D Bow Tie Quilt. It was one I had started over 20 years ago (as was the Flying Geese Quilt). My fellow retreat attendees were in awe at how quickly I had the tops done. In all honesty, so was I considering I hadn’t quilted in several years.
By the end of the retreat, the group had pretty much convinced me to join the Quilter’s Guild. I walked in not knowing anyone, and was welcomed and treated like I had been a part of the group all along. Needless to say, last Thursday was another sewing day and I handed over the membership fees. As one of the ladies walked by me and checked out the project I was working on she commented that I’d be teaching them techniques in no time. I said it probably wouldn’t happen, but then again, why couldn’t I?
I’m looking forward to getting back into doing the things that once used to bring me joy. It’s crazy how the death of a spouse just knocks a person on their ass and it takes forever to get back up. Sure, we go through the motions and all appears good on the outside; but on the inside the broken pieces are still there.
(Now if only I could get back to writing my series. I was halfway through the second book when Ross passed away, and haven’t been able to finish it. But, that’s not what this post is about.)
The talent and varying levels of quilting techniques used by the others were amazing. I loved the Show & Tell on the last day of the retreat because I got to see some amazing works of art. I’m not one to speak in front of groups, but I felt quite comfortable talking about my projects that day.
Something I learned last week was the guild does a collaboration quilt each year, which is pretty neat. I’m not at liberty to say what it’s going to be, but there are techniques I feel I’m going to need a lesson in so I can complete my block. But that’s what it’s all about, right? Learning from the others and contributing to a bigger project.
I’m looking forward to getting together with everyone a couple of times a month during the sewing days. Of the five to be held this month, I could only attend one, as family commitments come first. I am planning for all five days next month, but I’ll see how it goes. At this rate I should have a good handle on completing my unfinished quilts, and start some new ones.
As I begin to pursue my hobbies again chances are I’ll be posting more about them as well. That is why I started this particular blog and website; so I could share what being over 50 is all about (for me anyway).
It doesn’t matter what we do in life, as long as we’re happy. And the older I get, the more I choose to partake in doing the things that make me happy. Family time, spending time with friends, hobbies, and writing because I want to; not because I have to.
Have you ever attended a retreat of any type? If so, did you go in knowing anyone, or did you go it alone? Let me know in the comments below.