Friday, December 28, 2012

quilt camp 2012

I can't believe it's been three weeks since I was at Quilt Camp! This month has been incredibly crazy, which you'll soon learn more about, and I'm finally getting a chance to tell you about my time as a teacher at Brenda's of Pink Castle Fabrics inaugural retreat. 

Quilt Camp was held at the Hankerd Inn Bed and Breakfast in Pleasant Lake, Michigan, which is about an hour drive from Ann Arbor. Brenda had told me about the inn, but it was even more charming than I thought it would be. And Jan, the innkeeper,  really reminded me of staying with my grandmother, because she took care of us like we were her family. She cooked us brunch and dinner every day and made sure we had everything we needed so we could sew as much as we wanted to. It was so great, and it really allowed everyone to get a lot of work done.

My room was in the Inn, which is a great old farmhouse. We also ate all of our meals there in a large, family style dining room.

We worked in the Barn, which is such a great space. Most of the campers stayed there too, as there are bedrooms and living space on the second and third floors and large work rooms on the lower level of the building. 

As you can see, we had plenty of space to work and there were cutting and pressing stations adjacent to the work rooms.

Not only was I a camp counselor at Quilt Camp, but I also brought projects of my own to work on. I really didn't have a choice, since I had to finish (and start!) two quilts for my Creativebug shoot the following week. Things were a bit hectic, to say the least, since I didn't receive the fabric for these projects until Wednesday, the day before I had to leave for Quilt Camp. And I had to leave for San Francisco the day after I arrived home from camp. So I was a busy girl!

Here's my Mod Stripes quilt basted and ready to quilt. I was able to construct and quilt the entire thing while I was at Quilt Camp. I'm telling you, it was such a great environment to work in. And I had so many great women supporting me and encouraging me as I worked.

Once that quilt was done it was on to my last project for Creativebug, which is my Diamonds in the Sky quilt. I was able to cut all of my fabrics late Wednesday night before I drove to Michigan, so that was one thing I didn't have to worry about while I was there.

And I got it done! Here it is, ready to baste. I love taking these photos of the final sketch with the quilt in progress.

Besides Jan the innkeeper, and the encouragement of my friends at camp cheering me on, I think my sweet little friend Bella played a major role in my success, too. She was so adorable!

As I mentioned, I was a camp counselor at Quilt Camp 2012, and I taught a workshop on improv  quilting. I shared multiple ways to construct improvisational blocks and then encouraged my students to get started. I was really surprised at the number of people who had never tried this type of quilting before. And I was so excited about the work that everyone produced. Seriously, each of my campers did a phenomenal job and her own personal aesthetic really showed through in the work she produced.

Seriously amazing, right? I could not be more proud of the work they did.

I hung up the blocks as the campers finished them on one of the walls in our workroom. It made such a huge impact and it was really incredible to see them all together.  

As you can see, we easily filled up the entire wall. My students brought scraps from home to make their improvisational blocks with, but Brenda sells great scrap packs of modern quilting fabric that would be perfect for a project like this too. You can find them here in her shop

My fellow counselors taught great classes, too. Faith Jones of Fresh Lemons Quilts taught her Poinsettia Mini Quilt pattern, which is such an amazing block. 

photo by Brenda of Pink Castle Fabrics

Jeni Baker of In Color Order taught a class on her popular drawstring bags, which are so adorable. 

And our host, Brenda, taught a class on English Paper Pieced Hexagons. I saw many campers who quickly became obsessed with making hexis. 

The Hankard Inn is located in a really remote setting. If the weather had been warmer, I would loved to have taken a walk around the grounds. But, it was December in Michigan, after all, so I didn't spend much time outside, other than waking from building to building.

Every day at camp we were greeted with the sound of Canadian Geese, which would often land in the field across the street from the inn. I caught this photo of them flying overhead, too.

And as I was packing my car on the last day of camp, I spotted these Sandhill Cranes. They were really amazing creatures, and they reminded me a bit of something you'd find in a Dr. Seuss book.

As I said above, I was really productive at Quilt Camp, but so was everybody else. The way our time was structured, with just a few classes combined with lots of open sewing time, really allowed everybody to get a lot of work done. It was amazing to see what everyone produced in just three days. This photo shows the kitchen space that is upstairs from the workrooms where everyone hung their finished quilts over the third floor balcony.

Quilt Camp was really an amazing experience for me. I met some virtual friends in person, and I also met some other really great new friends. If this sounds like a good time to you, you're in luck, because Brenda has just announced her next sewing retreat, Camp Stitchalot.

Camp Stitchalot will take place May 3-5, 2013, again at the Hankard Inn, and the lineup of counselors is really amazing: Katy Jones will be teaching how to make a clasp pouch bag; Melody Miller and Rashida Coleman-Hale are teaching a circle skirt class together; and Rae Hoekstra is teaching a class on her Lickety Split bag. Sounds amazing, right?? I so wish I could join them! You can sign up for Camp Stitchalot on Brenda's shop here.


Teje Karjalainen said...

I can just imagine how wonderful time you have spent! Thank you for your story and photos! Happy New Year! x Teje

Marjorie's Busy Corner said...

Wow!! looks like lots of fun was had. I really love both of your patterns.

Jean(ie) said...

That's a nice place to have camp! Beautiful facility! I love all the smiles and different blocks/quilts.

Hexies are SO addicting!

Janice @ Better off Thread said...

Wow, it looks like you had SO much fun! I loved seeing all the photos. I really hope to attend a sewing weekend someday.

Michele said...

Wow, wow and more wow! That all looks absolutely amazing...the location, the group of quilters and what was accomplished. I can't make the next one but I'll look forward to another great recap of all the happenings.

Darling Jill Quilts said...

It looks like it was an awesome time! Great pictures!

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