Category Archives: Pine Needle quilt retreat


Take a look at my latest quilt, finished late this afternoon:

When you look at the octagonal blocks, do you see bicycle wheels and spokes? I do. That’s why I named this quilt Spokesong, after the play by Irish playright Stewart Parker. Set in a bicycle shop in Belfast, the play is about the troubles in Northern Ireland and the progress of civilization using the history of the bicycle as a framing device. I saw a delightful production of this “play with music” in the early 1980s and it came to mind when I was trying to think of a name.

My quilt is based on the pattern Idyllic by Corey Yoder of Coriander Quilts. (It’s the pattern I taught at last month’s Pine Needle quilt retreats on Hood Canal in Washington.) I changed the pattern a bit by simplifying three blocks.

The floral prints are from a line of fabric called “Paradise” designed by Alisse Courter for Camelot Fabrics. I ran off in high spirits one day three years ago and bought a lot of fabric from this line. It has made its way into several projects since then, and I used up more of it on the back of this one:

Karlee Sandell of SewInspired2Day did a beautiful job quilting Spokesong for me on her longarm. I love how the wavy lines of the edge-to-edge design called Serpentine almost make the quilt shimmer:

Did you notice the shape of the label?

Here’s a closer look:

Coco made herself right at home during the photo session:

If she wasn’t on top of the quilt, she was under it:

Finished size is 53½” x 67″.




Posted in cats, Idyllic, Pine Needle quilt retreat, quilt labels, update | 6 Comments

2018 Pine Needle Retreat: Part Two

Are you ready for more iterations of Corey Yoder‘s marvelous pattern Idyllic? The pictures that follow are of the quilters in my second retreat group last month on Hood Canal in Washington State. (You can see the creations of the first group of retreaters in my previous post.)

I can’t resist starting with a photo of sisters Barbara and Katie playing with their fabric choices. They are going for the super scrappy version of Idyllic and are obviously having fun putting potential fabric combinations together:

Shall we see what they did with them? Here’s Barbara with her first four blocks, using Kaffe Fassett prints and versatile Grunge blenders by Moda for the background fabrics:

Katie is using different Grunge blenders in her blocks, incorporating some delightful Carrie Bloomston prints:

Delia played with several different fabric combos and wound up with three distinctly different blocks:

She’s thinking of making a quilt using the one in the upper right corner. Delia also worked on this original elephant design using a collage technique:

All done but the binding. Fabulous!

Sandra usually works with prints so this striking block made with solids is a departure for her:

It’s going to be stunning!

Sherry is using two colorways of a lovely paisley print to make alternating blocks in her quilt:

Red and green — always a winning combination. One of Sherry’s lucky grandchildren is the intended recipient.

Brenda combines tan, teal, and brown prints against beige and light tan backgrounds for an elegant traditional look:

Julie concentrated on a couple of different projects, including this darling dog made from Elizabeth Hartman’s Dogs in Sweaters pattern . . .

. . . and these colorful wall hangings:

Jan is hiding behind this patriotic runner she made using a freezer paper method for cutting wonky stars:

Candyce’s Idyllic blocks are made from fabrics designed by Tula Pink. Look carefully and you will see what great texture the fabric in her block background adds:

Fran was working on a project begun a few weeks ago in a different Pine Needle retreat in Wyoming, one taught by Pam Raby. The pattern is Thunderstruck by Victoria Findlay Wolfe:


Patti was finishing up a big appliqué project begun in a Block of the Month program. Her blocks are gorgeous! Here’s one of them:

Karen (on the right) was working on the same project. Here’s one of her blocks:

Next to Karen in the photo above is Sue, whose projects were all tucked away before I had a chance to photograph them. She worked on several self-binding baby blankets and I can confirm they were adorable.

Grandmother-to-be Melody finished up a gender-neutral baby quilt using fabrics chosen by her daughter (the expectant mother). If memory serves, the quilt will include an appliquéd elephant:

Virginia spent the first two days of the retreat cutting, cutting, cutting for a quilt of her own design. When she started sewing on the third day, beautiful scrappy blocks appeared very quickly:

Janna planned to make 12 blocks — and finished them all. Here she is with a few of them on the wall and a few in her arms. She is thinking about putting her blocks on point — how dramatic! Take a look:

Linda gets the prize for finishing her quilt top! Here she is with 16 blocks sewn together:

The lively background print adds movement and drama to her quilt.

Sharon S. worked on several projects she brought from home and this little one she made at the retreat:

(I showed the students how to make inset circles using a freezer paper method — no pins!) Sharon’s block highlights an image from the Disney movie Frozen.

