Judith chose a really beautiful venue for her retreat in Dundrum. Sited on a National Trust reserve on Keel Point, Dundrum, we stayed in the very comfortable manor house (if that's the correct way to describe it) of Murlough House. The inside of the house was just gorgeous, and we were made to feel very welcome by the staff custodians of the house. Our sewing space was located in a hall behind the house, and was a great hub of activity all weekend.
As you can see, after settling in to our very comfortable accommodation and eating a most satisfying evening meal (fab food all weekend), we wasted no time claiming a sewing station each and plugging in those machines. Whirr, whirr, whirr.
Prior to this retreat, I spent time prepping two quilts for stitching and progressing three of my WIPS to their binding stage. I also cut fabric for another small project, just in case I should have time. It really was time well spent because it helped me to have a very productive weekend.
My Friday night effort resulted in a completed Giant Star flimsy. I'm not superwoman - remember, I took blocks already cut and HSTs made, but I did stitch like the wind and got them all together and bordered before I faded away to bed at 22.50. So much for my dreams of sewing 'til midnight!
I managed to nab a happy (but tired) pic of the main lady herself, Judith, and me just before bed on Friday night. It may have been the only 30 seconds she was able to stand still all weekend. She's a superstar and made a lot of sewing enthusiasts happy and inspired this weekend.
We were all eager beavers again on Saturday morning and I managed another pre-cut quilt between the morning and the afternoon free sewing sessions.
This one is a reduced size Moda Love Layer Cake quilt.
I'm hoping that in a few weeks' time at home I can pick up on these two quilts again and progress them gradually towards finishes. If I can manage that sometime around Christmas/New year I would like to donate them to CT's Pre-school or perhaps the charities she is supported by so they can raise a little money perhaps by auctioning or raffling off.
We had a fun pincushion swap on retreat (as well as a rather animated game of sewing Bingo and a block race for some charity quilt blocks - but I forgot to get a pic of those). There was much oohing and aahing as pincushions were passed over to their recipient and revealed to a nosy congregation of expectant retreaters.
This was the pincushion I made and swapped with the lovely Janet. I've blogged about it separately here.
Rather coincidentally, the luck of the draw then revealed that Janet was to share her pincushion make with me. Isn't it sweet? There's no sense of scale from my bad photograph but it's a weeny little jam jar with pincushion topper. I'm thinking this would be very handy for applique stitching when I could pop my appliqué threads (which I keep on bobbins) into the little jar beneath the pincushion.
Once my two quilt tops were pieced, I moved on to binding three projects I brought already quilted. My Countdown to Christmas panel didn't take very long at all.
The strippy heart wallhanging makes me smile every time I unfold it and I love the aqua binding. I so often choose red binding for my Bonnie and Camille quilts, but opted for this one for a change.
I also bound this 28" square mini-quilt which I'll tell you about another time.
And THEN, on Sunday morning I stitched up a fabric basket, an enlarged version of the Pink Penguin Fabric Basket tutorial. It's been a long time since I made a fabric basket. I had forgotten how satisfying they are to complete.
Phew, that was a lot of stitching! I am convinced that it was being well prepared for this retreat that allowed me to tick off so much of my to do list. It was a very helpful way to maximise machine time which I don't always get at home, and move closer to proper finishes on three of my WIPs. A little bit of hand stitching on the binding and that should be sorted soon, I hope.
Our wonderful accommodation for the weekend allowed us the opportunity to wind down in more ways than just stitching. The house had lovely resting space in lounges and little seating areas, beautiful gardens and, right on the doorstep, a beach with a view of the Mourne Mountains - yes, those that sweep down to the sea. See?
Having a pre-breakfast walk on the beach with friends was a soul refreshing way to start both days of doing what I really love. What an indulgent weekend!
Sunday morning's sunrise was warm and stunning.
And, of course, retreat was a time for catching up with friends, some new and some of whom I haven't seen for too long.
Can you tell that I loved EVERY MINUTE of my October retreat weekend? I truly didn't want it to end. Thank you so much Judith for creating a restorative and inspiring weekend for us all. You worked your socks off to make sure everybody was happy - can't thank you enough.