Day Four

You know how it is when you make plans to get away. All the excitement gets you pumped up with anticipation. Then the day of departure finally arrives and you can’t believe it’s actually time to go. You arrive at your destination, settle in, and watch as your experience unfolds. Before you know it the special event is almost over and you wonder where the time went.

Saturday, aka Day Four, I woke up in just that state of mind. With only one full day of my five day retreat left it hit me…where had the time gone? Obviously most of it was spent focused on finishing my Mom’s five quilts. But yet it just seemed so hard to believe that my retreat was almost over.

All of my companions were just as wrapped up in their projects as I was. It was absolutely amazing to watch as their works of art unfolded. They were incredibly talented quilters and I stood in awe at what they were able to accomplish. I felt so blessed to be immersed in their process.

With only one full day left I had to maintain my intense focus if I was going to be able to meet my goal. While finishing my Mom’s five in-progress quilts was a mountainous task it was attainable. Well at least I hoped it was!?!

On Friday I was very fortunate to get a deep-tissue massage. There was a group of ladies that were housed in the other wing of the retreat center. They had arranged for a masous to come and perform massages on Thursday. Once our group found out about the masous there was an overwhelming enthusiasm to ask her to return on Friday. Thankfully she agreed to come back. There were a limited number of openings available and I obtained one of those appointments.

The massage, as deep-tissue massages go, was quite painful yet relaxing. I had no idea my upper body muscles were so tangled up in knots. Thinking back over the number of quilts I had recently worked with, on my longarm quilt machine, it actually made sense. The physical movements my body goes through while manipulating my machine do tend to fatigue my muscles. The fatigue is obviously accumulative and I was totally unaware of the impact it was having on me.

When the massage was over the masous told me she was afraid she wasn’t going to be able to work all of the knots out. Some of them were so deep they were hard to get to. She was very pleased to announce that she had been successful. I know how it feels when a tough task is finally accomplished and you can stand back in amazement.

Saturday morning I focused my attention on measuring up and adding the red borders around the Stars and Stripes Table Topper. In no time I had them cut and stitched to the outer edges. Here’s how the table topper looked when I was finished.

Stars and Stripes Table Topper

There were now three quilts left to do, two that could be quite complicated and one that I knew was going to be super easy. Bet you can figure out what one I chose! That’s right! You guessed it! The super easy one.

My Mom’s third semi-finished quilt is called the American Flag Picnic Throw. The pattern was printed on a half sheet of tan paper. The instructions were super, super easy to follow. So easy that I had the picnic throw cut and stitched together in about an hour. Here’s the third item on my list of finished projects.

American Flag Picnic Quilt Throw

Now it was time to decide which of the two more involved quilts I wanted to tackle. My choices were these.

Harrest Melody Quilt

The Harvest Melody Quilt and the


French Cottage Garden Quilt.

Before making my decision I opened each of the bags that contained the patterns. I wanted to learn just how involved they were and their state of completion. The French Cottage Garden Quilt was easy to eliminate because it involved embroidery. There was no way I was even remotely interested in doing that so I pushed that one aside.

The Harvest Melody was designed by my sister Pat Farnsworth and Lisa Ippolito in August of 2001. After exploring the progress my Mom had made it was evident that the majority of the pattern had already been cut out and many of the individual leaves and stems had been assembled. Here’s a photo of the mockup my Mom had made.

Harvest Melody Quilt Sections

Left to do was the stitching together of the individual sections into a completed leaf.

After making certain that there were enough of each of the units I began stitching random colors together. By the time I called it quits for the day I had assembled twenty-four of the flowers. With the pattern designed for forty-eight that meant I had twenty-five to go. I felt confident those twenty-five could easily be finished on my fifth and final day.

Thanks for you interest in my retreat experience and for stopping by. I know your time is very valuable and in short supply!

Cindy Anderson

Day Three

The Woodland Ridge Retreat is located in a small town in northern Wisconsin. For a small town they offer quite a few amenities. Meals were not included in our stay until Friday evening. Since we were on our own for breakfast we decided to walk the few blocks to the local coffee shop. The temperature outside was brisk but refreshing and the sky was a bright, beautiful blue.

The food as well as the coffee were very delicious. Taking the short jaunt was well worth the effort. Here’s a few photos of the restaurant.







On one of my many trips to my room I just happened to notice the setting sun. Here’s a photo of the view from my window.


The quilt chosen for today’s project was this one.


