Thursday, July 27, 2017

Gruber's Retreat 2017

Warning: this post is quilt-picture heavy as I just returned from our eighth annual quilting retreat in Minnesota. Four full days of sewing with friends!! I look forward to this get-together at Gruber's All.Year.Long! In most cases, I only see these amazing friends once a year, but we pick up right where we left off the previous year like we just saw each other yesterday.

 Once again, I traveled with my featherweight in the Sew Portable Travel Bag.  Jewell got lots of sewing hours in as I assembled the remaining 96 log cabin blocks for my daughter's graduation quilt. Listening to the machine sing stitch as I chain pieced (and chain pieced and chain pieced) each log cabin round was therapeutic.  I really should use this machine more than I do.

My goal was to have the quilt top assembled by Sunday, but I settled with having all the blocks completed and a final layout decided.  The design wall was not large enough to show all the blocks and work on the final layout (I did that digitally and then confirmed on my design wall when I got back home), but it was sufficient to see enough of the pattern to make sure I was on the right track.

In addition to our usual laughing, chatting, and snacking, there was some beautiful projects in the works.  I'll leave it to my friends to share their own photos.  Cindy was doing her magic with solids and Anna Maria Horner prints; Amanda Jean whipped up a quilt top worth of blocks and her adorable pin cushions; Doris completed TWO quilt tops, worked on Heather Ross fussy cut paper pieced star blocks, and made an adorable 3-D unicorn for her niece; Stephanie finished her Metro Rings quilt top started in a retreat from just two weeks before, kept up with her #100Days100blocks project, and made quick progress on the Local quilt; Mary made adorable owls and firebugs to add to her other Elizabeth Hartman Fancy Forest critters; and Shelly worked on THREE projects simultaneously including adorable Elizabeth Hartman flamingos.  We missed having Michelle and Terri with us this year; it's sure not the same when we are without one (or two) of our friends.

Since I wasn't sewing much before retreat, I created Lego sewing machines for my friends.

Exchanging happies has become a ritual at retreat, and I'm always amazed at what my friends create year after year.  Below is the amazing collection of happies I received from my friends this year. 

Having other quilty friends who are in the area pop by is another tradition of our retreat.  Brooke,  Victoria (who invited me to the first retreat but has been unable to attend in recent years) and her daughter Beatrice joined us for dinner at Granite City.

Maria (@QuiltMomofFive on Instagram) came by to meet Stephanie and Shelly as they all follow each other on Instagram and then invited us all to her new lake house for dinner.  Coincidentally Maria is good friends with Heather who I got to meet at our very first retreat in 2010.  

Heather, Amanda Jean, Maria, Shelly, and Stephanie, Krazina, Cindy, Doris
Amanda Jean brought quilts from her new book and we each picked one to sleep under.  I love this Remainders quilt which helped me have the best night sleep of the retreat! 

Here's a close up of the quilt made with tiny triangle trimmings.  Amanda will be teaching her Spin Class at our guild in September, and I think saving all those leftover siggy block trimmings may not have been in vain...haha!

For the last two weeks, I have received Facebook reminders of previous year retreats as they popped up in my Memories from years past.  I thought it would be fun to share them all here in one place.

2010:  Toni, Amanda Jean, Rene', Shelly, Mary, Victoria, Doris, Terri, Shelly
2011:  Doris, Michelle, Rene', Terri, Amanda Jean, Mary, Cindy, Stephanie, Toni, Shelly

2012:  Doris, Michelle, Rene'', Terri, Mary, Cindy, Amanda Jean, Stephanie
2013:  Stephanie, Cindy, Amanda Jean, Mary, Doris, Toni, Rene', Michelle
2014:  Rene', Doris, Toni, Mary, Terri, Stephanie, Cindy, Amanda Jean
2015:  Amanda Jean, Rene', Doris, Mary, Michelle Terri, Cindy, Shelly, Stephanie

2016:  Cindy, Michelle Stephanie, Terri, Shelly, Doris, Mary, Amanda Jean, Rene' 

I am so fortunate to call these ladies my good friends!!  Quilting is an amazingly creative outlet, but having such an incredible group of friends to share this passion is what encourages me to continue!


  1. Such a special week with friends who have seriously changed my life. Love you so much, Rene'! Wish I didn't have to wait another whole year to see you again.

  2. Such a lovely recap Rene' - makes me both happy & sad at the same time. - happy to have all of you as sisters & sad that it will be so long until we see each other again. Love you!

  3. What an awesome time you had! That quilt you slept under reminds me of some table mats I made a few years ago from the leftovers from another project! They are still one of the most favourite things I've made! The quilt is beautiful!

  4. It looks like you had a lot of fun! I would love a tutorial on those sewing machines too!

  5. I love reading about this retreat. Exactly what a retreat should be....lots of friends, fun times, and creativity abounds! Thank you for posting.

  6. Wow, what an amazing retreat, so many fabulous people and quilty projects. So nice that you are able to catch up each year too. Love the look of your log cabin quilt in progress.