Imagine your favorite getaway. It might be the ocean, the mountains or a cruise to a faraway place. That’s not the case with the ladies from the Coshocton Canal Quilters. A weekend retreat with all their sewing gear and good friends fits the bill for them. All their work was displayed recently at their 29th Annual Quilt Show, “Sunshine, Lollipops & Rainbows”.
This year the Carlisle Inn in Sugarcreek served as headquarters for a weekend retreat for fifty-eight ladies of all ages. This being my first visit to a retreat, walking into the conference room where it was held filled me with wonder and excitement.
They had all brought their sewing machines, tables, chairs, lamps, materials, all their sewing tools…and of course, snacks. How could all that have fit in their cars?
But everyone was having a good time with no obligations other than enjoying quilting and talking to their friends. The social part of the retreat seemed to be very important.
Their project this year was to make a Crow Quilt for the Crow Festival since Coshocton is often referred to as Crow Town. The ladies seemed to think the crows were pretty smart birds and knew how to live together well. Perhaps they could teach people a lesson.
Each person is asked to finish one crow square for the quilt. While every crow turned out to be quite unique, they had to have three basic characteristics: a black crow, orange beak, and orange feet. Most of them had a sparkle of bling added someplace in the design.
The quilt will then be raffled off at The Pomerene Center for the Arts in October with proceeds to be used for the groups’ projects. This is a busy group as their guild has over a hundred members. When not making quilts for themselves or their family, they make quilts for veterans, chemo patients, battered women’s shelter, James Cancer center, and more.
This large family of quilters comes together for retreats because they want to have fun. One person said, “We let our hair down. It’s a big slumber party.” They encourage each other no matter how many times the threads of motherly patience, health and sanity keep breaking through their lives. The human connection might be as comforting as the quilts they produce.
Gambling might even be part of their day! Left, Right, Center is played here with bundles of fabric, called “fat quarters”, being used instead of cash. The winner takes all!
Beautiful patterns surround you here and each quilt will become a treasure for someone. A pattern that is one of my favorites has a proper name of “Kaleidoscope Dresden Plate Pattern”, but it is more commonly called “Multiple Madness”. Once you make one quilt using this pattern, you have to keep making them.
This weekend also provides inspiration to try something new. Speakers have special workshops to make a quilted item, or give ideas for future projects. Talking with others about their projects, sparks the imagination to try something new. Words of encouragement are frequent.
A popular item at the show was tee-shirt quilts. They could be of any size from throw to queen size and contain someone’s old tee shirts. Someone had recently lost their husband and a friend was making her a quilt of his old tee shirts to cuddle up to on a cold night.
Some of the ladies took a lunch break. Where do you think they went? To buy fabric! They came back remembering a special fabric they had seen in which aisle at a particular store.
The highlight of the visit occurred with the story of a lady whose sewing machine stopped working the first night she was there. As a surprise, the next morning her husband brought her a brand new sewing machine. What a guy! He’s sew special.
Upon returning home, my tee shirts were checked out carefully. Which ones might make a good quilt for a gypsy?