This post continues yesterday’s post Quilting Sisters, Part I, sharing the story of how I ended up part of a group of quilters based out of California, Oregon and Washington.
We left off with Judy and I meeting Linda and Lisa at the Oasis Resort Quilt and Cast retreat. Linda lives in Oregon is one of those people you meet and immediately love. She is a retired 2nd grade teacher and she must have been the most wonderful teacher imaginable. A truly warm, kind and authentic person. Lisa lives in California and is a brilliant woman, a veterinarian and Renaissance woman of many talents besides quilting. We immediately connected and became friends.
A couple years later we met Donna from Sequim, WA, another wonderful teacher-person and her sisters (who attended once) and her lovely mother Shirley (who we all fell in love with as the social media/blogger and web savvy 80-something year old). In addition to Linda, Lisa, Donna, and Shirley I met other cool quilters including my friend Joan, however only Lisa, Linda, Donna and her mother Shirley became part of our regular quilt retreat group.
The retreat was also open to quilters who did not bring their husband for the “cast” part of the retreat. Judy and I attended the retreat without our husbands once or twice also (the cost of the quilting part of the retreat was significantly less than the guided fly fishing part of the retreat).
Beyond “Quilt and Cast”
Eventually we stopped going to the Quilt & Cast retreat due to significant increasing fees for the husbands to participate in the guided Deschutes river fishing. Also interest in the quilting retreat part of the Quilt and Cast retreat was waning.
Peggy, who ran the quilting retreat part of the Quilt & Cast retreat started her own retreat with Linda and for a couple of years we attended those retreats.
Eventually Peggy and Linda gave up their quilt retreat business and we began attending a quilting retreat in Vancouver, WA run by a lovely woman Cathy and her husband:
At some point Lisa, who attended the new Peggy & Linda retreats, invited her close California friends Debra and Kathy. Kathy is originally from NY like myself and actually grew up in a town next to the town I grew up! So there was an automatic connection.
Since I had moved to Central Oregon, Judy felt it was time to lure another friend into quilting and convince our mutual Seattle friend, Barb to start quilting (Judy is very convincing!)
Birth of the Jelly Rollers
A jelly roll is a 42 piece collection of pre-cut 2.5 inch quilting fabric strips and are very popular among quilters (for the non quilters reading this). In the late 2000s to early 2010s jelly rolls were gaining huge popularity with quilters. Numerous jelly roll fabric collections and books with patterns on creating quilts made with jelly rolls were flooding the market.
Our gathering of quilters at the retreat hosted by Cathy in Vancouver, WA were obsessed with jelly rolls in the late 2000s. At one of the retreats at Cathy’s we decided to develop a core closed retreating group that would always attend an annual quilt retreat in May each year. Additional members could only be added by group approval (several of us had past experiences with attending quilt retreats with quilters with “challenging personalities”). We would call our group the Jelly Rollers!
Cathy stopped hosting retreats and referred our group of retreaters to another woman in the Vancouver area, Nancy. Nancy’s Sew N Go Retreat became the new permanent home for our annual May retreat.
After moving to Nancy’s Sew N Go retreat, Dana started attending and became a regular member of the Jelly Rollers. Dana was voted in as she grew up with Judy’s daughter and is an unofficially adopted daughter of Judy’s. Like Linda, she is one of those people you meet and immediately adore.
Dana is another person like Barb and myself that Judy convinced to start quilting. We tease Judy that she makes her friends start quilting whether they wanted to or not – ha!
My friend and Central Oregon quilting mentor, Betty Anne joined us for a couple retreats and is an honorary member of the Jelly Rollers.
Near the time of creating the Jelly Rollers, “Jelly Roll Races” (a way to make a quick quilt top with one jelly roll in an hour or so) were popular and we used to jokingly make that the initiation requirement for joining – complete a “Jelly Roll Race”.
