Sunday, October 6, 2013

No Hasty Retreat

It's quilt retreat season, at least in my neck of the woods.  (I don't know about any local-ish spinning/weaving retreats; maybe I can work on that next year.)   For unknown reasons, this year I'm noticing more how my quilting friends approach a retreat.  I'm definitely a lightweight.

Me?  The night before a reatreat, or maybe even the morning of, I turn around in my studio a few times and grab a few project bags.  I could turn 100 times, stopping at every compass direction, and still not be out of UFOs outside my reach.    I grab a sleeping bag, pillow, towel and flashlight, load up my sewing machine and chair, a few rulers and rotary cutter, and I'm on my way.  (I always have my electronic gadgets for audiobooks, so I don't have to think about that.)

However, not so with many of my quilting buddies.  Months ago they started cutting out quilts for retreat.  "Seriously?  We're barely into the same YEAR as the retreat!"  Weeks before the reatreat they start to ask if I'm ready for retreat.  The answer, any day before the first day of the retreat, is "no."  (Or, yes, depending on how you look at it--with my method, I can load up and go to a retreat on very short notice.  I've never been invited to a spontaneous retreat, though.  Hmm.  That might be kind of an interesting concept to pursue.)

Once at the retreat the differences become more noticeable.  The bunkrooms and cabins are filled with very homey quilts and homemade pillowcases, rugs outside the shower in the bathroom, and sewing stations that rival the coziest, most efficient workstations that any quilter could wish for.

You could look at my approach as spontaneous, efficient, economical.  Or, you could look at it as bad planning on my part.  (I'm going with the former, but feel free to make your own choice about that.)  In any case, this time I'm going to try my friends' approach and see if it works for me.  Of course, I' already behind because I didn't start cutting out months ago, and didn't start packing weeks ago.  (In my defense, I do sometimes think to myself, "I suppose I could this at a retreat."  I've not kept track of how often that results in it accompanying me to a retreat but my best guess is that the number is not very high.  Have I mentioned that I have a LOT of UFOs?)

So, I'm asking all of you, dear readers, to help me out with adopting your approach. (I know, there's not much time.)   Here's what I've done so far:

1) Made a Nancy Drew pillowcase.  I'm a retired librarian, and there aren't many women my age who didn't absorb every Nancy Drew.  There were other candidates for the retreat--notably one of the hotochocolate pillowcases I made this week--but I think Nancy is going to win out.  Maybe I'll make a pillowcase for every retreat!

2) Started pulling out UFOs to take.  One must always take more projects than one could possibly complete--that's a retreat law.  It's also necessary for me and my short attention span.   While adding to this pile, I excavated some projects that I had LONG forgotten about, and cleared off a shelf.  There is every possibility (well, probability) that that shelf is going to fill up again when I get back and put the UFO right back on the shelf.  But I expect credit for the intent.

3) Cut out a quilt for a new pattern.  My friend Jeanette, who plans ahead for these things, will have me beat on this one by about 37 quilts, but sometimes you have to start small.

4) Thought about a quilt I might take with me, to put on my bed.  But do I have to color coordinate it?  Go with scrappy?  Decisions, decisions....

5) Gathering chocolate and tea bags.  That will make my sewing station home for me.  :-)

So, what else?  I suppose I could pack some sheets, and use those instead of a sleeping bag.  My roommates might welcome the absence of the rustling of the sleeping bag when I toss and turn.  I'm going to opt out of sewing/quilting my own sheets, though.

Maybe this retreat I'll be at least a medium-weight.  Next time I could....wait, I could weave rugs for the cabin, and under my feet in the sewing lodge.  Then I could......create a quilting monster??

What do you take to a retreat that makes it feel cozy and warm for you?

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