Thursday, October 28, 2010


We started Sunday morning at breakfast (8:00 a.m.). That was followed by Show and Tell. Gosh, I don't know how those gals had time to finish anything...most of them attended three to six classes during the retreat! Not everyone who took the class got up to show their work. Remember you can click on the picture to enlarge it. If you click again, you can enlarge it even further.
These are samples from Sharon Schamber's "Domestic Machine Quilting" class. Those free-motion feathers were beautiful (and not that hard to do with Sharon's guidance).
Sharon Schamber also taught a "Leaf Piec-lique" class. This method looked like something I might even try (especially since I'm terrible at hand applique).
These little quilts are from Debby Cresanto's "Show Pin Quilt" class. How cute are these?
These samples are from Pat Vargo's "Mexican Stars" class. I love the variety of colors in these quilts.
Lorie Boyd (second from the left) taught this class using a "lunch bag" pattern she liked because she thought "it was cute and had lots of pockets." There were things she didn't like about the pattern, though, so she changed it to suit her purpose. She added a closure to it and made it into a purse. I think the class participants were VERY pleased with the results!
Tanja Todd-Kellum taught the "Scrappy Star Quilt" class. These blocks turned out so lively...I just loved them and was "jealous" I hadn't taken the class.
Cathy Cutter taught the "Storm at Sea Made Simple" class. Cathy showed the girls an easy technique to make these difficult blocks.
"Sunday Brunch" by Divine Inspirations is the name of the pattern used in this class. Kimberly Camou (in the back row, third from the left) was the teacher and is the designer of this quilt. Kimberly is a member of the Pickin' Up The Pieces Quilt Guild (as were all the teachers except Sharon). This quilt uses layer cakes (fabric...not food). I'm a scrap quilt lover, so I bought this pattern. Right after I bought the pattern, my name was drawn and I won the pattern. I gave it back to be drawn again, but I wish I had thought to keep it. I could have used it as a give-away prize on this blog! Oh well....
This is a picture of items from Sharon Schamber's "Corded Binding" class. The pieces are small, so you may need to click on the picture once or twice to enlarge it. You can see Cathy's corded binding on the pockets of her sweatshirt. She's in the black sweatshirt in the middle of the picture.

After Show and Tell, the drawings where done (I've already shown you the winners in a separate blog post.) Then came the live auction. We had been "teased" with these auction items the entire weekend. There were SO many things it took me two pictures to show them all.

There were 53 auction items in all. Items were donated by guild members and many individuals and organizations. The money raised during the retreat is fed right back into the fund for the next retreat. These retreats are held every other year.

The auctioneer for the evening was the retreat chairperson's (Debby Cresanto's) husband. He did a FANTASTIC job.
Debby and her husband said their goodbyes to the attendees of the "It's Raining Cats and Pups," Pickin' Up The Pieces Quilt Guild 2010 Retreat.
This retreat was just wonderful. The women of the Pickin' Up the Pieces Quilt Guild could not have been more warm and friendly to us Indiana Girls (as they called us). The hard work done by Debby's committee was evident throughout the entire weekend. I'm sure they are relieved that their work for this year is done and that the retreat was such a great success. The committee for the next retreat has been selected, and I'm sure work for the 2012 retreat has already begun. "Good job" to the 2010 committee and "good luck" to the 2012 committee.

I've shared a lot of the retreat with you all, but there are just some things that couldn't be shared with the public. You know the saying, "What happens at the quilt retreat, stays at the quilt retreat!" All I can say is, "Debby, keep an eye on the twins and that curling iron of yours!"

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I recently attended a quilt retreat put on by Pickin' Up the Pieces Quilt Guild from Memphis. This is my third entry about the retreat so far. There is one more after this one.

Lots of raffles, contests, and drawings were available. Retreat participants were able to purchase tickets for a variety of raffles. A Bernina sewing machine and a Thimbleberries gift basket valued at $250 were two of the items being raffled off.
Ana is in this picture (on the right) because she won SO many times that she decided to award her Thimbleberries prize to someone else. (She won a table runner, the Thimbleberries drawing, the layer cake drawing, and was awarded a prize at the pajama party for her Halloween pjs.) Everyone encouraged Ana to purchase a lottery ticket!

Each participant was asked to bring 10-10" layer cake fabric pieces. Names were put into a drawing for these fabrics. Another drawing winner was chosen from those who guessed the number of dog biscuits in a jar. Bidding on silent auction items went on throughout the retreat.

Ana won the layer cakes and a pattern book.
Silent auction items were located in a room adjacent to the dining room.

