Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Retreat Postscript

Some of us come just for the fun of it and some of us with serious goals.

Some labor over tedious projects while others crank out lots and lots.

Miniatures, quick & cute cuddle quilts, wildly creative art pieces, tried & true traditional quilts - you can find them all at retreat.

Our tastes in fabrics run the gamut from feedsacks, Kaffe Fassett, Civil War, bright batiks, to good 'ol scraps. And a good pattern can be translated by any of these.

We learn new tips and tricks from each other and have impromptu demonstrations and classes. Everyone has an opinion and offers advice solicited or not. We deal with our share of unsewing, broken needles, and mis-cut fabric, but we survive.

The quilts we inherit from family and the ones we receive and give as gifts are made with lots of love. Each stitch, worked out by hand or machine, is in spite of the demands of life and is a testament to perseverance and patience, qualities that characterize quilters so well.

The past few retreats I've tended to get a little melancholy at some point. When I returned home from my first retreat seven years ago I learned that a dear friend's wife had died unexpectedly. In 2005, my mother passed away and even though I had been away from work for weeks, my co-workers insisted that I go on retreat. In 2007, I left for retreat after finding out that the woman who had helped raise me and my sister had just passed away back in my hometown.

As I looked around the room on Saturday afternoon at these women who have come to mean so much in my life, I wondered what my mother would think of so many friends she never had the opportunity to meet - these friends who sat with me and fed me after my car accident and helped me pack for a move to a house she would never see. Each of these women have their own stories of loss and difficulty. And yet it is quilting that has brought us here and that brings us balance in a chaotic world. It grounds us.

From my very first retreat, I knew I had become part of something that would be with me for the rest of my life. I had found my tribe.

I can't wait for next year's retreat. I'll drag out the same projects in hopes that time will expand for those four days and I will accomplish super-human feats of quilting. We'll share some late night laughs and meet more new friends. And for a few days, all will be right with the world.

1 comment:

Sara said...

Those quilts in all those pictures are absolutely wonderful! I love that log cabin! What incredible work!