Friday, May 10, 2024

Post Retreat: Prioritizing WIPs

Retreat was wonderful! Due to a date change beyond our control, we had a different configuration of members, and two guests from the Jacksonville (Florida) MQG), for a total of 15 retreats. Each of us had opportunities to get to know new people, and become better acquainted with those we already knew. 

Also, something different for us this time was sharing dining room space with three other groups: 1) a small quilt group (I knew them from Big Cypress Quilters); 2) homeschool parents and kids (we've never retreated with children around!); and, 3) a church leadership group from South Florida.

II accomplished most of what I wanted, in between taking pictures of members who had "tah-dah" moments when I snapped their picture and put it on Instagram. Go here if you'd like to see some finished quilt tops, and our great group photo. Everyone posed with a rotary cutter or scissors, "cutting" themselves or their neighbor! 

In three whole days of sewing, my only tah-dah was this completed Plus Quilt top, an easy piecing job. I'll be sandwiching, quilting, and binding it to donate to Children's Home Society of Florida.

I pieced more Sunny blocks and I love how they look! I need to make 100 more blocks!

The first blocks were foundation paper pieced through newsprint paper, so when I ran out of those, I tried Tara Faughnan's method of using regular printer paper, a dab of glue, and folding back on the lines to edge stitch (no paper to remove). I'm not sure which method I prefer, but I do have a lot of newsprint I need to use-up.

I also pieced all 98 blocks for the Bonnie Lass quilt. Setting triangles for the sides need to be cut before I can complete that top. 

Assessing where I'm at, I now have EIGHT WIPs! Good grief!

Needing to prioritize these projects, the modern potholder quilt (on the design wall) is number one on the to-do list. Binding each block is taking more time than I anticipated - 15 are bound; 26 to go.

The reason it's taking so long is that I'm piecing Pewter-color fabric into many of the bindings, so the Pewter curve appears continuous. It's tedious to do this, getting the curve right, and making it single-fold. There's been as much unsewing as sewing. 
Block made by Maureen @maydecemberquilts

But I know, in the end, this will be worth the effort. 
Top block by Jane @gonequiltinginfl
Center left block by Maureen @maydecemberquilts with my hand appliqué added
Center right block by Betty @zcabed

As for the other WIPs...
  • I've been hand-quilting the 2023 "30 Days of Improv" since last fall.
  • Last week I pin-basted two quilts (Minimal (Ha!)), and an Honor Flight quilt top I was asked to quilt. 
  • To piece Glitter and Bonnie Lass into tops I need design wall space. One design wall is not enough!
Book Recommendations
by Richard Powers is about a special nine year-old boy, Robin, who's the son of astrobiologist Theo. They're both struggling through life changes since the sudden death of their mother/wife. Robin is not coping well. Several incidences at school cause school administrators to recommend psychoactive drugs. For a while, Theo copes with Robin by homeschooling him, but then turns to a friend of his wife whose experimental neurofeedback test might be just what Robin needs. 

Using recorded tests of Robin's mother, Robin's treatment gradually turned him into a changed boy who's energetic, engaged, artistic, inquisitive, and full of potential. When government control and investigation conspire to shut down the testing program, everything changes. 

Though much of the scientific and technical aspects of this story went over my head, and political perspectives were woven into the story, it was a compelling listen.

Linda's score: 4.1/5.0

Darling Girls
 by Sally Hepworth is about several young girls in child welfare. Jessica, Norah, and Alicia stayed at Wild Meadows, an English farming estate with a foster mother, Miss Fairchild. The three are now grown women whose experiences with Miss Fairchild forged their relationship of protecting one another, and made them sisters in every sense of the word.

The house at Wild Meadows has been demolished to build a McDonald's, and a child's body is unearthed. All three women must leave Melbourne and return to Port Agatha to meet with police investigators. Each of them is dealing with some life difficulty of their own making - drug use; relationship avoidance; lewd behavior - all of which are coping responses to what Miss Fairchild put them through decades ago. 

The unexpected plot twist at the end, once again proves Hepworth skill at delivering an engaging tale of wrong behavior, mistreatment, and it consequences.

Linda's score: 4.2/5.0

Something Different
While on retreat I learned about the Mountain Dulcimer Club where my quilt-y friend, Anne plays her dulcimer. Intriguing! On Tuesday I skipped Big Cypress Quilters and visited. I didn't know what that instrument(s) sounded or looked like, so if you're curious like I was, take a quick look/listen. I created this 32-second YouTube clip of a regular dulcimer followed by a hammered dulcimer.

At this time, I'm not planning to join the club, but I'm considering attending a beginner class where I can borrow a dulcimer to try. For now, playing the ukulele is enough. Linda


  1. What an interesting retreat, Linda, with so many different people and groups! I can relate to all 3 groups! Your plus top is fab! What size squares did you use? Wow, Sunny blocks are amazing! And I totally need to make a Bonnie Lass now!!! Can I say, INSPIRATION!!!

  2. I like your plan for the bindings on the potholder quilt. Looking forward to seeing this progress.

  3. Pamela Dempsey in Northeast Texas 😻May 11, 2024 at 12:43 PM

    I agree with the other comments! Such beautiful work and it is so worth the time 😻! The plus sign will be so loved I’m sure 🥰

    1. Thank so much, Pamela! Most of my projects have been fun to work on. Only the potholder quilt is a bit tedious, but I'll persevere through it and be happy I did. That Plus quilt was an easy make, and perfect for a charity quilt. Since it won't be given away until fall, I have a bit of time to get it sandwiched and quilted.

  4. That was a productive retreat. Now for the WIP! Clearing space on a design wall or a basting table is good motivation for pushing projects along.

  5. Eight WIPs!!! Well they'll be finished, take one day at a time. I'm pleased to read that you had a good tie even though there were a few changes.

  6. Pshht...I think it is fairly normal to have that many WIPs. Our Guild has a UFO challenge ever year to encourage us to finish up. I am in the process of adding a second design wall to my retreat property for the exact same reason. As someone who can "talk to anybody, even the wall", I love the idea of meeting and socializing with new people. You never know when you will find a kindred spirit. Sounds like a great Retreat!

  7. Well I'd say you made good progress. Oh my, you are taking the pot holder modern quilt to another level with the line-through binding! It's looking wonderful. And the Sunny blocks- very bold and dramatic. I really like them. The Plus turned out great, too. It has a sunny look as well with the bright clear colors. Well done. (PS- I think the John C Campbell School might have dulcimer classes/events to look into)

  8. Hmmm...8 WIPs doesn't seem like a lot! Yikes!


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