I think I'm mostly recovered from this past weekend's FRMQG retreat. I didn't sleep too much but I had a great time. I had my mom time her visit from NH to be able to attend with me and that was extra fun and special. She and I get along great and although she is not as obsessed with sewing as I am, she's talented with the sewing machine and has fun being creative too.
I finished the princess quilt for my daughter there but will share that finish on Friday. My main focus of the retreat was a twin size Fancy Fox quilt. I've had a FQ bundle of Jennifer Paganelli's Crazy Love for ages and I thought it would be fun to use with this pattern. I also added other Lizzy House, AMH, and Alison Glass prints to the mix as well. I made 48 blocks at the retreat and will share more progress on this quilt as I continue to work on it. I will admit that it got really monotonous to do the same block over and over all weekend but the mindlessness of it allowed me to socialize more with friends and I liked how compact the process of piecing these was: I didn't have to spread out too much or monopolize the design wall.
My mom accomplished a lot at the retreat- it was awesome. She finished this quilt top on Saturday afternoon:
She also made major headway on this Irish chain:
A big part of the retreat was the Secret Sister swap. I spent a lot of time leading up to the weekend making items for my "sister." For a while, I was a little stumped because her information sheet was sparsely filled out, her IG account had no crafty/sewing pictures, and she doesn't blog. Eventually, the information I zoned in on was her penchant for the colors blue and orange as well as her love of Japanese and monochromatic prints. First, I made a double scissors pouch (pattern from Make It, Take It). This pattern was somewhat difficult for me and took way longer than it should have thanks to placing the magnetic snap in an awkward spot. I still made it work.
Also pictured in this photo are some little snack gifts with notes that said, "Here's some encourageMINT to help you through the day" and "I hope you have an EGG-cellent time at the retreat." The m&m's had a printout about being "Quilter's Helpers" and I got the idea from this pin on Pinterest. I love cheesy, corny stuff like this and I wanted to have fun with it.
I also made the largest size of an open-wide zip pouch and fond a cute "J" (J for Jane) at Target to use as a zipper pull:
My last, final gift was a patchwork pillow made of monochromatic prints from my stash bins. I used linen to frame the squares and did only straight line quilting through the orange plus to the sides of the pillow. This pattern came from the book Pillow Pop and it came together so quickly and nicely. I also used this tutorial to eliminate the bunny ears that appear on square pillows once you've inserted the pillow form. It was easy and it worked well.
I always do a zipper-backed pillow:
The person who was my secret sister gave me some store bought items including some snacks, a small lotion, a chapstick, notepad, and a mug. When it was time to do the "big reveal" and last "big" gift, she said she hadn't understood the swap and had nothing for me. It was a very awkward moment for me and I will admit that it was upsetting. I had worked very hard to make nice items for my sister and I had received nothing handmade. Everyone else at the retreat had received the most gorgeous bags, baskets, pincushions, etc. It was hard not to take the whole thing personally and I am not sure how this really even happened considering that everyone else followed the swap guidelines which were outlined quite clearly. As a rule, I do not participate in IG swaps because of the anonymous quality of swapping online: there are too many horror stories of people being totally jilted and my sewing time is so limited. I figured it was safe and meaningful to participate in a guild swap where I have the potential to build in-person relationships and where the chances of receiving nothing handmade seemed to be "zero."
There is a silver lining to this drama. Three of my friends from the retreat noticed what happened and collaborated to surprise me with a purchase of some fabric at the pop-up shop that was being held there that weekend. The row of fabric shown a the bottom of the picture is what they generously gifted me as well as the pattern pictured. (The other items are things I bought myself at the retreat). It meant a lot that they noticed my sadness and felt sympathetic to what had happened. I felt like I really got to know them over the weekend and given my recent homesickness, it really felt huge to have new friends here in CO reach out to me in such a generous way.
I look forward to sharing the quilt finish from the retreat soon. Thanks for reading.