To flange or not to flange- what is the question?

Okay, so this might be the first time in my retreat going history that I have finished a quilt within a month of the event. I mean really, I still have quilt tops from past years I haven’t finished yet, but this one? It’s done.  If you read my earlier post, you know that this pattern is “Urban Cabin” by Atkinson Designs.  You also know that I never seem to purchase patterns and fabric at the same time, so I don’t normally have correct yardage.  This is the perfect example, hence the 1″ piano key border, and the leftover 10″ squares on the back.

Urban Cabin- Retreat quilt

It’s probably because I have the added pressure of there being a purpose for this quilt- I want to give it to my sister-in-law.  I find that having a real purpose usually spurs me on a little more than just for the fun of it.  Although, that should be a good enough reason as well!

Urban Cabin flange

I do a lot of improvisational quilting, mostly because I am usually ill prepared, or I just don’t want to do it that way.  This time, I only had a stack of 10″ squares and a smallish bundle of 2 1/2″ strips, plus just barely enough of the dark brown for the background.  This led to a problem when it came to the binding and all I had enough left to use were the 2 1/2″ strips.  I couldn’t put them right up next to the piano key border- it was just too much.  So, I dug through the scraps of dark brown and found that I had just enough left to make a 1/4″ flange to break it up a bit.  Worked perfectly if you ask me.

Urban Cabin back

I had a few 10″ squares left, so I dug through my bins to find just enough of these other fabrics to put together a back.  I really love piecing backs, and I really hate not using ALL of the fabric I have purchased.

So, as if a finished retreat quilt wasn’t enough to puff up my pride, I also am pretty dang pleased with the photo editing I learned how to do for this post.  By golly, I will figure out all this new fangled technology.  After all, improv is my thing.

Retreat! Retreat!

Each year a few of my quilting buddies and I head on over to a little local retreat center owned by a church.  We look forward to this every year, and it is always a lot of fun.  It just lasts for about 24 hours, which is perfect for our little group.  We arrive Friday afternoon and are out by late Saturday afternoon, perfect for those who can’t get off work too early on Friday, and those who want to be home in time to be prepared for church on Sunday.  Our meals are provided by the retreat center, but there is always lots of snacks and treats to help keep away the sleepiness that starts to set in at about 1:00 am!

So, today’s post is a little bit of a photo album of our retreat, but also features a pretty cool quilt, if you ask me!  Enjoy!

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Ruthie (my machine) and I are all packed and ready to go.  You can tell I’ve done this a few times because there is a lot less crap this year than in times past!  I can’t believe how much stuff I hauled out there the first year.  For one night.

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This is the cabin we stay in.  It sleeps up to 40- 20 on the top, and 20 on the bottom.  That’s right, bunk beds!  There are 7 bathrooms and 10 showers, plus a small kitchenette including fridge and microwave.  We don’t prepare meals here- we head on over to the cafeteria where our chef makes fabulous fare, and we are quite pleased not to have to worry about dishes!

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This is our chef.  He is such a nice guy, and seriously, the food is wonderful.  I am always so impressed by the fact that he gets a little creative.  No ordinary chicken dish for this guy- try grilled chicken breasts with fresh herbs and some-kinda-fabulous sauce.  Yeah, it’s that good.

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The cabin is set up perfect for a retreat like this- large space in the center with tables for sewing and cutting, with bunkrooms and bathrooms on either side of the main room.  We don’t go to retreat to sleep, but we do try to make sure that the ones that want to go to bed a little earlier are in the same room, and that the ones that are planning on just taking a nap are in a different room!

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(This is me, by the way!)

(This is me, by the way!)

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Our retreat involves a mix of projects from home as well as a project that our illustrious guild president picks for us each year.  As you can see, there was a lot going on this year, but the quilt of choice was “Urban Cabin” by Atkinson Designs.  I really liked this pattern for a couple of reasons.  It has a lot of size options, all of them generous, and as long as you pay attention, it goes together really quick.  You can use a jelly roll, or not.  I, of course, didn’t have the correct yardage, and had to do a little improvisational quilting.  Big surprise.

Not only did I not have correct yardage, but I also did one set of my blocks incorrectly (truth in blogging you know).  Notice how one set of blocks looks kinda like a “7” and the other set of blocks look kinda like a backwards “L”?  Well, my “7” is supposed to look like a backward “7”, and this is one of those blocks that you can’t just turn around to make it right.

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So, what did I do?  I just made all of them the wrong way and called it good.  Can you tell the difference between mine and the others?

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I didn’t have enough of any of my print fabrics to make a proper border, so I decided on 1″ piano keys.  I almost finished my top…

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The other thing I love about retreat is checking out everyone’s bunks.  They don’t know it, but I sneak in every room to see what quilts they’ve got on their beds this year!

(I love this picture!)

(I love this picture!)

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(my bed)

(my bed)

Retreat was definitely a success this year- relaxing, but I got a lot done. Laughter with my friends, but none of the drama. Good food, but no dishes.  A few tears, but a whole lot of comfort.  I love these girls- so many of them are the salt of the earth, and I am grateful to be part of such a great group!
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Can’t wait to do it again, but next year I am not sitting under the vent- too dang cold!  And, I will remember my first aid kit-

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