The retreat committee also sent information about "Opportunity Blocks" to retreat participants--participation optional. Two blocks were selected--a star block and a log cabin block. The focus fabric and instructions were mailed before the retreat. Completed blocks had to be mailed back by May 1 so retreat committee members could make the blocks into finished quilted items--a table runner and two quilts. Each person that turned in a block received an opportunity ticket at the retreat. Additional tickets were available for purchase. The drawing was held on Sunday.
Ana won an "Opportunity Block" table runner.
We could also participate in a Star-Quilt Challenge. The requirements (sent by mail to each retreat participant) were that the quilt must be square and measure between 20" - 24" in size. It must have three stars on the front of the quilt (each star made using a different technique and each star being a different size). The winner was selected by the retreat participants.
 The award went to the third quilt from the left. The surprised winner is shown (with her prize) below.
Check back for Day 3 activities.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


After dinner, the pajama party, and the Mannequin Dress Up game, Sharon Schamber showed us some of her gorgeous quilts. She talked about the quilts, answered any questions we had, and let us actually touch any piece we wanted to. She had many, many quilts to show us; I didn't get pictures of too many of them. Frankly, I was so engrossed in the display that I forgot to take pictures! Here are the pictures I took...

This quilt is called "Sitting Bull." It was made in 2002 and measures 90" x 93". It appeared in "Great American Quilts," 2004, and "American Quilter," Fall 2004.
This is a close up of "Sitting Bull."
Sharon's quilt, "A Perfect Moment," is shown in this picture. Sharon is describing the quilt and the methods she used to make the quilt. The detail in this quilt is amazing. Be sure to click on the picture to get a closer look. The quilt measures 85" X 101". Sharon made a similar quilt with a lady in green that she called "Emerald Reflections." That quilt was destroyed in a UPS truck fire while on its way to the "Quilter's Newsletter Magazine" for an article on July 30, 2000. Sharon reconstructed it after the fire; she named its "replacement" "Memories of Emerald Reflections."
I got a close up of "A Perfect Moment" when she "passed it around."
I didn't catch the name of this quilt, but she said something about an owl while she was speaking about the quilt. The circles in the quilt remind me of an owl's eyes. The hand-dyed fabrics she used are beautiful. She informed us that she does the dyeing herself. A close up is below.
The quilt top below is a work in progress. The amount of work in this top is incredible. I wish I could remember how many TINY circles she said are appliqued onto this top--I can't. I just remember that there was an audible gasp in the room when she told us.

I wish I had taken more pictures; but I didn't have the greatest seat for picture taking, and I was totally absorbed by the quilts and by her stories. If you would like to see more of Sharon's quilts and learn about her patterns, books, products, classes, and DVDs, be sure to check out her website at

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Day 2 started off at 8:00 a.m. with a wonderful breakfast in the dining room. Coffee and other drinks were readily available throughout the day. Snacks were also provided after dinner (like we really needed them)!

Sharon Schamber visited with one of the PUP Quilt Guild members during a meal.
Joyce and Nancy enjoying the retreat.
Vendors had many items available for purchase at the retreat...just in case we forgot something or had to have a quilt-purchase fix.
The large sewing room was once again divided into three classrooms, and classes began at 9:00 a.m.--Sharon Schamber (Leaf Piec-lique), Tanja Todd-Kellum (Scrappy Star), and Lorie Boyd (Desk Deli Bag w/a Twist). Free sewing was also available. I spent my time free sewing; I was new to the retreat and hadn't wanted to tie myself up with too many classes. If I get the chance to go again, though, I'll be taking lots more classes.

"Leaf Piec-lique" Classroom
This is Lorie Boyd teaching the "Desk Deli Bag w/a Twist" class.
Lunch was at 12:30 followed by another round of classes--Sharon Schamber (Corded Binding), Kimberly Camou (Sunday Brunch), and Pat Vargo (Mexican Stars).

These two pictures are from the "Corded Binding" classroom.

Each retreat participant was asked to bring a quilt to put on their bed. During the day, the rooms were open for a "quilt show." This was great fun! This is my room--you might recognize the quilt I made for my Mom (on the left).
Dinner was scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Retreat participants were asked to wear their pajamas for a pajama party. Prizes were awarded for the top three "best" pajamas!
 These pajamas were ranked number one!
There was also a game called "Mannequin Dress Up." Three teams, made up of three people each, had a grocery bag full of dress-up items. Team members used the items to dress their "mannequin" (one of their team members) in a VERY short time. The "best-dressed" mannequin was determined by applause from the crowd; that team was awarded a prize.
After dinner, we were treated to Sharon Schamber's Lecture/Trunk show. We were "awed" by her talent. My pictures from that will be on an upcoming post. Check back.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I'm finally home to write up a few blog entries about the wonderful retreat in Tennessee I was fortunate enough to attend on October 1, 2, and 3rd. I can't say enough good things about this event. The retreat was run like a "well-oiled machine" by the sponsoring quilt guild--Pickin' Up the Pieces Quilt Guild from Memphis.

