Sunday, September 07, 2008

Ms Bee Haven In-Town Retreat!

What a great time we had yesterday! It started out rainy, but by afternoon all the rain had gone gone gone, the sun was out, it got hot (which sent the humidity factor, post-rain, through the ROOF!) and we SEWED ALL DAY! What could be better?

Karen did a great job in finding us room in her church to spread out. There were about 12 of us! We had lots of light, lots of tables and floor space!

Lisa brought her table risers so us "tall folk" didn't kill our backs trying to rotary cut on a table too low.

Laura was Music Maven, and her selections couldn't have been better! You know you are in good sisterhood company when you feel free to sing motown at the top of your lungs along with everyone else and no one looks at you strange! I think the highlight of my day was when we all jumped up to do YMCA by the Village People. HILARIOUS! (Just put the rotary cutters down first, folks!) It was good for stretching and exercise,you know how we NEED to move around after sitting at the machines for so long!

As I was packing last night, I took some pics of what has become The Quilt Retreat Packing System! You too can have this system, in fact, you might already have several of these parts on hand!

Item #1: Super Duper Huge Tote from Lands End. If you have an outlet mall near you, these are easily found there! Most even have "oops!" sales where you can get one with someone else's rejected monogram for cheap cheap cheap! I think mine was about $20 at the outlet mall, and then was another 30% off or something. Get the biggest one you can. Like the size you could smuggle a baby in. No kidding! I got the one that also sported a zipper top so I wouldn't lose my contents if I dropped it.

Item #2: Cake-Takers ala WALMART! Keep this one quiet. If they find out that Quiltmakers are using these for quilt making instead of cake carrying, they will triple in price! They run about $5 or so in the rubbermaid/kitchen stuff aisle. The HUGE TOTE above...fits 4 of these! They are roomy, stackable, and easy to see what you have inside through the clear lid. At the retreat a couple weeks ago with the VA gals, they demo'd to me the value of these cake takers, and told me that you have to be on the look out for them every time you GO to Walmart, because they only put out about 4 at a time on the shelf, and they sell out quickly. Somehow I don't think there are that many cakes being carried around....I think it's all quilt stuff! But hey,if you do need to carry a cake somewhere..you can always dump your quilt stuff out and use it for cakes if you want.

See that cute little flat iron? $3.99 at a thrift shop. I love how it folds so flat! It has ONE temp...HOT! and no steam holes. It's great for keeping next to me at retreat for pressing in between steps. And it fits in the cake-taker with room to spare!

As I said...you can fit FOUR cake-takers in the big bag....and each cake-taker is more than roomy enough to each hold a project. I brought 2 yesterday, and on top of that put my sterlite little tote that held all my bonus triangles. Still had room to spare!

So...what did I work on? In the Great Computer Reformat of 2008 (Happened earlier this week!) I saved all my "inspiration" pics of antique quilts onto CD. And as I was doing so....I came upon this wonky quilt with double T type blocks, only they didn't look like Ts! And I had to make one. Just one. But I couldn't stop at one! So Friday night I started packing for the retreat and filled a cake-taker with 3.5" strips from the 3.5" bin in darks and lights. Stuff I wanted to use up. Stuff that looked old. Stuff that was maybe even a bit odd but that would work. I made sure I had enough shirting type fabrics to go with them. Saturday morning I set off not knowing how many I could sew in a day, but eager to try!

I made 30 blocks! Okay..29..because I did the first sample block (The cheddar one in the top row) the night before as a "test". I sewed fast, furious, and carefree! No pins, no matching points, no un-stitching unless I didn't have enough seam allowance to hold the two pieces together. The antique quilt from the picture was made this way, and it had so much quirk and charm. I want the same feeling. Let them wonder what I was drinking when I put these pieces together!

I'm not sure how many more I'll make. I figure it this way....there are 16 little half square bonus triangles in each block (And yes, this is AFTER all those pinwheels from the bonus triangles in Old Tobacco Road! I still had more left!)and I made 30 blocks. That means I found a home for 480 (FOUR HUNDRED & EIGHTY!!) bonus triangles. I guess that really would be 960? Because each unit is made out of 2 triangles? Okay..this is boggling my mind....I actually sewed that much!

This is why I love saving things like bonus triangles. How much work would it have added if I had to piece all those little triangle units before I could sew blocks? It might seem like a pain at first to double sew everything to save the bonus triangles in the first place, but OH SO WORTH IT!

