Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Quilt Retreat

Last weekend, from Friday morning through Monday morning, 24 of us from the Central Florida MQG retreated to Luther Springs in Hawthorne, Florida. It's a Lutheran bible camp that caters to quilters and crafters, and is a wonderful place to "get away from it all," with delicious meals, comfy accommodations, and outstanding camaraderie. May marks the the month when, eight years ago, we first retreated to Luther Springs with members of the Gainesville MQG. Our chapter wasn't yet large enough to fit the space on our own! Oh how we've changed.

My work station...

I took along three prepared-for-sewing projects, but spent all my sewing time on only one of them, piecing scrappy Unallocated blocks. 

Initially I laid blocks like this, to see how they looked together. 

Unallocated was made by Michelle McKillop, and can be seen, with instructions, on her Instagram feed.
This is MICHELLE MCKILLOPE'S Unallocated quilt, measuring 74" X 74". 
Made by Michelle McKillope

Then, I used a design wall to arrange the 80 blocks I'd made That's when I had a "Oh! It's lovely!" moment. Light values in the vertical columns became apparent. It's also when I got excited about piecing more blocks. 

I had no shortage of cut-out scraps! During the entire retreat, I pieced 180 four-inch blocks...

....and pieced another 190 half-square triangles to be pressed, trimmed, and joined to short strips to become Unallocated blocks.

That will be a total of 370 blocks. It remains to be seen whether that's enough for a usable-sized quilt.

Considering that I was among the last retreaters to go to bed each night - at about 12:30 AM (up before 7 am) - and that I also taught a member how to use Instagram; consulted on a few others' quilt projects; attended a two-hour 2024 CFMQG program-planning meeting; took photos of other makers' "tah-dah" moments and posted them to Instagram (see their projects here); took our group photos; and did a wee bit of socializing, I'm happy with my Unallocated progress.

In addition to taking a smiling-faces group photo of our retreaters, each year I try to think of what might make a fun picture. Noting that a basket on the dining room side table was overflowing with bananas, I asked Miss Sarah, the camp director (and best cook) if each of us could hold a banana as a prop. "Of course," she said."They're going to become banana pudding." 


"We're bananas for quilting!"

Book Recommendations
The Yellow Bird Sings
 by Jennifer Rosner is another book about WWII. Having read so many fictitious war-related stories, I have to be in the right frame of mind to listen to another. This is a good one.

Four year-old Shira and her mother Roza, are Jews in Poland who have fled their home. Hiding in a rural barn, they find sympathetic farm owners, though at a cost. Forced to remain silent, Roza constantly tells her daughter to be quiet. That's very difficult for little Shira, who finds some relief from the quiet by taking care of her imaginary bird, and creating music in her head. 

When the Germans confiscate the barn for their purposes, mother and daughter must flee. Shira is taken to a home for orphaned children with the promise that Roza will come for her. While in the tender care of nuns, Shira is given violin lessons; her instructor recognizes her special gift. But when Germans bombings begin, Shira is again moved. In the meantime, Roza has walked 300 kilometers to the convent to find Shira, but the convent is in rubble. While Rosa continues to look for her daughter, Shira is taken wherever others lead her. Shira doesn't know her mother's name, but he always remembers her through her music.  

Linda's score: 4.0/5.0

Wrong Place, Wrong Time
by Gillian McAllister was a page-turner! That's because I am fascinated by the concept of time travel, such as The Time Traveler's Wife, and Benjamin Button. This story has a different time premise than others, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Jen is waiting up for her son Todd to return home when she sees him walking down the street approaching a man. Suddenly Todd pulls out a knife and stabs the man. Her son is jailed. With support from her husband Kelly, Jen's trying to comprehend why her son would do such a thing. 

When Jen awakens the next morning, she sees that the calendar has turned back a day, and the murder never happened. How can this be? What does it mean?  

The author does a great job of making the story believable and very thought-provoking (What if we could live our life again, differently?) while manipulating the reader to draw the wrong conclusions about people and incidences. 

Linda's score: 4.2/5.0

At Luther Springs, this is on the hallway wall as quilters walk into the large (chapel) room where we set-up for sewing. 

It was easy to praise Him for such a wonderful retreat experience. I love spending time in such a lovely setting; eating great food; and spending time with my bestest friends. We'll be back at Luther Springs the same Mother's Day weekend next year. Linda


  1. You had your own Ta-da moment as you were arranging your Unallocated blocks Linda! You are going to have a wonderful quilt! I think I will file this idea away. I certainly have the scraps to work with!

  2. So glad you had a successful, creative and fun time at your retreat. The group picture shows so many happy quilters. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Ha! What a great way to spend Mother's Day weekend! And I pinned a picture of the unallocated quilt just in case!

  4. Wish I could have gone, sounds like a great time and great group 🥰!

    1. No doubt you would have had a great time with us, Pamela! We're a friendly group, always welcoming new people and making new friendships.

  5. I'm glad you had a lovely time!

  6. Love all your blog updates Linda - your quilting is beautiful! You and your group mates are ao talented!

    1. Hi Kim! Thanks so much for commenting about the quilt retreat. It was a great time, spent with great friends. And thank you for your compliments!

  7. Wow! You made a lot of progress on your Unallocated blocks. I've cut a few but haven't sewn a single one. Not high on my list right now. Your retreat sounds lovely. Looks like you had room for a good setup too.

  8. As always, a lot gets done on retreat! So glad you enjoyed and it looks like everyone made progress on their projects. It's a very nice facility. I have a quilting friend who is there this weekend for her retreat. A popular spot. She, too, mentioned how good the food is.

  9. YAY! I'm glad you had such a wonderful -- and productive -- weekend!

  10. Looks like you had tons of fun and got lots of work done at the same time. I couldn't find the instructions for your Unallocated blocks on the Instagram feed that you provided. Are your HSTs 3.5" unfinished and the outer strip 1.5" unfinished? Love that quilt.

  11. Looks like a productive and enjoyable time. I have not attended any retreat there yet but have one comping up in august! Are the design walls a fixed feature there?

  12. What a wonderful retreat! The banana photo just made me laugh--looks like a fun bunch! And yes, love your project arranged on point! I recently read 2 time travel books that I recommend--Timeless series by Gabrielle Meyer. The first book is When the Day Comes, second is In This Moment, and the third is coming out later this year. Each book is more mind-blowing than the previous!

  13. I have an upcoming retreat on October and am trying to come up with something to make that does not require lots of concentration. I am also on a mission to have at the scrap bins. Unallocated looks like it could be a wonderful project.

  14. What is the name of this quilt please

    1. Hi Anonymous. If you'll please reread this post, you'll note that I mention the quilt name twice. It's "Unallocated."


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