Quilting at elevation

This past weekend I was delighted to participate in my first quilting retreat.  Thirteen of us from the Boulder Modern Quilt Guild met at YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, Colorado, to make things all day long.

The view from our workroom at the Boulder Modern Quilt Guild retreat.
The view from our workroom at the Boulder Modern Quilt Guild retreat.

Quilters brought an amazing variety of projects.  I saw advanced paper piecing, improv courthouse steps, quilt tops featuring fantastic color choices or fabric lines, fabric “drawing” a la Melissa Averinos, and even a childrens’ Halloween costume.  A group of participants worked through making the Sew Together bag.  One person brought in the hardware to make keychains with strap loops, and many of us spent half an hour whipping one up in our favorite fabric.

Samples of the sawtooth strips going into a group project.
Samples of the sawtooth strips going into a group project.

Throughout the weekend a design wall held a growing round-robin quilt top to be donated to charity; we took turns adding strips of improv work.  Out in the hallway, some of our best designers took sawtooth strips many of us had sewn up over the previous few months and laid them out in a unified design for a guild submission to the QuiltCon 2016 Charity Quilt Challenge.

Most of my time was spent on my Sea-Fever quilt.  It’s now squared up and almost entirely bound.  It proved too much for my doughty but tiny Brother sewing machine—I jammed it trying to sew on the binding.  Alas, poor Brother.  It’s in the shop now getting realigned and tuned up.  Fortunately, friends let me whip up the last side and a few final details on their sturdier machines.

Despite the intense creative energy in the studio, we kept getting called outside by clear, brisk weather and sunny skies.  The camp borders Rocky Mountain National Park, and trails lead in every direction to beautiful vistas of dramatic cliffs and snowcapped peaks.  Elk and deer wander through at will.  There’s a labyrinth of stones nestled among some of the cabins.  But after a bit we always felt called back in to put needle to fabric again.  It was great to spend so much time doing what we love in the company of like-minded obsessives!

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