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Annual Quilting Retreat To Cle Elum Washington

Heading up towards Snoqualmie pass
I look forward to two annual retreats with my quilty friends. One in the Spring on Vashon Island, Washington and this one in the Fall to Cle Elum, Washington. One of favorite parts of the trip is going through the mountain pass at Snoqualmie. The elevation is a mere 3,022 feet, but that's enough for this lowland gal.This pass pretty much separates Western Washington from Eastern Washington and the views, even from the car, are quite spectacular. I was surprised to be able to get any 'near clear' images from the moving car! I always appreciate my friend, Janet, agreeing to take me with her and do the driving. She is the one who started this yearly ritual about five years ago. The shop and retreat cottage used to be in Roslyn, Washington (home to the old, wonderful TV show "Northern Exposure").

The "Crazy For Quilts" shop owner, Nancy Bronk, moved the retreat to a luxurious home in Cle Elum two years ago. More than the comforts of your own home await you when you step into this 4500 square foot retreat house because Nancy has seen to creature comforts at every turn. There is a full kitchen, should you have the urge to cook. Local, excellent, restaurants are very close. Maude, bless her heart, baked us fresh scones for the mornings!  If you bought some cloth that you are afraid might bleed, voila! there is a washer and a dryer available! Need a soak? The baths are stocked with a variety of luxurious bubble baths to tempt you to relax (if you need persuasion that is!) There is, as we discovered, a well stocked and low priced, quality thrift store right by the house too. Everyone seems to have made a small pilgrimage to see what treasures they could find.

The quilt shop is housed in a large studio behind the house by a lovely garden and deck (good for lounging and reading!). The shop is amazingly well supplied with fabric (current, reproductions, batiks and much more), patterns, books, notions, thread and rulers, is there for the sole enjoyment of the retreat participants! Talk about personal attention! Check out the link that I added to see more images of the rooms and amenities. I can't think of a nicer retreat experience.
It was a glorious day at the pass.
We left behind low clouds and fog on the Western side of the mountain
and broke out, on the other side, to this lovely sunshine
On the first night we all went to a local Mexican restaurant, El Caporal. It was truly an authentic style restaurant with excellent food and the best ever raspberry margaritas! Yes, I did enjoy this tasty treat, almost as much as the chicken fajitas!
These hanging petunia baskets that were festooned around the restaurant were the largest I had ever seen. They were an amazing sight!
The view from inside the living room. The windows are tinted. On the day we arrived it was 93 degrees. Yes, it was hot, but it was, at least, a dry heat that did not bother me anywhere
 near as much as the more humid heat that we have on the water
This is a part of the kitchen and a small edge of the living room - which has satellite television

The photo above shows my work area. Each person has a full table and the design walls are beautiful. I think that they are about the best design walls I have ever used. There are smaller sized walls by the tables and large, full wall sized ones around the room. The lighting is perfect, and small Ott lamps are provided as are irons and ironing boards!

Over the years I had subscribed to Hancocks of Paducah's monthly batik 'club' (I don't know if they still offer it). As a result of this collection, I had a lot of 5" batik squares. When I purged my excess fabrics recently I had to keep all of these batik squares. I knew that I wanted to make something from them, and this simple, colorful, pattern is what I came up with. It utilizes two squares, but there is enough left from the second square to use in another block if you want.
Our two "class" photos". 
 Quilts in the back from left to right: mine, Janet's holiday wall hanging
 and a small part of Debbie's amazing "jelly roll" roll quilt which we all lsuted over!

Janet and her lovely holiday wall hanging. She says that it will hang over her desk!

Above: Debbie's "jelly roll quilt. 
I have to admit to not thinking much of these in general, but this fabric line really made this a special quilt that I lusted to make. The fabric is from Daiwabo manufactured by E.E. Schenck and is called "Cara Serenity". I found that they are not easy to find. Thankfully, on the way home, Janet and I stopped at Fabrics Plus in Anacortes, Washington and they had both the kit that Debbie had used as well as many bolts of this amazing ombre fabric. If you're interested call them at 360-293-7641. They don't have a website, but they do ship!  Their version of this 'jelly roll' quilt is called strips and squares. I think that the black squares really add a lot of dimension to the quilt. I had searched the web for ombres and this line, for this quilt, was my favorite. The fabric has lines that run throughout in a pale grey and I think this very slight patterning makes a big difference in the way the finished top looks.

One version of this sort of pattern is called the 1600 jelly roll quilt . Pretty much the same technique but it does not included the use of the black squares.
Above: Debbie's second quilt: 
Her "watermelon" quilt. Debbie was the 'queen of quilts' for this retreat - they are both stunning!

Above: This is what Linda was working on. By the time I left it was much more advanced. I love all of the wonderful earth tones and greens that she chose!
Above: This is what Maude was working on. Unfortunately, I did not take an updated image before I left. It was turning out so beautifully - all warm luscious earthy colors too.

Above: My "Sample Pack" quilt
I was, and will be for awhile, working on this, but  I think that it will turn into a really fun quilt. I figured out a fairly quick strip piecing technique that actually makes the sewing relatively fast.

The question is what finished size should I make the quilt ? These are 4" squares so the finished square will be a mere 3.5 inches! I think I will just keep making the squares until I simply cannot make any more and see how it turns out. 

Should I just lay the squares on the design wall and call it good or should I play around with placement? It might look great graduated or placed by color group, but I really like the crazy, colorful, unplanned effect too. 

There will be some solid batik squares mixed in I think... many possibilities. I was SO excited to be really sewing again. My fire is re-lit!

I continue to learn a lot from my gal pals. I am rich in friendships that continue to enhance my life. Blessings indeed!


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