See this one with the dark blue paw print in the corners? That blue fabric was gifted to me by Leann! It was the left overs from the back of a quilt she had trimmed to get ready for binding. And I paired it up with a dutch plaid I had brought back from The Netherlands with me a couple years ago. It also includes some bonus triangle units that Holly had gifted me with at our last in-town retreat, trimmings from her Star Struck quilt that she finished putting together yesterday as well!

Fun things to have included as remembrances in this quilt.

And yes, those are my feet standing on the blocks to get a straight down aerial view of the blocks. It's my quilt, I can walk on them if I want ;c)

Not sure how I'll set them yet, but I'm thinking "on-point" in a zig-zag setting with a reproduction red as the setting fabric!

There are more bonus triangles to press and square up so they are usable. I'll take those with me to Brunswick County NC and work on squaring them up while I'm there so they will be ready to use too. I'm off this afternoon, and will be back on Wednesday!


  1. Wow! I can't believe how much you got done yesterday! I wasn't nearly as productive. It was a fun day though!

  2. thanks for the great tip about the cake takers Bonnie, i will be on the look out once i get to the States in October.
    You are so inspiring! Wish i was as prolific as you!

  3. Hey these are some great packing tips. I will be checking out the cake totes next time I'm in Walmart. Thanks!

  4. That's great that you got all of your "inspiration" pics saved! We need for you to have them so you can continue to be inspired and then in turn inspire all of us. :)

    Your quilt blocks are looking fantastic and I think it is so neat how you remember your friends that donated you different pieces of their scraps and HST corners... who knows maybe one of these days that rotten egg yellow will show up that I sent you... :P

    You sure do make left overs look like fabric stars! :) No one else does it better!!! Love from Texas! ~bonnie

  5. I cannot believe how much sewing you get done in a day.Wow, this one is fabulous. as always, great color/fabric combos. sounds like a great time.

  6. I am glad my kids are the age they are, but someday, when they are older, and I have time to sew that much in a day... woohoo! I think your blocks are quite lovely.

  7. WOW Bonnie I love these blocks!! What a great looking quilt althoughat this rate I need to go and buy more fabric becasue my sash is looking really empty!!! But I guess that was the aim hey????

    Angela in Australia

  8. Hmmmm.....I'll be going to WalMart next payday!!! I don't know about getting that big tote. However, I've always wanted one of those from that mail order company. I could always start leaving hints for Christmas!

  9. Thanks for the packing suggestions - they're GREAT!!!!! Now, if only we had a Land's End outlet nearby....

  10. Bonnie, Bonnie, Bonnie. This could be the start of Book Two! As always, your system can't be beat and you've got me saving those bonus triangles too. Have you tried Eleanor Burns' new ruler that lets you trim them while still folded? Easy Peasy as the saying goes.

  11. oh yeh....this is a GREAT block!!

  12. I hope all the cake-takers aren't gone when I go to Wally-world but now I'm afraid that they will be! It was a great, fun day! Stay safe~

  13. The amount you can do in a day makes my head spin. These are beautiful. Sounds like you had a very fun, humid weeknd. (it was sticky hot here in NYC too!)

  14. So if you used the stitch and flip of making flying geese units and used those in this block instead but cut off the bonus triangles as you went you would have bonus triangles to start another one with hey????

    Angela in Aust

  15. Y'all, when she got there I helped get her stuff in, and I said, "Is that it?" thinking..."we're going to be here ALL day, where's the rest of your stuff??"

    So THAT'S how you were able to get so much in the door...that's just too smart and efficient. I'm going to WalMart!! Yes, one day I too will be ORGANIZED!

    (OK y'all, stop laughing...there is hope for me yet)

    Another fun day and your quilt is going to be smashing with red sashing!!

  16. Gosh, I see right away a Churn Dash block with fragmented Flying Geese - and you see T's! Yes, I see T's after taking a 2nd look too. Whatever you "see", I just LOVE your scrappy blocks - you sure did get alot made in a quick hurry!!!

  17. I went to Walmart today and bought the only 2 cake takers they had out for sale. And a lady in line asked me what kind of cakes I was going to use them for. After I told her about using them for sewing projects I could see her brain working. They will fit into my mega tote just great. Yes, this could be a subject for the next book.
    XOXOXO Subee in Northern Indiana

  18. Hay Bonnie - see what I did with YOUR ideas! (Yesterday's post, 9/22). Once again, a giant THANK YOU! I've ordered your book through ????? - can't wait to see what MORE you've come up with that I COPY uhhhh emulate!!!! LOL


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