Friday, September 30, 2011

Part 7 - Sneak Peek at Hearts & Hands for Sendai Quilts!

Another exciting aspect of the Show n' Tell at this year's retreat was a sneak peek at the Hearts & Hands for Sendai quilts.  Leslie organized this event in support for the devastation created by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Sendai, Japan, earlier this year. 92 crazy quilt blocks were created and donated!  Now, Leslie is putting the blocks all together and we were able to get a look at them in progress.  They are wonderful and my terrible photography in no way does them justice!















Thousands of people lost their lives as a result of the earthquake in March so hopefully the money raised from the exhibition and subsequent sale of these quilts will help in the continuing relief efforts.  They will all be heading off to Japan soon.

Giveaway

Still lots of time to enter my giveaway here!

Part 6 - Retreat - Challenge Round Robin

Something we tried this year was a Retreat Challenge Round Robin with the finished blocks being revealed at the retreat.  There were two challenge fabrics available but when we chose which one we only knew the colourway and not the actual fabric.  Here are the two fabrics that had to be incorporated into the blocks:


Colleen organized this challenge round robin and chose the fabrics.  Didn't she do a good job?  lol - "challenge" was the operative word I think for some people!  Personally, I liked both fabrics, but I loved the yellow/pink/blue one!  It was great fun to stitch on!

I'll share what I did on the blocks I worked on later but in the meantime here are some of the finished blocks as we saw them at retreat.  A few were not completed in time and are going back for more stitching but it is interesting to see what everyone did with these fabrics.











This last one is my block.  I think Nancy did the piecing on this one.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Part 5 - Retreat - Show 'n Tell

Show and Tell is always a highlight at Retreat!  We get to see and touch (and drool over!) some of the projects others have completed as they are passed around.  It is so great to see them in person!  Photos are great but there is nothing like the real deal.  I have completely lost track of who made what so will just give you a few photos of some of the BoHo bags that were made this year and tell you they were created by the lovely ladies at retreat and members of CQI.  I am not taking credit for any of these because I definitely didn't get anything this great accomplished!




Part 4 - Regular Fun Events at the September Stitch Shenanigans

There are some really fun little events that have become part of each retreat.  One of these is the "stash dash"!  Everyone brings their excess stash of fabrics and they all get spread out on tables and dive in with our scissors to help ourselves to bits of what we would like.  Good fun and great stash building opportunity!


 As you can see, some of us really have our arms full after all the fun!

 We also have a silent auction of items donated by our sponsors and members.  The fund raising efforts like this help us to build scholarship funds for those who would like to come to retreat but are not able because of financial circumstances.  This year we were able to bring several people in on the fun of retreat!  This is another great way to build stash.  The bidding got pretty hot and heavy and although I missed out on some of the items I was bidding on, I did manage to bring home enough items to keep me occupied for the rest of my life! 
 These lovely gift packages you can see around the fireplace are the items for the Chinese Auction.  Everyone who wishes to participate brings a gift, usually a handmade item or some great stash.  We count off around the room so everyone gets a number and then we start drawing numbers out of the hat.  The first person gets to pick the package of their choice and open it.  Then the second person picked has the choice of either opening the gift of their choice or "stealing" the gift the first person opened. This continues on like this with each person either opening or stealing until everyone has something.  If you get "robbed", you get to open another gift of your choice or steal something but can't relax as that one might be taken next!  Each gift can only be "stolen" twice - the third person to get their hands on it gets to keep it.  Things were flying back and forth with no one holding onto anything for very long - I think poor Janet must have been getting dizzy with the number of times she was robbed!  Everything is very good natured and although I have never enjoyed this type of thing anywhere else I have encountered it, with this group it is great fun!  I ended up with a beautiful crazy quilted cushion Colleen made after having a variety of things pass through my hands.
Holly was the lucky one to get to keep this gem!  Lovely Lauri makes these crazy quilted bears and I don't think she'll ever get to stop now - we all watch for them to pop out of one of the packages!

I know I haven't covered all these little yearly events but my mind is still buzzing with all that goes on at retreat.  Just wanted to give you a taste of the fun we had!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Part 3 - September Stitch Shenanigans - More Techniques to Learn

One of the best parts of the CQI Retreat is the way all the ladies are willing to share their skills and teach others.  Holly and Ilys did a little tatting class.  Tatted trims and motifs are so popular it was a wonderful opportunity to learn this skill.
 There is nothing like one on one instruction to learn!
 Colleen did a wonderful demonstration of dying wool using Koolaid.  It was quick and easy and look at all the gorgeous pieces of wool hanging on the porch to dry!
 The red one was my favourite I think but the different flavours we used all created wonderful results.
 A bonus was how great it smelled with all the different flavours of Kool-Aid - much nicer than some chemical smelling dyes!
There was a wonderful class in using waste canvas for lettering as well but I missed that one unfortunately.  I would have loved to pick up any new tips to improve my skills at that.  These mini-classes just show the generous spirit of crazy quilters and are a regular part of the retreat!

The Carny Roadside Attraction School of Crazy Quilting - Retreat Workshop with Martha Green

One of the highlights of the Crazy Quilting International Retreat this year was a one day workshop with Martha Green, the lady above in the green dress.
Martha is a lovely person and a real delight to meet, as well as being a wonderful teacher.  In the morning, Martha taught us her method of piecing blocks which was a real revelation to me.  I can't wait to try it for myself and piece my first full size crazy quilt using it!

 Seeing Martha's class samples was another delight - inspiring eye candy!





In the afternoon session Martha taught us all about "shooting blanks" and "little breads".  If you ever get a chance to take a class from Martha, I would really encourage you to!  I can't recommend her Carny Roadside Attraction School of Crazy Quilting is not to be missed!