Sharon R. also worked on projects begun earlier. Here she is with several blocks from a Block of the Month sampler that’s going to be a beauty:

Here’s a picture of our group taken at the end of the retreat. Did we get a lot done? Did we have a good time? I think the answers are in the smiles on the faces:



Posted in Pine Needle quilt retreat, quilt retreat, update | 2 Comments

2018 Pine Needle Quilt Retreat: Part One

Happy Fourth of July, friends!

I was tempted to name this post “Sparklers” because the pattern I taught at this year’s back-to-back Pine Needle quilt retreats — Idyllic by Corey Yoder of Coriander Quilts — reminds me so much of fireworks. When you look at the quilt blocks below, tell me if you see starbursts in the sky too.

The blocks were made by quilters in the first of two groups I taught last month on Hood Canal in Washington State. If you follow me on Instagram (@dawn_at_first_light_designs) you’ve already seen photos of the first blocks going up on the classroom design walls. Before I show you the blocks, let me show you the makers:

Isn’t that a happy looking group? Geri Grasvik, organizer of the retreats and owner of the Pine Needle, is in the second row, far right, in a black T-shirt. I’m in the top row, far right, also in black.

Here’s what the group started with:

This block looks great in two colors and in a variety of fabrics for a scrappy look. In terms of construction the pattern is all about precisely made star points made from Flying Geese units. I taught students how to make four Flying Geese units from two squares using a method that’s been around for quite a while but doesn’t seem to be very well known. A couple of specialty rulers made squaring up the units fast and easy. You won’t find any star points cut off in these quilts!

And now, in no particular order, here are the blocks and their makers . . .

First up is Frances, whose outfit perfectly complements her blocks:

Here’s Patty, who chose bright florals and prints against solid green for her quilt background:

Donna’s more limited but very colorful palette with aqua for the quilt background is equally striking:

Carol’s version includes different neutral fabrics for each block background for an extra scrappy look:

Roxanne is making a two-color version but is actually using two pink fabrics. Her quilt background and sashing fabric is a pale pink Fairy Frost that is going to make her quilt practically glow:

Check out Carolyn’s three blocks on the left, noting how the solids and subtle prints she chose for her star points are set off by the lively batik print of the quilt background:

See Lynn’s middle block? She used a blue batik instead of white in her corner blocks by mistake. We all liked the effect so much (and so did she) that she decided to keep it!

As someone whose favorite color is green, I was struck by Coeta’s choice of greens for the block and quilt background fabrics:

I can’t wait to see her completed quilt! (By the way, check out Coeta’s T-shirt. It’s just like the ones Geri and I are wearing in the group photo above but you can’t see the logo on ours.)

Diana’s quilt is going to be so dramatic! The bold graphic batik print she chose for the quilt background is the perfect foil for her star points:

The deep metallic red Denise chose for her block background sets off these other Asian prints beautifully:

Denise changed her mind about her quilt background fabric so she concentrated on creating the centers of the blocks instead.

Lana did the same thing. Her scrappy version is destined to be a fundraiser for her grandson’s school:

Peggy’s soft version is highlighted by light and medium-value aquas:

The bright colors in Claudine’s Idyllic blocks look wonderful against the neutral gray:

Such strong graphic appeal!

Gale chose beautiful William Morris prints for her soft muted version:

Mary went with batik prints in the same color family for her star points and a lovely sage print — not a batik — that works perfectly for the quilt background:

The medium dark brown Pat is using for her block background emphasizes the octagonal shape of the Idyllic block and looks so dramatic against the green of the star points and print in the block background:

Until she got to the retreat, Missy didn’t realize her fabrics were designed by Corey Yoder herself! These are from the “Pepper and Flax” line Corey designed for Moda fabrics:

Susan is incorporating a print with a border stripe into her quilt, with very striking results:

While most of the students were working on Idyllic, a few were working on other projects  — and that’s perfectly fine. The whole point of being at a retreat is for quilters to work on whatever their hearts desire.

Kim was working on a queen-size version of Jacob’s Ladder using gorgeous batiks:

We all loved watching her blocks on the design wall multiply.

Janet was making Flying Geese blocks not for Idyllic but for a different quilt:


And Cynthia was enjoying being out on the deck while binding this quilt:

She originally planned it as a quilt backing but it clearly deserves to be on the front.

I think you can tell we were all having a lovely time. Spectacular setting, delicious food,  and all the time in the world — for four days, anyway — for each quilter to to sew to her heart’s content. Just what a retreat should be, wouldn’t you say?

The blocks my second retreat group made are equally sparkling. Please stop by in a few days to see them.




Posted in Pine Needle quilt retreat, quilt retreat, update | 2 Comments