Some of the Jelly Rollers attend other retreats together during the year in California and in Washington. I used to attend another retreat with most of the other Jelly Rollers in Monroe, Washington but the sleeping accommodations are like dorm rooms with thin walls and I have trouble sleeping. When I do not sleep, I do not enjoy retreats.
Also this retreat had a lot of additional people I did not know and occasionally there were quilting retreat attendees with “challenging personalities“.
I seem to be a beacon for strange people to want to befriend, so this is not always the best environment for me. I ended up trying to courteous to needy and strange people and they stick to me like glue for the whole retreat! My quilting sister Lisa is also a beacon for strange people and has shared interesting stories of “unique” individuals who have unsolicitedly attached themselves to her at quilt retreats.
I truly enjoy attending quilt retreats with people I know, it is a safer and more comfortable experience for me.
For those of you with experience with attending quilt retreats, I would be interested to hear in the Comments section your thoughts on quilting retreats – meeting strangers vs. quilting with established friends.
Friends for Life
We are at least in our 4th or 5th year as a formal group. Keeping our core group of annual quilt retreaters together has strengthened our bonds and we do many thoughtful things for one another.
A couple years ago, we put names in a hat and whichever name you picked, you had a year to make that person a lap quilt. Many of the quilters in the group never had anyone make a quilt for them. This exchange was a way to further connect us and to ensure every quilter has the experience of having someone make a quilt for them rather than they just make quilts for others.
It was very awesome during the following year’s retreat when we surprised the person whose named we picked the previous year with their lap quilt!
In addition to that special quilt exchange a couple years ago, Judy made a special quilt for Lisa last year and at this year’s retreat, Lisa surprised Judy with a machine embroidered “crazy quilt”, the featured photo on this post:
Although we do not see each other often, we have a strong connection to each other and stay frequently in touch. We are like a family sewn together special threads!
Oh my what have I done?
My Impulse Buy
Perhaps I was influenced by Elena’s Vintage Sewing Machine blog or by the fact that sewing of my Quilting Sisters have antique featherweight sewing machines that they bring to retreats.
Saturday I went with my friend Susan to the Kiwanis Club’s fundraising garage sale in Sisters, Oregon and ended up impulse buying at vintage Singer sewing machine:
The machine was listed for $25. One of the volunteers at the fundraiser sale saw me looking at it and said: “You can have it for $10”. How could I turn it down (I know, I know, I could have said “no thank you” and walked away…)
It is not a featherweight and it is quite heavy but it still works and runs quite smoothly. I called Betty Anne, who knows about vintage sewing machines and she gave me the name of someone in Central Oregon who can check out the machine for safety, clean and service it. It is also missing part of the footplate. You can still sew with the section missing but the bobbin is exposed.
Today I researched the serial number using the Singer Sewing Machine Serial Number Database website. and it was assigned in 1910 so I think that sort of dates the machine. I am going to do some further research and see if it really is that old. Also I need to watch some YouTube videos and check out some websites on how to thread the machine and do basic maintenance.
It seems like it would be really fun to use on a sewing project or two and would make an interesting piece of art in my studio.
What I did not buy
Next to the Singer were these two vintage sewing machine which I am sure the volunteer would have sold to be also for $10:
If I had a large sewing studio, they would have made for an interesting display on a shelf, but I had no excuse to buy them. I had of course no excuse to buy the Singer but I suspect it was meant to be…
Before Susan and I went to the fundraiser garage sale in Sisters, we stopped at the Stitchin’ Post quilt shop and I bought this fabric:
Yup those are vintage Singer sewing machines, a very similar looking model to the one I bought. Was it kismet that an hour later I ended up with an actual vintage Singer sewing machine?
What I tried to convince my friend to buy
Here was something hysterical I did not buy at the fundraiser garage sale, though I tried to convince my friend Susan to buy it – a PUG PURSE!
Next post I will continue with more stories from the 2017 annual quilt retreat I attended.