Quilt Retreat and a Book Review

Remember two years ago when I went on a quilt retreat in Downieville and ended up buying a house? (You can read about that here.)  Well, this weekend was the Downieville quilt retreat for 2016. I had such a great time. When I was packing up and getting ready for the retreat, I was somewhat hesitant because I was not totally looking forward to the classes I signed up for. But that hesitance was all for naught. The weekend was wonderful and both classes so much fun.

Friday I took a class called Reverse Applique. I thought that it was to be a class on traditional reverse applique where the shape is cut from the top fabric, edges are turned under and the second fabric applied underneath the first (showing through the shape that was cut.)  Nope, this class was really a basic applique class but the images were sliced up a bit and stitched back together to show a negative image against the positive. I chose to make a snowflake theme. (There were several to choose from.)  These are really pretty though.


The process was the basic trace, fuse, and applique. However this was the first time I used a clear polymer thread. Yikes – that was a strange experience.  While my sewing machine was ok with it, my eyes were not!  It was so hard to see what I was doing. There were so many little curves to work around. Once I had them appliqued, we split each one in half and sewed the half triangle to its opposite.


I am in the process of picking the stabilizer off the backs so I can square these and put them together. I think it will hang up at Downieville. The colors are nice for the living room.


Friday night most of us met for dinner at the local Mexican restaurant. This is a tiny guild which makes for a small retreat. I like that though because it is easy to get to know the others. There was a string band playing music and we had dinner on the deck. Very relaxing.

Saturday’s class was a paper piecing project. This was the one I was nervous about. I have only paper pieced one block. While it wasn’t awful, it was tricky for me. Remember my lack of spatial perception? That comes heavily into play with paper piecing.


But what luck. I had the best teacher! She was so patient and even offered to rip out my (numerous) mistakes for me. I didn’t let her do that of course, but it was sweet of her to offer. She patiently explained and explained the process to me and finally it clicked!


Everything about paper piecing is the polar opposite of how my mind works. Placing the fabric from behind, stitching above where you can’t really see the fabric, trimming up for the next piece – it is a trick for me to put that all together. But I think I’ve got it. At least I hope so. I was able to finish three of the six little Christmas trees for this project. (That took me a good five hours to accomplish.) It will be interesting to see if I can jump back in and get the other trees pieced without a whole lot of difficulty.


I am excited to have learned this and hopefully with practice, it will become easier!

As with many quilt guilds, The Mountain Star Quilters do an Opportunity quilt each year. They tend to make somewhat traditional quilts and this year’s was just lovely. I actually joined in with the sewing and had fun making some of the blocks (I think they are Sawtooth Stars?) We raffled it off and the proceeds go to the scholarship fund for the local high school. I took a picture of just a portion because there were people visiting and it blocked part of the quilt but you get the idea. It is a queen size quilt though.



Finally, I wanted to share a bit about a book I recently read. Blogging for Books provided a copy of Still Here, by Lara Vapnyar to me for review. Honestly, I didn’t like the book.


I chose this book because I thought the plot was really relevant to today’s world. Now that people have such an online presence, there are decisions to be made about one’s on-line accounts, blogs, social media, photos etc once a person dies. For example, when people are writing wills and going through the estate planning process, it is now thought prudent to give someone authorization to deal with your on-line property. Who will close your Facebook account, deal with your blog site or Etsy shop? This is something to consider and (obviously) is something that hasn’t had to be dealt with before the last 15 years or so.  I read the description of the book and thought that was to be part of the story.
However, this was not really the case. The story is that of four friends who are all in their late thirties to early forties and have come from Russia to live and work in the US. Honestly, the story moved incredibly slow. I had to force myself to pick it up and continue to read it. The characters are all a bit morose and their attitudes are quite negative as a rule. Each of the four are going through struggles, with career, marriage, parenting, losing their aging parents. I think it would be difficult to move from one country to another and strive to assimilate into the culture. But the four friends in this book are somewhat shallow minded and self obsessed. I kept hoping something would happen to change this. The ending is mostly positive and leaves the reader feeling that maybe these people are going to make some positive changes and possibly mature a bit.
The author does a decent job portraying (almost satirizing) people who are really steeped in today’s social media frenzy. The story is weak and left me feeling almost depressed. Not a great read.

I do think the subject of one’s on-line property is an interesting one. Have you thought about how you would want your accounts to be dealt with should something awful happen? Kind of morbid and uncomfortable, I know, but with the technology that has become such a large part of our world, it is a subject that will be reckoned with.

Linking up with a few of my favorites. Check them out a the top of the page, under Link Ups.


12 thoughts on “Quilt Retreat and a Book Review

  1. Linda

    Oh my gosh when I saw your photo on IG I thought the snowflakes were part of the fabric! :-O Those are beautiful – makes me want to take a class in reverse applique. I tried applique recently, thinking I would find it easy, because I’ve sewn since I was 14 and had experience in applique when I was in my 20s and 30s. Well it was not easy for me, maybe my hands don’t work like they used to. 😉 The tree pattern looks pretty complicated – I love them! I know what you mean by “it finally clicked” – that’s how it was with me, then I liked it. Glad you had a good time – did you buy another house? Lol! 😉

  2. Yvonne @Quilting Jetgirl

    The snowflakes turned out beautifully and how wonderful to have such a great teacher help you with paper piecing. Your trees came together wonderfully and I hope that making the next 3 goes well for you. 🙂

  3. Wendy

    Sounds like you had a great time at your quilt retreat! All of your projects look great. The snowflakes are very cool; I haven’t tried reverse applique, but it looks fun. I enjoy paper piecing; hope your next blocks go together easily! That queen size quilt is gorgeous!

    1. Bernie Post author

      Yep – it was so much fun.I know I will enjoy paper piecing once I get a bit more practice – for now, I just want to be able to finish the rest of the trees!! Crossing my fingers. 🙂

  4. Gloria Cotten

    Sounds like you gained some new skills as well as making new friends at the retreat. Fun! I have not teied revse applique but your project is beautiful! I have done some paper piecing too and had similar trouble with my spatial issue. I finally took a course taught by Jane Hall to make a Mariner’s cmpass block. I didn’t know until I got there that it was paper pieced. It was wonderful. Jane was a patient teacher and was able to make it clear to me. That quilt is still one of my favorites. I finished it after I got home but have not done any pape piecing since!

    1. Bernie Post author

      Gloria, I am glad I am not the only one!! It is so frustrating when I can’t picture how something should be assembled or put together. It is just not how my brain works. I think if I keep practicing (and do it before I forget how!) that I will get better at it.
      I love the Mariner’s Compass – I bet that was a tricky one to piece!

  5. Diana @ Red Delicious Life

    What?! You bought a house on a quilting retreat?! I love how you slipped that in. I had to go and check out your original post. That house was definitely a diamond in the rough. Now that a few years have passed, I’d love to see some of the changes and updates you made.

  6. Stephanie @quilt'n party

    Your paper pieced trees are wonderful! So fun and festive. I have to really slow down and think about each step when I paper piece. Your guild’s quilt is so pretty. I really appreciate your honesty about the book you read. On-line property is very important in today’s world, especially with all the scammers out there.

    1. Bernie Post author

      Thank you Stephanie. Paper piecing requires focus for me. I can’t just go on auto pilot and stitch pieces together. I enjoyed it tho and will practice to gain a bit more confidence.


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