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Quilt Inn

Saturday, September 14th, 2013

Every year from 1990 to 2011, a small group of quilters gathered in the village of Greensboro, Vermont to attend a quilting class with me. Classes usually had 15-20 students and were held in the small building behind Highland Lodge appropriately named “The Playhouse” but in winter it served as the ski shop and for several weeks in September, it was transformed into “The Studio”. Here’s a shot of the 2005 Quilt Inn group.

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Two years ago, the Lodge closed and I was winding up my teaching career, but Quilt Inn had become such a tradition that it seemed a shame to just bring it to an end. So the event has morphed into a reunion/retreat, where students work under my guidance but I don’t actually teach. It’s now held in Maine and the group that attends is knowledgable about design and curved seam piecing techniques and needs only occasional advice from me.

As always, we started the session with show and tell. Here is Sarah with her project from last year, and Jane with a design she worked on last winter.

Sarahshowtell2013  Janeshowtell2013

Kristin made this lovely table runner just so she would not come empty handed to Show and Tell and Marilyn proudly shows the butterfly she designed in class last year. The photo doesn’t show it very well, but all those embellishments on the butterfly wings are pieced¬†using many different colors and prints!

Kristinshowtell2013    Marilyn

Trudy and Kathy are a mother/daughter team. Trudy, ever the intrepid one, is showing the star design she pieced from lam√© and cotton fabric. Small lights are inserted in the points of the stars to add a little twinkle! Kathy’s quilt, right, features fabrics she created using her own photographs which she sells on Spoonflower.

Trudyshowtell2012        Kathyshowtell2012

After getting caught up on the news from the year, a delightful dinner and show and tell, we retired for the night to rest up for the marathon quilting session that was to come. It turned out that meals for the week provided much of the entertainment. We either went out to eat, ordered meals brought in, or foraged, but it turned out that organizing and procuring food was an interesting challenge that provided much entertainment. And, of course, we did not starve!! We took notes so that next year we will be much better prepared and organized.

I provided a ¬†number of small motifs that contained anywhere from 5 to 20 curved shapes. Everyone worked with the motifs that appealed to them, manipulating and combining them to create a larger design. It was evident by the progress made during the week that starting with the motifs really jumpstarted the design process. Here is Sarah’s project.

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By the end of the four day session, she had half of her design sewed together and planned to spend the next day sewing while she waited for her family to pick her up. I can’t wait to hear if she actually managed to finish the piecing. If she did, it is certainly a Quilt Inn record!!

Here are Trudy, Kathy and Kristin’s designs. You can see that they are all wonderfully curvy and progressing very nicely.

TrudyQI2013  KathyQI2013 KristinQI2013

One of the advantages of not actually teaching during the four days is that I can work on my own project. For the second year in a row, I worked with only purple fabric as I chose to work on one of the paraments for church. I got it designed and had started sewing, so I made good progress also. I will show more of it in my next posts.

Packing up and leaving yesterday was hard. We build such a feeling of community as we work. We hear about each other’s families and the happenings of the previous year. We encourage and consult about the work we are doing and basically build strong friendships and creative partnerships. Kristin and Kathy both decided they needed to make a trek to Keepsake. They hardly knew each other when they took off together (Kathy was at Quilt Inn for the first time), but after five hours in the car and a delightful hour shopping for fabric, they came back as buddies.

Such is the life of quilters. I noticed on Facebook this morning a post and link about the “health benefits” of quilting. The article grandly announced that physical exercise was not the only way towards good health–mental and emotional health are also essential and quilting promotes that.

Well, DUH!

Quilt Inn 2009

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

Quilt Inn 2009 (held at Highland Lodge here in Greensboro, Vermont) is over for this year, and a good time was had by all. The weather was fine, the food was great, and we got a lot accomplished in between meals!! There were nine returning students and one newbie this year. That may sound like an unfair advantage, but the newbie definitely held her own!! In fact, Sara was a good influence. Because she is an MD, we declared medical talk off limits. As you can imagine, this cut down on the level of chatter dramatically (after all, with the average age being somewhere around 73, our health, or the lack thereof, is an endlessly fascinating subject)! The benefit of the relative quiet was that everyone in the class was more productive than they might otherwise have been!! Grin! Sara was also a diligent student and set a good example for the rest of us. Here she is, experiencing machine quilting for the very first time.

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Our “studio” was extra pleasant this year because the sun shone almost every day, making it bright and cheerful. Here is Elsie, the super dog, guarding our fabric while we are away eating lunch.

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Most of the students came to class with an idea for the project they wanted to tackle in class, but every one participated in the design exercises the first day. The projects that emerged on the second day were very diverse and exciting, but were all kept to a manageable size, with one notable exception. Below is a photo of Jane with her master pattern. She came to class with the design already drafted and had only to paste it to the poster board to create her templates. It took all four of us to accomplish this!!

Janemasterpattern

This second photo shows Jane pondering how to begin cutting the hunk of templates she has isolated from the rest of the pattern. Jane’s project was inspired by a photo she had taken in Cambodia. Although this will be a massive undertaking, I have no doubt that Jane will finish it. Last year at Quilt Inn she also worked on an ambitious design. Not only did she finish it, she made a second one from the same pattern!!

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Karen (below) cuts those pesky curves with her trusty rotary cutter.

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Carol and Kristin fine-tune their drawings before preparing the master pattern.

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Trudy shows Robin a work-in-progress.

Trudy.Robin

Juanita concentrates on removing wrinkles from her fabric.

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One of the best things about taking a class is that you can share ideas with the other students. Here Jane explains to Judy and a few of the other students exactly how she intends to deal with her design.

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Of course, fun is also a big part of class. Robin and Sara ¬†may look as if they are sniffing glue, but they are actually laughing at themselves as they try to glue the tracing paper and poster board together for a master pattern. Because it was starting to rain, they found the children’s play house the perfect place for this task!

gluing

One afternoon we took a field trip down the road to my house where we did a little fabric dyeing. Here you see the results. It looks as though Louise is having trouble remembering which piece is hers!!

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We found ourselves missing Sherry, a special friend who had attended Quilt Inn for ten years prior to this year, so we decided to make a postcard for her. Everyone contributed a piece from their project and I put it together in a collage manner and quilted it. At first it seemed that the individual elements were too diverse to play well with each other, but eventually it came together. I think it looks very folk arty. Sherry was very please with her postcard, which actually has her address, messages and a fabric stamp on the other side.

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All in all, it was a very productive session. Here are Robin and Arlene hard at work. Note the concentration exhibited by both!

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It seemed the theme this year was determination. Everyone  was very focused and eager to make a lot of progress. Plans for  next year are still up in the air, but I will post information here as  soon as it is available.

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