First...the location...St. Columbia Episcopal Center in Memphis, TN...
This was a wonderful place to hold a retreat. The Episcopal Center is situated on 145 wooded acres. There are two separate lodges which offer overnight accommodations for up to 75 people and a variety of meeting or recreational spaces for up to 300 people. (We only used one of the lodges.)

This is the lodge where the retreat was held. Scheibler Lodge has 20 sleeping rooms and can accommodate up to 51 people for overnight retreats.
Food (which was wonderful) was served in a dining room in the lodge that can seat as many as 100 people. As you can see from this picture, quilts decorated many of the rooms in the lodge.
Arrival time was set for 12:30 p.m. on Friday. I knew I'd like this retreat from the moment I drove in the parking lot. Before I could even begin to unload my car, someone was there to help me. Guild members totally unloaded the car and put my "stuff" in a sewing room; they even helped with my luggage. All of my quilting stuff was unloaded in record time (and there was a lot of it).

Friendly guild members greeted me at the front desk and gave me a packet of information which included an agenda of the weekend's activities. I made my way up to my room to find a pillowcase filled with "goodies." The PUP (Pickin' Up the Pieces) retreat committee members had made every attendee a special pillowcase to take home. Inside the pillowcase was a hand-made cell phone case and many other "quilty-type" items--definitely a nice touch that made everyone feel welcome.

Sharon Schamber was the "Feature Teacher" at the retreat. Sharon has won many prestigious quilting awards including multiple wins at the AQS Show in Paducah, KY. I had the opportunity to take her "Domestic Machine Quilting" class. She is a wonderful teacher.

There was one big sewing space that had portable walls that could be used to create three individual classrooms. The room was divided and three different classes started at 1:30 p.m.--Sharon Schamber (Domestic Machine Quilting), Cathy Cutter (Storm at Sea-made simple), and Debby Cresanto (Show Pin Quilt). I took Sharon Schamber's class where we learned to make quilted feathers without marking.
Dinner was at 5:30 p.m. The meal ended with a timed game of naming quilting gadgets called "Name That." A prize was given to the game winner.

The rest of the evening was spent on "free" sewing in the big sewing room (portable walls removed). Sewing in pajamas and bare feet was highly recommended after dinner! Some people took the "comfort thing" to a whole new level...notice what is hanging off the back of Tanja's chair! I knew we were kindred spirits when I saw that!

Stay tuned the next few days for a day-by-day run down of retreat activities along with lots of pictures.

...a quick update on my Dad...
We moved my Dad (who had a hemorrhagic stroke and had to be airlifted to a nearby hospital while they were on vacation in Branson, MO) to an in-patient rehab facility in Memphis, TN, close to my sister. He is doing really well--gaining more movement in his right leg each day. His big wish is to be able to golf again. (He is used to golfing five days a week and walking over five miles each day--with golf clubs!) Thank you for all the prayers and well wishes; I can't tell you how much it means to me.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

"Life" Has Intervened

I just wanted to let you all know that I have lots of great pictures from my quilting retreat in Memphis. I also have A LOT to tell you about; however, "life" has intervened. My Dad and step-mom were on vacation in Branson, MO, when my Dad had a brain bleed. He was taken from Branson to St. John's Hospital in Springfield, MO, by helicopter. I drove here so I could be with them. I'm in Missouri at the hospital now.

I'm not sure when I'll be home to write about the retreat. Hopefully, it won't be too long. Check back.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Did You Know?/Harvest Moon

Did you know this is "The Year of the Quilt?" Well, the American Folk Art Museum in New York City is celebrating "The Year of the Quilt" with a series of exhibits and special events. The first exhibit is called, "QUILTS: Masterworks from the American Folk Art Museum." It runs from October 5, 2010 to October 16, 2011. There will be a display change in late February. The show is curated by Elizabeth V. Warren and will fill the museum with quilts from over 200 years of quiltmaking history. If you will be in New York City or are planning a vacation, consider this as a destination. (Part I of the exhibition will be on view through April 24, 2011. The galleries will be closed for installation April 26–May 8. Part II will open May 10.) I had a chance to visit the museum on a couple of my visits to the city; it is an absolutely marvelous place. For more information, visit, or call 212-265-1040. I'm really hoping I get a chance to see this exhibit.

On the evening news, the weatherman was discussing the beautiful, huge "harvest moon." I went outside and got a look at just what they meant. It was stunning--huge, full, colorful. Of course, the picture doesn't do it justice, but take a look...