Set on beautiful Quadra Island on Canada’s west coast, Camp Homewood was the venue for a quilting retreat last weekend.
It’s a very old building, but it easily accommodated the 32+ quilters and guests of the Comox Valley Schoolhouse Quilters’ Guild who had signed up for a weekend of quilting fun.
The location was absolutely gorgeous. Here is the view from the sundeck of the building.
Hard to concentrate on sewing at first, but the view wasn’t going to run away, so we got to work. It was my first time at a quilting retreat and I went along as a guest of a friend who is a seasoned quilter.
Below, you can see how we set up our sewing machines and our workspace on the “no view” side of the room.
Towards the view side, several other quilters have set up their workspace. All have brought their own sewing machines – mostly Bernina, Janome, and Pfaff – and they have brought their pre-cut fabric. Some brought irons and ironing boards which they shared with the group. Many arrived with extra folding tables and some even brought their own comfortable adjustable chairs, in anticipation of many hours of sitting hunched over a sewing machine.
You can see the extra round tables at the far end of the hall. This is where the group was served meals from Thursday to Sunday afternoon. The excellent food was prepared on the premises, mostly from scratch. Best of all, the guests had a whole weekend without having to wash dishes.
A second room in the older part of the building accommodated many more quilters. See the setups in the photo below.
Here is one lady’s workspace with fabric pieces cut out and labeled, each ready for placement in the correct spot. Some quilters are working from a pattern while others are making it up as they go along. This workspace holds more than 22 items, but each of them is necessary for the job. I was impressed by the organization of materials.
The first afternoon and evening, I frequently thought about home. I wondered if this or that little job was being done, now that I wasn’t there to take care of it:
Were the dogs being let in or out of the house when they needed it?
Were they being fed?
Did the Captain remember how to use the dishwasher?
Did he remember to turn off the stove?
Did he remember to lock the doors before going to bed?
Did he blah, blah, blah…? Nag, nag, nag….
Finally, I called home. Everything was fine, and I relaxed and shut these things out of my mind for the rest of the weekend. I concentrated on my sewing and listened with half an ear to the other women telling stories. After supper, many of the women had gone to their rooms and come back up to the sewing room in their pyjamas or muu-muus. Might as well be comfortable as hours of sewing still lay ahead.
At times, the whole room sounded like a hive of babbling voices, punctuated with spontaneous bursts of laughter. I chuckled to myself at some of the funny laughs that some of the women had, from high-pitched “hee-hee-hee”s to raucous “haw-haw-haw”s straight from the belly, and once in a while a red-faced silent laugh interrupted by a horsey snort started everyone laughing again. You might say the storytellers left us in stitches.
Many of the women surprised me by staying up until the wee hours of the morning, but the next day at breakfast I was always surprised by how much they had accomplished (in between behaving like teen girls at a pyjama party). These were not just a bunch of old ladies. They were a group of very talented women who were sharing techniques they had learned in their many years of experience. As the projects were completed, the finished pieces were hung on the railing of the upper floor. Each person displayed their work and went on to the next project they had brought with them.
Here are some of the projects of the second room.
Here are some from the first room. My friend’s snowflake quilt is third from the right, and the tote bag I made is the last one on the left.
It was a wonderful weekend, with breaks for walks in this pristine nature setting. In the next posts I’ll tell about some of those walks.