Friday progress report: Quilt Retreat was just what I needed


Last weekend I traded in my husband and dogs for a weekend of quilting in DeWitt, Iowa. The small town about 30 minutes from the Quad-Cities, where I live is home to Grace Lutheran Camp, the site of my guild’s semi-annual quilt retreat.

Normally I take Thursday and Friday off for four glorious days of quilting, productivity and no distractions. But poor planning of vacation days, meant I headed out after work on Thursday and Friday, and the only full day of sewing I had was Saturday.

Nevertheless it was still a very welcome break from my too-busy life. I went to bed when I was tired, got up when my body was ready and quilted in between.

I’ve been cleaning out my sewing room. More on why in a couple weeks. But I’ve identified a few projects that take up too much space in pieces and, with just a little effort, could become quilt tops so they can hang neatly in the closet.


My Christmas New York Beauty is one of them. I have a giant tiered plastic container that contains all the parts to this quilt and another one that houses the blocks. It takes up far too much space, but after two years of working on this quilt, it’s time to finish it.

I had been putting it off for two reasons. First, it is difficult to find a moment when my mind is clear enough to tackle paper piecing and curved seams at home. Second, I’ve always wanted to quilt it myself, but didn’t think I was ready until now.

So that’s how it came to be that the Christmas New York Beauty was the only project I brought with to retreat. The decision proved to be a fruitful one. I finished 17 blocks, and just have eight more to go until I have the 64 needed to make a king-sized quilt.


The end is so close I even experimented with possible layouts one night after I was done sewing. What’s even crazier to imagine is that I may have a fall quilt finished and one my bed in time for Thanksgiving, and a Christmas quilt finished and on my bed in time for the holidays. I’m normally the quilter who intends to finish something by the New Year and finishes it in June instead, so this is a big accomplishment.

What project would you like to see get out of the UFO pile and onto your bed?

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Comment (1)

  1. I’ve just been asked to make a T-shirt quilt for a friend’s daughter’s boyfriend. I agreed, and googled T-shirt quilt videos, and found yours. You told me everything I wanted to know … which interfacing, how to section the blocks for construction, and how to add the sashing only to the top and one side before arranging the pieces and joining them.

    I am so grateful to your hard work and clarity and offering these videos. Bravo!

    I now have the confidence to approach my first t-shirt quilt! thank you!


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