Quilt Retreats

Quilting Sisters, Part I

Yesterday’s post The Road to Retreat (via Bus!) began my series of posts on the 2017 annual quilt retreat I attended with my quilting sisters at Sew N Go retreat center in Vancouver, WA.

For the past 10+ years I have attend quilting retreats with at least some of my quilting sisters (even before they were formally my quilting sisters). Before continuing to share stories from this year’s annual quilt retreat, I thought I would share the story of how we formed our quilting retreat group consisting of quilters living in California, Oregon and Washington and became “quilting sisters”.

My beloved quilting sisters range in ages from late 40s to 70s and their names are Judy, Barb, Dana, Linda, Lisa, Kathy, and Debra. Honorary quilting sisters are Dana’s daughter Kaitlin, our current annual quilting retreat host Nancy and our previous annual quilting retreat host Cathy.

It all began with Judy

My friend Judy, who have I known for 20 years is my “Original Quilting Sister”. She convinced me to start quilting in the late 1990s when I lived in Seattle, WA. I mention her my story “The Tierney” and an April 2015 post “Creative Inspiration: Quilting Mentors“, in addition to references in other various posts.

I owe the start of my quilting journey to her encouragement to take the first step and mentorship through my first quilt.

I would love if the quilters reading this post, would share in the Comments section who got them started in quilting (or any other type of crafting). It is the kind of gift you can never repay, you can only just keep appreciating it!

A couple of years ago Judy made me this sweet wallhanging with Jody Houghton fabric:


I keep it in my studio and I get a kick out of the quilting related details in the photo – note one of the quilters has thread spools for earrings:


So Judy was my first “quilt sister” and from there the family grew, thanks to a little place called Maupin, Oregon.

Quilting and Casting

I moved from Seattle to Central Oregon in 2005. We rented a townhouse before buying our house and near our temporary townhouse was a quilt shop called BJ’s Quilt Basket (I will feature BJ’s Quilt Basket in a future blog post on Central Oregon Quilt shops). BJ’s was where I participated in my first “block of the month” club and where I found a flyer in 2006 about the Quilt & Cast Retreat at the Oasis Resort in Maupin Oregon, on the Deschutes River.

Photo credit: Adventures in Rafting

Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH), who was not TTQH in 2006, is a fly fisherman. The Quilt & Cast Retreat features for the husbands guided fly fishing with a professional Deschutes River tour guide. For the wives, a quilt retreat! The accommodations are historic fishing cabins and all meals are included.

I immediately contacted Judy, who still lived in Seattle. Her husband is a fisherman too and it seemed like the perfect retreat for the four of us.

And it was. They even let us bring our two miniature schnauzers at the time Fritz and Snickers. The cabins were definitely “historic” fishing cabins (years later they renovated) and included bathrooms that were a shared shower/toilet area, but they were cozy and comfortable.

Below is a montage of photos from several of our Oasis Quilt and Cast Retreats:

In addition to quilt retreat activities for the wives and guided fly fishing actives for the husbands, we went on outings and picnics to enjoy the beauty of Central Oregon. One of those outings was to White Falls in which I took photos of the abandoned White Falls water power plant, which lead to the art quilt, Abandoned Water Structure.

The wives would giggle to themselves in the mornings: at “o-dark-hundred”, when the husbands would get out of bed to go on a guided fly fishing trip on the Deschutes River, while the wives stayed in their cozy beds. Later in the morning we would mosey out of our beds for breakfast and then start out day of sewing.

Judy and I, along with our husbands, attended this retreat annually for 3 – 4 years. At the retreat we met our future quilting sisters – Linda and Lisa.

Tomorrow I will continue the rest of the Quilting Sisters story but let me close this post with images of friendship themed decor from the Sew N Go quilt retreat:

A very nice plaque at a quilt retreat
The cup I had my tea in each morning at the retreat
A very good reminder

13 thoughts on “Quilting Sisters, Part I”

  1. How lucky you were to have someone guide you into quilting. I spent the first years of my quilting adventure by myself — me, and the few internet sources there were at the time, a handful of magazines, and a small number of books. I didn’t have human contact with any other quilters until about 2007, 4 years into it.

    Now I’m part of a “small group.” There are 10 of us who meet almost every month, in some combination. All of the other women are in their 70s, way more than a decade older than I. I love them (but I really need some younger friends.) …

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    1. Thanks for sharing how you got started quilting and I’m glad you have a regular group to connect with every month. I do appreciate that our group has a wide range of ages I think it’s a great mix and I love that my friends daughter who is in her 20s joins our group sometimes.


  2. My quilting sister ….you have taken what I taught you and developed your own unique quilting style… you are and always will be very special to me..

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    1. Awwww, much appreciated! Hanging out with you is even better than finding the ultimate deal on the ultimate bolt of fabric (like an entire bolt of all schnauzer fabric – ha!) Hugs 🙂


  3. I was raised by my Aunt Mary. Living in the mountains of East Tennessee, life was not always easy but it was joyful. Aunt Mary was an accomplished sewer and she taught me on her Singer treadle machine. She had a quilting frame mounted with ropes to eye hooks in the ceiling that we would raise and lower when we quilted. There was always a quilt on the frame and one waiting to go. I would show her a dress in the Sears catalog and she could make exactly the same pattern as the catalog. I will never forget the life lessons Aunt Mary taught me.

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  4. I owe my introduction to Quilting to Lisa Boyer-Miller. It all began back in 1998? We were introduced by our husbands (at that time) who are firefighters, Now, almost 20 years later we have sewed a million stitches together. My first encounter with Lisa in quilting was an all night mystery sew at Material girls in Sacramento. Mind you I have sewing experience but not quilting. I was always used to a 5/8 inch seam. So off we go and the mad sewing began and now I have to get used to a 1/4 inch seam forever. Mind you I haven’t been to an all nighter since maybe my High school years, but this was different. It was the beginning of our quilted sisters relationship to this day. I still have that UFO needing to complete. Maybe I can get my friend Lisa to help me complete it, as she finished hers and has the pattern somewhere waiting for me. We have been through quite a journey. We have made quilts, made wonderful friendships and I have to say, Lisa, “thank you for enriching my life”. From our road trip to Sisters in 2005, that’s where Lisa found the flyer to the Maupin retreat and there our circle of friendships grew to what it is today, The Jelly rollers. Love to all my quilted sisters❤️💜💕💗

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    1. Kathy – that is a wonderful story!!! Lisa is pretty awesome and like Judy did for me, gave you a wonderful lifelong gift! Quilting does make you want to do all nighters! I find myself at 3:00 in the morning going – huh? Why am I still up??! Much love, your fellow quilt sister for you life 🙂


  5. This sounds so wonderful, Tierney. I love the idea of a ‘Quilt and Cast’ retreat, and the location looks scenic and so very conducive to both! Nice to read, too, that one of your quilting mentors is now a quilting sister. Beautiful community. 🙂

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  6. My Mom got me started on my path. I’ve always had a hunger for all things creative. She has always been one to keep herself busy through some sort of stitchery. Her talents for knitting, crocheting, needle point, cross stitch as well as sewing were passed on to me. I love that she had the patience to help me begin my journey.

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