Most of the individual components have already been assembled by my Mom so I’m thinking this one may goes as quickly as the nine patch. We all know that reality and perception are often two different things so we’ll see just how quickly it goes.

The pattern is called Stars and Stripes Table Quilt. It was designed by Joan Karagavoorian and found in a magazine. I don’t know what magazine it was because my Mom tore the pages out and none of the pages have the magazine’s name on them.

My Mom’s always been very patriotic so I’m not at all surprised that she chose this one. The quilt has twenty-five blocks, nine of which are stars. All of the star blocks were stitched and ready for a final pressing. Strips for the striped blocks had also been sewn and some of the 10 1/2″ blocks were already cut.

Once I got my bearings I could map out a plan for my approach. First thing I did was check the measurements of the star blocks to verify that they were actually 10 1/2″ square. I was so happy to discover that they were since it’s one of my least favorite blocks to make.

All but one of the nine striped units my Mom had made were 10 1/2″ square. One of them looked like perhaps her ruler had slipped and was badly misshaped. That one will go in my scrap pile. The pattern called for sixteen striped blocks so I had seven left to make. My Mom hadn’t cut and stitched together enough red and tan strips to make all sixteen blocks so I had to do some of that myself. I also had to use my seam ripper to take apart one of the units of ten 40″ strips. My Mom had used the wrong seam allowance. Rather than the required seam allowance of 1/4″ she had used 3/8.

Once all of the components were finished I placed them on the design wall. I moved the star blocks around until I found an arrangement that looked balance, then stitched it all together.


Here’s how it looked at the end of the day. All that was left to do was the red border.

Cindy Anderson





Day Two

After arriving yesterday, unpacking and taking a break for supper, I sat down at my sewing machine and got the ball rolling. As you may remember my plans for the retreat were to, one by one, conquer my Mom’s unfinished quilts. At the top of the pile was this one.

I chose this one first because I absolutely love flowers and embroidery. If I had saved it until the end it would have been like saving the best to last. I, however, wanted to eat my dessert first. So first it was.

The hardest part about working on someone else’s quilt is figuring out where they left off. From what I could gather the only part my Mom had finished was the hand stitching of the flowers. That’s not to say that what she had finished was in any way less important than the rest of the pattern.

The next logical step was to remove the blue ink that had been the template for her stitching. I did that rinsing them in lukewarm water until the ink had disappeared. Each block was then placed on a towel to dry. Once they were dry I set them aside for their trip to the retreat.

Before heading to the retreat I had to decide if I was going to use the fabrics my Mom had purchased for the nine patch blocks or choose something else. The decision wasn’t really all that hard because I really didn’t like what she had chosen. So I set out to put my own spin on fabric colors.

I dug out my pre-cut fabric strips to audition specimens. Spread all over my kitchen counter were numerous piles of fabrics. Each one was carefully chosen to compliment the colors of thread used in the flower blocks. Once I was satisfied with my selections I carefully packaged them in my traveling case.

Fast forward to the retreat: when I packed up my supplies I assumed I was being extra cautious and wouldn’t forget anything. Unfortunately I was disappointed when I realized I wasn’t as careful as I had thought. From the tubs I was able to retrieve the hand stitched flower blocks, their accompanying patterns, the instructions for the outer borders as well as my hand chosen strips of fabric. What I didn’t find were the directions for the nine patch blocks or the dimensions for trimming the hand stitched flower blocks. Drats! Time to improvise.

After measuring the hand stitched flower blocks I decided they needed to be trimmed to 6 1/2″ square. I also figured out how I was going to cut and assemble the nine patch blocks. Once the brainstorming was complete it was off to the races.


Here’s the pile of nine patch blocks waiting to be sewn in rows.


A photo of the blocks ready to be stitched into rows and eventually the quilt top.


Finally a not so great photo of the finished quilt top with two added borders.


While it’s not to easy to see the picture hanging alongside the quilt (I promise the photos of the quilt, once the longarm quilting and binding are done, will be much better) I think you can still see the difference between the pattern and my version.

The owner of the retreat center, Chris Daly, has a mini store where she sells her hand dyed fabrics, among other things. I shopped her store looking for fabrics that might compliment my quilt top. Fortunately I found two colors that matched my color scheme quite nicely. The orange was one that Chris had dyed and the blue is from Turtle Hand fabrics.

That’s a wrap for today. Daylight has come and gone and all of my sewing buddies have gone to bed. I guess I should probably do the same.

Cindy Anderson