Friday, November 16, 2012


As you probably already know, I enjoy crafts that people double or triple my age typically enjoy. So I jumped at the opportunity to go up to a quilting retreat for the weekend with one of my neighbors, Kelly. This was a retreat up at the Long Lake Conservation Center in Palisade, MN (between Aitkin and McGregor if anyone has a clue where those are, I didn't-- and maybe still don't). 

This retreat is put on every year by a bunch of women who were associated with the, now defunct and unknown to me, Wayzata Quilt Emporium. They have been doing it for over a decade or more. In my head I had kind of imagined this would be a weekend of sitting around in a circle hand quilting and telling stories of yore with a bunch of 80 year olds about walking up hill both ways to school. Not the case – the majority of these quilters were around 55 or so and had the most high-tech sewing equipment on the market. No hand quilters in the bunch. Also the sheer volume of stuff these women carted to this thing was astonishing. I thought I was bringing too much when I loaded about 5 big bags into the car. Turns out I packed light, comparatively! We convened every waking minute in this 'lodge' where we sewed and ate our meals. We stayed in a dorm/bunk house a short walk away. We arrived Friday and left Monday morning, but the weekend went quick!

My project is over 90 years in the making, yes not a typo--90!!! My great grandma made these sweet 'flowers' some 90 years ago and then never got around to making anything with them. So about thirty years, my mom put together quilt, but used an ugly fabric on the back and polyester batting. So I ripped it out and started again with off white fabric on the back and now have to hand stitch it all and doing the binding on the end to finish it up.  Each one of these flower squares that I am stitching takes me around an hour and half (more with distractions). I like the direction it is going in though. Looks nice, but there are 30 squares and I just finished the 7th square.

A lot of people worked on projects other than quilts. I sewed some curtains for the playroom in the basement (photos in a different post), hemmed some of my dad's pants and started working on a new duvet for Steve and my bed.

This is my favorite quilt out of all the ones that I saw at the retreat It looks ever more awesome close up, made out of all batik fabrics. This woman was making it for a wedding present for her son and new daughter-in-law. It was very intense. I would say that 90-95% of the quilts I saw others making were not my style, but that's not to say that they weren't well made.

The Conservation Center is situated on more than 800 acres. Both of the full days we were there I took hikes around on different paths. This one is from a two-mile hike around the lake. Right before I took this, I saw two deer hopping by. I like how ominous this picture looks with the menacing trees in the background

Perhaps hard to tell proportions here, but this thing is huge! 15 people could easily fit in it. This would be awesome to put in the sod circle in our backyard.

Kelly and I went into the town of McGregor (I say town loosely, since it seemed like pop. 15) and drove by this nutty place. I told her that we had to stop and she willingly obliged. This place was a hoot (to use an old person-ism). It was called Molly's Mess and it was one of the craziest antique store experiences to date. I felt like I was on the show American Pickers. To say that Molly was insane would be an understatement – just like all the wacky people on the show. She even referenced how they might be coming up to do the show at her store. The place was just jam packed with stuff and you could barely walk. Each room opened up to another, even bigger room and it seemed never ending.

After one of the most bizarre transactions/exchanges of money I have ever had in my life, I acquired these new, little cuties. They will go on the wall somewhere I find space. They were four for $6! Although it kind of ended up being like $10, but with a handful of buttons in exchange for the change, still perplexed by how it all went down. Oh and she also wanted to throw in a cake container too. I passed.

Well there you have it. A fun weekend away quilting and getting to know Kelly better as well as meeting a lot of new people. Two weekends away kind of took a toll on Harriet and, in turn, Steve. Steve was really a trooper for letting me go.

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