Category Archives: quilt retreat

Looking Back on 2018

Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs is hosting a Best of 2018 Linky Party, inviting bloggers to highlight their top five posts of last year. It’s a fun way to look back over the past 12 months and identify some of the high points.

Finished projects are always high points for me so that’s where I’m taking you now, showing you five projects in random order. Clicking on the links below will take you to the original posts where you can read more about the finishes and see more photos.

Number 1. Quilt Finish: Checkerboard Curves

This 44″ square quilt was made from the pattern Dancing Churndash by Jenny Pedigo and Helen Robinson of I’ve made several quilts using their Quick Curve Ruler; this is one of my favorites.

Number 2. Quilt Finish: Hip Hop

A lively print featuring kangaroos was the inspiration for this wall hanging made using my pattern Full Moon Rising. Finished size: 16″ x 59″.

Number 3. Quilt Finish: Bluebirds for Bethany

Scraps from another quilt went into this lap quilt for granddaughter Bethany featuring Karin Hellaby’s method of making pineapple blocks. The quilt measures 57″ x 58″.

Number 4. Project Finish: Junior Billie Bag #8

The essential quilter’s tote, designed by Billie Mahorney. It’s 14″ wide, 17″ tall, and 7½” deep. I’ve been teaching Billie’s design for three years now and make a bag every time I teach a class. This one is a gift for a dear friend.

Number 5. Quilt Finish: Spokesong

I became quite enamored with Corey Yoder’s pattern Idyllic and taught it at a quilt retreat last year. This quilt was my class sample. It’s a lively design so I simplified three blocks to give the eye a place to rest. The quilt measures 53½” x 67″.

Joining the Best of 2018 Linky Party has been a useful exercise in reviewing my quilting accomplishments over the last year. I’m also inspired by looking at the work of other  quilters who blog. Take a few minutes right now and join the party! Clicking on the link will transport you right there.




Posted in Billie Bag, free motion quilting, home dec, Idyllic, pineapple quilt block, Quick Curve Ruler, quilt retreat, update, wall hanging | 2 Comments

A Busy Week . . .

. . . is coming up and I couldn’t be happier about it.

In just a few minutes I’m leaving for Quilt Camp — four days and three nights with a group of terrific women I’ve had the pleasure of “camping out” with for several years. In the past few years we’ve gone to Camp Tilikum in Newberg, Oregon, just about an hour away from home. It’s a popular spot for quilt retreats.

I’m packed and ready to go:

Project boxes and fabric tub? Check. Sewing machine and wraparound table? Check. Suitcase? Check. Billie Bag? Check. Big board? Check.

Camp ends at 4:00 pm Wednesday but I’m heading back early, picking up the Dear Husband and heading to the Oregon coast where I’m doing a trunk show and lecture for a quilt guild on Thursday and teaching Part 2 of my Junior Billie Bag workshop on Friday. The DH and I are staying an extra day for a mini-vacation.

The quilts I’m taking for the trunk show are stacked on the couch, ready to be packed into bags when I get back:

I can’t wait to see the progress my students have made on their Junior Billie Bags in the couple of weeks since the first workshop. Speaking of which, I couldn’t resist seeing what my current one is going to look like when it’s sewn together. I’ll be demonstrating this step at the second workshop so for now I simply pinned the side/bottom panel unit to one of the front/back panels:

One of the fabrics I chose for pockets on the side panels is a batik with directional bubbles. Just for fun I made the bubbles horizontal on one side and vertical on the other.  They may not be easy to see once the bag is all put together but I like knowing they are there.

No more work on this till after Quilt Camp. I’ll be working on Hazel’s Diary Quilt. Here’s hoping I make a lot of progress on it!




Posted in Billie Bag, family, Hazel's Diary Quilt, Junior Billie Bag, quilt retreat, tote bags, update | 2 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